One on One: Mark Turgeon On How Video Defines His Scouting Process

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Hudl got a chance to sit down with Maryland coach Mark Turgeon to dish on how he uses video to prepare Maryland for upcoming opponents.

If there was ever any doubt about how important video study is to college coaches, Mark Turgeon squashes that thought almost immediately.

An assistant on the USA Basketball U18 squad that won the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Chile, Turgeon knows a thing or two about leading a team. Entering his 19th season as a head coach (his sixth at Maryland), he’s already captured four conference Coach of the Year awards – one Missouri Valley, two Big 12, one Big Ten. Turgeon has learned the importance of preparation and used it to vault himself into the upper echelon of college coaches.

Video has a bigger role in his rise than most casual observers might realize. In fact, Turgeon estimates that an assistant spends 20-30 hours watching video for every opponent. He’ll watch six to eight hours himself, depending on how familiar he is with the opponent or its coach.

If that seems excessive, it’s not. In a one-on-one conversation during Team USA’s July preparations in Houston, Turgeon discussed just how critical video is to his scouting process, what he looks for when watching and how he feeds that information to his players.


“Video is huge for us.”

These are the first words Turgeon uses to kick off the interview. He watches all that he can, breaking down an opponent’s sets, secondary break strategies, rebounding and ball screens. If the opposition excels on fast breaks, Turgeon will zone in on that.

The staff puts extra attention on close games – Turgeon and crew will always watch the last four minutes of any game decided by five points or less. No detail is too small to overlook.

“For about six months it feels like you’re just watching video after video,” Turgeon said. “But it’s paramount for what we’re trying to accomplish as a basketball program.”


Turgeon locks in on the tendencies displayed by both the opposing players and coaches. If a team runs a certain play more often than others, Turgeon will dedicate more practice time to defending that action. Similarly, if an opposing wing player drives right far more than he drives left, Turgeon will instruct his defender to shade more toward that hand.

“There are a lot of ways we can use video to get those stats,” he said. “That’s a lot of work for my guys and they put a lot into it. Left shoulder, right shoulder for a post player, we break it down that way.

“When it comes to percentages defensively and offensively for an individual player, is he turnover prone? Is he an assist guy? Is he a really good shooter? Is he a better shooter from the right corner than the left corner? I have a great staff and great film guys that do a tremendous job of helping our players get prepared in a really fast manner.”


All the time spent preparing through video leaves Turgeon armed with an encyclopedia of valuable information. But gathering the breakdown data is only half the battle – sharing the information with his players is a different obstacle.

Players have neither the time nor the attentiveness to take in as much data as coaches do. If Turgeon unleashed all the video he and his staff gather on the athletes, they would be overwhelmed, and most of the insights would likely go in one ear and out the other. Players might think too much during games, trying to recall dozens of instructions instead of playing instinctively.

Turgeon’s experience has taught him how to avoid those potential pitfalls. His opponent breakdowns are rarely longer than 12 minutes, hitting on the most important opponent tendencies without drowning his players in information.

The same goes for self-scouting. Maryland’s postgame video sessions are generally brief, though some contests require longer breakdowns.

“It’s a long year, so I try not to go more than a 15-minute clip on ourselves going into games,” Turgeon said. “Sometimes you get to games where you need to watch the whole game, the whole half, or you might just need to break off 15 clips. It all depends on who you’re playing. As you get into the season you’re working on taking from practice what you’re doing well defensively and what you’re doing well offensively.”

Turgeon will occasionally have players watch video on their own time. Each locker in Maryland’s practice facility is equipped with an iPad that allows athletes to study both game footage and the playbook.

But Turgeon does try to limit how much studying players do on their own time, especially the younger ones. He’d rather they get their information from the coaches during team sessions than make their own judgements.

“We don’t really want them forming their own opinions on how to guard somebody or whether it’s a good shot or a bad shot for them personally,” Turgeon said. “But when you get a veteran around, they watch a lot more on their own. Jake Layman for us was a veteran last year. He’d been through it, so he’d be sitting at his locker watching film.”


The USA Basketball experience was a unique one for Turgeon. He was last an assistant coach in 1998, but he took a back seat to head coach Shaka Smart for the U18 Championship.

Such an ego check might have been difficult for a coach with his resume, but Turgeon took it as a learning opportunity. Having previously coached under titans Larry Brown and Roy Williams, Turgeon realized this was another chance to improve at his craft.

