First to clarify, when Don says don’t read the defense, this is in reference to individual offense when you catch the ball. Moving without the ball is another discussion.

The main points that you take from this video are…

  • Attack immediately! Do what you do best.
  • Immediately counter if the shot is taken away.

First off, if you’re skeptical, I don’t blame you! Initially, I was a skeptic until I saw Don teach this in person. It also helped that I started having a lot of success with developing youth and high school players.

We even had an Olympic coach chime in with criticism as you’ll see below.

 

Do What You Do Best. Do It Immediately.

Why does this work so well…

As Don says, it steers you towards things you are successful and confident at.
It eliminates indecision. It improves reaction time. This allows you to attack the defense while they’re still scrambling and out of position.

Also, if you think about it… isn’t the defense forcing you to do that because you won’t have as much success? That’s what coaches do. They scout the opposition. Then they try to force the opponent to do things they’re not good at.

So why would we let them steer us towards something we’re not as good at… something where your success rate will be lower? That’s why you want to do what you’re good at.

The defense reacts to you, not the other way around.

You want to OWN the situation… its mentality too.

 

Immediately Counter If The Shot Is Taken Away.

As mentioned in the video, think about what happens when you attack immediately… and do what you’re best at.

Well, your move happens more quickly now.

To stop your move, the defense has to commit. This takes more speed and momentum to stop you. This forces them out of position.

And then BAM… you hit them with your footwork counter.

This makes it very difficult for the defense to stop, change directions, and defend your counter.

As you can see, this also perfectly complements mapping your attack and having your counter moves go opposite of the pass which were mentioned earlier in the educational series.

Now you add “Do What You’re Good At” & “Attack Immediately” principles into the mix.

Then through playing the game, studying the game, and countless repetitions, you get more scoring opportunities without sacrificing an aggressive, confident mentality.

 

Don’t Practice Both Hands and Feet Equally? Wrong!

If you believe that we’re saying that you should only practice what you’re good at, that’s dead wrong.

You need to practice footwork with both feet.

You need to practice dribbling & passing with both hands.

You need to practice finishing and close shots with both hands.

However, you need to instill the mentality of attacking immediately and doing what you’re good at.

 

An Argument From An Olympic Coach For Reading The Defense

Here is a comment we got from a subscriber…

For a coach to pass on the message to players that “I don’t want you to read your defense” (as Don said in the video clip) is very difficult for me to take. As a coach for more than 35 years at the youth, high school, NAIA, NCAA, and Olympic level, all of my teaching of offensive play is based on “reading the defense”.

If you want to develop intelligent players they must see the positioning and movement of the defenders. It should be taught from 1 on 1 play to 5 on 5 play. It is a long, tedious process but is necessary if you want players to be intelligent players rather than being robots.”

Maybe reading the defense works best for this coach. I used to teach “reading the defense”. You might too.

For 20 years, even Don Kelbick who invented this system taught his college teams to read the defense.

But this comment brings up some good points that we should look further into…

 

Long and Tedious Process To Teach Reading The Defense

Let’s address this. “It is a long, tedious process but is necessary if you want players to be intelligent players rather than being robots.”

1 – That’s why people LOVE Don Kelbick’s Attack & Counter System so much, it shortens the learning curve tremendously. To be effective, it isn’t long and tedious. It’s simple and it works right away..

Think about what happens when you attack immediately and then if needed you counter away from the help defense..

Your poor decision makers now are mostly making good decisions..

And your good decision makers have even more scoring opportunities..

So I believe you actually end up with smarter players. But who cares if they’re smarter as long as they play better!.

2 – You don’t need to have a group of kids for over 10 years and work with them every single day. And you don’t need olympic-caliber players to get it to work..

Is it perfect? No… there isn’t a perfect system. This is the real world… you have to do what is optimal for your situation. You have to do what’s going to bring you and your players the most success over the long run..

The Attack & Counter System is definitely ideal for the common coaching situation. And I believe it’s optimal for all situations, especially as you move up in competition..

Here was another part from the comment above….

“…If you want players to be intelligent players rather than being robots.” .

While I think the points above are sufficient, this comment leads to this story…

 

How The 4.3 GPA “Intelligent” Player & Johns Hopkins Graduate STOPPED Reading The Defense And Started Attacking… Then Turned Into An All Conference College Player

I coached a player named George Bugarinovic who had a 4.3 GPA and graduated from Johns Hopkins University for a medical degree. Obviously, he is very intelligent.

