In this week’s basketball coaching conversation, European professional coach Pascal Meurs join the podcast to discuss moving away from preprogrammed drills and applying analytics in simple ways. Meurs is a professional basketball coach with experience at the highest level in Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Luxembourg.
Most recently Meurs was the Head Coach of T71 Dudelange, one of the most successful Basketball clubs in Luxembourg that plays in the Total League. In addition, Meurs has completed his prestigious FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate. This lead to the opportunity to do an internship in the United States under the wings of NCAA coach Phil Martelli at Saint Joseph’s University.
Pascal is an expert in advanced basketball analytics with a Phd in mathematics. As a skilled speaker on coaching clinics, he has been invited to three different continents.
“Basketball . . is not pre-programmed . . and it is impossible to . . program our players for every decision.”
“We have to make our players smarter and we have to prepare them to make the right decisions on the court. We cannot have drills where there is . . no decision.”
“It is not the drill that makes the difference, it is the what you as a coach . . do with the drill. How you use it on a daily basis and what you ask from your players.”
[Has cross teaching offense and defense at the same time helped your development as a coach?] “Without a doubt . . it is something you have to grow in . . it is quite a challenge . . you learn by doing it.”
“I really dislike a stationary start to a drill . . it kills every intensity of the drill and, on top of that, it’s not game-like. I really want to have a dynamic start.”
“I don’t want to have the ball in one of my players’ hands where he starts shaking his shoulders for 3 or 4 seconds before he even thinks about attacking.”
“In my defensive drills, the defense has to make up from a disadvantage . .
“As a team we have to make a defensive philosophy . . every coach has a playbook for his offense but I think it’s even more important to have a defensive playbook . . for instance, what should I say for which moment?”
“Some of the things I like to keep track of [during the game] . . is the number of deflections. Either, as a team, you combine for enough deflections or you didn’t . . you take away the gray zone.”
“We had a team where the more passes we gave in an offense, the more chance we had to end up with a bucket . . it is up to you as a coach to explain it, to show it so it is clear to everybody.”
“Defending harder, going harder for a rebound . . you have to be able to quantify it . . and help players to understand what you are talking about.”
[On the limitations of some statistics] “In regular stats, we don’t take into account the concept of pace . . the number of possessions you have in a game . . that concept of pace determines a lot about stats.”
“There is a difference between playing rushed and playing fast . . the less talented teams tend to play rushed.”
“We need to think what is the most efficient for our team . . I believe that within a season you have different periods where you play differently.”
“When you are struggling with your confidence . . that is also the moment where you should rely more on your set offense to create those good shots.“
“For me it’s very important . . to have a wide view over coaching and over different leagues. You have to pick up things everywhere.”
“I can’t convince my players by the numbers only . . it is making things as simple and as clear as possible and combine it with some video.”
Click below to listen in if you listen on:
1:00 – Why He Doesn’t Like PreProgrammed Drills?
2:20 – Things that we can do to Make our Players Smarter
4:00 – Alternative to the 11-Man Drill
5:40 – Passing Drill is Primary in their Era
7:15 – Teaching Players How to Relate Practice to the Game
9:00 – Things to do to Help Players Train Defensive Decision Making
11:00 – Loads for Learning Drills
13:00 – Assessment Dictates Tomorrow’s Emphasis of the Drill
14:30 – Development of Coaching Both Side at the Same Time
16:30 – Doing a Lot of 1-on-1
18:30 – Limit a Defender to Emphasize Offense/Defense Decision Making
20:00 – Traditional 1-on-1 Drills, Limiting in terms of Development
21:47 – Creating Game Situation
23:00 – Decision Making Off the Ball on 1-on-1 Progressions
24:00 – Twice a Day Program
25:00 – Starting 5-on-5 on a Stationary
26:50 – Defense: Intensity and Communication is Important
29:40 – Terminology Used in Recovery on Ball Screen
31:30 – Personal Stats that He Valued as a Coach
33:00 – “The more passes, the more chances to have buckets”
36:00 – Defending Harder
37:30 – Other Ways we can Measure Playing Hard
39:00 – Pace
42:30 – Win Games by Playing Slower
44:00 – Pace and Efficiency in Offense
47:00 – Decision Making on doing Faster or Slower Pace of Playing
49:00 – Analytics Coaches are Missing out On
50:50 – Marry The Analytics with Video
52:30 – Things to do when Self-Scouting
54:00 – Closing Remarks Advice to Coaches
56:00 – Conclusion
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