Retired Head Coach
DECISION MAKING WILL DETERMINE YOUR SUCCESS
IN BASKETBALL AND IN LIFE
Success or lack of success on the basketball
court or in society is the result of the
decisions we make.
We make thousands of decisions; many are
insignificant, some are life changing.
UW - Oshkosh
At UW-Oshkosh, we are a motion (‘flow’) offense program that invests a ton of time into teaching how to create advantages for each other, and then give space and react to those advantages. We create advantages through off-ball screening, cutting, ball-screens, and post touches. Here are a few of the drills that we use to teach off-ball screening and cutting.
Team Building while Running Sprints
As coaches, we all know the importance of getting our team in great physical shape. Running lines, or as some coaches call suicides, have been popular ways to condition. Sprints can be completed in a short period of time, which is beneficial to those of us who are limited on gym time. Each year we begin our season by trying to find a positive spin on executing the inevitable task of chasing air.
The Role I play in the Education Process
Most of you reading this are probably involved in athletics. I challenge you to think of all the characteristics that have made you successful in your life and then think about how you got those skills. When I think of mine, I think about competitiveness which I learned on pickup basketball courts throughout the state of NJ that if you lost you were going to wait a hell of a long time before you got back on the court.
Does Faith Increase Your Chance of Winning?
Everyone wants to argue who the Greatest of All-Time is. MJ or LeBron, Brady or Montana, Ruth or Bonds, Messi or Ronaldo, Tiger or Palmer, Ali or Sugar Ray, and the debates go on and on. Wayne Gretzky was nicknamed “The Great One”, his accomplishments stand him alone in hockey as the best ever. Some would say the same about Jordan or Brady, but the fact is everyone loves a winner. So how do you define a winner?
Former NBA Head Coach
Los Angeles Lakers
Teach the Basic Principals of the Passing Game
The essence of the passing game is to create ball and player movement with spacing. When you see that the offense is stagnant or that a play has broken down, you can initiate the passing game and cause the desired movement. The defense will make mistakes, if you put them in enough situations whereby they are required to move and make decisions. Instead of standing, find a way to create a defensive situation by cutting or screening is the main concept.
Upset City: A Look Back at the 2016-17 Season
2016-17 season was a great one for small hoops programs. Three small colleges were able to pull upsets against D1 programs. First, there’s legendary coach Rollie Massimino, who is famously remembered for leading Villanova to a National Championship against a Patrick Ewing manned Georgetown. Last season, the late coach Mass pushed his NAIA D2, Keiser University Seahawks past Drexel in October. Then in November, there was Tom Bird, of the University of Maine Fort Kent, who led his Bengals past the Black Bears of the University of Maine. At that time, the Bengals were solely affiliated with the USCAA. They have recently been accepted to the NAIA. Lastly, there was me and my small private Christian University. On December 16, 2016, my team and I were able to pull out a win against Reggie Theus’ Cal State Northridge Matadors. My name is Leo Balayon, head coach of the Bethesda University Flames. Let’s talk UPSET CITY!
The Pfeiffer University Offensive Philosophy
In the 2016-17 season Pfeiffer University averaged 104.3 points per game, which led NCAA Division I and II. We made a school record 409 three pointers (#2 in NCAA) at 39%, converted 1,112 field goals at 48%, averaged 18 assists per game, and led the country with a +10.4 turnover margin. We scored 100 or more points in a school record 19 games and went 18-1 in those games with our only loss to a very good UNC Wilmington team that went to the NCAA Division I Tournament with a 29-6 record.
Our offensive philosophy is based on simplicity. We do not call many set plays, but have a set way that we play. We focus on specific concepts and actions every day in practice that we apply to all offensive scenarios.
Letter to the World, by Scott Bittner
I can not sit by and not voice my positive experiences any longer.
My name is Scott Bittner and I am a college basketball coach. I like many people are unbelievably sad by the events that are going on in the world and in our country.
I sit here and wonder how people could be so ignorant and I point fingers and have my ideas of the origin of such ignorance but it finally occurred to me that I haven’t done anything to help.
What can I do ? The main thing I believe I can do is relate what great experiences and friendships I have with all different people.
Babson Closeout Blockout
We use this drill in several formats every day in practice. Combination drills allow us to work on several aspects of our base defense at once, in game-like situations. As more and more teams become adept at making open three point shots via drive and kick action it is imperative that our defensive players are committed to driving shooters off the arc in the context of long recovery closeouts.
In addition, we must instill a help the helper mentality by being in the “optimal” help position on the flight of the ball, not the catch.
Team Culture Wins the Locker Room
As coaches, we spend so much time on player evaluations, recruitment, practice preparation, scouting, film breakdown, etc. This is time consuming but also very necessary in order for your teams to be prepared and successful.
How much time do you spend creating team culture? I found this is the key element to winning on the court. I recently read a great book
“You Win the Locker Room First, the 7 C’s to Build a Winning Team in Business, Sports, and Life,” by Jon Gordon. This made me evaluate my own philosophy on the time I spend in my own program being proactive in efforts on creating sound team culture which I have phrased “Culture Expectations to a Successful Locker Room”. The longer I’m in coaching, the more I understand that without a positive team culture, you cannot expect to have a locker room full of players that are going to be successful.
Delta State University
Building and Maintaining A Winning Culture
The hottest buzz word among college basketball programs and sports organizations today is “Culture.” Much is made of building a Winning Culture, but not much is written or discussed on how to create such a Culture.
For 31 years, I have had the opportunity to lead and rebuild six different collegiate basketball programs. I have been fortunate to build and maintain winning cultures in a variety of settings: rural and urban, private and public, big and small spanning over four decades.
