The Basketball Podcast: EP151 Rob Paternostro on Competition in Practice

RELEASE DATE : 17/02/2021

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Leicester Riders’ Head coach Rob Paternostro joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss the importance of pressure defense and how to incorporate competitiveness in practice.

Rob Paternostro has been the head coach of the Leicester Riders in the British Basketball League for 13 years. In 2008 he was hired by the Riders for his first basketball coaching position. Rob immediately proved to be a natural at coaching and led Leicester to a BBL Championship in his first season. Paternostro also took home the Coach of the Year award and established his name as one of the top coaches in the BBL. Since then Paternostro has continued to rake in the trophies and awards.

Over his 13 year stint with the club, Rob Paternostro has become the team’s most decorated coach. He obtained six total Coach of the Year awards which is the most in the history of the BBL. More importantly, Rob Paternostro’s coaching has translated to winning games. Currently, Rob has a record of 379 -141 ( 4th all time ) and never has had a losing season with the Riders. This success has continued into the postseason. Each year that Paternostro has coached the team has at least made it to the quarter-finals of the BBL Championship. Also, the Riders have won the BBL Championship four times as well as five Cup victories.

Rob Paternostro also had a decorated career as a player. He attended Southern New Hampshire University where he was the school’s all-time assist leader and earned a place in the NCAA division 2 Hall-of-Fame. After graduation, he began his professional career in the BBL with the Birmingham Bullets. During his first season, he made an impact immediately by scoring over 10 points per game and shooting over 40 percent from three. He continued to have success in the BBL and also played professionally in Spain and Belgium.

Paternostro’s immense amount of basketball knowledge and experience has made him an all-time great coach. Currently, Leicester is sitting at the top of the BBL with expectations of taking home another title.

Rob Paternostro

Listen Here:
Rob Paternostro Quotes:
“Competitiveness has been the most important thing. I think when we start the season, from opening day of practice, till the end, we’re trying to find different ways to compete every day.”
“If we’re in a five on five game, the team that wins everybody gets a point; if we’re in a shooting drill, top four scores, get a point. You could do it any way you want.”
“I think that you have to learn to deal with the losses and it has to hurt a bit so you can really come back out and next practice, next game, get into that win column.”
“I believe that one of the best ways to win is to limit your fouls. Obviously, you want to keep them [opposing team] off the foul line and you want to keep your players on the court. Early on in our practices, I call a lot of fouls, especially when we’re working on the defensive stuff.”
“I really tried to focus on not bailing guys out; making guys make tough shots.”
“We’re looking for guys that really are athletic, of course . .  but have that mental capacity to be able to deal with stuff on the fly because, in the professional game, that’s very important.”
“It’s a challenge to press really good players at times. But we’ve been able to utilize it to throw a lot of teams off balance.”
“The 24-second shot clock can really help you with your press, because you can put teams in trouble with their half court offense if you do it right.”
“We want to make it [running an offense] as uncomfortable as possible because, at this level, if you allow these types of guys to get comfortable, they’re going to score.”
“The video room’s important. I don’t like to have long, long sessions, I like them to be sharp. But I also like that the players have a voice in my video sessions, they can take ownership . . Obviously, I’m going to make the decisions, they understand that, but hearing what they have to say, certainly helps me make up my mind at times, but also gives them a sense that we’re in this together.”
“That was important for me from the start that we got these guys that really understand the game and know the game. Let’s utilize that. And let’s make sure that . . it’s collaborative in how we go about things.”
“We go through each player on video and give them their strengths and their weaknesses. We’re going to send them other stuff, of course, but whatever we really want to get across, we make sure we do it together in a room.”
“We don’t go super long. But what we do is we try to get a lot done in that time and have the kind of practice that flies by.”
1:00 – British Basketball League
4:00 – Competitive Cauldron
6:00 – Tracking Real-Time Stats
9:00 – Types of Rewards
12:00 – Calling Fouls on Practice
16:00 – Multiple Defensive Coverages
18:00 – Recruiting Smart Players
20:30 – Working at ESPN
23:30 – Use of Press
27:00 – Using Ball Screens
30:00 – Decisions on Ball Screens
32:00 – Developing Ball Screens
34:00 – Video Sessions
37:00 – Keeping Players Accountable
41:00 – Game Preparations
43:00 – Reducing Training Time
45:00 – Adjusting to Professional Game
47:00 – Conclusion
Selected Links from the Podcast:

Rob Paternostro

Leicester Riders

Mark Jarram

Loughborough University

Anson Dorrance

Dean Smith

John Calipari

Fred Carter

Jim Calhoun

Rob Paternostro:


Social Media:

Please Support the Podcast

As we build our podcast following please take the time to support the Basketball Podcast. Our goal is to openly share as much useful basketball coaching info to stimulate your coaching. 

  1. Tell your friends about us.
  2. Give us a shout out on social media.
  3. Give us a five star review wherever you listen to podcasts.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this superb blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google
    account. I look forward to fresh updates and will share
    this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!