What It Takes To Be A Coach (Part I): Coaching The Team

In covering some of the core aspects of what it takes to be a coach, the details of the plan do and should vary from coach to coach. As such, we write largely in generalities and principles. Specifics of the plan concern us less than simply ensuring that candidates have studied enough about the game and the profession to have a developed plan that covers the core aspects of what it takes to run a successful college basketball program. In our view, it’s far better for a head coach to make adjustments to a plan on the fly than to conceive of and develop a plan on the fly.

Coaching the Team
A team’s core fundamental habits and overall basketball comprehension largely decide its future.

A. Accountability
The team members will form their habits based on the head coach’s level of tolerance; in other words, the team’s habits will become what the head coach allows them to become, and consistent accountability creates good habits.

B. Mentality
Great coaches teach mentality to their players, and great teams have a mentality of: toughness, togetherness, unselfishness, competitiveness, resiliency, confidence, and relentlessness, just to name a few. Head coaching candidates should have a plan to develop a championship mentality.

C. Motivation
Great coaches inspire their teams to overachieve, but great coaches also understand that it’s easier and better simply to recruit self-motivated people.

D. Critical Team Execution and Basketball Comprehension Areas

1. Offense
a. General Offensive Philosophy

1. Style of Play
i. System Centered?
ii. Player Centered?
iii. A hybrid?

2. Pace of Play
i. Transition Based
ii. Half-Court Based
iii. A hybrid?

b. General Offensive Criteria
1. Ball Security
2. Shot Selection
3. Spacing and Cutting
4. Ball Movement/Ball Reversal
5. Post Play
6. Setting and Receiving Screens
7. Others?

c. Transition Offense
d. Half-Court Offense (versus different defenses)
e. In-Bounds Situations (from different in-bounds points, versus different defenses)
f. Versus Different Types of Full-Court Pressure
g. Late Shot Clock Situations (versus different defenses)
h. Late Game Situations (time and score, versus different defenses)
i. Free Throw Situations
j. Others?

2. Defense

a. General Defensive Principles
1. Defend without Fouling
2. Eliminate Opponent Transition Points
3. Eliminate Opponent Second-Chance Points
4. Eliminate Opponent Points in the Paint
5. Eliminate Opponent Uncontested Shots
6. Understand Proper Helpside Position, Vision, and Reaction
7. Communicate
8. Others?

b. Over-Arching Defensive Philosophy
1. Contain?
2. Pressure?
3. Hybrid?
4. Others?

c. Transition Defense

d. Half-Court Defense
1. Man to Man
2. Zone
3. Hybrid or “Junk” Defenses
4. Trapping Defenses
5. Defending Screens
6. Defending the Post
7. Others?

e. In-Bounds Situations (from different in-bounds points)

f. Applying Full Court Pressure
1. Straight Man Pressure
2. Situational Trapping Man Pressure
3. Zone Pressure
4. Hybrid Pressures
5. Others?

g. Late Shot Clock Situations (versus different opponents based on tendencies and personnel)

h. Late Game Situations (time and score, different defenses, versus different opponents based on tendencies and personnel)

i. Free Throw Situations

j. Others?

3. Rebounding
a. Offensive Rebounding
b. Defensive Rebounding
c. Preserving Balance for Defensive Transition
d. Other areas?

4. Opponent Preparation
a. Written Scouting Reports and/or Tests
1. Personnel Tendencies
2. Team Tendencies
3. Special Situations, etc

b. Video Scouting Reports
1. Personnel Tendencies
2. Team Tendencies
3. Special Situations, etc

c. On-Court Demonstrations (“walk-throughs”)
1. Personnel Tendencies
2. Team Tendencies
3. Special Situations, etc

4. Game Management
a. Player Substitutions
b. Clock/Timeout Management
c. Adjustments (between possessions, during a dead ball, during a timeout, or at halftime)
d. Other game management scenarios?

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