Thursday, June 27, 2013



Having coached at every level of basketball with the exception of professional; I have concluded there are four fundamental precepts of effective offensive play.  These precepts are necessary regardless of the offensive scheme or the pace at which you might play.

BALL MOVEMENT:  Any offense automatically has a built-in advantage because they know the play, pattern or concept while defense must react to the unknown.   When offensive players hold the ball or dribble in place; that eliminates the advantage.  In any offensive system; the ball should only be held for a count of two.  A player should catch the ball and square up to the goal; but should not dribble the ball unnecessarily.  A dribble is most effective when used to:  attack the rim, improve a passing angle, or to get out of trouble.  Efficient ball movement involves getting touches in the post/paint area in addition to the perimeter.  Middle penetration is one of the most effective ways to destroy a defense.  The ball should never ‘stop’ with one player.  When the ball is reversed side to side it forces the defense to shift.  If the defense has to shift continuously; the chances of a slow shift or breakdown becomes greater.

PLAYER MOVEMENT:  Closely related to ball movement is player movement.  A stationary player is easy to guard.  In offensive basketball, players should be ‘hard to guard’.  However, players must move with a purpose.  Activity does not equal achievement.  Cuts should be precise and players should wait if they are receiving a screen so they can take full advantage of the screen.    Cuts should be fast and hard to  ‘create help’ which can further isolate a defender.

SPACING:  Chuck Daly said “Offense is spacing and spacing is offense”.  Effective spacing requires players to be anywhere from 12-18 feet apart at all times unless someone is setting a screen.  Good spacing allows for better penetration lanes and execution of 1-1 moves.  Even when employing a pattern offense (flex, UCLA High Post, Princeton), set plays (NBA sets), or running the various types of motion offense- solid spacing is paramount.

HANDLING THE BALL WITHOUT MISTAKES:   For every offensive turnover, potentially four points are left off the scoreboard.  In regard to offensive basketball, basic fundamentals of passing, catching, dribbling, cutting, pivoting, screening, and shooting should be practiced daily at game speed.  Victory favors the team that makes the fewest mistakes.  Less turnovers means more shooting attempts.  I have always thought that the team that takes the most shooting attempts in a game has a higher chance at victory.  Turnovers should not make up more than 10% of total possessions in a game. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee Beans

This was sent to me by Coach John Thompson Head Men's Basketball Coach at NC Wesleyan College

 A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, how do you respond? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. May we all be coffee!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Wow! It's been a busy last few days for our program. All of our returners and newcomers moved in on Saturday and we had a team dinner that evening to let everyone spend some time together, then we had our first team meeting on Sunday night. This is the first summer that the NCAA has allowed us to work with our players during the summer. We get to be on the court with them 2 hours a week and the then we can spend another 6 hours a week doing strength and conditioning or other things. For the first couple of weeks we are doing groups of 4 twice a week for 40 minutes and then for the last 40 minutes we are doing a full team practice. Our team is also working with our strength coach on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 6:30AM. It's always tough for the new freshman to be away from home for the first time and then on top of that to be taking college classes for the first time and then on top of that to complete college workouts. But our newcomers are doing awesome so far! They are obviously a little behind in the workouts because they've never done them, but all of their attitudes and work ethics have been great so far. They also are all very interested in making sure they are successful in the classroom which is extremely encouraging. The summer is a great team for our team to come together and make strides to improve from last season. It also gives all of the players a chance to get ahead academically and take some of the tougher classes so they don't have to during the season when we may be traveling more. 

We are also hosting our team camp this weekend on campus and Coach Deacon Jones has done an outstanding job at getting some of the best talent from Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi to campus this weekend for a great camp. There are a lot of other team camps and AAU tournaments going on this weekend and Coach Jones was still able to get 51 teams signed up for camp! That goes to show you how much people enjoy coming to Lafayette and want to be a part of all of the exciting things that are happening with the Ragin' Cajuns! GEAUX CAJUNS!    -SG

