First it was the NBA which started a few weeks ago, and then it was college basketball which began its regular season last week, and now it’s youth basketball’s turn. I picked my team a week ago, and last night was practice 1 of my 16th year on the bench. Yes, if you are doing the math at home, I started when I was just out of Junior High School – ha ha. All kidding aside, my first few practices will set the tone for how we conduct business and what it is we expect from a good teammate. Over the years, I have simplified some of my basketball teaching philosophies into quick phrases or slogans if you will. With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to share them as the subject of this week’s edition of M2S.
Good listeners excel. First and foremost, those who are good listeners tend to excel on my teams. We only practice twice a week, and for just an hour and a half at a time, so there is no time for fooling around. We always have so many things to cover from one evening to another that attentiveness is paramount.
Make mistakes at 100 MPH! We tell our players from day one that mistakes are going to be made, it is completely understandable. However, we want our guys to make them going at 100 MPH. Basically, if/when they are on the floor, we expect maximum effort all the time. We use the term “empty your tank”, as an example of what we are looking for. Go as hard as you can, for as long as you can, and then we will send in reinforcements.
Offense comes and goes, DEFENSE travels! Some nights we will struggle to ring the bell; but as long we keep our opponent off the scoreboard, we will be in every game. I learned a great basketball oxymoron a while ago and that is: It all starts with a stop. The meaning is to collectively lock down on D to force a turnover, steal, bad shot, and a possession that ends with us preventing a score.
Time and score. This is another favorite of mine. Page one, everyone when they are on the court needs to be aware of what the score is, and how much time is left. It sounds like an easy concept, but you would be surprised by just how many players do not know. The main reason after all is that those two criteria dictate how you play at that juncture. I cannot tell you how many times we have had one point leads late in games; and rather than hold the ball and make the defense foul us, someone will brain freeze, force up a stupid shot and give the ball back. These situations have helped to contribute to my head having less hair in it than it once did.
Team on 3! This is what we say coming out of every team huddle and at the end of every practice. Anyone who has ever played sports knows that there is no I in team, and this is our not-so-subtle reminder.
Make sure to check in here each and every Wednesday as I will chronicle just how my team’s season unfolds.
And that is My 2 Sense for this week.