Never Fear Pressure Again: Pivot To Avoid Trouble 
by Alan Lambert
It is the untalked about problem. Most players hide this fear in their skills closet. You never let your teammates or coaches know you have it, but none-the-less it lurks over you like some bad dream. That fear is PRESSURE. Come on players fess up, how many of you love to handle the ball when you are getting pressured? How many of you say give me the ball against a tenacious defender or double team and say, I'll handle that with ease. How many of you don't know what to do when you are pressured. I'm going to share with you today my thoughts on how you can learn to handle pressure so that you never have to fear it again. Once pressure becomes a tool to use against your defender, it becomes your friend never to be feared again. Let me start off by saying that most players problems with pressure have to do with poor fundamental skills often than inferior athletic ability. For example, if I put you on a court without a basketball, and you were simply playing a game of tag where someone had to tag you on the hand. You could avoid getting tag for some period of time. Now if I gave you a basketball and said you could run with it (no dribbling) you would still be able to avoid getting tagged on the hand for some time. Let us change the rules again. This time you must dribble the ball without losing it and avoid getting tagged on the hand. Most players will find they are much more restricted in their movement and more quickly tagged. Finally if I say you can dribble, and are allowed to pick the ball up rather than lose it or fumble it away, but must then pivot to avoid getting tagged, your time to tag will be further restricted. Further restricted UNLESS you have body control, dribble and pivot skills to keep your hand (the ball) away from pressure. The longer you believe you can hold a ball via dribble or pivot without losing it or being forced to throw it away, the greater your confidence to handle pressure. Your fears, my young friends, are based primarily on your inability to dribble, pass, and pivot under pressure. So how do you eliminate your fears. You face them head on. You get out and practice the skills that will grow your confidence in your ability to look PRESSURE right in the face and laugh at it. Your coach does not have a magic wand they wave over you and you immediately learn to handle pressure. You must work at the skills to give you confidence against hard defensive pressure. Today I'm going to focus on the pivot which I believe one of the two most critical elements to handling pressure properly. The other being the ability to change speeds and directions off the dribble which will be another days clinic.
Balance First First and most important in learning skills to handle pressure is to understand the important of balance in everything you do on the basketball court. What is balance?  Balance is when your center of gravity (COG) is over your base of support. That means the point about which your body's balance hangs (normally near your mid-section) is over the area between your feet (if you are standing on two feet). If you are going to pivot on one foot, that center of gravity must move momentarily over that part of the pivot foot in contact with the floor, in order for you to maintain your balance. Most players pivot and lose their balance because their COG falls outside of their base of support. Often players confuse COG with Center of Mass (COM) which are often together but technically not the same.  Balance is when your center of mass (as I said similar to center of gravity) is moved over a relatively low horizontal plane. You hear coaches say all the time, don't stand up out of your stance. That is because your center of mass then moves up and down making you more liable to lose your balance.  Balance is severely affected by movement of your body extremities (head, arms, legs). The more you can control or stabilize movement of your head, for example, the greater the balance you will be able to maintain.  Balance is maintaining the ability to react and move in any direction with equal quickness at any point in time during a game. That includes any vertical, horizontal, and lateral movement from any position you have the ball at any moment in time.  Balance is the battle over which the game is won or lost. The defender who while pressuring you temporarily loses their balance allowing you to penetrate them to the basket loses the 1 on 1 battle. When you, the player with the ball, lose your balance, while pivoting to get into a position to make a good pass or explode past a pressuring defender, then you have lost the battle. Keep yourself in a position to win the battle at all times.
Importance of Pivoting Skills to Handling Pressure The focus of today's playground pointer is on learning how to take away the fear of pressure. I want to teach you the importance of becoming a good pivoter in order to be able to have a weapon that no pressuring defender may ever take away from you. Players and Coaches now listen up. Pivoting in my opinion is the most undertaught, under-respected skill in basketball. Every coach teaches pivoting but few really teach all of it's aspects to the point pivoting becomes a weapon. Today coaches teach the front and reverse pivot, but how many really teach the details to the point where a player learns to pivot from up to down position, from the 90° to 270° pivots, and how to pull the ball through the body as you reverse position 180° without standing up or losing your balance. My point is that there is a whole lot more to pivoting than the front and reverse pivot. So let's get with it today and learn how to become a better pivoter so that you can chase the FEAR of PRESSURE out of your basketball skills closet forever. Note to the Coaches: Many coaches do not spend nearly enough time on pivoting. The most common argument is that the players need work on 1 on 1 skills, or passing, or shooting, or defensive footwork. I will argue that adding some elements of pivoting to every single offensive drill you do will not only make you a significantly better offensive player, but make you a threat to break down pressure via the pass, and penetration dribble (a forward up to down pivot in disguise of an offensive move). There is absolutely no reason in the world that your players should not be practicing pivoting in at least a half a dozen offensive skills drills every single day in practice. Your team will reduce it's turnovers, gain confidence in handling pressure, and simply be more able to execute your team's offense.

Tips for Pivoting To the Players: Keep these 8 things in mind when you are practicing your pivot skills when you either have not used your dribble or have used it and can only pivot to reduce the effectiveness of a pressuring defender.

1.Make the pivot that is most effective for you while learning to execute pivots you are less comfortable in executing- Some coaches will teach you that you must front pivot when receiving the ball on the wing, or reverse pivot when receiving the ball at the high post against pressure. There are advantages and disadvantages to all pivots. The most important thing is that you can execute at least one pivot well, and that you continue to build on your other pivot skills each year you progress up the playing ladder. When you can pivot in all direction (up-down, front to back- with one knee pointed to the ground, and forward and reverse) you will gain confidence to handle pressure. You will have the attitude no one can take MY BALL away from ME! Remember too that you must practice your one on one ball handling skills (pivots attached to dribble moves if you will) in order to keep the defensive pressure at least an arms length away from you. If the defense breaks that space you must be able to accelerate dribble by them or pivot to move the ball to a position where their reaching arms are at least an arms length away.
2. Pivot only when you have balance- Never attempt to pivot away from pressure when you have lost your balance. Rather hold the ball strongly with your finger tips pressing the ball inwards between your two hands with your elbows extended. Then correct your balance, then pivot. Pivoting without balance will force you to lose your pivot foot and travel with the ball, pass off balance after an awkward pivot, or attempt a dribble penetration off balance through which a strong defender will direct you to a place on the correct your  court you don't want to be. Remember, balance, then pivot.
3. When you pivot the hip point should be pulled through in a straight line, to a new hip point whether it's a front or reverse pivot, or an up to down pivot- Most players make a terrible mistake when they pivot by literally throwing their head around and letting the hip trail the head. Great pivot technique means you don't move your head but rather move your hips. Think of your hips as having a rope attached to lets say the right side. Now think as if 100 people where pulling that rope directly from the left side in order to change your direction 180°. That pull would not allow your hips to move anywhere but almost straight across. Learning to make your pivots with your hips moving in as straight a line as possible to the new location, reduced centrifugal force, and assists you in maintaining the strongest position of balance against pressure.
4. Lower your Center of Gravity (COG) as you pivot whenever possible. Players often make the mistake of raising their center of gravity to pivot (standing up slightly) because it is more comfortable and easier strength wise. It is not, however, the correct way to pivot. The lower your COG is to the ground over your base of support the more difficult it is for someone else to force you off your balance. That is why football defensive linemen often get into a four point stance and very low to the ground. The point is drop your COG when you pivot as much as possible.
5. Decrease the radius of your pivot as you turn by collapsing the moving leg tight to the body. Players most commonly swing their legs out away from their body as they pivot. This not only causes you to momentarily lose your balance, but also increases the distance you must move, thereby taking more time. More time, longer exposure of your body out of balance, and you end up more likely to lose your ability to move and pivot quickly against pressure. Think of a figure skater and when they close their performance with their "death spiral spins". When they want to speed the spin (early in the movement) they brings all their extremities close to their body making it easier to rotate faster. When they want to slow down, they extend their extremities. Your pivot works the same way although normally you will only make a 90° to 270° rotation when you pivot. When you pivot collapse that leg inwards and then expand it outward to regain a stable position at the complet
6. Keep your upper body as straight as possible when you pivot. In other words keeping your back relatively vertical will help you keep your head from moving outside your base of support. Most players use the head swing method of pivoting because it's physically the easiest. It is however like "walking the plank" in term of balance and your ability to react and move in any direction at any time on the court. Once you have slung your head their is almost a full second before you can regain it's control and change directions. Use your legs to pivot NOT your "HEAD"!
7. Always pivot slightly into the defender when squaring up to the basket. When you pivot away from a defender you must be able to pivot back to the basket with balance. Most young players step back when pressured and put themselves into a position with no balance or strength to step back into the defender. Always pivot into the defender but with balance. When you must pivot backwards, pivot low ready to make a 180° down and back toward the basket when pressure comes.
8. When pivoting to avoid pressure tuck the ball into a position of strength and rip the ball through any defensive hands. You may also want to move the ball initially away from the direction you want to pivot to provoke your defender into reaching thereby breaking their balance, at which time you step quickly through and opposite of their pressure. As long as you can keep the ball in a position of strength in your hands, and pivot with purpose to keep a pressuring defender guessing where you will pivot you can maintain control of this pressured environment. You can control of the ball, you have control of your body, then move the ball with pivot and changing positions of the ball, so that the defender must reach or chase the ball to maintain pressure.