Monday, June 3, 2013


Many of you are aware of my fascination with Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban. It began when he was the coach at LSU and I would watch his press conferences and read all of his interviews and talk to football coaches at the high school where I was coaching who knew him well and I was so much in awe about his ability to focus on the single task at hand and not get distracted with "the clutter" as he calls it. Every program has Core Values that represent everything that the program is about. I don't know if there is a better example of a program built on Core Values than the Alabama football program under Nick Saban. This is an article from a newspaper in Alabama describing how those Core Values helped Alabama win the 2009 National Championship at the Rose Bowl by beating Texas 37-21.     -SG

 The University of Alabama football team was ahead by a field goal with just over two minutes to go, facing third-and-goal at the 1-yard line at the Rose Bowl, when Texas called timeout. As Crimson Tide players looked to the sideline, Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran bounded onto the field, hopping up and down with both hands extended over his head, four fingers pointing toward the sky and his thumb crossing his palm. Cochran was sending a signal that harkened back to nearly a year before when preseason conditioning drills began with grueling daily workouts. The message wasn't the traditional “fourth quarter is ours” commonly signified by the four-finger salute late in games, but something far more specific. On the cover of the workout manual issued to UA players nearly 12 months before the BCS National Championship Game was played is the image of a gloved hand, with each digit marked with one of five values. Those five values were designated by head coach Nick Saban as the building blocks of the program from the moment he was hired in January of 2007 with the mission of taking the Crimson Tide back to the national title game. “Discipline, commitment and effort and toughness — that's the four fingers,” Cochran said. “The thumb is pride. “So when you put the four fingers up, that's what it's all about. It means fourth quarter, but there's a lot more to it.” A lot indeed. When Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram bulldozed his way into the end zone with a second-effort touchdown on the play after the timeout to extend Alabama's lead to 10 points and put the national title game on ice, it marked the culmination of a year's worth of work designed to prepare UA players for just such a moment. And behind the Crimson Tide's national championship season were the concepts of commitment, discipline, effort, toughness and pride. “I think that intangibles are probably really important to being a good competitor,” Saban said the day after the victory over Texas, “and I think that most people who have passion for something as important to them is what gets them to commit to something, and your mind kind of does whatever you tell it to do. “So once you have the passion and the commitment, at least you're going to be moving in the right direction when it comes to work ethic, discipline, trying to make good choices about what you do and what you don't do. “The effort, the toughness and the discipline to execute are probably the key ingredients to any sport. ... I think those are part of your character and who you are, and I think the same ingredients would be necessary to be successful in anything.” Constant theme Alabama players were conditioned to embrace the five values not just as words, but as guidelines. The values were constantly underscored during the team's offseason workouts and in meetings. They were on the cover of the spring workout book distributed to every player and reinforced several times throughout its pages. Motivational speakers were brought in to further bolster the message. “One hundred percent reinforcement,” Cochran said. “You're going to see me teaching it in the classroom to them ... then the next thing you have is we're on the field and you hear it again. “So you're hearing it four or five times. You're hearing all about that commitment, that effort, that discipline, that toughness, that pride.” Saban didn't settle on the five values when he got to Alabama. They were also key to his 2003 national title run at LSU. “These core values, when applied to offseason conditioning, allow our players to be at their best in the fourth quarter of games, when the game is on the line,” Saban wrote in his 2004 book, “How Good Do You Want to Be?” “When we take the lead into the fourth quarter, we are virtually unbeatable because of our program. Players and coaches raise four fingers at the start of the fourth quarter and it means something to all of us. Beyond the field, these five intangible values are what we expect our young men to exhibit in the classroom and in life.” Commitment “Commitment is being committed to the program,” Cochran said. “That's the players committed to the program, having the coaches committed.” Receiver Marquis Maze, who just completed his sophomore season, learned about commitment before he ever set foot on the field for Alabama. He arrived in 2007 as a highly-touted prospect who had produced more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his final two seasons in high school, but sat out his first season as a redshirt. “At times when I was sitting out I wanted to leave,” Maze said. “I wanted to go somewhere else, but I stuck around and it paid dividends for me because I was committed to the program. I talked to my mom and she was committed. She told me, ‘You just need to wait your turn.'” That commitment goes beyond football. “In order to be a successful student-athlete, you've got to be committed to time management,” said punter P.J. Fitzgerald. “It's not just on-the-field