The Basketball Podcast: EP29 Dave Severns

November 21, 2018

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, LA Clippers Pro Personnel scout Dave Severns joins the Basketball Podcast with Chris Oliver to discuss mistakes we make in coaching. The conversation focuses on high school basketball, but applies to all coaching. Solutions to prevent or counter mistakes are also discussed.

Coach Severns was a long time assistant coach and director of player development. He was also an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls as Assistant Coach for Player Development. Prior to his time with the Bulls, Severns spent 13 years in player development with Nike, working with college players at the All-American Camp, All-Asia Camp, Nike Skills Academies and Jordan Flight School. He also worked at Attack Athletics in Chicago under Tim Grover from 2005-08.


“If you have an opportunity or a choice between jobs, those are things you need to look at: the budget, the tradition, the players. And probably the most important thing in there is . . unrealistic expectations from administrators.”

Mistakes Coaches Make:

“Failure to improve at their craft . . spending too much time working at . . all the ancillary things – boosters, media, speaking, trying to promote yourself at the expense of exchanging ideas . . clinics, watching videos, collaborating with other coaches.”

“Not spending enough time on special situations.”

“You’ve got to be in the right spot . . that’s the first thing. The second thing is the timing. And the third thing is the options – if they take away the first option, what’s our counter to that? . . And those really can’t be taught unless it’s 5-on-5.”

“Excessive talking at practice . . you already have the job, there’s really no need to show people how smart you are . . more repetitions, better, efficient use of practice time, less talking.”

“Not spending enough time off the court with your players. The guys need to buy in. They need to see and they need to get to know you away from basketball.”

“[Not enough] devotion to fundamentals. Passing, shooting, footwork, understanding the difference between a good shot and a bad shot, not just dribbling but dribbling with a purpose.”

“If you can pass the ball off the dribble with one hand without having to add your second hand, I think that’s a fundamental that’s much better than passing with two hands. You’ve got to be able to do that. “

“The old school [fundamental] – you can’t leave your feet to make a pass. That’s not true. You can’t leave your feet to find a pass. Once you’ve found a pass, it’s a perfectly good fundamental to leave your feet to make that pass.”

“ . . worrying about who’s the boss. It’s about the players, it’s not about you as the coach . . They know whose in charge. You don’t need to go over the top to try to prove you’re the boss.”

“Thinking that their philosophy is more important than their personnel.”

“Falling in love with drills. Every drill should have a purpose that’s directly related to something that the team is trying to accomplish offensively or defensively.”

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1:00 – Introduction
2:00 – Pistols Offense
4:00 – Mistakes that Coaches Made in Coaching
5:00 – #1 Mistake: “Take the Bad Job”
6:00 – Take any Job
7:00 – Examples of Taking the Bad Job
8:00 – Coach-Led vs Admin Led
9:40 – #2 Mistake: “Failure to Improve at their Craft”
11:45 – Proficient Note Taking
13:00 – Pause Recall Method
14:00 – #3 Mistake: “Too Much Complaining at the Officials”
15:00 – Lay-off the Ref
16:20 – #4 Mistake: “Not Spending Enough Practice Time on Special Situations”
17:40 – How NBA Approach on these Special Situations
20:00 – “You gotta be in the Right Spot”
22:40 – #5 Mistake: “Excessive Talking in Practice”
24:00 – #6 Mistake: “Not Spending Enough Time Off the Court with Players”
26:00 – #7 Mistake: “More Devotion to Fundamentals”
27:00 – Fundamental Emphasis on the 3-point Shot has Changed
28:00 – Is There a Perfect Technique?
29:00 – One-hand Passing
31:30 – Defense is the Biggest Evolution in the Game
33:00 – #8 Mistake: “Not Worrying About Whose the Boss”
34:30 – Just Be on Time
35:30 – Professionalism of the Players
36:30 – #9 Mistake: “Thinking that Their Philosophy is More Important than their Personnel”
38:40 – #10 Mistake: “Falling in Love with Drills”
40:00 – Drill Make Us Feel Good
41:30 – Switching
43:00 – Attack on Switching
44:16 – Flipping and Flare Screen
45:30 – Worrying About the Switch
47:00 – Opposed Match Up or Perimeter Focused?
49:00 – Defense on Young Team
50:20 – Talking About Defense on High School Teams
52:00 – Conclusion


Dave Severns



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