Lessons Shared at the Coaches Roundtable

The Coaches Roundtable is an initiative started by John Carrier who is the head boys basketball coach at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. I was fortunate to be asked to speak at the Roundtable when I was in Minneapolis this past summer. These are the notes from the Roundtable taken by Coach Art Errickson. I discussed my coaching philosophy, zero seconds skills training and basketball decision mind training.

Follow both coaches on Twitter @JohnCarrier42 and @ArtErrickson

Lessons from the Coaches Roundtable

Evolution through practice: took every coaching opportunity possible as a young professional, which gave him the opportunity to experiment with new ideas

Random vs. Block practice

  1. Lack of implementation of these concepts worldwide.
  2. Initial learning = Block practice is OK.
  3. Game-like vs. Confidence. Shooting ten three-point shots from the top of the key increases player confidence but does little to improve game performance.

Basketball Triple Threat

Zero Seconds = Skills Training | BDT = Mind Training

Read more on What is Zero Seconds and Basketball Decision Training?

How His Coaching Philosophy Developed

  1. Training Simulates Games: Steve Kerr and Chip Engelland training example: Sit and talk on the bench, run up and down the court, shoot a few threes and sit back down, repeat.
  2. Decision-Training Concept: Joan Vickers (The theory of the decision training model in sport).
    “Perception, Cognition, and Decision Training: The Quiet Eye”
  3. “Hard first instruction”: Begins most camp sessions with three times between the legs into a shot. Can often tell the best 5 players just from watching this activity. Coaching to the top 5%. Giving the rest a sense of what is necessary to reach that level.
  4. Basketball Decision Training provides cues for players when performing two or three player shooting drills.
  5. Mixes skills and concepts, rather than training one skill in isolation (Philosophy of Combining Skills in Training). 
  6. Establishing the Growth Mindset
    • Analogy: My daughters get told they are cute a lot. How do they learn to reach beyond that? Tells them to respond ‘Sure I’m cute, but I’m smart too.’”
  7. Agreement with players prior to season = “May I correct you? Yes or No?” (How to Build the Coach-Athlete Relationship)
  8. Correction is necessary for learning. Mistakes are necessary for learning.
  9. Effort should be rewarded. Great effort that led to a mistake is positive for growth.
  10. Correction (Foul = Mistake, Recreate, Demo, or Question).
  11. Hard coaching days. Choose a player and correct every mistake they make in a specific practice. Forces them to apply psychological coping strategies (parking, positive self-talk, focus).
  12. Do you coach your best players as hard as possible? You should coach to the highest level. (See “Hard first instruction”).
  13. Priority in practice is to create an environment for competition. Your team can be less skilled, less perfect with technique or tactics, but can still have a chance if they know how to compete.

Games Approach to Coaching

  1. Athlete satisfaction…his players help him understand what they like and value about practice. Evaluation approach = Talking to players about what they like and don’t like (Google Surveys).
  2. It is random practice, which provides the most transfer.
  3. Involves a majority of players.

90% vs. 110% Effort

  • He wants players to play at 90% effort as they are more relaxed and able to make better decisions. 110% effort is unrealistic and causes over-trying concept.

The Speed of the Game

  1. Good offensive actions, individual and team, usually occur in a two count. This is why BDT is designed so all actions and decisions happen in two claps. (NBA Touch Time Study)
  2. A post-up is different. The game slows down in the post, in a ball screen action and a high post isolation. Probe, patience and find the advantage while reading the defense.

Offense vs. Defense Spacing Concepts

  1. Offense looks to create space.
    1. Arm length from a defender = Shot
    2. Shoulder to chest positioning relative to a defender = Dribble Attack
  2. Defense looks to take away space (Stay in front of the ball arms and maintain chest to chest positioning).

Questions Asked by the Coaches in Attendance:

  1. Fight for your feet concept (1, 2 stop vs. Jump stop)? Not focused on technique debates. Does it work for a player? That is good technique.
  2. Do you teach your players the concept of a Mistake Ritual to deal with the metal challenge of making mistakes? Yes, park it or using a mistake ritual (Let Go of Mistakes).
  3. Do you preset the “fouls” in your practices? Yes, pick two or three things to focus upon. Learn what a “Foul” is and how we using coaching interventions in out practices:
  4. Reducing options for players that can’t shoot. Drive it into space or pass if you have space?
  5. Do you use more than the inside cut on the corner fill on the guard to forward pass in the Triangle? Will often send guard threw and off a screen but inside cut gives forward opportunity to drive as guard brushes forward’s defender.

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