stuff, it's everywhere. “You've got to be committed to get good grades. You've got to be committed on the field to learn your assignments and execute them. Just be committed to the program and yourself and you'll be successful.” Discipline The value of discipline is about making the right choices and following them with action. “Discipline is to do what you're supposed to do the way it's supposed to be done,” Cochran said. A page in Alabama's 2009 spring workout manual addresses the concept: “Everything you do, everything you have, everything you become is ultimately the result of the choices you have made,” it reads. “You have the power to direct your life. How will you use it? What's your choice?” If there is one value Saban stresses above all others when he addresses his players, it may well be discipline. “Coach Saban always talks about discipline,” said offensive lineman John Michael Boswell, who just completed his sophomore season. “You have to have discipline in everything you do in life. Discipline is one of the most important aspects you can have, doing the right thing and having the discipline to do it all the time. That's what is going to make you successful. “You have to have discipline to do things on your own. There's not always going to be someone to make you do it. You have to have discipline to do it yourself. That's a big part of it, right there.” Effort “You can't coach effort,” Cochran said. “That's something everybody has to bring, every player.” Even those who don't get to play have to demonstrate effort. “Everybody's got a role going down from the starting quarterback even to the water boys,” said Travis Sikes, a wide receiver who just completed his junior season and has been on the field for only a handful of plays in his career. “If you have to do scout-team work, you have to have effort to do your work and give the (starters) a good look so they can do their job during the game. It doesn't matter who you are.” Of the five values, effort is the one players are most expected to cultivate on their own. “Nobody is born with it,” said receiver Mike McCoy, who just completed his senior season. “You've just got to give it.” Effort is what separates players in the weight room, in conditioning drills and on the practice field. Effort turns good players into better ones. “If you don't give effort,” said Maze, “talent alone won't get it on this level. You have to give effort to do anything in this world, really.” Toughness Alabama's toughness was forged by the rigorous offseason conditioning program that began last January. “There's physical toughness, obviously, but there's mental toughness,” said defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington, a senior on the national title team. “Just pushing yourself through that last rep and that last sprint during winter conditioning or summer conditioning, battling that heat, or being able to balance all your school stuff with practice and being able to block outside distractions during the year, or not going out and partying and all that kind of stuff, that's toughness.” Linebacker Cory Reamer, another 2009 senior, was toughened by the same process. “When you're out there running and it gets hard and you're questioning yourself on whether you can do this or not, you've got to have the toughness to push through,” he said. Cochran, the coach who administers Alabama's conditioning regimen, said the program was designed with toughness in mind. “We're going to make it difficult so it's going to be tough,” he said. “We're going to develop all that.” When Alabama was holding on in the final minutes of its 12-10 victory over Tennessee, toughness came into play. Terrence Cody blocked a last-play field-goal attempt to preserve the Tide's perfect record. “We just had to finish the game,” Washington said. “On the last play of the game, people were tired, everybody was fatigued. We just had to put everything on the line. Just pushing through whatever adversity you have, that's what toughness means.” Pride Alabama's football history, with the school now claiming 13 national championships, is steeped in pride. “Pride is something you have as soon as you come to this program,” said All-American offensive lineman Mike Johnson, who just completed his senior season. “It's something when you sign on the dotted line to come play with a program like Alabama, you automatically have a sense of pride.” Even the school's fight song, “Yea Alabama,” promotes this value: “You're Dixie's football pride, Crimson Tide,” it proclaims. In the game where Alabama came closest to defeat, the Crimson Tide trailed Auburn from the opening moments until scoring the game-winning touchdown with 1:24 to go. The 15-play, 79-yard drive to that score was fueled by pride, Johnson said. “When you're down in the fourth quarter against Auburn and they're threatening to ruin your season, you've got to point to pride,” he said. “It's just putting it all on the line to come up with a win, and that gives you a tremendous sense of pride and sense of accomplishment.” The glue Alabama’s national championship run was a product of successful scheming by coaches and athletic play by players, but the constant reinforcement of the values of commitment, discipline, effort, toughness and pride served as a foundation. “It glues you in on what you want and tells you to never give up because there is a bigger goal and bigger prize at the end,” said running back Roy Upchurch, a 2009 senior. When Saban talks about players buying into the program, he is talking in large part about embracing those values. “There’s a lot of stuff you have to buy into and I think those five things are what you talk about the most,” said Reamer. “You always hear those words coming out of Coach Saban’s mouth. He emphasizes it a pretty good bit. They all go hand-in-hand with everything we do in this program.”