When we went over game film and strategies during practice, he knew how to do things.
However, he had a big problem. He thought way too much and reacted indecisively. In fact, he looked like a robot trying to read the defense.

Over time, Coach Dwight Williams did a great job of getting him to just attack. He told George to stop thinking so much.

And it worked… George went on to have 10 points and 20 rebounds in the 6A Kansas state championship game. The game went down to the wire and we ended up losing to powerhouse Wichita Heights. I think they ended the season ranked #12 in the country and won four state championships in a row.

And George battled future NBA draft pick Perry Ellis who starred at Kansas and Evan Wessels who played at Wichita State. No easy task!

George rode this momentum and went on to become an all-conference player in college at Johns Hopkins University. He even won the prestigious Jostens Award Trophy awarded to only one male athlete in the country.

Additionally, this concept helped me when training a player named Kyle Wolf. Kyle developed into a High School Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Missouri.

Kyle’s freshmen year, he started some games and was a contributor to a National Championship team at the University of Central Missouri. In college, he shot 46% for a season from 3-point land and was a career 40% 3-point shooter. To put things in perspective, Steph Curry is a 43% career 3-point shooter!

 

Why Making The Wrong Decision Is Right… Dwyane Wade And James Harden

Here is another really positive benefit that you might notice.

When you instill the Attack mentality, even when you make the “incorrect decision” at times… from an academic standpoint, good things still happen.

So you can “be wrong” and still be right because you or your team still scores or gets a high-percentage scoring opportunity.

Who cares how it happens… just put the ball in the basket. That’s the point!

If you study Dwyane Wade and his Euro step move, you might notice the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, Dwyane Wade attacked at the right time. However, there were also times that the defender would pre-mediate the move and position themselves perfectly. But somehow Wade would still score, get fouled, or sometimes both… even when the defense knew what was coming.

It was Wade’s mentality of attacking and his aggressiveness. “It doesn’t matter if you get in my way, I’m doing what I want and I’m still going to score.”

In today’s game, it couldn’t be any more apparent than with James Harden. He’s going left and he’s going left hard. You practically have to position your chest on the side of his left shoulder to stop him. Then a wide open lane appears to Harden’s right and he takes it!

He creates even BETTER scoring opportunities because of attacking immediately and doing what you do best.

Coincidence that James Harden’s long-time trainer Irving Roland is highly complimentary of Don Kelbick’s training methods… who knows.

Either way, study all the great players and the moves they scored on. You find similarities.

Their aggressive, attacking mentality made them great.

Also, by attacking immediately, you take advantage of the small gaps and small advantages.

When you first catch the ball, you have your biggest advantage. The defense is still moving. If you wait for them to position themselves, the advantage disappears. Attacking immediately enables you to take advantage of the gaps and advantages.

 

Won’t Your Players Attack Blindly? Won’t This Lead To Other Issues?

Are you open… Yes. Shoot it.

Is there an open lane… Yes. Attack.

Attack BLINDLY… no. We don’t believe you should do that.

In a perfect world, you attack and make the right decision. However, we don’t live in a perfect world.

It’s better to have a player who attacks and makes the “correct decision” 50% of the time than a player who slows down to make the “correct decision” 100% of the time.

If you slow down to make the right read when immediately catching the ball, the gap will disappear.

I believe through playing the game and countless repetitions, you improve decision making. And this allows you to play instinctively rather than timidly. If you sacrifice the attack mentality in order to make the “correct decision”, you can hinder the development of your game.

 

You Can’t Always Control A Player’s Reaction Time…

In “simple reaction time” scenarios, there is only one stimulus and one action.

For example, in this little test where you click the mouse when you see a flashing light.

http://getyourwebsitehere.com/jswb/rttest01.html

In this scenario, a person’s reaction time is typically between 0.1 and 0.4 seconds.

And you can probably guess the reaction time of the best athletic performers in the world. They are closer to 0.1 seconds.

There is literally an electrical signal that shoots down from your brain, through the spine, and out your limbs that determines how quickly you can react. And this is highly dependent on the current state of your genetics. You can practice over and over and over… and your time can be improved minimally.

So that means, based on your genes… there are athletes out there who have “reaction time” advantage.

