Comment on Beware of Great Plays by Butch Lee

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Dena,

My name is Butch Lee (google). This is the best video I have ever seen. I loved it. You are a master. I could not wait to share this with my sons. Now they will know that I am not crazy.

10 Commandments of Defense

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This post was written by Micah Hayes and posted with permission from PGCBasketball.

Micah is the owner of ‘The Sweatbox Decatur’ and serves athletes through intense individual & group athletic performance training. Micah is also the strength & conditioning coach at Decatur High School.

It has been said that the cornerstone of defense is not just effort but multiple effort.

I argue that if defense was just about effort then we could pick up anyone off the street, offer the right motivation and they could get the job done. Defense is so much more than that. You have to know how to guard multiple actions and understand angles, assignments and rotations. That being said, every part of the game involves effort. In fact, that is a baseline for participation at any level of play. If you don’t bring your multiple efforts, you won’t be great at defense, and your game won’t be complete.

Knowing that defense isn’t that easy, I want to offer 10 defensive commandments to help sure up that part of your game.

1. BE COMMITTED

Everyone wants to put the ball in the hoop, but few basketball players find that same joy in getting a big stop, holding a great offensive player below their season average or snagging a pivotal rebound that gives their team an extra possession.

The game truly becomes easier when you can experience equal joy on both ends of the court.

2. DON’T TALK, COMMUNICATE

Too often, I hear players call out a term like “help,” “ball,” “dead,” etc. In a vacuum, those terms mean nothing. You could be helping from anywhere, the ball could be doing anything, and what is exactly is “dead?” Instead, I believe players should communicate their position or exactly what they believe the opposing player is going to do on that possession. It would sound more like, “I got your help on the left!” “Shooter right corner!” “Right hand driver, send her my way!”

Don’t waste energy saying the same thing over and over again. Communicate your message loud and clear once or twice. The game happens fast and you need to be ready to communicate your new position and your player’s next move.

3. GUARD YOUR YARD

Your help should typically be about one to two steps away, which is about a yard in either direction. If you can guard your yard, send the ball into your help and keep the ball in front of you. The offense will be forced to take tough, out-of-rhythm, contested shots. Many of those which will be off the bounce (the worst shot in basketball).

Over the course of a game and a season, the percentages will favor your defense and the offense will make fewer shots which will hopefully result in you winning more games.

Sometimes a better player having a great night will hit a tough shot and all you can do is tip your hat and move on to the next play. Keep doing your job, the odds will end up in your favor.

4. HELP THE HELPER

I will guarantee you one thing: you will get beat. An offense player will have an incredible peek fake, explosive first step or dribble move that will beat you, and you will need help. You can’t quit on your play; you have to be ready to assume the next help responsibility.

If someone helps you, it is your job to get your head on a swivel and recognize how you can help them and then get on your horse and make a play. One easy way to remember that is to “see a need and fill the need.”

Special defenders will help as many times as needed whether it is their responsibility or not. They show up BIG with their voice, body language and mentality and get the job done.

5. ANTICIPATE

Basketball is a game of chess, and the ones who get caught playing checkers are routinely beat over and over again. You have to be thinking one step ahead at all times. Is there a screen coming? What kind of screen is it? Is he about to drive or shoot – and from where? Where is my next help responsibility?

Anticipation is a key ingredient to success on either end of the floor. If you can couple anticipation with advanced preparation (you know your player’s tendencies), you will have success guarding them. It will look like you are in two places, but you know that you are just thinking a step ahead.

6. COVER TWO

One of the easiest ways the offense can score is in transition. It’s your job to get back and stop the offense in its tracks. The two things you need to cover are 1) the ball and  2) the streaking offensive player running to the open lane or rim, trying to gain an advantage in the open court before the help is set.

You and one other teammate need to communicate and decide who is going to stop the ball or get their head in the rim and make a stand until the rest of your teammates get matched up.

