In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, Windy City Bulls head coach Henry Domercant shares insights on getting game ready and maximizing game performance.
After retiring from playing, Domercant transitioned to coaching. He was hired as an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws in 2017, and then moved to the Windy City Bulls as an assistant coach in 2018. He was promoted to player development coordinator for the Windy City in 2020. He also held the role of Player Development Coordinator with the Chicago Bulls during the 2020-21 NBA season and also served as an Assistant Coach during the Bulls’ NBA Summer League.
Domercant joined the coaching ranks after a lengthy playing career overseas, including stints in Turkey, Greece, Russia and Italy, before returning to the United States to play a season with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League. As a player, Domercant found success nearly everywhere he went, winning a combined nine tournament and league championships during his career. Prior to his professional career, Domercant was named the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Player of the Year in 2002 and was a three-time First Team All-OVC honoree.
He played college basketball for Eastern Illinois, and was an All-EuroLeague Second Team selection. Domercant has had a lengthy playing career overseas, including stints in Turkey, Greece, Russia, and Italy. He played for Pınar Karşıyaka, Efes Pilsen, Olympiacos Piraeus, Dynamo Moscow, Montepaschi Siena, Spartak Saint Petersburg, UNICS Kazan, Galatasaray Liv Hospital, and Idaho Stampede. He won several awards and championships during his playing career, including the Italian League championship twice, the Italian Cup twice, the Italian Supercup twice, the Turkish League championship, and the Russian Cup.
Henry Domercant Quotes:
“[Player development] is player specific. Some players may need to focus on spacing and how your game interacts with the team instead of just your individual skill acquisition. For some players, they have to acquire certain skills to be better or to impact winning. Basically, I feel like the greatest development is impacting winning and how you can help the team do that because I think that translates through every level.”
“We follow some core values . . some of them are ‘Shout praise; whisper criticism’ and ‘PMA positive mental attitude.’ I think we’re all responsible for the environment that we work in and create for the players to grow in.”
“Pre-game is typically a time where they’ll show video, it could be from practice or the previous game . . I’m trying to do at least three positive clips to one negative clip and try to enforce or try to encourage the behavior that you want instead of just repeatedly talking about the negative things.”
“In the scouting report, we show our player personnel clips and we’re showing tendencies and we may communicate how to guard the player as well. Showing that on the video and trying to keep it as simple try to keep it as simple and as memorable as we can. I don’t want to give too much information to where you don’t remember anything, but I want to give enough information where you feel prepared.”
“I love to use the video to message them and use that room to message the group and to unite the group. Because when we’re all on the same page, communication erases mistakes, it eliminates confusion. So, when I communicate a certain message, that can unite us.”
“Typically game day card is your offensive scout. I try to include plays that I think will work against their defense, where we may see some holes in their defense . . I love to have some end of game situational type plays on there . . You might have your lineups, like best defensive lineup, best offensive lineup, best rebounding lineup. You might have some things like that for a late game or for certain situations.”
“If necessary, for making changes in the game, I think it’s what’s hurting us. What’s problematic? Is it a problem with our execution or is it a problem with our strategy? Because sometimes it may be we have a coverage, they’re just not executing the coverage well.”
“I challenge our coaches in our first meeting to think outside the box. Don’t just come with the answers you’ve already heard, because then we’ll truly be able to influence our organization upwards and maybe help our players, but also help the big club in driving some success and moving the needle forward.”
“Every practice, every huddle, I try to give them [the players] room to speak, but only because I believe you can’t really go to war with someone if you don’t know each other . . I’m trying this year, in video, to give each guy five minutes, share something that’s important to you . . I believe when you get to know them and their perspective, it makes it a lot easier to connect with them.”
“One thing I did last year that was fruitful was even during training camp, we would watch the end of NBA games as a team because I wanted to communicate how I feel the game should be played at the end and communicate some of my ideas . . And because it’s not them, they felt more free to talk and judge someone else’s decisions than ours. I was able to see how they saw the world and I was able to communicate my idea, ‘Hey, at this point I still want to run. At this point we need to start thinking two for one.’”
“So, winning and losing, I try to make it not much different as far as how we react. Obviously, it’s just a little easier to smile after a win but we’re still going to go through our process. We’re going to watch video, see if we can improve and we’re going to communicate to our guys, make sure they rest and take care of themselves and keep it simple. One thing I learned is you don’t want to say too much win or a loss until you watch it because you don’t want to have to apologize or correct yourself later.’”
Henry Domercant Breakdown:
3:00 – Pregame Meetings and Preparation
6:00 – Development Periods
9:30 – Scouting Report
13:00 – Game Day Walkthrough
20:00 – Building Team Cohesion
23:00 – Game Adjustments
26:00 – Try Some Stuff
27:30 – Halftime
33:00 – End of Game Scenario
34:30 – Elam Ending
40:00 – Minutes
43:00 – Analytics
46:00 – Youth Sports
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