Players and Coaches here is my list of drills you can and should be practicing to become better pivoters: Practice both front and reverse pivot from both the up and down positions where you work on reducing the pivot radius, collapsing the knee into the body as you pivot versus swinging it around the hip point to new hip point line. Work also on minimizing your head movement on all your pivots. When you pivot from a down position it is a good idea to first reverse direction and then take a step while maintaining your original pivot foot. Then reverse direction again and step back. Practice the 90°, 180°, and 270° pivots from the up position (like in the triple threat position or what I call ready-shoot) and from the down position (like when you make your jab step prior to dribble penetration on the jab and go or jab and crossover). You use the 90 pivot to square up to the basket to shoot. You use the 180 to release and reverse away from pressure. Practice all variety of degree pivots from both the up and down positions. The down position is best described by having your back relatively vertical, your push leg knee, and ankle joints bent at 90°, on the toes of the push leg, and push leg knee pointing downward to the floor and forward. There also should be no bend in the trunk so you could hold a yardstick along the chest of the player and it would run down the thigh of the player in the down position with no space between the stomach and yardstick. The forward leg is also bent at 90° at the knee with the thigh almost parallel to the floor. This requires a great deal of strength so it must be practiced daily. But with time you will develop the strength to hold this position and pivot easily. Wall sits are a good exercise to develop this kind of leg strength. The 270° takes a considerable amount of practice but many defenders are taught to pressure hard on the "common pivot shoulder" so you cannot turn into the defender. If you can maintain your balance and make the 3/4 pivot opposite the pressure, you will eventually get less pressure in the direction you like to turn on your pivot. From the Up Pivot Position (as if you were getting ready to shoot a shot) practice pivoting front and back on the balls of your feet. Practice dropping into the Down Pivot (penetration step position) from the Up Position and back maintaining balance. Practice pivoting (twisting) back and forth on the balls of your feet. Practice moving between the Up and Down Pivot Position, Up (ready shoot position) to Down (penetration step position) and vise versa. Practicing chaining together various pivots between up and down but in an unpredictable fashion. For example move from the Up front pivot, to Down Pivot, make a 180 reverse pivot in the down position, to a 1/4 pivot front (90°) in the down position, to a 180 reverse in the down position, then back to the Up Position ready to shoot. The sooner you are able to move with balance, strength, and power between these different positions always remembering to keep the ball in a position of strength and slightly away from the defensive pressure, the more you can eliminate the fear of pressure. I have my players practice for extended periods of time in down position while calling out the pivot such as quarter right, reverse, reverse again and step, step back, step forward, reverse 1/4, then up, then down, etc. Practice stepping from the Up Position to the down position reversed away from the defensive pressure. A smart pivoter will tease a pressuring defender by stepping away from the pressure. Normally no coach teaches this. However if you are a great pivoter you can step away to draw "the fly into the spider trap". As the defender reaches for the ball, then explosively reverse pivot (180°) again in the down position and explode pass them with your penetration dribble. It is extremely difficult to pressure the ball when the offensive player is in the down position if you can pivot with balance and stay low. This drives pressuring defenders nuts! In closing today, players remember your coach can show you how to pivot, but you must be constantly aware of your technique and practicing proper pivoting in everything you do. When you are running a 4-Corner Passing Drill practice the rules I have given you above regarding good pivot technique. Simply focusing on the passing isn't developing the skill you will be required to execute against pressure, to pivot and pass. When you are doing catch and pivot moves to shots, or screen and go movements, remember that almost all offensive skills have some element of pivot in them.  Remember, keep your balance, steady your head, keep your center of gravity low and on the same horizontal plane, pivot along a straight line (hip point to new hip point), and collapse your knee to speed your pivot release it out to slow your step and regain your balance. Remember pivot is more than a front and reverse pivot. There is directional pivoting, up to down pivoting, and pivoting for deception to draw a defenders pressure away from where you want to pass or attack. When you reach this stage, and in combination with improved ball handling skills in the open court, there will never be need for you to FEAR PRESSURE EVER AGAIN! Check back next month for more Playground Pointers courtesy of The Basketball Highway®.

: I came across this article that I thought might be interesting:
: "Readers Digest" published the following in 1979. An unpublished response was also written in 1979 by Ross Mounsteven, who was then a coach. Although written more than 21 years ago and a little dated, very little seems to have changed.
: Dear coach,
: Tomorrow morning my son starts basketball. He is going to step out on the court, and his great adventure that will probably include joys and disappointments, begins.
: So I wish you would take him by his young hand and teach him the things he must know. Teach him to respect the referee and that his judgment is final. Teach him not to hate his competitors, but to admire their skills. Teach him it is just as is important being a play maker and get an assist as it is to score a basket. Teach him to play as a team and never to be selfish. Teach him never to blame his teamate when they score a goal against him, because five mistakes were made before the ball got to the player he was guarding.
: Teach him that winning is not everything, but trying to win is. Teach him it far more honorable to lose that it is to cheat. Teach him to be a competitor. Teach him to close his ears to the howling mob and to stand up for himself if he thinks he is right. Teach him gently but do not coddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.
: This is a big order, Coach, and I place my son in your hands. See what you can do for him. He is such a pleasant little fellow.
: His Dad.
: Dear Dad,
: As in so many situations, it was interesting to read your note in Reader's Digest. It seems so often that after the newspaper, league executives, and all you friends and neighbors, the coach finds out, second hand, how you feel. It is a delight to see you emphasize the teaching aspect of my role as coach. I agree wholeheartedly, but have you ever tried to teach someone who wants to shoot two more baskets before he joins the team when I have blown my whistle, or having joined the team, is more interested in knocking the ball out from his teammates hands, or wants to talk to a teammate while I am trying to teach a point?
: How do I teach respect for authority to a boy who listens to parent's scream at a referee, curse a police officer, or complain about bosses and politicians?
: How do I teach admiration or skills to a boy who watches professionals grab, trip and fight, and then hears parents yelling "Hit," "Grab Him," or "Kill" from the stands?
: How do I teach play-making to a boy who is paid by parents or relatives for each basket he scores, or is told he is the best, and not to waste his passes on others?
: How do I teach a boy tolerance of the mistake of others, including goaltenders, when all of our society stresses perfection, and he is constantly reminded oh his success and his"good plays," his "super passes," his "great steals," and nobody points out his own fallibility?
: How do I teach honor and fairness to a boy who watches his loved ones ease over the speed limit, drinks alcohol in the stands, or keep the extra dollar that a store clerk gives by mistake?
: I agree that the test of fire makes fine steel, that he must stand up for himself in what he feels is right, that trying is more important than winning. Nevertheless, that is also LIFE, not just a basketball game!
: You have asked me to make your son into a man . . . and I cannot do that. I can only teach him a set of skills, called hockey, that will fit into the principles of life by which he, and you, live. The respect for authority, admiration for the skills of others, cooperation, tolerance, honor, integrity and self-respect have to come to the arena with him. Then, and only then, can I teach him to play basketball the way you and I think it should be played.
: Your son's coach
Dear Coach:
I have done my share of coaching over the years. That is how my son became a good enough player to make the team you coach. Otherwise, he would not be there. Yes, there are always those kids who are disruptive but perhaps they are only looking for attention. I found that if you criticize the behavior and not the young man it has a profound impact. I have gotten absolutely livid about bad behavior always being careful not to attack the boy himself. Explain to him how unfair his action is to the rest of his teammates who want to learn to become better players. Explain to him how unfair it is to you the coach who is giving of his time. Ask the boy these questions in a civil, firm and unthreatening manner in front of the team? I have and the reaction is amazing. Treat him with respect and he will respectfully respond. Be a role model that the boy can fashion his actions after. Don't give in to your emotion and crush a boy's future in the heat of the moment. What can possibly be gained by this? I, too, see the terrible behavior exhibited by parents at games and yes, I may have participated at times. But, I teach my boy that I am human and I make mistakes. And when I am wrong I admit it and apologize when warranted. We are human afterall, not robots. I don't have the solution for the garbage shown on television and the bad behavior exhibited by some professional athletes. Understand that we are all products of our environment and that boys will emulate their favorite sports star. Let boys be boys within reason. Each player has his own personality that makes him the individual he is. Would it not be better to take the time to recognize each player's strengths and weaknesses and work to best utilize and improve these? Yes, I have paid for points but I also pay for assists, blocks and steals equally. Why would I want a son who is not a well-rounded player? Perhaps when you give your game box score to the newspaper you can emphasize these stats and not just the scorers. They only print what you tell them, coach. Or do you have the luxury of having a reporter at each and every game? And what is wrong with giving my boy some encouragement by saying "good pass" or "great shot"? It's called motivation to do well. It's my job, I'm his dad. I have been picking him up and putting him back together again all of these years and will do so as long as I possibly can. I love my son, coach. It is apparent that you see the proverbial glass as half empty rather than half full. You have given up before you start, coach. If you cannot teach honor and fairness simply because of what you perceive as overwhelming odds that society has thrown at you then perhaps it is time to bid adieu to coaching. Why would want to continue in such a unpleasant situation. It is only bound to result in some ugly manifestation. Remember that all of it is really about the kids and making them better players and people in general. I hope that my son understands that he should try his best during the game and leave it there when it is over. It is just a game, afterall. It is a tall order to allow another to stand up for himself and I would hope that when my son does so that you are willing and able to admit when he is right. I don't expect you to make my son into a man. I expect you to be a role model that he can fashion himself after, someone that we can all be proud of. Yes, teach him the skill that will fit into the principles of life by which we all live. I send him to you with whatever skills I have been able to give him hoping that you can build upon that foundation will serve to show me and others a role-model in the making. Only then can we all sit in the arena and enjoy the game as it should be enjoyed.