In Track & Field, this is why some sprinters are ALWAYS slow out of the blocks.

And in basketball, even hundredths of a second make a HUGE difference. It can be the difference between making a shot to win the game and getting your shot blocked to lose the game.

However, there is good news for you…

Traditionally, basketball is not taught as a “simple reaction time” sport. You are often taught to make a decision based off of many factors… “Read the Defense.”

And as discussed at great length, making a decision when there are many possibilities adds indecisiveness and creates analysis paralysis. This adds even more time when you try to read and react.

This is another reason that I believe in Don’s Attack & Counter System…

Through his “Attack Immediately” and “Mapping” techniques, he dramatically decreases the time it takes to act. He also eliminates the layer of indecisiveness.

It levels the playing field for the athlete with average reaction times, so they can compete against players with better reaction times. And it excels the athlete with above average reaction times.

 

Some Kids Get It. Some Kids Don’t.

No matter how much you try to teach your players to read the defense or make the right decision, some kids get it. Some kids don’t. It doesn’t matter what you do!

If you’ve coached for any length of time, I’m sure you can relate to that.

You can literally coach the same group for ten years. There will be some kids who just get it from day one. Then there are other kids, even after ten years that still don’t get it.

There are too many known and unknown factors that make it difficult and ineffective to teach this way.

 

Here’s Why You Should Stop Saying Read The Defense And Read And React

As I have studied psychology and social psychology, I’ve come to the conclusion that the words that you choose are very important. This is true for teaching and it’s even true for all areas of life.

Here are two interesting points from author Robert Cialdini.

There are dozens of examples in his book Pre-suasion, but here is a couple…

1 – Simply using the words attain, succeed, master increase performance on an assigned task and DOUBLES their willingness to keep working at it.

2 – Men were twice as likely to help a woman in distress when made aware they were on Valentine’s Street.

Words that you use are important!

Over the last few years, that’s why I stopped saying “Read the defense” and “Read and react.”

The word read is a passive word by nature. And here’s the definition of the word react: respond or behave in a particular way in response to something.

In both situations, you are being passive and giving ownership of your decisions to the defense! Instead, you want to have the mentality that you own the situation as mentioned earlier.

Attack… if necessary, counter!

Take action!

 

Even If You Think This Is Bonkers…

Even if you think “Attack Immediately” and “Do What You’re Good At” is not right for you, it really doesn’t matter.

If you ignore the mentality and just focus on the way that Don Kelbick teaches skill development, footwork, and counters, your team will still improve quite a bit.