“If you have that approach to your coaching career, it allows you to stay fresh and stay successful,” he said. “It comes down to passion and really wanting to help people be successful.

In the end, I couldn’t be my high school coach. I couldn’t be Larry Brown. I couldn’t be Roy Williams. I had to be Mark Turgeon, and that’s what they gave me. I’m not a dummy. I soaked it up like a sponge. When I was with them I learned and took the good from everybody.”

That includes video study. Turgeon has his philosophies, but they are ever-evolving, and he’ll incorporate some of what he learned from Smart and fellow assistant Kevin Ollie into the way he approaches video in the future.

“I want to be great. I don’t want to be good,” Turgeon said. “I want to be great, so I’m always trying to get better and trying to learn.”

Interested in unlocking the power of video for yourself? Check out Hudl basketball to learn more.

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5 on 4 to 5 on 5 Transition Drill

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These 2 full court drills were located in the FastModel Sports Basketball Plays and Drills Library.

You can also find out more about FastModel Play Diagramming software by clicking this link: FastDraw

The first drill was contributed by Kyle Gilreath.

Here is what Coach Gilreath had to say about the drill:

This is another drill that I got from watching Bellarmine University practice. This is a great drill because it not only works on scramble situations having 4 players defend 5 in the half-court, but it also forces the offense (new defense) to sprint back after change of possession to prevent any easy lay-ups.

After making your one transition stop after a made shot or the defense secures the rebound and repeat the drill the other way. Make sure you switch the offense and defensive teams who must scramble each time and rotate the players that are back. Do this drill for time or until a team reaches a pre-set point total.

5 on 4 to 5 on 5 Transition

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100 Point Shooting Drill

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These videos are two of the great resources available from basketballhq. They have several more videos as well as basketball coaching resource articles.

I hope these videos give you some ways to add variety to your summer shooting drills to keep what you do fresh for your players.

You can use the idea and incorporate the cuts that you use in your offensive system into a similar drill. You can time it. They didn’t show the other side of the floor in the video, but shooters should make the same cuts on the left side of the floor to complete the series.

Matthew Graves is the Head Men’s Coach at South Alabama. He was an Assistant to Brad Stevens and a player at Butler prior to taking the job at South Alabama.

Please make sure your sound is on to see the video.

Click the play arrow so see the drill. The drill is a You Tube video, so you will need to be able to access You Tube to see the drill.

Combo Series Shooting Drill

M Shooting Drill

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Key Tips to Helping Athletes Learn Through Video

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It’s one thing to watch video, but are your players doing it effectively? Hudl gives its top tips on how to teach them.

The value of video is undisputed. The best coaches in the country swear by its power not only to scout opponents, but to break down one’s own tendencies and uncover insights about your players and where they perform best.

But how do you pass that information along? A coach can have the most advanced video breakdowns around, but if he can’t translate what he’s learned to his athletes it doesn’t do a lick of good.

We’re here to help. We talk with great coaches all the time, and through their feedback we’ve generated some tips to help get through to your players.

Keep Team Sessions Short

Video sessions longer than 15 or 20 minutes can have diminishing returns. At a certain point, most athletes’ eyes glaze over and their mind wanders to other things. You could be providing valuable information, but if your players aren’t listening and comprehending, it won’t do you any good.

So be strategic with the clips you use to get their attention. Find the best teaching moments from your previous games or scout video and make a compilation to share with the team. Athletes have neither the time nor the attention span to make it through an entire game, so pull out the moments they absolutely need to see.

It’s best to schedule video sessions before practice so you can immediately put what you’ve watched into action. Say your next opponent runs a 1-3-1 defense – you can show your athletes that video and have them see it in real time against the scout team minutes later. Their chances of retaining what you teach greatly increase.

Ask questions both during and after the video session to make sure the players are paying attention and grasping the concepts you’re hitting on.

Teach Them to Watch on Their Own

As much as you’d love to supervise every video session with your athletes, it’s simply not possible. You only have a certain amount of time with them each day, so you have to trust them to spend some time with the video on their own.

Entrusting teenagers to get the most out of a video session is tricky, but you can help them. Devote part of a preseason practice to video, showing your athletes what to look for when they’re watching. Create playlists of what you want the players to focus on and leave comments or drawings so they know exactly what to look for. In this way, you can still relate valuable information without physically being with them.

While it may be effective to assign the amount of video you want your athletes to watch, it’s not necessary. Requiring exact video responsibilities makes it seem like just another piece of homework instead of something the players enjoy. Trust your athletes to watch. You can still monitor how much time they spend on Hudl, and if someone is lacking, then you can give him a nudge to do more.