Communication with Coaches
The entire athletic staff is encouraged to keep the lines of communication open with our athletes and their families. It is our intent to supply you with all of the essential information that you will need to manage your commitment to athletics successfully. Many times parents have many questions and concerns that they feel the need to discuss with their student athlete's coaches. We make every effort to hire the best possible leaders for its athletic programs. Our coaches are professionals; they make judgment decisions based on what is best for the entire team taking into account every member of the team. This is not an easy task and sometimes people feel poorly about their role on a team. These men and women work extremely hard for little or sometimes no financial benefit, they do it because they love working with kids and realize the positive benefit of participation in interscholastic athletics. The following are some guidelines and policies to help facilitate the most productive and efficient communication with your students' coaches.
Parents are encouraged to discuss:
1. The treatment of their student
2. Ways to help their student improve
3. Concerns regarding their student's behavior
4. Coaches philosophy
5. Coaches expectations and role for their student and the team
6. Team rules and policies
7. Disciplinary action incurred by their child
8. The college recruiting process
9. Ways in which they can help the team (fundraising, pasta nights etc.)
10. Their students progress
Parents are not encouraged to discuss:
1. Placement on teams (freshman, Junior Varsity, Varsity etc.)
2. Playing time
3. Coaching strategies used during practice or contests
4. Other student athletes
5. Problems with other coaches/teachers
Communication with coaches is most productive when an appointment can be made to sit down and talk about the issue in private. Parents should never try to talk to a coach before or after a contest on a game day. This the most intense and emotional time for all parties involved and is not the time or the place for a meeting about specific issues with your student athlete. Please respect the coaches and the need for them to be focused on the task at hand. Give them a call after your child has gone to them with the issue and you feel there is no acceptable resolution. This is how it works in the real world and that is exactly what we are trying to prepare your student athlete for.
Communication Procedure:
If a problem should arise please make every effort to follow the following steps for a productive resolution.
1. Student athlete approaches the coach with problem or issue.
2. If a resolution can not be reached the parent should contact the coach and arrange for a meeting.
3. In the rare instance that there is still no resolution the parent should contact the Athletic Director and arrange for a meeting with the student athlete, parents, coach and Athletic Director.
4. If after this meeting the problem continues to exist the Athletic Director will forward the issue to the Principal for advisement and a possible meeting with all parties involved.

"Shot Awareness" to Improve Success   --Dr. Tom Norland
It sounds good to ask (or require) kids to shoot a set number of shots
per week or month, and have them record it, keep a log, etc. It seems
to be an effective strategy, and some learning will happen just by the
huge number of repetitions. It's how a lot of us learned things, but
it's a slow way, and oftentimes does not result in the shifts in
performance we want. How many people go through their tennis lives with
a tentative, ineffective backhand, even though they've hit thousands of
backhands? How many golfers spend time at the practice range and don't
get any better.

The problem with a regimen of large numbers is that it can lead to
"unconscious" practice. The young girl or boy will obey and think it's
helping, but maybe it isn't helping as much as it could. Here are some
suggestions of coaching advice that could make a huge difference in
learning to shoot more effectively:

Ask your kids to spend a certain amount of time on a court consistently
doing the following exercises in awareness (maybe a few of these each
time they shoot):

Observe how high the shots are. Look at the bottom of the ball relative
to the rim. Do the shots get typically just 1' above the rim at the
highest point, or 2', or 3' or higher? The top of the backboard is 3
feet above the rim, so that's a convenient marker. Do the shots get
half way up to the top of the backboard, or all the way, or above?

From my experience, most shots are very flat, in the 6" to 2' range
above the rim. Players often tell me they think their shots are
"medium" high when they only get 1.5 to 2' above the rim. If they get
to 3' above, they think that's a "high" shot.

High is a relative term, but could probably be considered in the range
of 5', 6', 8' above the rim. There is a huge space above the basket to
play with. A great exercise is to see how high you can shoot and still
make shots or come close. This stretches the players' experiences and
expands their vision and capability.

Observe where the power comes from when you shoot. Is it mostly upper
body -- the arm, wrist, hand and fingers? Or does the power come from
the whole body -- lower and upper body muscles, working together?

How is the ball propelled? Is it "wristy" (mostly with wrist and hand),
or is it more of an arm throw, or are you using the leg drive and
shooting with the whole body? What happens with the shooting arm during
the shot and afterward? Is the shot a throwing motion or a pushing
action? Does the arm straighten fully, or does it stop short of full
extension (short arm)? Does it move in the direction of the target and
stay there, or does it pull back or move left, right, up or down?

What does your hand do as you shoot? Are the wrist and hand relaxed or
tight? Does the hand stay in direct line with the target? ...or does
it move to the side or up? Is it twisting as you shoot?

Is there a feeling of "Letting Go" and Freedom when you shoot, or are
you always controlling things and tensing your arm and hand as you

What kind of spin do you usually impart to the ball? If it's a dead
ball or if there's side spin or not much spin at all, what is creating
that? If it's backspin, is it slow backspin, or medium, or fast? Does
it change from shot to shot? Observe carefully.

Is it by flipping or throwing more strongly or weakly? Do you vary the
force of the shot for different distances? Have you ever thought of
varying the arch rather than the force?

Spend some time watching the direction of your shots. The rim has an
inside diameter of 18 inches and the ball is about 9-9.5 inches in
diameter (regulation size is about 9.5", the intermediate size is about
9", and the junior ball is about 8.5"). Thus you have about 4" left and
right of exact center and you can still "swish" a ball. If the ball
goes in but brushes the right rim, then the shot was about 4 1/2"
right. Thus you can start to be more precise in the feedback you give

If you hit the left side of the rim with the center of the ball, your
shot was 9" off to the left. It's a good experience to stand under the
basket (near out of bounds) and watch balls from other players come into
the basket. Observe if they are dead center or off line, and by how
much. Observe the angle coming in, too.

Start to observe where your shots land distance-wise. If you hit the
back of the rim and the ball rebounds straight back, then you were about
9" long. If you hit the front of the rim and it bounces back at the
same angle, you were 9" short. If you hit the back of the rim and the
ball bounces upward, you can guess that you were 10", 11" or 12" long.
Etc. Etc. If you glance the front rim as the ball goes in or skips
over, then you were 1-4" short, depending on the height of the shot.