Just the skill development side of his system…

  • Develops basketball moves faster and accelerates and simplifies skill development.
  • Teaches shooters how to use inertia to improve accuracy and shooting range.
  • Helps ball handlers beat their defender by being more effective with their feet.
  • Reduces practice planning time.
  • Reduces travels by developing better balance.
  • Develops better strength to finish through contact.
  • Develops counter moves that lead to more scoring because it takes advantage of the positioning of the defense.
  • Focuses on progressions and drills that happen the most frequently during games. That way, you’re not spending time on things that happen infrequently or other fluff.
  • Improves shooting percentages by focusing on progressions that are the most efficient shots.
KOBE BRYANT: DEAR BASKETBALL
From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul. As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one. And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye. And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have. And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 …
1Love you always,
Kobe
MICHAEL JORDAN: DEAR BASKETBALL
It’s been almost 28 years since the first day we met. 28 years since I saw you in the back of our garage. 28 years since my parents introduced us.If someone would have told me then, what would become of us, I’m not sure I would have believed them. I barely remembered your name.Then I started seeing you around the neighborhood and watching you on television. I used to see you with guys down at the playground. But when my older brother started paying more attention to you, I started to wonder. Maybe you were different.
We hung out a few times. The more I got to know you, the more I liked you. And as life would have it, when I finally got really interested in you, when I was finally ready to get serious, you left me off the varsity. You told me I wasn’t good enough.I was crushed. I was hurt. I think I even cried.Then I wanted you more than ever. So I practiced. I hustled. I worked on my game. Passing. Dribbling. Shooting. Thinking. I ran. I did sit-ups. I did push-ups. I did pull-ups. I lifted weights. I studied you. I began to fall in love and you noticed. At least that’s what Coach Smith said.
At the time, I wasn’t sure exactly what was going on. But now I know. Coach Smith was teaching me how to love you, how to listen to you, how to understand you, how to respect you and how to appreciate you. Then it happened. That night, at the Louisiana Superdome in the final seconds of the championship game against Georgetown, you found me in the corner and we danced.Since then, you’ve become much more than just a ball to me. You’ve become more than just a court. More than just a hoop. More than just a pair of sneakers. More than just a game.In some respects, you’ve become my life. My passion. My motivation. My inspiration.
You’ve my biggest fan and my harshest critic. You’re my dearest friend and my strongest ally. You’re my most challenging teacher and my most endearing student. You’re my ultimate teammate and my toughest competitor. You’re my passport around the world and my visa into the hearts of millions.So much has changed since the first day we met, and to a large degree, I have you to thank. So if you haven’t heard me say it before, let me say it now for the world to hear. Thank you. Thank you, Basketball.Thank you for everything.Thank you for all the players who came before me. Thank you for all the players who went into battle with me. Thank you for the championships and the rings. Thank you for the All-Star Games and the Playoffs. Thank you for the last shots, the buzzer-beaters, the hard fouls, the victories and the defeats. Thank you for making me earn my keep. Thank you for #23.
Thank you for North Carolina and Chicago. Thank you for the air and the nickname. Thank you for the moves and the hang time. Thank you for the Slam-Dunk Contest. Thank you for the will and the determination, the heart and the soul, the pride and the courage. Thank you for the competitive spirits and the competition to challenge it. Thank you for the failures and the setbacks, the blessings and the applause. Thank you for the triangle. Thank you for baseball and the Barons. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for the assistant coaches, the trainers, and the physical therapists.
Thank you for the announcers, the refs, the writers, the reporters, the broadcasters and the radio stations. Thank you for the Pistons and the Lakers, the Cavs and the Knicks, the Sixers and the Celtics. Thank you for Phoenix, Portland, Seattle and Utah. Thank you for the Wizards. Thank you for the believers and the doubters. Thank you for Coach Smith, Coach Loughery, Coach Albeck, Coach Collins and Coach Jackson. Thank you for the education and the experience. Thank you for teaching me the game behind, beneath, within, above and around the game…the game game.
Thank you for every fan who has ever called my name, put their hands together for me and my teammates, slapped me five or patted me on the back. Thank you for everything you’ve given my family. Thank you for the moon and the stars, and last but not least, thank you for Bugs and Mars.I know I’m not the only one who loves you. I know you have loved many before me and will love many after me. But, I also know what we had was unique. It was special. So as our relationship changes yet again, as all relationships do, one thing is for sure.I love you, Basketball. I love everything about you and I always will. My playing days in the NBA are definitely over, but our relationship will never end.
Much Love and Respect,
Michael Jordan

My Son Did Not Start Today

Posted: February 14, 2019 in Kids, Parents

Posted: January 16, 2016Author: 

My son is 9.  His name is Nate.  He LOVES sports.

In football this year, he led the team in touchdowns . . . . and tackles.  In baseball, he was the starting short stop, and hit the ball further than anyone in the whole league.   In soccer, nobody on his team scored more goals last Spring.  He’s an athletic kid.

Nate has played 4 seasons of basketball, 1 season of baseball, 1 season of soccer, and 3 seasons of flag football.  And because he’s the biggest kid on the team (every single season, not one teammate has been taller on any of those 9 teams), he’s usually been one of the best kids.

It doesn’t hurt that he was at a high school football game the fifth day he was alive; I was a Head Football Coach at the high school level at the time, 2006.  He’s grown up around the fields and gyms as I’ve been a high school Athletic Director for 6 of his 9 years.

They’ve had two basketball practices this year, today was their first game.  I’ve been to both practices.  I told my wife after the first one, “well this is going to be an interesting season for Nate.  He’s not the best player on the team this year.”  I’ve got a very realistic view of my kid’s talent.  I know that most of his success so far has been because of his size.

The first year he played basketball, his team would win 14-4 or 18-12, and Nate would score 10 or 14 points.  The coach LOVED him.  But look how easy it was for him to score! He was a giant!!

The next year, his coach told him to shoot a whole lot more than I thought he should.  I would tell him to pass the ball more, so other kids would have a chance, and he would say “Dad, my coach told me not to, cause the other kids can’t make them like me.”