It’s not enough to just get back. You have to be ready to make a play and turn sometimes what might be a bad situation into a good one by getting a deflection or funneling the offense away from an open lane.

7. GET F.A.T.

When you are on the court, you want to find yourself constantly faking and threatening the offense.  Make them think you are playing the drive when you are really anticipating a jumper; jab at the ball handler, help early and bait the offense into a bad pass.

Offense isn’t the only place where fakes are useful. If you can use fakes on the defensive end, you will take your game to another level. Threaten the defense by showing up big with your body language and your voice. We all know that noise can be used as a distraction, and you can’t distract anyone showing up small. (If you’ve ever been to a haunted house before, you know it’s always the demonstrative and screaming actor that comes out of nowhere that gets you.)

8. HIT FIRST

When you are boxing out, it’s not enough to hit the offensive player. You have to hit first and get them off balance so you can go and grab a board.

I don’t believe in the idea of holding a box out and letting it hit the floor. There is only so long you can maintain a box out without getting a holding foul called or just getting beat. A good offensive player wants the ball just as bad as you do so hit them first and then attack the rebound with everything you’ve got.

9. RUN OPPOSITE

Seventy percent of rebounds come off on the opposite side of the rim. That means more than half of the rebounds you go after will have to be run down.

After you hit your box out, get to the opposite side of where the ball was shot and start attacking the glass. You will turn yourself into a rebounding machine and gain extra possessions for your team just by playing the numbers on this one.

10. SOLVE PROBLEMS

Every time the offense comes down the court they are presenting a new problem for you to solve. Which player is going to shoot it? What set are they going to run? Who might get beat?

Each of these is an opportunity for you to show up like one of three players. You can be a Preventer and solve the problem early by making a play on the ball or in help. You can be a Fixer and show up like a repairman and start plugging holes like a teammate getting beat off the bounce or a smaller teammate getting posted up. Or lastly, you can be an Eraser and at the last second take a charge, show up on a rotation and get a steal, or come out of “nowhere” and block a wide open shot or lay-up.

No matter where you are in a defensive possession, there is always a problem to be solved, and you need to be ready to solve it.

I am going to offer up one bonus commandment for defense and that is, “Have Fun.” The best competitors look forward to this end of the floor. They relish the opportunity to beat the offense at their own game of deception, timing and anticipation. It is an opportunity to be disruptive, earn easy possessions and show off your toughness. Take pride in your ability to not only give someone a bucket but also take one away.

To learn more about PGC Basketball, including additional training tips and videos, you can visit their YouTube Channel

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Advice for Landing a Job as a Video Coordinator

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As more teams embrace the combined power of stats and video, video coordinator jobs have emerged at a growing rate. The quest for any edge, no matter how small it may seem, is a never-ending one, and organizations are truly beginning to grasp the value that video coordinators bring to the table.

Despite the growth of the profession, actually locking down one of the coveted positions remains a battle. If you want a seat at the table, you’re going to have to fight for it. It’s going to take a blend of skill, determination, persistence and luck.

But, according to several video coordinators we’ve spoken with recently, the trek up the mountain is well worth it. We reached out to them to get their top tips on snagging a video coordinator gig.

Make Relationships

One of the most overused cliches in job searches is, “It’s all about who you know.” This line holds a good deal of truth, but simply having a stocked Rolodex isn’t enough. You have to build relationships with those people and prove your ability and work ethic.

Take the advice of Kevin Cullen, the Director of Information Technology for Duke basketball, who worked as an undergraduate student manager for the Blue Devils. He spent just one year outside of Durham after graduating before coach Mike Krzyzewski brought him back, having him serve not only on the Duke staff but also with the Olympic team.

“You need to become an incredibly valuable part of that organization and you need to do something your coaches rely on and entrust you to do,” Cullen said. “The reason that I have the job I have right now at Duke is that the coaches realized that if they hired me I would get the job done and they wouldn’t have to worry about a lot of other things.