Play with it. You might even "try" to hit the back rim, thus aiming to
be about 9" long, and see what happens. Aim to hit the front rim. Your
body will surprise you, once you start to trust it. You can even intend
to brush the inside right or left of the rim by moving your vision 4"
right or 4" left. (A coach I worked with in Iowa told me he got really
good at hitting different parts of the rim to create rebounds for
specific players. The only problem was that, when he played in games
himself, he forgot to aim for the center of the basket and had to
retrain himself.)

Once you have an idea of your direction and distance and then start to
play with it, your control of ball flight will improve. If all you
notice is if you made the shot or not, the body does not get the
feedback it needs to develop subtle control.

Observe how confident you feel, or not. If you were to rate your
confidence on a scale from 1 to 10, what numbers would you give
yourself? Is your Confidence "conditional," meaning that you are
confident only if and when you make shots and you lack confidence when
you miss? Or do you trust yourself to put the ball in the basket no
matter how you perform in the short term?

Try unconditional confidence (trust): As you go to shoot, can you JUST
TRUST that you're going to do your best and not interfere with things?
Doubt and Fear create the problems that you don't want -- tension,
hesitancy, awkward physical motion, a tentative finish to the shot. Can
you be calm, and just see the basket, intend for the shot to go in, and
trust your body to make it happen?

Spend some time just watching where your shots land. Are you typically
short, long, left or right? Maybe you are not consistent and all 4
error directions are happening. That will tell you something right

If you are always short, notice exactly how short and keep shooting.
Don't try to fix it by making gross adjustments. Just keep reporting
how many inches short you are, over and over. I'll bet the body learns
subtly how to increase power and find the right distance.

Can you observe yourself shoot without criticism all the time? Can a
missed shot be just that, a missed shot, not a "bad" shot? Can you see
and feel exactly what happened? Judgment gets us right away into trying
to fix things so as not to look bad. When we "fix" things, we usually
over-correct and add tension in our attempt to stop doing things the
"wrong" way.

These exercises in awareness will lead to great learning! The body
learns through choices between subtle alternatives. But it has to know
exactly what happened and what created the results in order to create a
different end result and learn. If you shoot short one time and then
long the next and have no idea how you did either, there will be no real

With attention and patience and accurate, non-judgmental feedback of
what's happening, the kids will start to figure things out for
themselves. A good coach can then introduce the "distinctions" that
matter in shooting and the kids will learn like crazy.

With this kind of awareness, tremendous learning is possible. Within
this framework of practice, then"quantity" of repetitions is necessary
to cement the learning and develop trust. How many repetitions, I can't
say. But I do know learning can happen fast. Hundreds of shots, a few
thousand? Who really knows? It depends on the state of awareness of
the shooter, as well as her or his intention, commitment, dedication and


Emphasize press break rules over a press break offense. Here are ours:

Get the ball in quickly! Drill your kids to pull the ball out of the net and fire it inbounds before the defense can set up. Don't run any other drills that result in scores where they are not required to inbound the ball. On your 3-on-2, 2-on-1 drills have them inbound the ball after made baskets. On every shell drill, have the defense inbound the ball after every score. The dividends are huge.

2. Stretch the defense. It doesn't matter whether you start out of a stack, run four across, send guys to the midcourt corners -- just get that floor spread.

3. Discourage the dribble -- particularly the speed dribble -- against a zone press. Do as much as you can off the pass. Any dribbling should be controlled dribbling, head up, reading the floor.

4. Make sure your receivers come to the ball! They should attack each reception with the same intensity that the defense does. This cannot be overemphasized. Have them jump to the ball and pivot in the air, so that they are facing the front court when they land. This gives them much more latitude to attack the defense.

5. Use V-cuts to get open and ball fakes to avoid telegraphing the pass (Don Meyer's idea of "fake a pass to make a pass"). Have your cutters move in straight lines, either toward the ball or toward your basket. Wide arcs and side-to-side cuts favor the defense.

6. Instruct your players to post up in the open floor, then cut to the ball to get open. Most kids have a tendency to avoid the defenders, thinking that this is the solution to getting open. However, bodying up to the defender and then cutting toward the ball will obviously preclude the defender from beating the receiver to the pass.

7. Keep the ball in the middle of the floor as much as possible -- and away from the trapping zones.

8. If you use your dribble, don't lose your dribble! Once your players start to dribble, make sure they keep it alive if at all possible.

9. Don't panic. 10 seconds is a long time to get the ball across half

10. Once you cross half-court, don't make careless mistakes. The press is broken. If you've got an advantage, make the defense pay by scoring a lay-up. If not, slow things down. We run a pressing defense, and we get most of our turnovers *after* our press has been beaten. It just amazes me....

Another coach mentioned that when facing a man-to-man press, you should clear the backcourt and let your point guard bring the ball up one on one. That's obviously sound advice. But we sometimes like to invite the trap by having our 2 or 3 man linger in the backcourt with the point, staying 10 or 15 feet ahead of him. As soon as the forward defender jumps to trap, the point kicks the ball to his teammate, who pushes it up the floor 4 on 3 against
the remaining defenders.

One last thing -- you, as the coach, can do a lot to help your team break a difficult press. If you panic, they panic. In the first half, they'll be breaking the press right in front of your bench. Call out instructions to them. Remind them to go to the ball, to post up, to spread the floor, etc.

Team Unity

   Team unity. We are all committed to it. However, the reality of our team
situations often cause us to fall far short of our vision for unity. The
following workshop was developed from a seminar on team unity by Sharon

    Developing team unity is a constant and challenging job for all leaders.
The age and maturity of the team members changes the dynamic of the team and
an effective leader realizes the need to adjust accordingly. This article is
a refresher course on helping a team become an effective, fun and encouraging
community of believers who grow together and work together well. The first
section explains team dynamics -- the power of a small group, the needs of
individuals and the needs of the team as a group. The second section examines
the key ingredients for conflict resolution.

I. Team Dynamics

   There is power in a small group. Synergistic power. Power that comes from
people working together and relating to one another in such a way that the
impact of the group is far greater than the impact experienced by the sum of
the work of the individuals. In the book, Group Power, David Williamson says
there is more stimulation, greater energy, more creativity, greater
interaction, more ideas, greater momentum, more opportunity for in depth
relationships and more opportunity for modeling in a small group than in any
other setting. One of the roles of a team leader is to tap that potential

   There are several key ingredients that the leader needs to incorporate
into his own team leadership skills and there are skills he needs to help
develop in the life of the individuals on the team.

A. Individual Needs

   First, a team leader needs to understand the needs of the individuals and
try to create an environment where those needs are met. Here are some of the
crucial needs.

To be known as a person ... not just as a team member. 
To be needed ... to be respected.
To be involved ... give input. 
To understand the mission of the team ... and his or her role in that
To have an ear to the top ... to have someone to go to in difficult times. 

                               (From Leadership is an Art, Max Dupree)

Thought Questions: With each of the above, what are the consequences if that
need is not met? What are the benefits for the team when that need is met?
What specific needs do your team members have that the team could help meet?
How could they do that?

B. Group Needs

   Second, a team leader needs to understand the need for and develop
Community and Connection. The leader cannot force relational connectedness or
the warmth that is present in a group that has community, but he needs to
create an atmosphere where those elements can be present and flourish.

Community: The relational/social glue of the group that gives energy to the
group and motivates individuals to be actively involved in each other's lives
and committed personally to the success of the group.

Connection: A leader "connects" with individuals in the group when he is
effective at building relationships, meeting needs and encouraging
life-change. Each individual feels connected when he knows the leader
genuinely cares about him or her as a person, not just as a team member.

Thought Questions: What does a group with an absence of community and
connection look like? What are the consequences of not developing community
on your team? What barriers does your team face to being more unified as a

II. Developing Community on Your Team

   How does the leader develop community? He needs to help his team members
do two things. First, he needs to help them grow in their friendship skills.
Second, he can help them develop effective conflict resolution skills.

A. Friendship Skills

   Thriving relationships require trust, mutual sacrifice, commitment to
truth, and willingness to believe the best about one another.  To believe the
best about a friend, you must chose to trust your friend's intentions when
actions or communication are confusing.  You give them the benefit of the
doubt, allowing them to be "innocent until proven guilty."  The choice to
believe the best about one another protects your friendship from bad moods,
and from gossip.  Mutual sacrifice is serving, choosing to give up time or
another resource to meet the need of a friend.  Trust is the willingness to
be vulnerable with another person.  Trusting another is a process that begins
with the question, " Is this person trustworthy or safe?" and continues
through various levels of self revelation.  Finally, commitment to truth is
necessary for both partners.  It is the foundation of all actual
communication, the arbiter of disputes, and the guide book for acceptable
self statement and activity.