Friday, May 31, 2013

2 Years Later and Here I Am!

Well I'm finally back in the blogging world. When I logged into my account it showed my last entry was on May 26, 2011 so I am about two years removed from my last post. A lot has happened in that time, most notably I have moved from my position as Recruiting Coordinator at McNeese St. to my new position as Associate Head Coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I want to do something a little different with this blog from here on out. I want to share things about our basketball program here at UL and tell the rest of the world (and recruits) how proud I am to be an alumnus of this great university. I also want to share information to help coaches that have been passed on to me from others. I also want to use this space to share my faith with others and help other people find a relationship with Jesus Christ. Some people might say that those are three totally different areas and shouldn't be grouped together into one blog, but I'm going to try it and go for it! My favorite part of social media is interacting with other coaches, my family, players in our program, recruits, and fans of our program. I hope to be able to reach even more people through this blog and hope to hear from many of you!  Have a great week and GEAUX CAJUNS!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


1. “Never compromise with what you think is right..."

2. "Find your picture, your own self in anything that goes bad. If it's bad, you're the head coach, you're responsible. If we have an intercepted pass, I threw it..."

3. "Don't ever give up on ability. Don't give up on a player who has it"

4. "Don't over-work your squad. If you're going to make a mistake, underwork them. Our 1961 national championship team went five weeks without pads on for practice"

5. "Don't give up before a game starts"

6. "Don't lose your game at the half. Concentrate on winning the second half. Don't waste time on stuff that can't help you."

7. “If you start to make a decision, go ahead and make it. Don't mealy mouth around."

8. "Don't ruin a practice by not disciplining yourself. If you're upset, don't take it out on your team."

9. "Make sure you don't kill your team off early. Have your 'studs' ready when you need them. Rest that great football player some."

10. "Don't over-coach them. Let them play some."

11. "Don't do a lot of coaching just before the game. If you haven't coached them by 14 minutes to 2 on Sunday, it's too late then."

12. "Don't change your game plan if you don't have to."

13. "Don't talk too much. Don't pop off. Don't talk after the game until you cool off."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spartan Basketball Strength-Agility-Conditioning


(15” x 15” squares – 18 total squares)

Imagination is the only limitation – used a nylon ladder but most of us have it taped to the floor somewhere. We emphasize to our players that they need to imagine they’re jumping over a pencil. Feet hit and leave the ground as quickly as possible!


 R/L Single Leg Hops – side/side

 R/L Single Leg Hops – front/back

 Both Feet in Each Hole – side/side - - front/back

 Both Feet in Every Other Hole – side/side - - front/back

 Bunny Hops – hit the hole, jump outside ladder, back in hole, jump opposite side of ladder

 Hip Twister – same as grapevine runs

 Zig-Zag – skip a hole to cover quick ground

 W – jumping front/back in W shape

 Slalom – just like snow skiing, quick 2 feet

 FINISH – every trip w/ a 5 yd. burst

“Practice is for real”!

~Mike Vorkapich, MSU Strength Coach

I was amazed how simple yet effective their work day was. Many times we over think these phases of our workouts but it’s vital to the success of your plan. Anything you can do to get your players heart rate up and core temp elevated. Don’t complicate warm ups or cool downs.

 Bear Crawls – we’ve all done this one, great total body exercise

 Jump Ropes – we do 10 sets of 15 – 25 reps (R/L, boxers feet, both feet)

 Line Jumps – standard Foot Fire drills

 Dots – any patterns you can imagine

 Lunge Matrix – clock steps (12, 3, 6, 9 o’clock) - - step lunges at each # on the dial, 3 sets w/ each foot

 Ab Work – if it works the core (abs/lower back) they do it !!

“Positive Peer Pressure”

~ Coach Vorkapich

(Eluding to coaching a TEAM Mate)


This was the best part of the entire workout! The intensity it brought out in the TEAM was amazing to me. Mental, physical and TEAM toughness is a big focus and can be built when the bags come out. Rogers Company (football catalog) makes these and they would be well worth the investment. You can get them in 25, 35, 50, 75 or 100#. Ours are on the way!