Recognize That Everyone is Different

No two players consume video in exactly the same way. Some will dive into the video, aggressively breaking down their own play. Others will view video as a spectator, as if they were watching a college or NBA game.

You have to tailor your notes and instructions to fit your players’ tendencies. For the obsessive viewers, remind them not to overanalyze what they’re seeing. You want to avoid paralysis by analysis. For the more casual observers, leave more notes and really point out the things you want to hammer home.

Follow up with your athletes, asking them questions about what they saw in the video. Showing faith in your athletes to watch on their own will build trust between you both.

Now that you know how to engage your athletes with video, it’s time to get started. Find out more about Hudl basketball here.

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Team Free Throw Shooting Game

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Mike Neighbors, Women’s Coach at Washington is one of the best coaches around to learn from.  Hopefully you were able to see his 2016 Women’s Final Four team play, or see him at a clinic, or both1

He sends out a weekly basketball coaching newsletter. If you are interested in being added to his list, let me know and I will pass along your email address

The name of this Free Throw Shooting Game/Drill is “What’s Up?”

What’s Up Team Free Throw Shooting Game

Editor’s Note from Brian: The object of the game is, like golf, for the shooters to accumulate as few “Up Points” as possible.

This description was provided by Coach Neighbors

As a result of having a larger team than we have had the last few years, we have had to become a little more creative in our use of space/goals/time.

This seems to be most true in how we use our time with free throw practice. This is one we came up with this week. It’s a morph of several other shooting drills we have utilized in the past.

All six goals. Each goal being scored individually.

Shooter will attempt two shots then rotate to the next goal.

If the shot is made…it puts 1 point up.

If the second shot is made… that would increase the UP total to 2. The score at that goal continues to rise every made shot as the various players are rotating through.

When a shot is missed, the player who misses GETS THE NUMBER THAT is UP added to their score.

You have scores building at each goal as the players rotate through. We rotate rebounder to shooter, shooter to next goal so that the UP count can be relayed.

As you do this a few times you will see that your “smart’ kids will learn NOT to follow the best FT shooters, so it will be up to you to place shooters accordingly.

We keep a running total score for the week/year so that we can strategically order the shooters to best keep it competitive for all!!

The first time we did it, we did for 10:00 total. Once the time expired, we kept each goal going until there was a miss at all of them and all the total UP points went to someone. That keeps all players rotating around one goal until there is a miss. Creates one last chance to hang a big number on someone.

So far this drill has been able to create some pressure situations and also give us best possible use of our free throw time. We also use this as water break and a catch breath time before we head into most physically and/or mentally challenging part of practice.

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Real Recognize Reel: What Basketball Coaches Look for in a Highlight Video

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You want to get your athletes recruited and have success at the next level. Hudl met with a member of the Tennessee basketball staff to find out how.

Riley Davis, video coordinator for the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team, receives at least five highlight videos in his email inbox each day, – and those are the slow days. Often the number of submissions balloons to over 20, creating a very busy workload for one the top members of Rick Barnes’ recruiting staff. People like Davis don’t have that kind of spare time on their hands.

So if your players want to make a mark with their highlight film and get true attention, they have to do it fast. Most days, Riley doesn’t have time to sift through a 10-minute video of top moments. They have to show off their most impactful moments right off the bat.

“The goal of the kid should be to say, ‘Here’s what I can do. Now I’ve got you baited. Now go watch a whole game,’” Riley said.

Riley took some time to speak with us about what the top college programs are looking for when they watch a highlight video. Want your players to get noticed by the big boys? Give them this advice.

Show the Offense First

Of course colleges are interested in seeing how a prospect can defend, rebound or pass the ball, and these skills will play an important role in getting recruited. But first and foremost, they want to see if players can get put the ball in the bucket – they’ll look into the rest later.

“If they catch our attention with (scoring), then we’ll go in and watch the full game and then we’ll see how hard they play, the little details and that stuff,” Riley said. “I think the best way to catch someone’s eye is if I can see a kid can shoot.

“You can catch my eye in 30 seconds. If I see a kid come down and hit a couple 3s and I know he can handle the ball and I know he’s 6-foot-5, then I’m going to watch the full game.”


Some athletes, especially those who pride themselves on defense and hustle, will lead off with clips of them diving for loose balls, saving balls from going out of bounds and bodying up an opposing ball handler. Coaches do want to see those skills, Riley said. But if they can’t score, it’s going to be tough for them to make it at the college level.