Through this time we have made mistakes, but we have also had a ton of success, and we have continued to develop and learn about Culture; how to build a winning culture, and even more importantly, how to maintain it. We continue to learn daily, as technology and society changes daily. In this article, it’s our hope to share with you, a few ideas regarding Culture that may prove to be helpful in your situation with your program and team.
University of Rio Grande
An unknown quantity: Assistant Coaches Often Overlooked
During my very busy and chaotic March, I noticed something wrong with our game. I have always stated, "If you are good to the game, the game will be good to you.” As I attended our NAIA DII National Championship Tournament, various high school and junior college tournaments, along with a couple of NBA games and the Final Four, I noticed something. I noticed something that concerns me and is something that should be addressed. Truly, the most underappreciated and least recognized group in our game is our assistant coaches. The lack of true recognition is really disheartening. In fact, at most tournaments the assistant coaches are not even introduced after winning district or regional championships.
In the Fight with Your Guys
I get the questions all the time, from officials, parents, fans – “Hey son, can you tell me where the Head Coach is?”, or “You’re the Head Coach? How old are you?” “C’mon man, you can’t be serious?” Sometimes I have to point to my wife and two young sons in the crowd to convince people that I’m not 18. I take it in stride, because I know I look like your average college basketball team manager. It’s all good. You play with the cards you’re dealt, right?
When I got my first head coaching job at Trinity International University in July 2014, I knew the deck was stacked against me. I was 28, and my wife and five-month old moved away from everything we knew: West Coast, family, a tight group of friends, our church – our entire community – to take a job just north of Chicago, where we knew approximately one person, at a school whose basketball program hadn’t been .500 since the 1990s and had won five games the previous season. There were several coaches in my new league that had been coaching longer than I had been alive, and multiple who have 500, 600, 700+ wins in their careers. I had zero wins. I had no recruiting ties in the Midwest, little time to sign any of my own recruits, and most importantly, no clue how to deal with snow. It was crazy. But my wife and I relied on our faith (Jeremiah 17:7-8, Psalm 139:5, Isaiah 26:3), each other, and our desire to live a life of adventure, and we jumped in the fight.
Necessary Traits Of A Full Court Pressing Team
Regardless of what type of press you may be using, I have found that the following traits are necessary to be an effective full court team. Becoming a full court pressing team not only requires certain rotations and fundamentals but just as importantly, a common mindset that is bought into by all of the players.
Former Head Coach
Effective Shooting Statistic
We have used the VPS for my entire 45 years of coaching at Oregon Tech. It was the original “moneyball” for basketball that I developed my first year of coaching. We have felt it was a very important part of our success during my coaching career. Statistics continue to be used on a wider scale. The last few years we started using the effective shooting statistic to compare us with our opponents and other teams in collegiate basketball.
Effective shooting is the statistic that adds 3-pointers to the overall shooting percentage. For example, if a player is 40 for 90 on the season overall and is 16-40 from the 3, his effective shooting would be 48-90 for a percentage of 53% or .533 .You are adding ½ field goal for each 3 made to the overall makes.
Former Head Coach
Goldey-Beacom College (DE) and Wilmington University (DE)
Why Yell at a Player?
Why would a coach ever yell at a player for doing something wrong or misinterpreting something, when it’s really the coaches fault for not coaching him or her up enough to understand things completely?
Maybe the coach is trying to cover up his or her inability to get their point across to the player. Unless the player willfully does something wrong, then it’s the coaches fault for not gaining the full trust of the player, then why scream and yell? We're all guilty of it and I may be talking from a fantasy world but isn’t it worth exploring for us all? Coaching players is no different from managing a sales team or a corporate team, every person learns a different way and a good coach communicates different ways of doing things to each based on their ability to pick things up (chalk board, shell drill, video, etc.). Everyone learns differently which may be why good assistant coaches with different styles are necessary.
of God (SAGU)
Winning with Less
The first time I spoke on this subject was at the Final Four in Houston in 2011. God had taken me on a journey from the low of being an unemployed assistant in 2006 to one of the highest mountaintops of my life winning the national championship as a head coach in 2009. After going 35-2 in 2009, we continued to win into the 2009-10 season extending our winning streak to a NAIA Division II record 39 games. An entire year without a loss after taking over an Oklahoma Wesleyan program that had suffered six straight 20 loss seasons definitely required a recipe of winning with less.
Three Steps to Winning the Rebounding Battle
Scott Spinner is the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Lindenwood University – Belleville. He started the basketball program in the 2010-2011 season and has an 86-43 record since joining the NAIA.
Bethel College (Ind.)
Standing on the shoulders of our mentors
When you ask any coach the simple question, who has impacted your life? Each coach will quickly respond with a teacher/coach that influenced their lives and their coaching philosophy . We all as coaches have modeled and learned a great deal from those who have coached us. The "coaching tree" as I call it is strong as the mighty oak trees that grow on the campus where I have worked the past 30 years.
Dr. Jim Poteet
Master the Simple Skills
As a basketball coach of many years, I have been disappointed by the inability of players at all levels of competition to make free throws. A player is fouled and he steps to the free throw line to attempt a very simple shot.
There is no defense harassing the player when shooting a free throw; there is no need to jump in the air to attempt the shot; there is sufficient time (10 seconds) to attempt the shot, but surprisingly high school players as a group shoot about 55 to 58% from the line. At the major college level, teams shoot just a bit over 66%. Many games each year are lost because of this inability to master the simple skill of making a free throw.