In this week’s coaching conversation, Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence head coach Adam Caporn joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss Australian basketball player development. Key ideas around developing shooting, integrating sport science, and individual development within a team setting.
The Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence program is designed to prioritise individual development with a focus on ultimately winning senior international medals. Notable alumni include Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, Aaron Baynes and others.
Caporn is also an assistant coach with the Australian Boomers national team. He has also been head coach of the U19 Australian team and an assistant for the World University Games.
Caporn was an assistant coach with Saint Mary’s College of California, where we also played his college career. Caporn has been Head Coach of U19 Australian team and Assistant for World University Games. His coaching career began while still playing with the Perth Wildcats in the NBL. He began serving as a part-time assistant with the Willetton Tigers in the State Basketball League in 2007. He assumed his first head coaching job two years later with another State League team, the East Perth Eagles. Caporn then moved on to AIS as Scholarship Coach, responsible for evaluation of prospective players and player development.
“Competition is a key part of development.”
“We use that competition to facilitate change . . it’s very difficult competition . . ultimately, there will be some failure in that and that feedback is essential for a conduit for change.”
“Shooting is the master skill. It’s the most important skill in basketball . . especially in the modern game with the evolution of spacing and the 3-point line.”
“I have three things I say we are going to do in every session and that’s shooting, play 1-on1, and play some scrimmage . . and we have a target of up to . . 25-30% of our practice time is spent shooting.”
“The shooting plan we deliver the players when they first come in is a simple explanation of three steps. The first part of the plan would be to clear your mind . . part two is we’re going to develop a simple technique plan and . . we’re going to execute a lot of repetitions . . and part three is to enjoy shooting.”
“Mindfulness is basically your ability to harness your attention.”
“The combination of visualization and physical action is the best way for you to acquire the maximum amount of skill.”
“Most of our work is reasonably traditional basketball work but we’ll do some mindful shooting where . . they’ll practice a shot without a ball as the first rep and the next rep will be with the ball . . and to focus their attention on a certain part of their shot.”
“We will design drills and use coaches . . where they’ll simply be contesting shots . . we’ll use questioning techniques to talk about footwork and the speed of your shot . . ultimately, athletes want success . . those contested drills really provide a good avenue for feedback.”
“I think the evaluation part is key . . keeping data or anything that you can help demonstrate progression and reinforce messages and belief in what we’re doing is really important.”
“Their development is not necessarily going to be where you hope or expect it for a variety of reasons . . we certainly have to be adaptable and constantly having good discussions about our periodization, our plan and our expectation for development.”
“We certainly believe in a holistic, athlete-centric approach . . and ask them what is the most important thing in the program. And the answer I expect to hear from them is that they will leave with the ability to coach themselves.”
“Transformational leadership, in particular, is that consistent intellectual stimulation of ‘Why? Why are we doing this?’ and what is my motivation and why would I change behavior because it is painful, it is very difficult.”
“They [the players] will be educated in basic analytics and things that we think coaches and general managers and team selectors of national teams are looking for.”
“Ultimately, a player’s or team’s ability to get the ball in the [key] and . . finish strong and make good decisions is the driving force in offense.”
“What are we trying to get on offense? . . ultimately, that is the best shot possible on every possession . . and how are we going to do that? We’re going to try to do that with pace, poise and penetration.”
“Like any team, people have to feel connected and they have to have a little autonomy. So, we want to have world-class communication which means people cannot be too sensitive but they are willing to speak their minds . . at the appropriate meetings and times.”
“How are you going to make the NBA? You’re going to have a great practice today. And we have to remind ourselves of that in development . . we have to work hard and smart and, ultimately, . . give our best to these athletes.”
Selected Links from the Podcast:
1:00 – Overview of Centre of Excellence Program
3:00 – Competitive Games
4:30 – Impact of having NBA Academy in Australia
6:00 – Value of Shooting within his Program
7:00 – Mindfulness and Removing Anxiety
11:00 – Applying the learning from his Program
13:00 – Competitive within Shooting
16:00 – Contested Drills
19:00 – Nonlinear Pedagogy
21:00 – Athletes-Centric
25:00 – Self-Evaluation
27:30 – Pre and Post in terms of Physical
30:00 – Language to Action Matters
32:00 – Changing the Behavior
34:00 – How He Develop His Style of Play
38:00 – Adaptability to Run Plays
40:00 – NCAA Games and the Decision Making Process
43:00 – Delivering Ideas to his Coaching Staff
47:30 – Highs and Lows as a Coach
49:00 – Conclusion
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