 Wall Sits – MSU would start w/ 300# sitting on the lap of each player. At 1 minute they would peel some weight off, then more weight as time went along.

 Split Squats – hold the bag however you’d like, if you dropped it you had a consequence.

 Farmer’s Walk – hold bags by handles and walk high on toes, great competition drill

 Roman Dead Lift – for hamstrings

 Lunge Matrix – w/ bags!

“Lifting is 100% Manual Labor.”

~ Coach Vorkapich

(Commented to Spartan Players)


I was able to catch an upper & lower body workout. Again, amazed at the few number of different lifts executed – it was the work put in by the coaches and players that was eye opening to me! Every TEAM session I attended seemed to be more spirited than the next. Here are a few of the exercises that caught my attention.


 Rope or Towel Pull-Ups – great for hand strength and overall tuffness! 40 sec.

 Single Leg Lifts – especially dumb bell lifts for shoulders/upper body, balance

 Internal/External Rotation – w/ thera-bands or light dumb bells

 Military Press – arms parallel vs. touch chest, especially for BIGS

 Primary Lifts – 8/6/4 reps this time of year

 Focused On – pushing & pulling muscles the same

 Push Press – split stance or parallel stance

 Shoulder Shrugs – exploded thru up onto toes!
P layers P lay - - T uff P layers W in!


~ MSU Spartans

(Players said this to one another)

“Getting a kid to do something they don’t want to do”, that’s they key to success in the weight room.

~ Coach Vorkapich, MSU Strength Coach

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Notes from Larry Eustachy and Jay Wright

The following is a combination of notes from the Tunica, MS Coaching Clinic in April of 2007

Larry Eustachy:


• The hardest part of not having a coaching job is the Unknown.
• If you coach long enough, you will: win the league, finish in last place, get a better job, and get fired.
• "I forgot where I came from, and wanted to re-live a collegiate lifestyle as a coach." Coaches need to be able to handle success. Has a lot of admiration for Jay Wright and they way he remained the same during his ascension in the coaching profession.


• Use breakdown chart to grade player performance in practice and games. Got the chart from Rick Majerus – his team's are traditionally the best prepared in the game.

• Chart example – When a shot goes up: 3,4,5, to O-Boards with "Reckless Abandon" and the 1&2 get back on defense. The staff utilizes game film to calculate scores for each player.

• Charting helps to truly hold players accountable for the things you are demanding that they do

• The chart doesn't lie. A player with less breakdowns that minutes played has inevitably played very well.

• You must teach your players learn to "think while they are playing" and take pride in being held accountable for their responsibilities on the court.

• Great teams have the ability to play on any court without any change in performance level (home, road, etc).

• Coach Bob Boyd always said that you must find a way to take something from the chalkboard to the floor in order for it to show up in a game.

• A problem for us as college coaches is that many high school coaches don't actually "mean what they say," to athletes. For example, the might say "I will take you out of the game if you don't…" Then when the player doesn't complete that task, the coach does not take him out. There is no accountability. This season they have a lot of new players at Southern Mississippi and as a result are working hard to change the mentality of players who came from places where this type of culture was the norm.

Jay Wright:


• As a young coach he used to work summer camp at Pitt when Coach Calipari was on the staff there. Coach Cal has always been a person that would share thoughts to help others become better in the profession. He had made a very impressive book that chronicled his daily recruiting activities to show Pitt alumni exactly what it took for them to be involved with the type of players they needed to be successful. Coach Cal gave Coach Wright a copy of this book.

• Upon taking the Hofstra job, Coach Cal's advice was simply "get players." Don't be overly concerned with size, position, etc. Just get good players and figure it out. This was the formula that he then used at Hofstra.

• Respected veteran coaches have the power to positively influence the profession if they so choose. Larry Brown "anointed" the Villanova program through his presence and positive comments over the past year.

• Don't be afraid to have outside people come in and evaluate your program. They have a unbiased perspective.

• What's the most important part of your day? Practice! I started doing practice plans at home so I won't be distracted. My favorite place to be is on the court.