“Whatever it is that you can do for your coaches, to do something, do it well and do it reliably, so when you go looking for a job, your coaches aren’t giving a generic review. ‘Oh, he was a good student manager.’ They’re not just writing the normal letter of recommendation. They’re making a phone call and they’re making a passionate plea that, ‘Hey, this guy is the best. There’s only one of him. You’ve got to get him.’”

Develop Trust

In order to get coaches to stump for you to their peers (or hire you themselves), you must prove yourself worthy of that praise. Matt Reynolds, video coordinator for the Boston Celtics, makes a point of arriving at the facility before the coaching staff each morning so he can be ready for them. They depend on his early reports, and he delivers.

Prepare for the unexpected. Days rarely proceed exactly as you planned when you wake up, so set yourself up for any surprises.

“There are always predictable and unpredictable aspects to your workflow,” Reynolds said. “Whether it’s a game day or non-game day, you have no idea how the way that the last game played out is going to affect what you do on a given day. That’s the nature of the business. Every day is different.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Start Small

Most aspiring video coordinators have dreams of nabbing a lower-tier job with an NBA or Division I squad and working their way up the ladder. While this roadmap is certainly possible, it’s not the only path available.

You will likely have to start at a lower-tier college to get your foot in the door, and you may have to do it for little or no money.

“It’s all a part of the process and all part of learning how bad you really want this,” Weston Strayer, the Assistant Director of Basketball Operations at Radford, said. “You have to have a great support system around you to help you through it, because it is a great commitment and it’s hard to know that sometimes you’ve earned a master’s degree and I’m watching friends blowing up in business jobs or doing other things, and sometimes I feel stuck behind. But it’s all about keeping your eyes on the big picture and knowing that you’re working towards that goal.”

But no matter how small your role might seem, getting involved in meaningful ways and making your coaches’ lives easier will earn you experience and the respect of the coaching staff.

“I think that almost everyone who is a video coordinator either played Division I or worked as a student manager in some capacity while they were in school,” Cullen said. “It’s incredibly important for that person to have a head coach that will talk to his contemporaries and help that person find their next opportunity when they graduate.”

Find Your Niche

Try to find something specific that you bring to the table better than anyone else does. It will build trust amongst the coaches and increase your value.

Zak Boisvert did just this with PickAndPop.net. He found a niche by creating tip videos, play breakdowns and coaching edits. Once his content gained traction, he was wanted at speaking events and gained more than 5,000 YouTube subscribers.

Cullen spent a good deal of time working on the floor early on at Duke. But once the coaching staff realized his abilities in cutting up video, they moved him upstairs to the film room, a transition that eventually earned him his current job.

“You have to trust that they can do the job, that they have the skill set and the knowledge to do it, and the willingness to work extra and do the job until it’s complete,” Cullen said.

Don’t Limit Yourself

For many individuals, becoming a video coordinator is the destination of a lifelong dream. The responsibility of breaking down stats and video for the smartest minds in sports is a true honor.

But don’t shoehorn yourself into that role alone. Different opportunities can arise along your career path, and it’s important to position yourself as a versatile person who can perform a variety of functions. Keep your mind open to different roles, as they can not only open new career paths but also make you more attractive to potential employers.

This was huge for Strayer, who spent a year as an assistant coach at a Division II program before moving to Radford this year. He got experience in recruiting, marketing and sports information, experiences that greatly strengthened his resume.

“That helped to sell me to coaches in this next cycle, to be able to say, ‘I’ve done some of the things that most people who are looking at this job haven’t done,’” Strayer said. “It gave me a little bit of a leg up.

“If you can sell yourself on someone that you’re not one-dimensional, it really helps make you out as someone who can handle all these rolls and help a program as a whole as opposed to just one specific area.”

The market for video coordinators is a crowded one, and the competition is fierce. But digesting and finding value in video is a labor of love. If you are truly invested in analysis, you won’t mind the long hours or low pay.