Healthy Self Concept


Accepts others


Listens well

Effective conversationally

Wants to know and be known

Genuine and Real

Connects easily with others

Discuss: How do we help people develop these friendship skills?

B. Conflict Resolution

   The skill of conflict resolution, when properly and consistently applied,
will remove barriers to the kind of bonding and connecting that is needed to
build strong relationships and community on the team. The goal for a team is
not "the absence of all conflict". A healthy team works through conflict
properly and becomes relationally stronger as a result.

Email us at

Agape International Training
1225 California Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93304
(661) 861-1043

(C) 1997

101+ great coaching ideas(I bet you come away with 10 you can use right NOW!)
1. Have a jump-ball play. (Make the opposing coach start coaching from the beginning.)
2. Your first possession should go inside. (Try to get the opposing big man in foul trouble early.)
3. Zone all baseline out-of-bounds.
4. Take a timeout after three straight scores by an opponent.
5. Get to the bonus first.
6. Don't foul. 
7. Make as many free throws as your opponent's attempt.
8. If a player gets his second foul in the first quarter, sub him, and bring him back with 6 min. to go in the second quarter.
9. 45 sec. or less hold for the last shot of the quarter.
10. Change defenses every timeout.
11. Have 3 CARDINAL RULES on offense and on defense that match your philosophy.
12. Have a set play on every opponent's score. (Assure yourself of a great shot.)
13. On made field goals use a soft press.
14. On missed field goals match up man-to-man full-court.
15. On any violation use a 1-3-1 trap.
16. On made free throws 1-2-1-1 press.
17. On missed free throws 2-2-1 press.
18. Know opponent's post player's preferred shoulder.
19. Know opponent's guard's weak hand.
20. Know opponent's offensive tendencies.
21. Know opponent's defensive weaknesses.
22. Come out of a timeout running a play.
23. When playing great guards use junk defenses or extension zones. (Examples would be a 1-3-1 extended, 2-1-2 strong side combination,  or a box-and-1)
24. When playing against great big man use a diamond-and-1, sagging man , or zone.
25. Show man play zone and vice-versa. (Make the opposing team think it makes them slow.)
26. When playing a crazy team, play conservative; do not extend the floor. Make sure to walk the ball up the floor.
27. Be inside oriented. You can do this with post-ups, drives, passing and cutting, offensive rebounds and pick and roll.
28. Look to get multiples in the steal and lay-up department. Man who makes the lay-up pressures the ball.
29. When playing a team that sends five to the offensive glass, send a cherry picker deep.
30. Use a match-up zone to confuse opponents.
31. Swing the ball with a purpose on offense. Don't just whip the ball around and go nowhere.
32. Clear out against man-to-man pressure and against a run and jump. You may want to have a big man bring the ball up the floor.
33. Your set plays should be for: 1. Lay-ups 2. Jumpers 3. Backdoors 4. Drives
34. Have conditions of play. They serve as a traffic light. You gain the ability to control situations without a timeout. 1. Red - Danger, must increase tempo, in trouble 2. White - Normal style of play (your philosophy) 3. Blue - Blue skies everything is fine, no fouls no 3's, limit to one shot 
35. During timeouts keep it simple. Mention 1 offensive idea and 2 defensive ideas at the most.
36. Chart the games within the game. 1. Score first in each quarter. 2. Timeout situations, do we score or do they? 3. Do we effectively score on offensive out-of-bounds plays and do we defend them effectively.
37. Have designated spot ups for players and situations and work on them during practice.
38. Have an organized offensive rebounding system.
39. Rebound, REBound, REBOUND!!!
40. On all defensive rebounding situations for free throws have 5 guys on the line.
41. During offensive free throws have at least two guys back.
42. Tip out all offensive rebounds when you can't get two hands on the ball.
43. Have a saving location. Everyone on your team should know that if someone jumps out-of-bounds that they are going to save the ball to the same spot.
44. Look to find and utilize mismatches.
45. Sub and change strategy on free throw situations.
46. If you are below average play only 7 players, if you are average play 8 players, if you are above average play nine, and if you are outstanding play 10. 47. Know how to play at three speeds, slow, medium and fast.
48. Have 2-3 control games.
49. Develop a balanced offense.
50. 3-point shots should come after post entry.
51. Early in the season institute a 6-pass rule
52. Look to bomb twice a game on opponents made field goals.
53. Have a FREAK defense.
54. Use fouls at the end of a ball game to stop clock and lengthen the game.
55. Have offensive and defensive subs at the end of the ball game.
56. Huddle on all free throws.
57. Save all great set plays for the end of the game.
58. Develop a hierarchy of scorers.
59. Develop a spark plug or sixth man. (Have a man for instant offense and instant defense.)
60. Your Point Guard. should be coaching on all dead ball situations.
61. Use non-verbal communication.
62. Listen to your players. (Your learning should never stop)
63. No technical fouls. Leave the refs alone and coach your kids.
64. Always be thinking ahead.
65. Play possession by possession; always make the quarters like CBA games. (This can also be charted as games within the game.)
66. Foul hard on drivers and post players early in the game to set the tone.
67. Be physical, bump cutters, screen hard, go hard through screens, always box out, take charges and dive for loose balls.
68. When defending a star: 1. Deny him the ball 2. Trap him occasionally to make him give up the ball. 3. Be physical and attack him on offense 4. Make him run through a lot of screens 5. Try to draw charges.
69. Be positive tough and challenging with your team.
70. Do not be afraid of your players.
71. Whenever you are up or down big at the end of a ball game, do not stop coaching.
72. Always practice game ending situations.
73. Give your team a chance to win every night, no matter what the style.
74. No talking before the game, make things tense.
75. Save the Knute Rockne stuff for the big games when you really need it.
76. Anytime a teammate is subbed he should exchange a towel and tell his teammate who he is guarding. (The bench should also rise and clap.)
77. Have a bench captain.
78. At halftime talk about these things: 1. Shooting % 2. Rebound totals 3. Turnovers 4. Trips to the foul line 5. Adjustments 6. Deflections
79. Three most important times of a ball game are: 1. First 2 minutes of the game 2. Last 2 minutes of the half 3. First 2 minutes of the 3rd quarter
80. Know opponent's poor foul shooters.
81. Know your poor foul shooters.
82. Know the floor conditions and the basket conditions.
83. When you're an obvious underdog shorten the game as much as possible.
84. Know the opposing coaches strengths and weaknesses.
85. Have a 4-minute 4th quarter plan.
86. Have a 2-minute 4th quarter plan.
87. Your post scorer should get a touch every time in half court offense.
88. Have your assistants watch the weak side on offense and defense.
89. Use a soft press to control tempo.
90. Use a shot chart during the game.
91. Do not give up lay-ups.
92. Force opponents out of zones when you're ahead.
93. Games are won or lost in mini-runs. 6-0, 6-2, 4-0. Understand these runs and they lead to major runs.
94. Remember this is just a game.
95. Keep it fun for the kids. Get them to work hard and understand the effort needed but stress the essential ingredient-fun! 96. Practice free throw. situations offensively and defensively.
97. Spend 15 min. daily on pressure offense. 5 min. against full court zone press. 5 min against 3/4 court zone press. 5 min. against half court trapping defense.
98. Have one assistant on the bench in charge of match-up's.
99. When you have fouls to give in the 4th quarter, foul to run down the clock.
100. Special Situations: 1. Up 3 and lees than eight seconds remaining. Foul. Trust your player's ability to defense rebound all free throws. Practice this. 2. Anytime it is a 2-possession game, look to score with a quick 2. Attack the rim, they do not want to foul. Then follow with a quick timeout. 3. When up or down in the last 2-min. switch all screens. When tied play it within your philosophy. 4. On the road, down by 2. Best two offensive scorers are on the bench. Go for the win.
101. Chart your opponent's last 3 games and take away all their shooting locations.