• Thought on scorers: always wants them to have an aggressive mentality regardless of the last shot. Terminology : Shoot'em up or sleep in the streets.


• Starts with basic man principals of ball-you-man.

• Win or lose – make sure you played "your way." No one ever likes to lose, but when you watch game film, you always want to see that you played "your way," win or lose.

• The trapping and switching nature of their defense is based on "Calculated Risk." They don't want to miss an opportunity to "Blitz and Step-Up."

• Situations where Calculated Risks are appropriate for Blitzing include: 1) anytime the ball is dribbled toward you as a defender. 2) Your man brings you to the ball. 3) The ball is dribbled to the baseline setting up a trap from behind.

• They want to Blitz all ball screens or dribble hand-offs when defenders react to the Calculated Risk situations. Teaching point is that the trappers should never foul or get steals. Trappers are deflectors.

• When a 2-man game occurs, the other three players "load" to the 2-man game.

• Man guarding the screener calls the "Blitz" or "Switch." If you are guarding the ball-handler, always assume "Blitz" and he must step over the top to trap, or to be put in a ball-you-man position on the roll man if a switch occurs. If a big switches on to a small, the other three defenders should "load to the iso."

• Never want to switch for convenience, would always prefer to "Blitz" if they can.

• These rules are all applicable in the scoring area, approximately three feet beyond the three-line and in.

• Coach Del Harris commented that it is an effective technique to teach someone going over a ball screen to do so by crowding the man with the ball and then throwing his leg and arm over the top in one motion.


• Attitude Club is a way to reward players who are doing they ritical things that they put a premium on. A good play per minute ratio is .8 or above. Catagories include: pass to the assist (hockey concept of 2 assists), screen assist, loose ball retrieval, paint pass, o-board, tap-back on FT, quick outlet, paint catches, deflections, shot contest to change shot.

• They like to practice Base OB, Side OB, Endline OB, with specific situations based on clock ( 0-3 seconds, 4-7 seconds). Can run their regular stuff in 8 seconds or more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


These notes are from Coach Theresa Grentz at the Assistant Coaches Symposium in Chicago, IL on April 30th, 2011. Coach Grentz from Glenolden, Pennsylvania, is the former head coach of the women's basketball program at the University of Illinois, Rutgers University and St. Josephs. She is a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Her career record is 671-309 and she served as a head coach for 32 years, with the last 13 as the Illinois head coach. SShe is 10th all time in women's NCAA basketball coaching victories and only had two losing seasons in her 32 years of coaching basketball.

I. Getting to know your anchors
a. Exercising your anchors
b. The ability to influence others.

II. Building a Character Base
“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions. A chip on the shoulder is too heavy a piece of baggage to carry through life.” –John Hancock

III. Making a Strategic Plam
“Leadership development is a lifetime journey, not a brief trip.”

IV. Implementing the Plan

V. Assessment of the Plan
a. improvements
“ Unless you try to do something beyond wha tyou’ve already mastered you will never grow.”
– John C. Maxwell

“Elbow to Eyebrow”
“Leaders are made.”
“It’s not OK to play hard and lose.”
“Don’t tell me what I can’t do.”
“You are useful but not necessary.”
“Take the players beyond where they can get themselves”
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has not vision.” –Helen Keller

Book--> How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie & Etiquette by Emily Post

Used to tell her players that a “high C is a fruit drink”, bring me no hooks (no C’s)

What she wanted from her team

1) Responsible
2) Students
3) Courteous (prompt and on time)
4) Trustworthy

She organized her bookshelves into 4 types

1) Military
2) Prayer
3) Psychological
4) Basketball

Know your anchors Who are you? What do you know?

She wanted to be one of the most respected coaches in the women’s game.

Character It builds your reputation.

Players need 1) work ethic 2) sense of humor 3) quest of knowledge

What you need to win a championship? 

1) have to be able to take criticism
2) have to learn to be a leader
3) loyalty
4) have to have the will to win

3 reasons that drive us to do something
1) money
2) strong leadership
3) cause

She always got the band involved wherever she was because they are such a large group that can have an impact on a game or program. Have a party for them, etc.