So I was worried about how he would react to the first time he wasn’t “the man” on this team, the first time he wasn’t a starter.  I wondered when that would be.

For the first time ever my son didn’t start today.  

Today when I watched the coach sit the whole team down on the bench, and then call out 5 of the 9 and 10 year olds to take the court, my son wasn’t picked.  Nate was one of the three left on the bench.  My heart kind of sunk.  For my kid.

I was worried about this day, when he wasn’t the best kid, or at least one of the top ones on the team.  I was worried  for my kid.  How would he react?  I’ve been working with unrealistic parents for 15 years as a high school football coach.  I definitely DO NOT want to be THAT dad!  So, I wasn’t worried about me, I was worried about my son.

And you know what?

He NEVER even mentioned not being a starter, not one time today did he even hint at it.  I even tried to get him to.  “What was your favorite part of the game?”   “What was your least favorite?”  “What was the best thing?”  “What was the worst thing?”

His favorite part: “We won!”

Least favorite: “The one basket I missed.”  (He did score 2 points)

The best thing: “We won!”

Worst thing: “That the game was over.”

Parents: your kids will be fine if they don’t start!  As long as you’re fine!!!

If you’re teaching your kids all along the way that the TEAM > i, then when he doesn’t start, it won’t be a big deal.

If you’re teaching your kid to shake the coach’s hand, and say thank you after every single practice and game, he will have a healthy respect for his coach; it won’t matter when he doesn’t start.

If you teach your kid that every single person has a role to play on a team, starting at a young age, then it won’t be a big deal when he doesn’t start.

If you teach your kid to “just play hard and have fun,” then it won’t be a big deal when he doesn’t start.

If you use teachable moments while watching the NFL to teach your child that you don’t always get what you want, it won’t be a big deal when he doesn’t start.

I was more proud of my son today then I ever have been.  He was the only one on the bench standing and cheering for his teammates.

And this afternoon, while there was a commercial break during the NFL game, I asked him why he likes to cheer so much for his team when he isn’t in the game.  This little 9 year old looked up at me and said “Dad, I like to treat others the way I want to be treated.”

For the first time my son didn’t start today, and I couldn’t have been more proud!

 Author Chris Fore is a veteran football coach and athletic director from Southern California.  He has a Masters degree in Athletic Administration, is a Certified Athletic Administrator, and is on the California Coaches Association Board.  Eight Laces Consulting, his business, provides dynamite resources for coaches.  He is the author of An Insider’s Guide To Scoring Your Next Coaching JobBuilding Championship Caliber Football Programs, and the Outside The Lines Manual for Football Coaches.

“SOMEDAY” Disease

Posted: September 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

“Some Day” is a disease that will take your Dreams to the Grave with you.

(Written by Tim Ferris)

I have come to realize on my fifty-one-year journey that there is nothing more liberating than giving up the desire to be liked by everyone. Learn to love your struggles. The best day of your life is the day you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses.

If you cannot lead yourself, how will you lead others? Self-leadership is the art of getting extraordinary performance from your skill sets. Each person is free is to discover his or her own greatness. Our responsibility is to lift people up, not tear them down. The best use of power is in service to others.

A free person is one that conquers fear. Life is intended to be lived. Thus we must push our boundaries to their outer limits. The only real failure is the failure to act. Rejection can be the first step towards success. Many of life’s frustrations and adversities are wrapped in a package labeled opportunities.

My mission in life is to live a better, more fulfilling, more interesting, more balanced existence while being a positive difference in the lives of others. Competition inspires us to do more than what is required. Winning in sports is easier than winning in life. Failure is a growth opportunity. At some point in life, we have to unlearn most things to begin learning new things.

Be careful not to take one person’s opinion and make it the universal truth. Our minds should never be a place to store garbage. Uncluttered minds produce highly productive thinkers and results. The most worthless conversations take place when no one is listening. Open the windows of your mind to usher in fresh thinking. Always remain a student in life. It is the quality of your questions that determine the quality of your discoveries. The horizons are infinite. It is never too late to change and get better!

This could be one of the biggest mistakes in youth basketball.
In fact, if you’re making this same mistake, you could be crippling the development of your team.

Unfortunately, I learned the hard way and made this same mistake.
It’s running set plays and patterned offenses instead of teaching universal skills that apply to all offenses.

Now, so we get on the same page, let’s explain exactly what I mean by each term.

