Monday, July 16, 2007

Year Objectives

Before the AAU season started I made up a list of objectives I wanted to complete with the team. Basically, things I thought an AAU coach at this level could get done or help improve. I'll copy/paste my list and just put a Pass/Fail grade for each objective...

1) Prepare players to compete at the Junior Varsity and Varsity level -Pass

2) Improve players offensive and defensive fundamentals-Pass

3) Teach the motion offense with a team emphasis, which includes but not limited to the following concepts…

a) Proper screening and screening angles-Tough one, probably a Fail

b) Proper use of screens

i) Cutter-shoulder to shoulder-Pass

ii) Cutter-reading the defender to curl, flare, straight cut, or backdoor-Pass

iii) Screener-setting solid screen then being the second cutter-Pass

c) Teach how to get open without using a screen

(1) “L” cut-Pass

(2) “V” cut with no “dancing”-Pass

(3) Backdoor cuts-Pass

d) Assist in the development of good/consistent shooting form

i) Using correct foot-work around screens and off the dribble-Didn't concentrate much on this for the most part they did this well already

ii) Getting set-up before the pass comes-Pass

4) Teach and improve defensive fundamentals that are key to any defensive strategy

a) Individual principles being as follows…

i) Head on ball, hand in passing lane, butt down-Pass

ii) Pressure ball handler, but not overly aggressive where there are frequent blow-bys-Pass only late in the season...Memorial Day weekend on it was excellent

iii) Influence ball handler to sideline and baseline-Fail, just never could get the importance of keeping a ball handler out of the lane to them.

iv) Run at open shooters with hand up in shooting vision and butt down to react to driving possibilities by the shooter-Pass, not perfect but habits were finally forming late in the year. It was just a matter of creating good habits.

v) Jump to ball when man you are defending passes to another player-Fail

vi) Front or play 3/4th’s on all post players-Pass

b) Team principles being as follows…

i) Help defense is almost zone like-lots of movement, helping and recovering=Pass, improved greatly late in season

ii) Soft hedges on all screens (ball, down, and back screens)-Fail, they had the technique correct but didn't have the habit or recognition to hedge every screen

iii) Teach different ways to defend screens-Over (2nd person), under (4th person), slide through (3rd person)-Pass and did this well

iv) The possession doesn’t end until we have the ball

(1) Make contact with opponent-Fail, always wanted to chase the ball instead of getting into their opponent. In the last game of the Best of the Midwest, they did this very well. So they knew how, it was a matter of them thinking it was important because they knew they couldn't out jump an opponent for once.

(2) Step through opponent with same side leg that you made contact with your arm

(3) Then finish the block out by reverse pivoting into opponent with hands at shoulder level

Overall, my objectives were a passing grade. This is probably because I am grading my own exam, haha. Early on most of the objectives were easily a failing grade. I would say for most of the points things really clicked during the Memorial Day weekend tournament in Fort Wayne and then kept improving the rest of the way. Effort was better especially on the defensive end. Attention to little things like blocking out, where we caught the ball in the offense, pass faking against pressure, staying out of dangerous areas against traps, staying with a play after a mistake, ignoring missed calls by the refs...all of these things improved dramatically! I would argue the last two things mentioned were the most important. Controlling emotions especially when dealing with things that are out of your control is extremely important in basketball. You just move on and hustle even more instead of giving up and feeling sorry for yourself. It was exciting to see things change seemingly overnight even though it definitely was not overnight!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Tournament and Fife

The Hoosier Shootout was held this past weekend in Indianapolis. It is the start of the insane month of July for recruiting. College coaches are out in force evaluating players and fighting over the top recruits. July can make or break programs for many years to come.

My freshman to be team played in the event. No college coaches attended any of our games obviously, but I'm sure some scouting services were in attendance. We played well the whole tournament. It was a small, but very talented field. I believe there were 16 teams in our age group. I would say 12 were very tough teams.

We ended up coming in 3rd place in the tournament. We could have been in the championship game very easily. It came down to our inability to handle a full court run n jump defense. The traps were poorly executed and very exploitable but we didn't keep our heads up and realize where the double team was coming from. That literally was the only thing they had to do. They were trapping from straight on which is a horrible way to trap, but when you dribble with your head down you can't see it coming and you are in trouble.

Frustrating to say the least. We were leading the whole game basically until the 4Th quarter. Our effort was very good and I can't always say that. Our defense has improved greatly. I think that was partly because they spent all of June with their high school coaches and I'm sure they were scolded for their defense.

I was heading over to the court where the older team was playing when I heard someone say "hey Trevor" from the college coaches section. It was IPFW head coach Dane Fife. I really didn't think he would remember my name because he wasn't overly involved with the IPFW camp I worked. It was good to know he remembered me. I really built some nice connections in the month of June which I'm very happy about!