When parents called and she was tired of listening, she would say “It’s gonna sounds like im hanging up but you can keep talking.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Forgive me, because I am not sure who to give the credit to on this blog post. Someone sent me this a few years ago and it is really great information.

1. Execute the fundamentals well—dribbling, passing catching, etc. Also, take only good shots.
2. Be in great physical condition, particularly versus man-to-man pressure.
3. If a mistake is made, forget it. Never allow one mistake to lead to two…three…or more.
4. The press usually wants you to rush and play a fast tempo game.
5. Don’t panic and fire the first 20 footer; apply a little surgery by remaining cool and patient.
6. Whenever full-court pressure is applied on a large court, each defender will be called upon to cover a larger area. Take advantage of this.
7. Don’t be forced to the corners; they are perfect trap areas.
8. Every offensive player must see the ball.
9. Three essential looks—ahead, before you pass, before you dribble.
10. Bust out to meet passes. Turn aggressively upcourt, protecting the ball. See the entire picture.
11. Keep the ball in the middle. You can go to either side of the court with the next pass.
12. Always try to have three outlet passes.
13. Aggressive, pressure defenses tend to foul more than passive types, but never depend on the official’s whistle, especially on the road.
14. Sharpen up your foul-shooting to assure a high percentage.

Setting Up Versus a Full-Court Press:

15. Begin your attack from one basic formation; it will enable you to see what the defense does.
16. There’s time to walk and a time to run.
17. Fifteen seconds can be forever in the backcourt—5 seconds to inbound and 10 additional seconds to bring the ball across the centerline. Women have 30 seconds to shoot after inbounding the ball; thus they have no backcourt.
18. Whenever the opposition scores don’t rush to pick the ball up. The five-second court begins once you have the ball out of bounds in a position to make the first pass. Give your teammates a chance to organize and get to their spots quickly.
19. Don’t take the ball out directly under the basket. The backboard will become another defensive player if you look to make a high, long pass.
20. Spread your offense as much as possible to make the defense cover a great deal of the court.
21. Determine whether the press is man-to-man or zone by sending a player through on a cut. A man press stays with the cutter, zones usually do not.
22. Once the ball is inbounded, (a) look up the sideline for an open man, (b) to the middle for a flash post, (C) back for a trailing man. Dribble if the outlets upcourt are covered.


23. Must set the tempo by showing confidence (never getting flustered).
24. Try to have your best ball-handlers (usually the guards) handle the ball as often as possible.
25. Guards must look to score, but must be aware of backcourt responsibilities on a turnover or a missed shot.
26. Break down court, then button-hook back as release points.
27. When flashing to meet a pass, start from behind the defenders, making it difficult for them to see you and the ball at the same time.
28. Don’t leave the ball-handler stranded. Come as near to the ball as necessary. Keep the hands high, catch the ball, and turn upcourt.
29. Use the tallest player as a post; he makes the best target.


30. This is the quickest way to move the ball against a press.
31. Make your passes short and snappy, 12 to 15 feet. Avoid lob passes.
32. After passing, step toward the receiver. Don’t run away.


33. Dribble as far as the defense will allow. Avoid double-teams by passing before the trap is set.
34. Don’t back your way upcourt; you’ll make yourself easy to double-team and you’ll lose sight of potential receivers.
35. Teammates must warn the dribbler of any defender attacking him from the rear.
36. It’s smart to follow the dribbler and be available for an outlet pass.
37. Beware of the sidelines and baselines when dribbling; they become defensive players.
38. Don’t cross with the ball; whenever two defensive players are brought together, they can easily double-team.

Forecourt Attack:

39. Don’t let the press throw off your normal offense once you get the ball to the forecourt.
40. Look to score; don’t lose momentum by becoming too cautious.
41. Scorers should be placed in the most desirable areas.
42. Press is vulnerable to lay-ups and short jump shots. Be patient; try to work the ball to an open player.
43. Teams whose primary defense is the press usually don’t play their secondary defense as well.

Pressure Checklist:

44. Do we know our alignment?
45. Are we in condition to be pressed for 40 minutes?
46. Have we prepared for every defense?
47. Can we be patient?
48. Do we have an offense that we can easily go into once the press is broken?
49. Have we practiced against pressure every day, even to the point of putting more than five defensive players on the court?
50. Have we practiced under game conditions whenever possible (time, score, officials, noisy gym)?