And the payoff, according to those currently in the position, is more than worth it. If you can develop trust, prove your worth and develop strong connections that will vouch for you, the opportunity to find a career exists. If you have any further skills or experiences you believe help in starting a career as a video coordinator, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

 

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Icing a Side Pick and Roll

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This post contains videos of two defensive drills from Matt Woodley.

Matt is the Head Coach of the Iowa Energy of the NBA D League.

He is a former assistant for Tony Bennett at Washington State.

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Rick Torbett Practice Plans

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Regardless of what offensive system you use, I think you can get some ideas from this video. Not just the movements and spacing, but also how to work on your system and how to practice what you want to see happening. It is also a very good way to make sure that you are covering all of the reactions that your players need to make when the defense disrupts your actions.

What do you want your players to do if the defense takes away your entry pass or other cuts and movements that are integral parts of your offensive attack? You might not be able to simulate that in a live practice scrimmage, but

I really like the idea of calling out specific actions that you want to see 5 on 0, and even 5 on 5. Especially if your second te.am is not able to challenge the first team. If you want to take away specific options, you can

By the coach calling

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Change Your Coaching Staff Dynamic (in 20 minutes)

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this article was written by Stephanie Zonars. You can follow her on Twitter @StephanieZonars

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A team can’t develop healthy team cohesion if the leadership team (i.e. coaching staff) isn’t cohesive. [Tweet That!]

Seems logical, yet somehow coaches believe they can still build a unified team despite distrust and other fractures among the staff.

Won’t happen. Can’t happen.

Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business reviews some of the key points of his other best seller, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. 

Namely, that the core issue on dysfunctional teams is a lack of trust.

That’s so obvious that you’d think leadership teams and coaching staffs would be pretty good at building trust. Yet, more than often, they aren’t.

In The Advantage, Lencioni says it may be because they have a misunderstanding of the kind of trust needed on teams:

Many people think of trust in a predictive sense; if you can come to know how a person will behave in a given situation, you can trust her….The kind of trust that is necessary to build a great team is what I call vulnerability-based trust. This is what happens when members get to a point where they are completely comfortable being transparent, honest and naked with one another, where they say and genuinely mean things like “I screwed up,” “I need help,” “Your idea is better than mine,” “I wish I could learn to do that as well as you do,” and even, “I’m sorry.” (p.27)

I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve watched vulnerability completely change a team dynamic. One person willing to “go there” gives everyone else permission to open up a little more.

Compassion and empathy develops, resulting in a stronger ability to trust.

I worked with a business team on which many of the individuals had worked together for a number of years. It seemed like they knew one another well and genuinely liked one another. I was a little nervous that my trust-building exercises might fall flat.

What happened blew my mind!

During one of the exercises an individual shared a hardship she was going through. Her co-workers had no idea—even someone who had gone through something similar.

Through tears deeper connections developed that took their team to a new level of trust.

One 15-20 minute exercise Lencioni uses can give your team the opportunity to develop that kind of vulnerability-based trust.

At your next coaching staff meeting, have each person share three things*:

  • where they were born
  • how many siblings they have and where they fall in the order of children
  • the most interesting or difficult challenge they faced as a kid

This simple exercise helps individuals feel more comfortable being vulnerable in the group and develops a new level of understanding, admiration and respect.

Even if you are rolling your eyes right now, and think you know a lot about your staff team, give it a try. It never disappoints!

Then shoot me an email to let me know what happened.

*I recommend having the leader go first.

Change Your Coaching Staff Dynamic (in 20 minutes) appeared first on Life Beyond Sport.