Attitudes Are More Important Than Facts
               12 step program for a good attitude!
Read these twelve points every day for the next thirty days and see how your life changes
1. It is your attitude at the beginning of a task that more than anything else determines your success or failure.   2. It is your attitude towards life that will determine life's attitude  towards you. Despite many people's belief to the contrary, life pays no  favorites. 
3. You control your attitude. If you are negative it is because you have  decided to be negative and not because of other people orcircumstances. 
4. Act as if you have a good attitude. Remember actions trigger feelings  just as feelings trigger actions. 
5. Before a person can achieve the kind of results he wants, he must  first become that person. He must then think, walk, talk, act and  conduct himself in all of his affairs, as would the person he wishes to  become. 
6. Treat everybody as the most important person in the world. 
7. Attitudes are based on assumptions. In order to change attitudes one  must first change one's assumptions.
8. Develop the attitude that there are more reasons why you should  succeed than reasons why you should fail. 
9. When you are faced with a problem, adopt the attitude that you can  and will solve it. 
10. We become what we think about. Control your thoughts and you will  control your life. 
11. Radiate the attitude of confidence, of well being, of a person who  knows where he is going. You will then find good things happening to you  right away. 
12. In order to develop a good attitude, take charge first thing in the  morning. Do you say, "Good morning, Lord" or "Good Lord,  morning?"

The Role of the Substitute-- article written by Jan Lahodny, CWB, 1990
A player who shows envy or jealousy toward the starting five or those in the limelight with long press clippings is often judged to have a poor attitude. In truth, however, envy and jealousy are feelings, and feelings are neither good nor bad. It is how a player handles her feelings that determines whether she is team-oriented.
Not wanting to sit on the bench is perfectly acceptable. If a player has given everything she's got, and it's not good enough to be a starter, she has two choices: She can quit the team and take on another challenging project, or she can accept the role of being a substitute, knowing that she will have opportunities to greatly contribute to her team's success. She may never make the headlines, but she can find satisfaction in knowing that her coach and teammates appreciate the difficulty of the role she has chosen to master.
Even the eighth player on the team usually gets a lot of playing time, so it is important that nonstarters are ready both physically and mentally to enter a game knowing that they will not hinder -- and may on occasion even enhance -- the team's performance. The greatest compliment a coach can receive about substitutes is, "Your bench is so strong that I couldn't tell any difference when you substituted."
A substitute must learn to take satisfaction in performing steadily and reliably each time she steps on the floor. That should be her goal, rather than dreaming about an unbelievable, Walter Mitty-type performance. The opportunity to be such a hero may never appear leaving her disappointed. More emphasis should be on setting achievable goals. A high school substitute receiving substantial playing time should aim to be the best sixth player in the state.
What goals should the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th players set? The greatest contribution that these players can make is giving 100% effort in practice. A team can only be as good as the players they practice against. If the starters were to practice daily against a group that had no pride and was not giving it their best shot, they'd have a tough time improving. But if they have to scratch and fight every day to beat the subs, they'll improve easily.
Our 1979 state championship team had a group of substitutes that epitomized how the role of the substitute should be approached. After scrimmages I make the losers run; I try to even the odds by giving the second team a 6- or 8-point advantage at the beginning of each quarter. Well, these substitutes not only never grumbled about playing against the strongest players -- they were insulted toward the end of the season if I gave them more than a 4-point advantage!
They practiced so well that they platooned nearly every game. The second five was guaranteed 6 minutes of playing time each second quarter. In the regional finals they replaced a faltering starting five and gave us a 6-point lead at the half. We won by 1-point in double-overtime. How important a role the subs played that day!
An achievable goal for the substitute seeing little playing time would be to give her all in practice every day to improve the starting five. To do this she must prepare herself mentally and physically just as the starters do and understand that she has an integral part in improving the team by doing her part in practice.
Again, how a substitute handles any feelings of jealousy or disappointment determines her attitude and her team spirit. A subsitute should never
* start or listen to gossip that alienates the team against another team member
* sulk or act disinterested while on the bench
* put a damper on everyone's spirits after a game because she didn't play, or
* grumble about having to practice with the weaker players (the starting five need to stick together for timing and cohesiveness).
The role of the substitute is difficult to master, but its rewards are worthy of the effort

You don't care if you are the one who sets the screen or the one who hits the winning three, because fulfilling your role, whatever that role is, is most important.
You have a desire to excel for the benefit of those relying on you.
You have an unquenchable need to exceed your past limitations.
You play without the option of defeats.
You play and know, without a doubt, that you competed like a champion.
You understand your commitment to your teammates.
You understand that basketball is a team sport.
You finish playing and only your body leaves the floor your heart and soul are captured within the game.
You will exchange your blood, sweat, and tears for the benefit of the team.
You understand the irrelevance of individual awards.
You would rather encourage a teammate to success than benefit personally from his mistakes.
Your respect for the game outweighs your personal pride.
You make mistakes and use them to improve instead of using them as  excuses.
Your ability to make your teammates better increases each time you play.
You do the little things right when nobody is watching.
You serve your teammates with unselfish motives.
You understand your role and strive to perform it better.
You have done all you can and still feel you haven't done enough.
You play with pain without creating a scene.
You give more than what is asked and take less than what is deserved.
Your effort is constant and your play is consistent regardless of the situation.
You think you can, and you do. 
Creating Confident and Coachable Players (Part I)
Rinse, and Repeat : 5 R's of Creating Confident and Coachable Players (Part II)
One Play at a Time : Creating Confident and Coachable Players (Part III)
"Magical" Steps to Creating Confident and Coachable Players (Part IV)
Dare To Be Your Best!
Dare To Be Your Best...In The Classroom and In Life
Part I: Development of a Coaching Philosophy - "Beginnings"
Part 2: Development of a Coaching Philosophy - "Manifesto to Mantra"
Part 3: Development of a Coaching Philosophy - "Achieving the Vision"
The Servant-Coach
Maintain Good Sportsmanship in Youth & High School Sports Using "Mismatch Etiquette" PART 1
Maintain Good Sportsmanship in Youth & High School Sports Using "Mismatch Etiquette" PART 2
The Role of the Spectator: Class is for Everyone
Tips for Coach-Dads (and Coach-Moms)
Coach-Dads (and Coach-Moms): The Time of Your Lives
Create An All-Star Experience
Hey Now, You're an All Star
(Team) Moms make the (youth sports) world go 'round(Team) Moms make the (youth sports) world go 'round

Basketball is like Money
The game plan is similar to preparing a budget where expenses and income are planned, only in basketball the idea is to accumulate points instead of dollars. Lets assume a free throw is worth $1, a field goal $2 and a three point basket $3, and we get paid every time we make a shot. Lets also pick a standard to strive for, like we want to make $1 every time we have the ball. Is that possible? Sure. In an average high school game, each team has the ball about 80 times. Each team will take about 60 shots (remember to account for turnovers and offensive rebounds). If we hit 33% of the threes, 60% of the twos and about 75% of the free throws, we'll end up with about 80 points, or a buck a possession. Here's a sample table to demonstrate the factors.
Recordable ActionQtyPctPtsComments
Possessions          80
Offensive Rebounds   10               Gains a shot
Turnovers            15               Costs a shot
3pt shots              12    33%12
2pt Shots              48   60% 58
Tot FG%                    55%
Free Throws        15    75%75
Now we can calculate values for many of the things players do to help their team win. Just grabbed a defensive rebound? That's like a dollar in the bank we can go invest in a shot attempt. Knowing that possession has a value, are we going to waste it on a high risk shot or a lazy pass?
Got fouled and going to the line for two shots? Expected value is $1.50 (two chances at a dollar x 75% probability). If you need to foul the other team at the end of the game, these values are very important because each time you foul them, they get points. They might miss a 1:1 the first time but make both shots the next time. In the long run they will get their 75 cents per free throw. That means that if you must overcome a 6 point lead, you better start fouling early because each possession you are exchanging 75 cents for them on the free throws for a dollar at your end (assuming you're making at least 60% of your twos and 33% of your threes!). As the game winds down, the situation is much more desperate. The losing team is soon into a situation where they must make all their remaining shots and the winning team must miss most of their free throws in order for the trailing team to prevail. Its like a gambler who is losing at roulette finally placing all his remaining money on his favorite number and hoping he hits the long shot, then turning around and doing it again just to get even. Its possible he'll luck out, but not likely.
It is important for the players to feel that possession of the basketball has a value. The player with the ball is the caretaker and has a special responsibility to the team. Everyone on the team is let down if the ball is carelessly turned over to the opponent. Everyone on the team has made an investment in that possession by working hard on defense, getting a rebound, making a steal.

Main factors to consider are scoring pace and foul frequency. If you have a 30 point game, that 7 point margin is very significant, versus an 80 pointgame. Penetration drives are good IF you're getting the calls and your kids are taking reasonable shots. If they are driving in and throwing up junk,you have no offense.Which risk is the best? Depends on your team's strengths. If you can only hit 10% of your threes, your odds are pretty bad at winning with threes. If
your opponent hits 75% of their free throws, you're not going to catch up by fouling. In any case, though, don't let precious time slip away. In thesituation you described (-7 pts) I would try to force a run with 3-4 minutes left. Might end up losing by more than 7, but chances are we'd lose anyway. At least if things went right we might have time to get the ball and the lead in the closing seconds.