How To Be A Good Assistant Coach from Coquese Washington

These are notes from Coquese Washington Head Coach Penn State on 5/1/11 in Chicago, IL at A Step Up-Assistant Coaches Symposium. Coach Washington is a former assistant coach at Notre Dame University.

I. Understand being a head coach is much harder than it looks.
a. Responsibility grows exponentially
i. Assistant coaches
ii. Sports information
iii. Marketing
iv. Athletic training
v. Strength and conditioning
vi. Facilities
vii. Community outreach
viii. Fundraising and development
ix. Academic services
x. Other miscellaneous areas

b. Coaching becomes more about managing people and less about x’s and o’s.
c. Give your head coach some grace sometimes.

II. Be someone who is “easy” to manage

a. Master Your Current Responsibilities
i. Be focused on what you are responsible for; don’t compete with co workers
ii. Be very thorough
iii. Finish tasks in a timely manner
iv. Do it right the first time, proofread so you can be mistake free
v. Work well with other assistants and support staff
vi. Get your personal life together (finances, kids, health, etc.) Head coach has lots of issues to deal with…you can’t be one of them.
b. Create New Opportunities for Yourself
i. See what needs to be done…and make sure it gets done
ii. Find new ways to do old tasks more effectively/efficiently
c. Pursue excellence
d. Be the example you want your players to follow, in your professional and personal life.
e. Be the type of assistant coach you would want to have working for you if you were a head coach.
f. Remember-Loyalty is key

Keep frustrations in house.
Head coach’s agenda=your agenda
Voice frustrations in a professional manner

III. Become a Servant Assistant

a. What does your head coach need from you outside of you doing your job well? (A confidence boost, lunch? A listening ear?)
b. What things can you take off your head coach’s plate?
c. Be proactive in finding bringing solutions to the table.
d. Make it a priority to take care of the student athletes in all ways’ willingly give them your time and attention.
e. Build relationships in the athletic department, university, community, and surrounding community to help extend the reach of the program and your head coach.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Qualities of a Good Assistant Coach

These are some notes from John Margaritis the head coach at UC Riverside speaking at the Assistant Coaches Symposium in Chicago, IL on May 1st, 2011. He was a lifelong assistant coach until becoming the head coach at UC Riverside. He took over a team that had been 7-21 prior to his arrival and had them in the NCAA tournament 2 years later. He had tons of great insight and was a very funny and personable guy.

I. Knowledge of the subject- Be a student of the game. Learn as much as you can. Keep learning all the time. Learn about thing that you may never use.

II. Become a great teacher (affect behavior) At the end it’s not what you know that matters but what your students know and can execute that will make a difference. Make coaching your 1st priority.

III. Stay on task (Do not confuse the issue.) There are as many philosophies as there are coaches. Understand what the head coach wants and use your knowledge to improve individual and team play, rather than change the approach to basketball that the head coach wants.

IV. Make Coaching your #1 priority. (Minor input will not yield major results.) It’s way too competitive. There are way too many people that want your job so coaching at the D1 level is only meant for those few who are willing to outwork the competition.

V. Loyalty above all except honor (Be loyal) Always act as if your head coach is there to listen to what you hear and say. It’s important to your progress if people can trust you. It’s also important that you have scruples.

VI. Learn to evaluate talent. (Know what you are looking for.) It comes in handy when it comes to recruiting and or helping your won student athletes to get to a higher level.

VII. Be attune with today’s technology. (Stay current) Your ability to break down film, create scouting reports and preparing for the next opponent will not only help your team win the next game it will prepare you for the next job opportunity. “Be an assistant coach while you’re learning to be a head coach.”

VIII. Get involved with money. (Budget) Know how to manage budgets. Order equipment, set up travel, issue scholarships.

IX. Get involved with “student” in student athlete (Academics) Know what it takes for your players to get a degree. Oversee class schedules, study hall and academic progress and integrity.

X. Be a head coach (leadership) Take ownership. Be ready to take over at any given time, to handle boosters, to look and act as a head coach.

“Remember I’m the one that hired you and you liked me then.”

“The only way to win is to eliminate reasons why you can’t.”