About Stephanie Zonars

Stephanie Zonars helps coaches build and maintain winning team cultures through her business, Life Beyond Sport. Teams at Penn State, Notre Dame, West Point and over 60 other schools have built stronger trust, communication and teamwork through her workshops. Stephanie spent three years on staff with the Penn State women’s basketball team, assisting the team to back-to-back Big Ten Championships. She’s also the author of three books. For more tips on leadership and team culture, visit LifeBeyondSport

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Q & A with BJ Johnson of USA Basketball

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Hudl got a chance to speak with BJ Johnson this summer in Houston as he helped prepare the USA Basketball U18 team for the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Chile. A former Villanova guard, Johnson has served with USA Basketball since 2005 and was elevated to his current position of assistant director in 2009. Here are some key takeaways from that chat.

All three coaches on this staff are college head coaches, yet Mark Turgeon (Maryland) and Kevin Ollie (Connecticut) served as assistants to head coach Shaka Smart (Texas). How are these coaching staffs selected and how do they adjust?

“Our committees are the ones that select our coaching staffs. The coaches are the best of the best. They’ve won many championships. They’ve done extremely well wherever they are. One of the interesting parts of USA Basketball is you’re bringing in three head coaches and two have to serve as an assistant. We had an instance where one coach had never been an assistant at any level in his entire life. Having to adjust that mindset to become an assistant is different, but it’s really an amazing thing. I think our coaches really value being on one of our staffs for three weeks, it’s like a three-week coaching clinic. They can see how coaches coach their program. They see how each other relate to their players, how they communicate effectively, things that they prioritize. Even things like sleep and things that you might not think about, they get the chance to learn from each other and it’s an amazing thing to coach for USA Basketball, and I think that’s why people like to come back for it.”

What is the common thread between USA Basketball coaches?

“Attention to detail. It seems like our coaches never let anything, whether it be a spot on the floor to someone not blocking out to whatever it is… the attention to detail is incredible. Nothing ever slides by our coaches. And they have a passion for the game. They have a genuine love for the game of basketball, which is contagious. You watch any of our practices and they’re very spirited and high energy and everyone is engaged because of the passion that the coaches have.”

What advice would you give to someone just starting their coaching career?

Identity is huge. To understand who you are, both as a person and as a coach and how you view the game and how it should be played, is the most important part of it. Of course you’re going to take things from different coaches and different scenarios and different experiences that you’ve had. But then you have to put that all together to find what’s really important to you, to play the game the way you want it to be played. Once you do that, that’s the basis of everything. It’s going to influence how you look at the game and what you think is important in the video process and the breaking down process. Once you have that identity and what you think is important, you’re able to communicate that effectively to the coordinator and they can add their ideas as well. You have to have those key points and what’s important to you. It might not be important to someone else, but if you’re a pressing coach, pressing will be important to you. If you like to slow the game down and work the execution of your offense, then you bring that and have those clips lined up. Based on that you’re able to effectively communicate to your players in an efficient and timely way.”

What are some of the things that you look for when evaluating athletes for USA Basketball?

“To me, competitiveness is one of the most important parts of being an athlete. Are they willing to compete on every play? Are they willing to work hard? Are they willing to do the little things, the dirty work? We also just watch how they are with their teammates. Sometimes we just use video to see when they come out of the game, are they sulking or giving high fives to their teammates? It’s a lot of different things. There are a lot of talented players out there that could possibly play for USA Basketball. But when it comes to a certain level in terms of being an ambassador for our country, all the other little things come into play in terms of what kind of person you are.”

What advice would you give a young athlete in how to study themselves?

“One of the things I’m most impressed with on our national team, LeBron (James), Chris Paul, is how they see the game and how they study the game. Don’t just think you can go out and work on skills for a few hours. 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.”

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Post Line Ups Finishing Drill

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These two post player drills are among the thousands of resources for both coaches and player available from basketballhq.

They have several more videos as well as basketball coaching resource articles.

The Coach in both of these videos is Sean Hanrahan, Head Men’s Coach at Warner University.

Bulldog Rebounding Drill

 

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1 on 2 Competitive Finishing Drill

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3 Creative Ways Video can Enhance Your Practices

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Take your practices to the next level by incorporating video. Check out Hudl’s top three tips on enhancing your practices with video.