“A lot of (the videos I receive) will be some inspiring kid that believes in the right stuff,” Riley said. “He’s all about hustle and work ethic, and the highlight shows him diving on the floor or in a defensive stance, and all that stuff is very important. But we’d rather see the scoring first, then see if he does all that other stuff. The kid could do the little stuff, but he could be a very poor offensive player.”

Riley also recommended including a title slide near the beginning that lists height, weight, GPA and relevant stats. This gives coaches a good idea of what they should look for before the video even begins. Keep it short.

Stick to Basketball

This may seem obvious, but many athletes will include a slide with a quote from their high school coach or a local newspaper article at the beginning of their video. Some will show themselves working out in the weight room or on the track. Don’t have your players do this.

If the coaches watch a highlight and like what they see, they’ll do their research and find out about character and lifting prowess. First and foremost, they want to see an athlete’s skill on the court.

Riley brought up Kevin Durant, who played under Barnes at Texas and famously failed to put up a single bench press rep of 185 pounds at the 2007 NBA Combine. That didn’t matter – Durant became one of the best players in the world.

“We’re interested in you character and things like that, but we’ll find that stuff out later. We want to find out if you can play first,” Riley said. “The most important thing you want to do is show your ability to play basketball with video.”

Share, Share, Share

Even the best video won’t get its due if people aren’t seeing it. Sharing that video effectively can be the difference between it going viral or falling into a black hole.

According to Riley, email is the first step. Help your players identify schools they’re interested in – even better if they’ve shown interest back – and have them email both coaches and video coordinators on the staff. Riley said he tries to watch at least a little bit of every video he receives directly.

Next, blast have your players utilize social media and tweet the highlight to coaches. There’s no guarantee they’ll see it, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Send it to local recruiting affiliates, talent evaluators and respected local coaches, as well. If a video goes viral, there’s a much better chance coaches will see it.

“The thing about Twitter and social media is you can get some hype behind it,” Riley said. “If I see a third party tweeting it, I’m thinking, ‘OK, this isn’t coming from the kid. This obviously has some hype behind it, I’ll check it out.’”

This is part of the reason Jordan Bowden ended up in Knoxville. The shooting guard showed up on recruiting radars by showing off his aversion to gravity in a dunk-filled highlight.

Make sure you share the highlights as well. Just one recommendation from a respected coach is likely to catch an evaluator’s eye.

A highlight can be the ticket that blows up an athlete’s recruiting profile and gets them noticed by college coaches, but they have to do it right. You can help them out. For more examples of strong videos, check out this page.

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Inside the Mind: Why Video is Among a Coach’s Most Important Tools

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Hudl picked the minds of a few athletic psychologists to find out why video should be a central part of any coach’s review process.

“Basically, we’re not great at being objective.”

This is the way Brett Haskell, an athletic psychologist at the University of Nebraska, describes the human brain’s ability to recall specific situations, and the sentiment is especially true in sports. Thanks to biases, stress, fatigue and the pressure of the moment, most athletes and coaches remember things differently from how they actually transpired on the court.

This is precisely why video review is so important. Video restores our brains with some of the objectivity lost in the heat of battle. As Texas head coach Shaka Smart told Hudl, “The tape don’t lie.”

So how exactly does a film session get our brains back on the right track, and how can you relay that information to athletes? We talked with Haskell and fellow Nebraska psychologist Brett Woods to find out.


Try as we might to remain objective, our emotions simply don’t allow it. The way we think and feel in the moment affects our ability to accurately recall it later.

“Our emotions can sometimes override our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for evaluating performances, more of the logistics of evaluation,” Woods said. “That can color your perception of the event and your memory, your recall is more shaded by your emotional evaluation of the performance rather than the actual event that took place.”


Our memories are also fighting attribution bias – we develop an idea of how things are happening and interpret information through that lens. For example, if a point guard commits a few turnovers in the opening minutes that lead to fast breaks, a coach might carry that memory throughout the contest and think the player had a poor game, regardless of whether said player ended up with just a couple of miscues or a plethora of assists.

“I develop a hypothesis and then I look for only the information that confirms my hypothesis,” Haskell said. “If my hypothesis is that my team is playing terrible, I hone in on their mistakes and neglect the information that contradicts that hypothesis and tells me they’re actually playing OK. In situations where there is heavy emotion in the moment, that impacts that bias even more.”

