In this week’s coaching conversation, Fuenlabrada head coach Jota Cuspinera joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss Spanish Basketball Development. Best teaching practices, and things that we used to teach and don’t anymore, are presented throughout the podcast.
This is Cuspinera’s second stint as head coach of Fuenlabrada. In 2015, he arrived at Fuenlabrada as an assistant coach to Zan Tabak. After Tabak’s departure to Maccabi, Cuspinera started his first head coaching position in the ACB.. He has also served as head coach of Basket Zaragoza 2002.
Jota has been an assistant coach for nine seasons with ACB teams including Estudiantes, Real Madrid and Baskonia. He has been a part of titles as champion of the Copa del Rey and Supercopa and runner-up of the ACB and Euroleague. He also has extensive Spanish national team coaching experience. He was a part of cadet gold in the 2006, cadet silver in 2007 and junior bronze in 2013.
Cuspinera has long been involved in coach education. He has collaborated with the FEB technical cabinet and has presented at various international events.
“We are competitors and probably that’s because we compete since we are young and we let our players solve a lot of their problems. We leave them a lot of space so they can find their own solutions.”
“When we start working with sets . . if you find an advantage [take it] . . I don’t want to play the set for the sake of playing the set . .the goal of the set is to find an advantage.”
“One of the big lessons in my life as a coach . . you are going to be as good or as bad as much as your players grow with you.”
“Your goal is to help them [the players] be better, whatever better means . . it can be score more, it can be defend better . .it doesn’t matter the level you receive them, it’s how you are going to help them achieve more.”
“Basketball is a team sport . . playing as a team is very important but you have to differentiate every player on the team . . the advice you give every player [should] help them become a better player.”
“The parts of your body that play defense are your chest and your arms . . your legs bring you from one point to another to where your hands and your body can play real defense.”
[On defense] “We don’t slide as much as we run and recover.”
“The very good coaches are changing . .the way they teach . . Instead of listening only to one voice, listen to different voices and make your own decision on what you want to teach.”
“We don’t run things against zero . . we run things against defense. It’s always against something . . so you’ve got to make your own reactions.”
“Offense has to react to the reaction of the defender who can . . move . . it’s not a cone, a cone doesn’t move . . We don’t play against empty spaces, we’ve got to create empty spaces when we are playing.”
“The brain learns from complete situations . . you can show your kids [a particular move] and then tell them, ‘Try to imitate it.’ . . you start correcting individually and . . now you start to focus on the things you want them to solve.”
“This is a great question for coaches: ‘Where do you start teaching?’ . . Make a decision what you want to teach first based on what you see when you tell them to do something.”
“You cannot teach everything one-on-zero because they [players] are not playing on the playground any longer . . you’ve got to reproduce things where they can’t control what’s going on around them.”
“Not every coach coaches to bring players to the pro level . . most of us are working for kids to improve their basketball, to become better.”
“What I think brings them to the pro level is their offensive skills . . but once they make it to the pro level . . unless they are able to play good defense, they don’t have a single minute on court.”
“You can go and try different things yourself and learn by attempting and error, but there is a faster way of doing things: get a mentor . . get someone who has already gone through it.”
Selected Links from the Podcast:
1:00 – Why Spanish Basketball is so Successful
4:30 – The Importance of Players in Coaching
7:00 – Using the Chest Pass in Terms of Coaching
9:00 – Good Defense
11:00 – Shoot Layups on the Top of the Head
13:00 – Shooting Feet Must Point To The Basket
17:00 – Discussion about Footwork
19:30 – Things Defensively That We Don’t Think About
21:00 – Overemphasize Being Low
24:00 – teaching Closeouts
26:00 – Traditional Teaching of the his Concepts
28:00 – Slow Learning 5-on-5
31:00 – Small Sided Games
33:00 – Teaching Kids Something New
36:00 – The Concept of Imitating
39:00 – The Concept of the Floater
42:30 – Allowing Mistakes and Finding Solutions
47:00 – Skills Equals Confidence
49:00 – Practice Offense vs Defense
54:00 – Traditional Methods
55:30 – Mentorships His Done
1:00:00 – Immersing
1:01:00 – Conclusion
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