“Show, don’t tell.”

The pet phrase of English teachers everywhere might be annoying in its overuse, but the educators have a point. While it’s important to verbally explain something, being able to physically drive home the insight is much more effective. It’s scientifically proven.

But marathon video sessions aren’t necessarily the answer. Spend too much time in the film room and you risk losing your athletes’ attention, wasting everyone’s time. There is still value in video sessions, but, as Maryland coach Mark Turgeon preaches, they should be brief.

And by incorporating video into your practices, you stand a much greater chance of getting your message to stick.

Straight from the Film Room to the Court

If you want to drill home key points, reinforce your message by immediately implementing it after the players watch video. Let’s say your opponent runs a 1-3-1 zone. Show your team video of the zone, explain how you want to attack it, then get to the court and work on what you just talked about. The teaching points will be fresh in the players’ minds for better execution and a better chance at retaining the information.

If you have the resources, bring a TV or monitor down to the practice court. The shorter the delay between your teaching and the players actually practicing, the more they’ll remember and the better their performance will be.

Be Mobile

It’s not necessary to cram all of your teaching into one video session. If you’re hitting on several points at once, the players might retain a few, but their minds are unlikely to comprehend everything you’re telling them.

So get up and move. Kevin Cullen, Director of Information Technology at Duke, said the Blue Devils will physically change locations between viewing video of themselves and that of an opponent.

“We’ll try to get them to get up and walk around,” Cullen said. “They’re mentally dividing two things, so we try to make that physical also, so they have a chance to clear their mind.”

Record the Practice Itself

Game video is the ultimate teacher – it depicts performance in the heat of battle when the results really matter. But there is great value in watching practice as well.

Let’s return to the 1-3-1 example from earlier. Go back and watch how your players practiced what you were trying to teach them. Did they find the right holes in the zone? Were they making passes to the correct locations? Did they space the floor correctly?

Go back and watch practice again and you’ll probably notice some things you missed in real time. If there is anything you need to clean up, you can show it to the players the next day and iron out the errors.

Recording practice also allows you to get a better sense of how hard your players are working. Texas coach Shaka Smart makes sure to note his team’s effort and body language even before getting into execution.

“You get a sense of, how hard are we running? What type of stance are we playing in? If you have the volume, you can tell how loud you are out there. Are we talking? Are we communicating? What’s our body language look like after plays and how closely are we connected after huddles? Those things are huge. Those are the building blocks of your program before you even get into Xs and Os.”

By incorporating video into your practices, your players will be more engaged, willing to learn and likely to remember the information. Get them familiar with Hudl and dominate this season.

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Tips to Help a Slumping Shooter Find Their Groove

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Even the best shooter are going to run into a slump at some point. Hudl provides some tips to help get your marksman back on track.

Following a 2-for-7 outing on Nov. 7, Klay Thompson was shooting a frigid 22.9 percent from 3-point land on the season. One of the best shooters in the league (and maybe NBA history), the Golden State guard had bricked his way to a worse 3-point percentage than Tony Snell, Marcus Smart and Emmanuel Mudiay, players routinely ignored by opposing defenses from deep.

It’s not that Thompson forgot how to shoot. He was just going through something even the game’s finest marksmen experience – a shooting slump. Not even the most prolific shooters are immune to slumps. The question is, how do you escape it?

Thompson clearly found his way. Since the rough start, he’s shooting 47.5 percent and is once again the force of nature that has foes wincing every time he pulls up. You may have some players who aren’t shooting as well as you know they can. Here are four ways Hudl can help get them back on track.

1. Pump up the Positivity

When a shooter is feeling it, the rim looks a lot wider than 18 inches – it appears as cavernous as the Grand Canyon. On the same token, a slump shrinks the hoop to the size of a pinhead, impossibly small to squeeze a basketball into.