Steve Jordan
Coach's Notebook

Zig Ziglar On Motivation

The word motivation is often confused with manipulation. Motivation occurs when you persuade others to take an action in their own best interests. Things such as people preparing their homework, accepting responsibility for their
performance, and finishing their education are the results of motivation. Manipulation is persuading others to take an
action that is primarily for your benefit.Things such as selling an inferior product at an inflated price and working people overtime with no extra pay are examples of manipulation.Manipulation self-destructs the individual doing the
manipulating. Word gets out on manipulators, and people grow less and less likely to respond in a positive manner to
their manipulation. Productivity declines. Leadership occurs when you persuade a person to take an action that is in your mutual best interests...Comparing motivation to manipulation is like comparing kindness to deceit. The difference is the intent of the person. Motivation will cause people to act out of free choice and desire, while manipulation often results in forced compliance. One is ethical and long lasting; the other is unethical and temporary...Leaders and motivators are winners; manipulators are losers who produce resentment and discord. Become a motivator, lead your people, and don't manipulate them.

Zig Ziglar offers a free weekly newsletter filled with more of his inspiring stories as well as practical ideas to help
you in the areas of sales, marketing, customer service, and related topics. You can subscribe to the Zig Ziglar
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Action Steps for True Champions
1. Pray and read your Bible. This will give your life peace and direction.

2. Attend church regularly. Going to church motivates and energizes you to serve the Lord, and to live your life according to the scriptures.

3. Act like a Winner. I can't stress enough the importance of handling yourself at all times with class and integrity, especially in the tough times that truly test everyone and usually bring out our worst instincts.

4. Always be positive. Positive people can take on the world.

5. Be committed to hard work. Hard work is not always fun, but it's the price you must pay to be more successful. The harder you work, the tougher it is to surrender.

6. Be nice. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

7. Avoid having to be right all the time. Your goal is to connect with people, not defeat.

8. Be committed to doing things the right way. Remember that perfect practice makes perfect.

9. Smile! In every culture it is the light in your window that tells people there's a caring, sharing individual inside.

10. Learn to stay relaxed and friendly no matter how much tension you're under.

11. Write down your goals and review them often. When you fail to plan, you are planning to fail by default.

12. Focus all your attention and energy on the achievement of your goals.

13. Don't put things off. Get in the habit every day of doing the more unpleasant things first... If you tell someone you're going to do something, then do it.

14. Eliminate the word quit from your vocabulary. If you want to be successful over the long haul, you must be willing to stay the course... People, who won't quit, don't.

15. Learn from your mistakes. There are four things you should do with a mistake: 1) recognize it, 2) admit it, 3) learn from it, 4) forget it.

16. Be able to admit your weaknesses and establish short-term goals to overcome them.

17. Dress and look your best at all times.

18. Respond with a simple, courteous "thank you" when anyone pays you a compliment for any reason.

19. Volunteer your name first in every telephone call and whenever you meet someone new.

20. Walk more erectly and confident in public with a relaxed but more rapid pace.

21. Sit up front in the most prominent rows when you attend class, meetings, etc.

22. Replace the word "can't" with "can," and "try" with "will" in your vocabulary.

23. Be on time. Always try to be at least ten minutes early.

24. Thrive on pressure. The more you prepare the better able you are to handle pressurized situations. Pressure often brings out extraordinary results.

25. Develop a study routine. Discipline yourself to study 1 to 2 hours a night. Your grades reflect how much time you are willing to study.