What is a set play?

A set play is a strategically planned and choreographed sequence of movements to get open shots and score points. Generally speaking, the sequence is ran through just one time.

Here is an example:

Instructions:

Step 1:

Four players start on the perimeter with player 1 in possession of the ball.

Player 5, who the play is run for, is positioned on the strong side low-block.

Player 1 passes the ball to player 2 and cuts to opposite corner.

Step 2:

After player 1 cuts to opposite corner, player 5 goes to set a back screen for player 4, who cuts to the ball-side block.

Player 5 then goes to set a ball-screen for player 2.

Step 3:

Player 5 sets a ball screen for player 2 and then rolls to the basket.

As player 5 is setting a ball-screen for player 2, player 4 cuts out to the near corner.

Player 2 dribbles towards the top of the key.

Step 4:

Player 2 passes the ball to player 4 in the corner.

In the meanwhile, player 5 is working to keep his defender under control (i.e. behind him).

Step 5:
Player 4 passes to player 5, who looks to score.

What is a patterned offense?

A patterned offense runs a sequence that turns over and over and over without the need to stop or reset.

An example would be the flex offense.

Basic Flex Motion – Guard to Guard Passes

When a guard to guard pass is made, the player on the low block sets a flex screen for the player in the corner which is followed by a down screen by the passer for the player setting the flex screen.

Any time this guard to guard pass is made, this action occurs. You could run the flex offense simply by passing guard to guard continuously. You will see this in this action over the next few diagrams.

1 passes to 2.

5 sets a flex screen for 4. 4 cuts across the lane looking for the pass from 2. This is the first option off of the flex. If 4 does not receive the pass, 4 finishes the cut at the low block.

After the screen is set, 5 opens up to the ball. This is the second flex offense option.

1 sets a down screen for 5.
1 clears to the corner.

2 passes to 5.

4 sets a flex screen for 3.

2 sets a down screen for 4.
2 clears to the corner.

And the flex pattern continues.

What are universal offensive concepts?

Universal offensive concepts are offensive skills that apply to any offense or set play.

It doesn’t matter what the coach teaches, you have developed skills that will make you a better player in their system.

This includes things like…

  • Getting open using cuts – V-cut, L-cut, basket cut, backdoor cut, post cut, flare cut, and more.
  • Utilizing screens – Down screens, ball screens, back screens, flare screens, and more.
  • Spacing
  • Counter movements to dribble penetration – Curl up, space out, cut backdoor, and so on.

As a high school coach, I would be extremely happy if you brought me a group of kids that simply knew how to keep proper spacing, basket cut (give and go), cut backdoor when overplayed, and v-cut to get open.

Then you spend the rest of practice developing 1v1 offensive skills and some man to man defense.

As all great coaches have said, it’s better to teach kids how to play rather than how to run a play.

And that’s a big problem I see at the youth level. Well-intentioned coaches will teach plays and patterned offenses, but they spend little time teaching universal offensive skills; the same skills that help them progress to the next level of basketball.

Teaching Offensive Concepts Within Plays and Patterned Offenses?

I’ve often heard the response… “But Joe, I teach my team plays (or patterned offenses) and I teach them universal offensive concepts.”

Is this okay?

Yes and no.

First, here is an example. This is a piece of the flex offense.

In the flex offense, when a player sets a screen and the player fills the guard spot.

In the diagram to the right, 1 sets a screen for 5.

However, let’s pretend that the defender guarding 5 is denying the pass.

This could cause the offense to stop and give the defense an advantage.

If you’ve ever taught plays and patterned offenses at the youth level, you know this can happen quite often.

So a coach who teaches universal concepts would simply have 5 cut backdoor or screen again for 1.

This is better than what most youth coaches do.

However, there is a big reason I’m still not a proponent of this.

Running set plays and patterned offenses wastes tons of practice time

At the youth level, I’ve ran set plays. I’ve ran patterned offenses.

I know how much practice time it takes to effectively run them during games.

I once saw a coach who ran 30 set plays with his middle school team. Each week, they had a practice day dedicated only to running plays.

90 minutes every week wasted.

Do that over a 16-week season. That’s 1,440 minutes!

Do that over 5 seasons… that’s 7,200 minutes!

Imagine if you take that time and you practiced 1v1 offensive skills and universal offensive concepts.

You would make a ton of progress. And the players would be much better.