This is the mental game that every athlete fights at some point in the season. Most of the time the player’s mechanics are just fine, but his head is in the wrong place. He just needs to be reminded of his ability, and the shot tends to come back quickly.

Be very positive with your players. Stress their talent even amidst some struggles. Create a playlist with clips of hot streaks from previous seasons to remind them of their ability. Pepper in some notes in the video to pump your shooter up.

“If you’re a shooter, you’re going to miss shots,” Ryan Vasquez, the head coach at Sterling High School (Ill.), said. “You still have to be ready to catch and shoot and be able to go. At the same time, kids have to understand, ‘Well, my shot isn’t falling, so what can I do to regain my confidence?’ We go through that on film.”

2. Get Them to the Right Spots

Every player has certain areas of the floor that he’s more comfortable shooting from. Maybe your struggling shooter isn’t finding these spots or you as a coach aren’t running plays that put them in optimum scoring position.

Take a look at your athlete’s shot chart to get an idea of where they’re most accurate from. Try to design plays that will get them more shots from their hot areas, and have them run drills in practice that will help them improve from the cold zones.

By watching video connected to the shot chart, you can also discern if your player is taking quality shots. Is he rushing his shot from certain areas? Is he taking too many contested looks?

“This situation happened to us last year where one of our shooters was in a slump the first couple of games,” Vasquez said. “I pulled up his shot chart and we watched it. We looked at good shots and great shots. Was it a good shot or a great shot? Then we figured out how many times he attacked the basket and got to the free throw line. We just evaluated it to let him know where he stands. They were great shots and they just weren’t falling. How can we correct those?”

Sometimes the solution to finding one’s shot is simply getting closer to the basket. Great shooters thrive on hitting shots from outside, but getting into the paint can provide a confidence boost if the long ball isn’t falling.

Not only will the shooter get some easier looks by coming in close, but he will also have a better shot at drawing fouls near the rim. There are no easier points in the game than free throws, especially for a knockdown shooter.

“We had a player last year that started off like that and struggled from deep,” Marcus Bish, the head coach at Southwest High School (Indianola, Neb.), said. “Once he started moving his game inside, his 3-point percentage went way up in the second half of the season.”

3. Break Down the Mechanics

This step requires an important balance between fixing flaws and overanalyzing. You want to hit that sweet spot of suggesting minor changes in technique versus getting players to overthink their motion on every shot.

But if a player is struggling to find his groove, it’s important to correct any flaws in his form. Go back and look at video from previous seasons to see if there is a hitch in his shot.

The shot chart helps in this area as well. One click will pull up a playlist of all the athlete’s shots from that area, so you can see if he’s fading away, not setting his feet or rushing his shot. If a particular section of the court is bothersome, put together a plan to work on from that spot in practice.

4. Approach Each Case on an Individual Basis

No two athletes respond to struggles in the same manner. Some will get a mental block that affects their confidence, while others have the self-belief to keep firing, believing they will shoot themselves out of the slump.

Make sure you’re approaching the situation on an individual basis. For some players, the answer might be to get in the gym and shoot for an extra 20 minutes each day, ironing out the issues with their shot. But that same strategy might cause another individual to overthink. For that athlete, not mentioning the slump at all might be the best tactic.

“I think it’s just kind of feel thing with the kids,” Stan Dohm, the head coach at St. James Academy (Lenexa, Kan.), said. “It may be five or ten minutes after practice working with a few extra shooting drills, just reinforcing ‘Hey, you’re a really good shooter. You just need to hit 75 percent today.’ For some kids, it’s, ‘You’re worrying about it way too much. Let’s not shoot after practice today and come back fresh tomorrow.’ That’s one of the intricacies of coaching. You have to get a read for each of your kids.”

No one knows your players better than you. Tailor your correction strategy on a personal basis to help pull the player out of his funk.

“Each kid has different personality parameters. Some kids need coaching and some kids need a little more tough love,” Dohm said. “I think it’s just kind of feel thing with the kids.”

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