This is where video can help. The ability to go back and view the game allows coaches to rewatch it in a new light. Let’s return to the above example – that coach could create a playlist of that player’s assists and turnovers to make an accurate opinion on his play. And by rewatching the turnovers, he could discern whether the turnovers were his guard’s fault or due to mistakes made by other players.

Greg Eaton, the video coordinator for the Nebraska men’s basketball team, constantly stresses this point to coach Tim Miles, urging him to check the video before making final assessments.

“A box score accuses, the film provides evidence,” Eaton said. “You had four turnovers, the kid can say “I was pressured.” The video proves you made three bad passes.”

Stats come in handy here as well. Though statistics can be interpreted in different ways, they represent concrete information that lays out what happened on the court. Statistical reports can convey trends or patterns that you missed during the heat of the action.


By checking out his point guard’s assist/turnover ratio, our coach would be able to form an unbiased opinion on his player’s performance.

Combining these numbers with video paints an accurate recap of the game, not the emotion-influenced version our mind remembers.


Once you have a bias-free account of the contest, it’s time to transfer that information to your players. Athletes experience the same attribution bias that coaches (and for that matter, fans) do, so teaching through video is critical, and the sooner the better.

“The closer to the event that you’re watching the feedback, the more effective it will be,” Woods said. “For instance, if you have an event on a Monday and you’re reviewing that video a week from then, your ability to retain that information and use it effectively is diminished because of the length between your actual performance and when you’re watching it.”

Not only is reviewing video good for your brain, but science shows it helps physically as well. The psychoneuromuscular theory hypothesizes that athletes can actually improve performance by seeing video of themselves or others.

“Basically when you imagine yourself doing things, through video or through your mind, the hypothesis is that it activates neural pathways in the same way as when you’re physically executing the skill,” Haskell said. “To a lesser degree, you’re getting physical repetitions through your nervous system even though you’re not actually executing the movement.”

It’s not just the psychologists and scientists that have bought into video – the elite athletes are fully invested as well. USA Basketball assistant director BJ Johnson said players such as LeBron James and Chris Paul devour video, studying their games to try and uncover any tendencies or weaknesses.

“Don’t just think you can go out and work on skills for a few hours,” Johnson said. “These guys spend hours, not only on the court working on their skills but also the mental part of it, which is through watching video. Dive into understanding how important it is to watch video and to watch games of yourself and other players. That’s really a key part of the development of a basketball player – understanding your tendencies and what you need to work on, but also picking up things from other players.

“Understanding offenses and understanding situations – that can only be done by studying the game and watching video.”


The top minds in both the athletic and scientific fields agree on the importance of video. But there’s an important factor for coaches to remember – like most things in life, too much of a good thing can become problematic.

This is why Maryland coach Mark Turgeon will watch six to eight hours of video in scouting each opponent but will typically show his players just 12 minutes. Overloading their minds with information can lead to diminished performance on the court.

“From a coach’s perspective, it’s important to know your athletes and how to give your athletes feedback,” Woods said. “At this level with elite athletes, you have athletes who are over analyzing every single little detail. Based on the coach’s feedback, the athlete can get too much into their head, which can be counterproductive to them performing. It’s critical for the coaches to know how to deliver the feedback while watching as well.”

Because of this, Turgeon typically doesn’t like players watching much video on their own until they become seasoned veterans. It’s important to monitor not only how much video your players are watching, but also the insights they’re gaining. You need to convey a specific message during each video session.

“You have to have a real sense of purpose when you go into video review,” Haskell said. “You don’t want to get stuck in that over-analysis or paralysis by analysis that athletes will sometimes get into.”

“Athletes need a lot of instruction on how to effectively review film so they don’t get caught in some of those thinking traps.”

Our understanding of video, recall and how our brains absorb information is still evolving and new discoveries are continuing to be made. But this much is clear – we can’t always recall an objective memory of an event, but video helps put together the pieces we might be missing.

Now that you’ve seen how important video is, get started using it. Check out Hudl Basketball and reap the benefits.

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How to Coach Winning Shot Selection

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I invented the term LONHOBIRAT some time ago to indicate what I thought was most important about shot selection. It means, get a Lay-up Or a shot with No Hand up, On Balance, In your Range with Adequate Time to shoot.

The word covers most of what is important in selecting shots but, over a period of time, I found myself changing my own way of teaching shot selection. Yes, those are still the ingredients to be considered, but now I use a numbering system. I begin by simply watching a scrimmage and requiring that my players find a shot that elates me.