Teaching Shooting "FUN"damentals by Alan Lambert Professional Coach President of The Basketball Highway
Learning basketball fundementals and developing a successful shot should be fun! However, in most of my personal experiences growing up as a player, and in working with countless young players, it is far from a joyous experience. This months feature clinic is to provide you, the coach or player, with some basic concepts which I believe can significantly help you to teach shooting, or develop a better shot for yourself. Aside from learning the basic shooting fundamentals, there are two points which you should always consider when beginning to learn a shot, or if you want to change your shooting technique. The most important point is the level or goal of playing and knowing what skills are required of that level (e.g., youth, high school, university, or professional).
What Are Your Goals? Whether you are a good high school player with a consistent shot, or even a professional player with a very consistent shot, but slightly poor technique, the minute you begin to change that technique, you will enter a "re-learning" period which can bring down your confidence, and will require a "substantial amount of practice of the new and correct technique" to re-aquire the skill level and success you had with your old shooting technique. I would only recommend changing a modestly successful technique if you are high motivated, can spend a substantial amount of time practicing at high intensity and repetitions, and have the confidence and understanding to maintain the goal to change while you are experiencing less success in shooting. 
How Much Will I Have To Practice?  The second point is to recognize how "much" practice it will take to develop the correct technique. Although the figure is somewhat arbitrary, I have been told that it takes approximately 200,000 "correct" repetitions to learn a basketball skill to a high level. So how much is that. Well figuring we could "correctly" practice 200 shots per 1 hour training session (which is at a pretty good clip), we could get in 600 hundred per week, 2400 per month, or 28,800 per year. At this rate we would develop a highly successful shot in 10 years. In reality, players such as Larry Bird, or Mark Price probably shot more like 500 hundred shots or more per day. This would be about two and a half hours of shooting per day. If we had practiced 500 perfect shots per day every other day, for year, we would reach 72,000 repetitions. At this rate it would take 3 years. By practicing every day we might achieve 200,000 in one to two years. I teach all my young players this to get them to realistically see how much work and commitment is involved in developing "professional level" skills. While coaching overseas I had the opportunity to work with a large number of youth all-star players who had the goal of becoming professional players. We would work a minimum 3 of individual practice sessions per week, outside of team practice, focusing primarily on basic basketball skills, such as shooting, dribbling, and footwork. One young player said he was highly motivated to be a "pro". He was a good athlete but had very poor shot technque and was not very realistic. I had him count backwards from 200,000 starting on the first day, and only allowed him to substract a shot when the technique was perfect. Within 5 or 6 practices days he was ready to give up. Now I don't recommend having your players count all their shots, but this does quickly illustrate probably the most important factor in developing and teaching shooting. IT TAKES TIME, and LOTS OF PERFECT PRACTICE. Remember that practice doesn't make perfect, PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. There are numerous books and videos on shooting, including the more notable by Steve Alford which has been widely recognized as one of the best. I want to give you today some very basic tips to help you focus on what's important and attempt to make learning the jump shot "FUN".  THE 3 "C's" of SHOOTING Years ago while coaching I had the pleasure to hear Carol Blazejowksi, (now working for the NBA), a former Women's All-American and truly one of the greatest shooters, men or women, to ever play the game. Carol said the "there are three C's to shooting".  The first is Consistency. This means shooting the same shot every single time under all circumstances and conditions. I tell my players you must have the same starting point and finishing point. The starting point is what I call the "ready-shoot" position, and the finish point is the last follow through point for the forefinger of the shooting hand (usually the front of the rim, or the middle for some players). If your technique varies, so will your results.  Secondly, shooting is Concentration. Most players will tell you they concentrate. However I test them. I simply ask them to tell me "where there follow-up point is on each shot". Even the greatest of shooters, may loose concentration once in a while and not be able to tell you. But the best pure shooters, almost without exception, can tell you "my finger was a inch to the right of center, or slightly left and short". This is how the coach can tell if a player has concentration when shooting. I have been able to help numerous players in game situations to correct an inconsistent shot, by simply asking them "where is your follow-through point.....exactly?" You'd be really surprised how many players can't tell you.  The third C of shooting is Confidence. This comes from practice...lots of practice....lots of perfect practice. If you get my point. Practice alone doesn't develop a great shot, because "learning is indifferent to direction". You can learn the wrong techique just as easily as you learn the right one. You can only imagine how quickly you'll get to that 200,000 perfect repetitions if your player practice one correctly, one incorrectly...and so forth. However with patience, and lots of perfect practice you will be able to assist you players in gradually rising through the various levels of learning until the skill becomes "automatic".
The Ready-Shoot Position The basic position is feet approximately shoulder width apart, with your weight evenly distributed, balanced on your "toes". The body is flexed at the knees and the waist, as if sitting on a stool. The ball rests on the finger tips (not the palm of the hand), with the wrist bent back 90 degrees, and the elbow bent up 90 degrees. The elbow of the shooting hand should always be pointing directly at the basket, and the heal of the hand should be parallel to the front of the rim. Always begin each shot on balance, which is a very simple concept but probably the most violated of all the basic shooting fundamentals even at the professional level. I was guess that the majority of missed shots are not from poor technique but rather poor balance. Always correct your balance before initiating a jump shot. As previously mentioned your body should be flexed. What is most important is that you have energy in the legs. I tell some young players to "stand on their toes as if they were standing on the end of a 3 meter diving board getting ready to do a double somersault". Many players have difficulty with their shooting rhythm because they inconsistently put different amounts of energy into their legs (or more commonly no energy). This is especially true after making a quick stop, where the player lets all the kinetic energy dissapate into the court. You can practice keeping energy in your legs by sprint dribbling into a jump stop and varying time between setting the ball in the "ready-shoot position" and the start of the jump and release. This should only be done after a player has learned the basic technique and if confident in making the shot with one rhythm. Your eyes should always be on the basket. There are many studies in sport science which point to very poor accuracy when a target must be quickly acquired by a moving head or eyes. The great shooters see the basket all the time. Of course if you can't dribble with your head're going to have a tough time keeping your eyes on the target. The Ready-Shoot Position & The Motion The "ready shoot position" is the body being in the previously described position, and with energy in the legs. The ball is normally held in the shooting hand relatively high just off the forehead. The thumb of the shooting hand should be pointing almost directly at the same side eye. When beginning the shot, jump straight up, in one explosive motion beginning with the energy in your toes and extending that energy up through your fingertips like the "action of a wave breaking on the shore". The speed of the jump would be more comparable to the force of a cork coming out of a champaign bottle, although this must be a smooth rhythm from the toes through the finger tip. Hold your follow-through point high and straight at the target, every single time. This is the most important point in becoming a great shooter.  Release the ball near the top of your jump, and "pose for the cameras at least one second". This will assure you of not pulling your hand back, or what is sometimes called "short-arming" the shot. 
What Shots to Practice
1. Practice the shots that are required of your position.
2. Practice shots from a stationary position first, then proceed to shot shots off of the pass.
3. Finally practice shots off of the dribble (both from the left and right hand dribble), remembering to make the last dribble a hard one (called a kick dribble) to assist you in setting the ball quickly to the "ready-shoot" position.  Many players are poorer shooters off the dribble because they simply set the ball an inch or so lower without ever realizing they are doing it. This can and should be practiced. The player will tell you the shot feels exactly the same, but they are consistently on the front of the rim. They are likely setting the ball slightly lower, even though the muscle action is exactly the same, hence the feeling that the shot should be alright, but results in a miss. Have them concentrate on bringing the ball off the dribble to the same "ready-shoot position" they do from the pass. It also helps to stay compact on the jump stop off the dribble. This helps provide a little more energy for the jump, and requires that the shooter move the ball less distance in reaching the "ready-shoot position". 
4. Practice shots facing or squaring up to the basket after receiving a pass in a position where your player is not facing the basket. 
5. Practice free throws with the same technique, energy in the legs, but with the upper body relaxed and not too tense. Always try to practice your free throws when you are fatigued.
How Should I Practice?
1. Always begin each practice with lay-ups and shots very close to the basket. For some reason young players seem to think they will be better shooters by warming up with NBA 3 pointers. Shooting close allows your body and legs to warm up, and eliminates strength problems which can cause a player to alter their "perfect technique". Shooting close at the beginning also builds Confidence. I like my players to try to make their first 10 shots. In order to do this you must be close.
2. After warming up with about 50 shots within 3-6 feet, then extend the range to 10 feet. After making a set number of consecutive shots with "perfect technique", then move back another 3 feet. Three point shots should only be practiced after a considerable amount of time have been spent practicing close to the basket. After shooting the jump shot, move back in a little and work on shooting from the pass. If you don't have a partner, spin the ball backward to yourself. Following the pass work on shooting off the dribble. You can break up sets of shots by shooting free throws.
3. Always practicing shooting with your "game concentration on". I can't count the number of players I have had who want to socialize with their teammates while shooting. This isn't shooting practice. In most cases sloppy techniques begin to creap into their form, and they must spend a week or two working the kinks out of their shooting rhythm to correct what shouldn't have occured in the first place. 
4. Always leave the court by making your last 10 shots. 
What Do You Do When You Experience A Slump!
1. Move one step closer to the basket, and practice your shot until you are again Consistent, Concentrated, and Confident.
2. When in doubt, practice the "ready-shoot" technique and drill to regain your shooting rhythm.
3. practice easy shots to gain confidence and when you have perfected a given shot, then and only then increase your distance or shot difficulty. Violating this rule causes most players an undue amount of grief.
4.Study your own shot if you are a player. You should be able to correct yourself. Get your coach or a friend to videotape you and compare yourself to some of the great shooters. If you have tape of yourself when you are shooting well, compare the two.
5. Most of all, remember that even the best shooters experience slumps, and only by returning to the basics and "practicing countless hours" can they regain their Consistency, Concentration, and Confidence.
How Do I Correct My Shot?
Simply practice "ready-shoot postion with energy in your legs, and always finish with a high and straight follow through. Now I'll probably have a hundred coaches email me and say this is an oversimplification, but this have actually been my philosophy on correcting the shot over the last 10 years or more. After having spent hundreds of hours telling players what they're doing wrong, and eventually leading them into skill "paralysis by analysis" I came to the conclusion that the simpliest and most effective way to correct a shot, is for the shooter to correct themselves. If the player has thoroughly "automated" the ready-shoot position, then they can self-correct themselves by focusing on the ready-shoot postion, with energy and rhythm, and conclude with a high and straight follow-through. They are reproducing the same shot they have practiced 200,000 times or more. There is little need to say elbow in, hand this way, more extension, etc. Shooting should be fun. By using some of these basic principles you can do a lot toward helping your players learn good shooting "FUN"damental.   *The Ready-Shoot drill is a basic drill in which the coach passes the ball to a player and says "ready" (meaning the ball is set in the ready to shoot position), and then calls "shoot", at which point the player jumps and releases the shot. There are many variations of this drill to help a player develop consistent shooting technique, including changing the shooters rhythm by changing the timing between the "ready" and the "shoot" commands. The idea behind saying "ready-shoot" is that the shooter eventually hears the words subliminally and over a long period time learns to "hear this internal rhythm" and even correct themselves without a coach present. The ready become "attached in the players memory to the set position", and the shoot, to the concentration and energy required at the start of the jump.

Motion Offense Basics
From: Lason Perkins-Date: 2/14/97

I wanted to share some basic ideas regarding motion and teaching it.

There are many forms of motion offense used by teams across the world. You have the passing and screening type of offense used by teams like Duke and Indiana, a passing and cutting type motion used by UNC and Kansas, a structured motion used by Virginia Tech and an open post motion used by Cincinnati. All of these offenses have a few
things in common.
1. You must read the defense
2. You must pass away from the defense
3. Constant movement and/or screening
4. Good screens and cuts
5. Ball reversals-move ball from side to side
6. Patience

Depending on your level of talent will determine how loose or structured you will want your offense to be.

Here is a simplified motion offense

Motion Principles :

1. If ball is on top, screen down or back screen on each side of the floor
2. If ball is on wing, screen away.
3. Catch and hold the ball for a 2 count
4. Post players post for a 2 count, then go away to screen
5. Use the three point arc for spacing
6. Use the V-cut to get open
7. If overplayed-go backdoor or go screen for someone
8. If defense switches, screener ALWAYS steps back toward the ball.
9. Screeners give a visual signal (fist in the air) and a verbal call that they are screening.
10. Offense must talk to each other.
11. Pass away from the defense
12. Move the ball
13. Dont stand-cut or go screen for someone
14. Be patient-be quick, but don't hurry
15. Use the dribble to improve pass angle, drive to basket or get out of trouble.
2 on 2 on one side of the floor: Work on screening and cutting.
3 on 3 Perimeter: Work on cutting-screening-balancing the floor
2-2 Post Play: Work on post screens and reads
5-5 Restrictions: Have to have number of passes before shot, number of ball reversals before shooting This drill forces the offense to move and make the defense work
4-4 (2 post-2 wings): Work on screening and post feeds. Coach at top of key with ball: Screen down or back screen

As a coach, you have to stress shot selection in all drills. Your players must know what type of shot YOU want in your offense, not what THEY think is a good shot. There are many ways to run motion as you can see.

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