And they would have a way better chance of making their high school teams. And the few fortunate ones might even play at the college level.

I was fortunate to coach a 7th grade team that had 4 future college players on it. And it wasn’t even an elite or all star team.

With a professional career, would you rather make less money or more money in the future?

Imagine that you are currently working and you had two choices in your profession.

Option 1 – Each week, you work 20 hours on tasks that develop your professional skills. These skills directly increase your future salary.

Then you spend another 20 hours each week on tasks that don’t increase your skills and won’t increase your future salary.

Option 2 – Each week, you work 40 hours on tasks that develop professional skills. These skills directly increase your future salary.

The answer is so evident that you already know the answer!

Now think back to what we just talked about with set plays.

You’re asking players to choose Option 1. You’re asking them to waste their time working on things that won’t make them better basketball players for the future!

Also since I know there are some people that are going to agree to disagree…

Now, I wholeheartedly believe you should teach universal offensive concepts in a progressive manner within a motion offense structure.

However, if you still disagree with me. Make sure you do this…

If you’re running a patterned offense with youth teams, use the flex offense and teach universal concepts. It puts players in all positions on the floor. It also teaches them how to utilize multiple cuts and screens.

Don Kelbick’s Dynamic Flex Offense shows you how to do that.

Absolutely do not run an offense that puts big players underneath the basket and guards outside. You want them to learn all positions and skills.

I’ve seen too many situations where a 6’1 twelve year old is a 6’1 eighteen year old. And because they were put under the basket, they never developed any guard skills.

I’ve seen other situations where a 5’5 twelve year old only practiced guard skills but grew to be a 6’8 player. Imagine a 6’8 player with guard and post skills!

Resource For Motion Offense and Universal Offensive Concepts:

Don Kelbick’s Motion Offense — DVD 2-Pack & Supplemental eBook

Tim Schuring’s Complete Offensive System — Transition, Secondary Break, Motion, Press Breaker

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions… 

I don’t think this is debatable… Jay Wright’s Villanova program has been the best in NCAA Men’s Basketball over the last four years. Two national championships say a lot!

This year, Villanova had the #1 ranked offense according to Ken Pomeroy’s stats. And they were ranked #3, #3, and #4 the previous three years. And this is out of 351 teams!

And here is what they do offensively. Villanova teaches concepts. They don’t teach plays.

When one Big East scout was asked if Villanova had 5 plays, the response was “… If that.”

This might sound very similar to an article that we wrote on the importance of avoiding plays and teaching UOCs (Universal Offensive Concepts) to youth and high school teams. That way, they know how to play in any situation and for any program.

Additionally, your practice time isn’t wasted on teaching plays which does NOT make players better. Instead, you teach them how to play. This empowers you to spend every minute of practice developing better players. In my opinion, this is what every youth, middle school, and JV coach should be doing.

When you do this over multiple years, you really start to separate from the pack. That’s because these little incremental improvements really start to add up over time.

And obviously, the best college coaches like Jay Wright see the value in teaching this at the college level as well.

Consistency of the Basics

Posted: June 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

When building a community based team sport from the bottom up – there needs to be consistency.

Consistency in the Terms we use.
Consistency in the Values we teach.
Consistency in the our Goal.

Consistency in All the BASIC fundamentals of the game.

Starting our in the Youngest of groups (3rd grade and on UP) Consistency is key to getting everybody on board Parents, Parent Coaches, players, Refs, Park and Rec leagues and Coaches.

As we begin this Journey – the kids who are playing are the most important. We must make this game fun and energetic, involving all the kids in all aspects of the game. Defense / Offence / Ball Handling / Support across the bench as well as the players on the floor.

This will give each kid equal opportunity to take advantage of our knowledge and grow as a student athlete and person.

This will lead to more kids being involved further into their High School careers.

This will lead to having extremely successful programs go the distance in all aspects.

Kids grow up FAST – from year to year, the difference in their abilities will change dramatically. Always count all kids in everything. The next year they may grow 6 inches and develop in talents that are beyond our scope.

Keeping an eye on the BASICS is the Key. All kids have the knack to learn the simplest of skills and repeat that same training all through their entire career. This will lead to more kids staying involved.
Leaders will rise // Role players will develop and the team will come together and the PEAK.

More to Come – What are the BASics we should be teaching (Tactical Approach)