When they get a shot that elates me, I call it a 7. If we get a wide open lay-up—a shot we will literally make 99 times out of a hundred, I give that a 9. There is no such thing as a perfect 10. Even an NBA superstar with a wide open dunk can miss. So the best shot possible is a 9.

During a practice, when I call something as not a particularly good shot, a player is likely to argue, “Coach, I can make that shot.

Indeed, he may very well have just made it. But the problem is, too many shots that athletes choose in practice may score against the second team defense but not against the better players they will face in big games. In other words, the so-so shot that manages to go in during practice too often misses during a game.

As a result, you look back after a big game that you lost by a few points and you have to admit that you chose your way to failure. The other team didn’t beat you. You chose shots that were so so and it’s no big surprise that you missed them.

You cannot let your team choose the very shots in practice that will assure them of losing big games for you. Therefore, other than wanting my players to know that being on balance, being within their range, and having adequate time are all important, I want them—during the action of practice scrimmages—to realize that I’m not interested in arguing about details. I just want to be elated. If the shot was taken a bit off balance, a bit too fast, or a bit too far out, who cares which bit it is? I’m just not elated with that shot, and so taking that shot in practice is not leading us to the promised land.


I give these so-so shots that most teams toss up willingly everyday in practice a 5. They go in fairly often, but they don’t lead to wins in big games, which is precisely what you practice for. (You can win easy games without practice.)






When watching practice, I can yell out instantly what a shot is worth. Anytime I’m not sure, I yell the number in between. Am I elated? Then 7. Not sure, but it’s better than a so-so 5? Okay, I give the shot a 6.

When you start thinking about shots in this way, and get your team thinking about them in this way, it becomes a lot easier to get everyone on the same page about shot selection.

Should everyone be allowed to shoot an open shot? Of course not. Everyone should be allowed to shoot a shot that elates me.

The more you practice and the better shooter a player becomes, the more I am likely to be elated by his choices. But every player has the same requirement: elate me.


We provide intense, no-nonsense basketball training for dedicated players and coaches. Each camp and clinic is designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, to be coaches on the court, and to be leaders in practices, games, and everyday life.


The reason I have gotten away from talking much about LONHOBIRAT is the L part, the lay-up. I find one of the most common problems teams have is the number of lay-ups they choose and miss, particularly by post players inside.

You work hard teaching guards to look inside and get the ball inside to your big men, and then your big men toss up some whirling loopty-doo shots and—Hello? We’re supposed to all be happy with them?

Sorry. Just because a shot is taken close to the basket does not mean it’s a good shot. In fact, most big men have a habit of turning potential 7s and 9s into 5s and even 3s by tossing up shots that have very little chance of going in.

Often they are going to their weak side, tossing up shots over the hands of defenders who are taller, stronger, and better than the players they face in practice each day. Small wonder that they miss these shots.

Your big men have to be taught to go strong to the basket with their strong hand; otherwise, there is a very good chance they will take a shot that will go in only occasionally when it really matters.

Even more important, big men are very likely to shoot too fast, a problem most young coaches fail to recognize because they think the shot must be taken quickly to avoid nearby defenders.

Yet the best big men in the world take their time and take the shot they want. They don’t hurry. They rely on strength and technique, not speed and surprise.

You must make sure your big people take high percentage shots, just as you have to assure it in your guards who want to stand beyond the three-point arc and toss up prayers. If you don’t demand great shot selection during your practices, you are very unlikely to find yourself elated with your shot selection after your games.

The best way I know to get the shots you want is by making them a requirement in your daily line game scrimmages. When you see a shot that fails to elate you, you don’t need to bother with explanations that irritate your players. Blow that whistle.

Get them to the line, and let some of your players say it. “You weren’t exactly elated with that shot, were you, Coach?”

No, you weren’t elated. The shot went in. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. It wasn’t what you wanted your player to select. It was so-so, and you were glad the team recognized it.

You could use a shot like that some day, at the end of a quarter or when a shot clock violation is about to occur. But you don’t want your players choosing that shot in practice; and it makes things a lot easier to have some of them telling you, rather than you constantly having to correct and criticize them.

—Excerpted from the book, “Running the Show”

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Devils in the Details: Pulling Back the Curtain on Duke Basketball

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Hudl chatted with a member of Duke’s coaching staff to go behind the scenes on how Mike Krzyzewski’s game preparation process.

