In this week’s coaching conversation, ESPN college basketball game and studio analyst Fran Fraschilla joins The Basketball Podcast to discuss best practice ideas he has learned.
Fran Fraschilla joined ESPN as a college basketball game and studio analyst in 2003. He serves as an analyst primarily on Big 12 men’s basketball games, is a staple on ESPN’s coverage of the NIT and a regular on ESPN studio shows. In addition to men’s college basketball, Fraschilla previously worked an analyst on ESPN’s NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship coverage from 2007-14.
Fraschilla also provides commentary for the NBA Draft, the FIBA Basketball World Cup and has covered the NBA and high schools basketball.
Fraschilla coached at the collegiate level for 23 years as head coach at the University of New Mexico, St. John’s University and Manhattan College, posting an overall record of 175-100. When he joined ESPN, he ranked as the 34th winningest active coach in men’s college basketball. His teams made eight post-season appearances in nine years, including three NCAA Tournaments (1993, 1995 and 1998).
Active in several charity organizations, Fraschilla has participated in the NABC/American Cancer Society’s “Coaches vs. Cancer 3-Point Attack,” NY State Special Olympics, The O’Hara Foundation, St. John’s Bread and Life and White Plains Parks and Recreation. He was chairman of the NABC Committee on Academics from 1994-2002. Fraschilla served as an Honorary Chairman for the 2000 New Mexico Special Olympics Summer Games, as well as the Honorary Chairman for the UNM Library Development program.
“One of the reasons I love watching international basketball and the NBA . . is just all of the decision making that goes on in a game of two really well-coached teams.”
“I’ve got two sons who are starting their coaching careers and I’ve told them both, it’s a lot eaiser to be a good defensive coach than it is a good offensive coach.”
“Offense requires so much more thought process as far as spacing, timing, making the extra pass, putting your best offensive players in position where they can be most successful on the court.”
“As it relates to practice, I always felt that we wanted to emphasize defense but practice offense.”
“There are great coaches at every level, you just don’t know them because they’re not on TV.”
“At the end of every season, we sat down as a coaching staff and went through the practice plans of the 110 or 120 practices we had and dissected what drills worked, what didn’t work, what was the timing of drills . . what drills correlated to how we really played.”
“I wanted to create an environment in practice where there was constant thinking, decision making . . and putting our guys in position that would be . . more taxing than the actual game. . so that the game would become easy.”
“I told my team, ‘Don’t get bored if you’re getting better.’
“We would explain to them [the players] why it was important to make every cut so precisely . . Every single part of practice was critical to our success.”
“We would work on these things in the preseason even though we might not see a flex offense until mid-January . . I didn’t want to have to pull out the flex drills the day before a game.”
“The harder we go and the more precise we are, the shorter the drill is.”
“We did not like to call the first part of our practice ‘warm-up,’ we called it ‘perfection.’”
“Don’t try to be great at everything. Pick two or three things that are really important to you as a coach.”
“I never coached a practice where we ran after practice . . I just felt we could create a practice that was so challenging . . from a conditioning stand point without the extra running.”
“If you’re not teaching something well enough, it’s not always your team’s fault if they’re not getting it.”
“You’ve got to coach the ‘why’. . I could rant and rave but it was more important for me to explain why we do this in practice or why this play has to be run this way or why you have to be in this position in terms of our defensive rotation . .”
“I like to do some walk-through stuff at the end of practice . . “
“I learned this from Jeff Van Gundy . . ‘Make as many pressure decisions in the non-pressure time before a game.’ . . Get them [the players] ready for the pressure by being prepared.”
Selected Links from the Podcast:
Click below to listen on:
1:00 – Learning from Programs
2:30 – Exposure to Practices
4:00 – Privacy Factor
5:30 – Adaptive Coaching
7:30 – Modern Basketball
9:30 – Emphasize Defense while Practicing Offense
10:30 – Spacing
12:30 – Blending Teaching Defense and Offense
14:00 – Making Practice Tougher than Games
16:30 – Cleaner Practices
19:00 – Connecting Concepts
24:00 – Adding Challenge to the Shell Drill
25:30 – Non-Negotiables
31:00 – Knowing the Evidence and “Jasper Assist”
33:30 – Analytics and Communication
35:30 – Pure Toughness
38:30 – Changes
43:30 – Handling Consequences
46:00 – Game Observation and Preparation
48:30 – Physical Consequences
51:00 – Walkthroughs
54:00 – Unique Things he has Seen
59:30 – Studying Teams
1:02:00 – Essence of Broadcasting
1:03:00 – Conclusion
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