The Basketball Podcast: EP42 Terry Fowler on Changing the Way You Practice

RELEASE DATE : 22/05/2019

In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, South Alabama head women’s basketball coach Terry Fowler joins the podcast to discuss changing the way you practice and play. Coach Fowler has changed from a slower paced offense, to a faster higher possession offense. He has also moved from a more traditional practice style to a games based approach to coaching.

Fowler will enter his 20th season as a head coach during the 2018-19 season and has completely changed the culture at South Alabama as he has guided the program to its first postseason appearance in over a decade. Coach Fowler became the coach at South Alabama in 2013 after great success at North Alabama, including two NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in the previous three years before becoming the coach at South Alabama.

While at South Alabama, Fowler has coached five all-Sun Belt Conference selections: The team has consistently improved and is competing for top spot in the conference. Under Fowler, South Alabama has also registered a number of Power 5 victories having beaten Alabama and North Carolina.


“I’m a defensive-minded coach and we just really needed to do some different things offensively . . we’re playing faster in transition and we’re playing faster in the half-court as well.”

[On using 3v3 FIBA game in practice] “That’s really increased our pace of play but more importantly it’s increased our ability to make some better decisions on the floor.”

“What [playing 3v3 with a shot clock] has also done is forced our players to make a second action . . it’s been great to have the consecutive actions and I think those are the hardest to guard.”

“It’s their [the players’] program and it’s their game and it’s their energy . . we want them to have ownership and when they do that things get corrected a lot easier.”

“The more you can try to get some more unstructured opportunities . . those are the things that are hard to defend.”

“As we’ve gone to this [games] approach, the line has been when do we stop play?”

“It starts with asking questions? . . Now we try to recreate the situation . . and then we may try to come back and recreate it at full speed . . “

“One of the things I want to work on: shot selection . [we ask] how did you feel about that shot? Is that a shot we work on? Is that a shot you work on? I need players when they’re open to have . . confidence.”

“It really does come down to the decision . . now I’m playing with my head up, my eyes up and I actually see the cue that tells me what to do which is what the defense does.”

“If you can make better decisions, you can become a better basketball player.”

“That’s the most important thing is for them to learn and then they can take it to the next step. It’s about teaching the game and understanding the game. And anytime you’re on air, it’s just not real.”

“It was difficult at first . . but it has allowed for our players to have more freedom . . you lose some of that control as a coach . . you don’t have that control on game day so you may as well practice it in practice.”

“It’s allowed me to be a little more free on game day . . we’re getting about an extra 20, 22 possessions a game . . there’s a little more margin for error, but there’s also a lot more opportunities to score to make up for those [errors].”

[On using a games approach] “It’s allowed us to coach offense and defense at the same time . . our players enjoy it . . it’s an easier way to teach . . because it’s allowed our players to read and react to the game versus us dictating the entire practice.”

Click below to listen in if you listen on:

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1:00 – Introduction
2:00 – What and Why Change
4:00 – Pace of the Game in FIBA
5:00 – Freedom, Shot Clock and FIBA 3-on-3
9:30 – Constraint Led Coaching
11:00 – Remove the Fluff and Connecting it to 5 on 5
12:30 – Enjoyment of Players
15:30 – Explaining Unorthodox Style of Training
17:00 – Empowering Players
18:00 – Timeouts in Practice
21:30 – Insight on Changing
24:00 – End of Game Situations
27:00 – Two-Side Fast Break
31:00 – Crossing the Street
32:00 – Skill Development of his Players
33:00 – Couple of Possessions
36:00 – Coaching Both Sides with the Defensive Mindset
38:00 – Stopping and Teaching Players in his Game’s’ Approach
41:40 – Mini Conversations with Players
43:00 – BDT Training
45:00 – Small Group Workouts
48:00 – Advice on Changing
49:30 – Perfect is No Longer the Goal
51:00 – Practice Planning
52:00 – Advice when Switching to a Games Approach to Coaching
53:30 – Conclusion

Terry Fowler:



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