Mike Krzyzewski’s name is synonymous with basketball greatness. His list of accomplishments could fill a novel, and he’s the winningest coach in college basketball history. The guy knows a thing or two about coaching.

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to shadow Krzyzewski for a few days, to be able to see him at work and learn his processes. How would your workflow change if you spent some time with one of college basketball’s top minds?

Meet Kevin Cullen, the guy whose job is to do exactly that. Duke’s director of information technology and a valued member of Krzyzewki’s USA Basketball staff since 2008, Cullen recently visited Hudl and allowed us to pick his brain on the Blue Devils’ in-season schedule and how they utilize video. Come take a peek behind the curtain of one of the giants of college basketball.

“I think that video is really important for our coaching staff because it lets you see who you are or who your opponent is honestly and truthfully,” Cullen said. “If you’re looking at yourself, it’s not a biased view of what you think you might have seen during the game or something that actually happened that you didn’t notice. If you’re looking at your opponent, it’s going to be a true measure of who they are. If we look at film, we have the clearest film of what we need to be better at and how best to beat our opponents.”

After the Game

Krzyzewski wants to get his staff on the same page before anyone’s heads hit the pillow, so Duke’s preparation for the next game starts almost immediately after the previous one ends. Whether in a conference room or on the plane home, the coaches grab some pizza or chicken wings and immediately begin molding their game plan.

As coaches watch that night’s game, Cullen cuts out the plays they want to show to the team, usually between five and 20 clips. These will be shown the next day at practice.

Each assistant coach is assigned certain opponents to scout, and he and Cullen will watch five or six games before delivering a scouting report to the rest of the staff after the game. This message breaks down the upcoming opponent’s personnel, tendencies, offensive sets, defensive strategy and what other teams have run against that opponent.

The coaches are typically up until 4 or 5 a.m., but the late nights prove how highly Krzyzewski values video in his workflow.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for a video coordinator because you get to sit and listen to a tremendous coaching staff who not only is teaching you about the game as you’re sitting there watching film with them, but they’re also helping you stay up at night,” Cullen said. “The video coordinator in almost any situation is going to be up until 2 o’clock in the morning anyway, and it’s an incredible feeling for me to have the coaching staff with me as I’m doing my work.”

Day After a Game

Krzyzewski, Cullen, Duke’s three assistants and director of basketball operations reconvene around 10 a.m. for a few hours to review the previous game once more and continue watching video of the upcoming opponent. They begin putting together the video that will be shown to the players at practice that afternoon, normally around 2 p.m. The coaches start to build the game plan and figure out how they’re going to tailor practice around it.

The team begins practice with a video session, which can last between five minutes and 45 minutes based on what the coaches want to convey. Most of this is self-scout video, showing instances of effective and poor execution.

“One of the things we try to do is if we’re showing two films, one of ourselves and one of our opponent, we’ll try to change locations in between,” Cullen said. “We’ll try to get them to get up and walk around. They’re mentally dividing two things, so we try to make that physical also so they have a chance to clear their mind.”

The team then hits the court to go over what they’ve just seen. A TV monitor is often present so the coaches can show the players a play, then immediately practice that set in live action.

“Kids today are visual learners,” Cullen said. “They’re used to watching things on TV, so anything you can do to show them something on TV is really going to help them.”

The entire practice is filmed by student managers so the coaches can review it afterward.

The players are encouraged to spend some one-on-one time with coaches when they have a break between classes. These sessions specifically focus on the player’s role on every possession. Krzyzewski doesn’t prefer to single out athletes during team sessions, so these side breakouts provide for more in-depth instruction. The coaches prefer that most of the video a player consumes is viewed with a coach present.

“I think it makes sure the players are receiving the right message when they’re watching the film,” Cullen said. “You can get everybody on the same page quicker if you’re doing things together. Certainly there are some things we give players on their iPads or on their phones that they’ll watch themselves, but for the most part we want them gathering the conclusions that our coaches have gathered and not the conclusions they would gather on their own.”

Day Before a Game

The process is pretty similar but it’s much more focused on the upcoming opponent than the previous game. This is when the staff gives the players the detailed game plan, going through the full scouting report and complete highlight tape. The coaches also distribute a paper scouting report that the players have to look at and show video that matches up with that paper in a meeting.

The coaches are careful not to overwhelm the players however, as the final tape is usually between eight and 10 minutes. All in all, Cullen estimates each player watches four to five hours of video each week.

Video is a key player in both the review and preparation process for Duke. It’s become an integral part of how Krzyzewski operates, and effectively distributing the information video provides to the players has helped Duke net three Elite Eight appearances since 2010.

“I think that showing film to players provides much greater clarity when you’re trying to bring home a point about how we need to play or about the way a player should behave on the court,” Cullen said. “You can tell them about something that’s happening or you can tell them that they’re playing well or poorly, but when you actually show them the video, they can’t look away from it and say, ‘You’re not right.’ The tape never lies, as they say. The video is really important for that.”

Duke found a way to effectively use video in its rise to being one of the nation’s top programs. Experience the power of video through Hudl basketball.

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Five Ways Productive Coaches Spend Their Free Time

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Coaches don’t get a lot of spare time, but Hudl offers some suggestions on how they can make those free moments more productive.

Free time is a foreign concept to coaches.

Between devising game plans and addressing individual player needs, coaches are stretched pretty thin.

Thankfully, there are tools out there that can help coaches make the most of their day. Whether it’s a service like Hudl Assist, where professional analysts break down video for coaches, or a self-improvement app like Hudl Technique, staffs that take advantage of Hudl’s time-saving coaching tools have more free time than ever before.

You may be asking yourself, “What do these coaches do with all this newfound free time?”

We asked Hudl users the same question. Based on their feedback, we found five ways the most productive coaches spend their spare time.

Sweat the Technique

Regardless of level of competition, players can’t dominate without proper form and mechanics.

Because of features like playlists and live tagging, coaches can spend less time in the film room and more time improving player technique.

“I have more time where I can communicate with our guys on things they need to be working on and things they can do to improve,” Eric Maassen, the coach at Sheldon High School (Iowa), said. “Also, I can provide feedback specific to individual players.”

Does your shooting guard have a hitch in his free throw shot? Hold a one-on-one video review session with him and pull up a playlist of all his free throw attempts from the last game. Reinforce your teaching points by instructing your player to use a tool like Hudl Technique to analyze his form throughout the season.

Is your upcoming opponent particularly physical in the post? Gather your forwards and centers and show them show them video of those tactics, then take them out on the court and teach them how to counter the strategy.

Hone Your Craft

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Use your spare time to study up on new coaching trends, discuss best practices with other coaches, learn more about the capabilities of your coaching tools and brush up on the basics.

Setting time aside for personal development now can free up your schedule later as you’ll need less and less time for how-to research.

In search of resources to get you started? The Glazier clinics are a great place to learn, and there is plenty of great content here on Coaching Toolbox to step up your game.

Enhance Practice Sessions

The season can be a grind, so why not make your practices as engaging as possible?

Take instructional risks by restructuring your practice schedule and teaching techniques. Develop certain themes for each week of practice. Allot time each month for motivational speakers to address your team.

Incorporate video into your practice sessions. The staff at Duke University has found it’s a great way to immediately blend learning with physical action.

“We have a TV that we have out on the court sometimes,” Kevin Cullen, the team’s video coordinator, said. “We’ll watch one play, go out and walk through it, then we’ll come back and watch another play and go out and walk through that. Kids today are visual learners.”

Take the pulse of your team to hold practices that cater to their personalities and your players will retain your lessons more effectively.

Watch Even More Video

It may sound strange, but one benefit of using solutions that help you watch and analyze video more efficiently is now you’ll have time to watch and analyze even more video.

“It would take two to three hours to find all of an athlete’s missed shots, or to watch all of the offensive rebounds we gave up per game,” Rob Brost, head coach at Bolingbrook High School (Ill.), said. “With Hudl Assist, it’s one click to watch that for a whole game.”

Use the time you spend analyzing video to fully dive into each of your opponent’s offensive and defensive strategies. Instead of spending your offseason randomly pinpointing opponent tendencies, dedicate a week at a time to review specific sets, plays and in-game stats on your scout video.

You can also take a similar approach to analyzing your own team’s areas for improvement. For example, with a service like Hudl Assist you can submit your game footage to professional analysts and receive a fully tagged video and its reports ready to study within 24 hours.

Relax and Unwind

Wearing multiple hats and working long hours is often seen as a badge of honor among coaching circles. However, taking time to unwind can actually boost productivity and make your season less stressful.

Fatigue makes it harder to stay on-task, be attentive to your team’s needs and address coaching challenges. Flip the script by taking a mental break.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get some free time for a change? That’s exactly what Hudl Assist can give you. Check it out here.

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