Latest Basketball Blogs

Coach's Guide To Managing the Coach-Parent Relationship
Bar none, the most emotionally draining element of coaching a youth sports team is interacting with the parents.  Having coached youth teams for over twenty seasons and been an officer in multiple youth organizations, I can personally attest to the fact that parent-coach interaction is important to the team's success.  The mismanagement of the parent-coach relationship by the coach, more then anything else, leads to their demise.  By establishing expectations early in the season, having a conflict resolution mechanism, and managing the disagreement discussion, a coach can reduce the emotional impact to themselves and maintain their team's positive attitude. 

Basketball Drill: Baseline Shooting Drill
This is a shooting drill, like the rebounding box-out drill, where the players are trained to follow their shot for the rebound.  When a player shoots it is common for the shot to either go too far and hit the back of the rim or come up short and hit the front of the rim.  When the shot is too short, the rebound comes back in the direction of the shooter.  If the shooter follows their shot, they can be in position to recover the rebound.  The baseline shooting drill re-enforces the "follow your shot" behavior.

Basketball Drill: V-cut Shooting Drill
Against man and zone defenses, a very common offensive move without the basketball is a V-cut that is used to either setup the man defender for a screen or to turn the zone defender's head.  Several years ago, I was coaching a 5th grade basketball team and we were struggling with having our shooters come off screens and quickly shoot the jump shot before the defense would recover.  We developed this basketball shooting drill to teach the players to come out of a V-cut ready to receive a pass in a coiled (or triple threat) position and quickly elevate, instead of receiving the pass, then coil, and finally elevate.  The latter was too many movements that took too long and allowed the defense to recover before the shot was taken.

Basketball Drill: Defending a Fast Break
In a previous post, I described a 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 fast break drill that I use at the beginning of practice.  After a dynamic warm up, the fastbreak drill is used to push players into a full paced sprint while simultaneously getting the minds focused on the fundamentals of basketball: rebounding, passing, defense, full speed dribbling, and quality decision making.  In that description of the drill, I wrote about key fundamentals the offense should follow to execute a fast break.  In this post, I want to follow up with the defensive side. 

Basketball Drill: Fast break
A very common warm up drill in basketball is the fast break drill.  After a dynamic warm up, my teams always move into the fastbreak drill or other active movement shooting drill.  The goal is to take their warm muscles and push them to a full paced sprint while simultaneously getting the minds focused on the fundamentals of basketball: rebounding, passing, defense, full speed dribbling, and quality decision making.  In this post, I describe the 3-on-2 to 2-on-1 fast break drill.

Increase Your Vertical Jump
One of the most exciting plays to watch in basketball is the above-the-rim roundhouse dunk.  This one activity requires a tremendous amount of pure athleticism.  Have your ever tried one, even on a shorter 8 or 9 foot hoop?  You will realize that it not only requires a good vertical leap, but also core strength and hand quickness.  Most resources that work on improving your vertical jump only focus on the leaping ability, but the Vertical Jump Development Bible pulls together a training program that works on ten different elements of athleticism that enable a player to pull off the roundhouse dunk by not only increasing your jumping ability but also your core strength, stability and control, and speed of movement.

Teaching Basketball Players Offensive Floor Spacing
Have you ever noticed that almost all ten and under (10U) youth basketball teams struggle running any type of offense because the players are "bunching" together instead of playing their proper positions and staying spread out on the floor.  This bunching up problem is solvable; in fact coaching colleague of mine cured the bunching problem with his daughter's second grade (7 and 8 year olds) basketball team.  Let explore why it happens and type of drills to help eliminate the "bunches."

Basketball Offense: By The Numbers
The basketball offense by the numbers is a simple but effective offense that can be used against either a man-to-man defense or zone defense.  It is easy for players of all ages to remember and can be used by young teams as the primary offense or by older competitive teams as a special play to complement the primary offense.  The best part about this offense is that it can be very simple for use by a young team and become progressively more advanced for older teams.

Drill For Learning to Dribble the Basketball With Your Head Up
A fundamental basketball skill that should be mastered at a young age is to dribble the basketball with their head up.  The two ball full court dribble is a simple drill to teach your players to dribble the basketball with their head up.

Basketball Drill - Rebounding Box-Out Drill
Last week I wrote about a basketball drill framework that I use in my practices and highlighted how it is used to develop the skills necessary for a two man pick-n-roll play.  This post will continue to expand on that framework by showing how it can be used to practice rebounding and box-out skills. This rebounding drill can be used with teams 4th grad and above.

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NCAA Men's Basketball News

Mississippi Valley State names Andre Payne new men's basketball coach

The Associated Press

ITTA BENA, Miss.  — Mississippi Valley State has announced Andre Payne as its new head basketball coach.

The announcement came Friday at a news conference on the Itta Bena campus.

Payne replaces former coach Chico Potts, who was reassigned before MVSU's last regular season game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on March 8. The Delta Devils finished the 2013-14 season 9-23, 5-13 Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Payne is coming off an eight-year stint as head coach and associate athletic director at Wiley College in Texas. This past season, he guided the Wildcats to their second Red River Athletic Conference tournament title and an NAIA Tournament appearance.

The Auburn, Alabama native is familiar with the SWAC, having attended Alabama A&M for his undergraduate years. He also coached at Texas College in Tyler.

Related:
Division I Coaching Carousel

 

St. Louis keeps Missouri Valley Conference tournament through 2018

The Associated Press

The Missouri Valley conference men's basketball tournament will remain in St. Louis through at least 2018.

St. Louis will host what's become known as "Arch Madness" for the 25th consecutive year in March. The Valley announced Wednesday that St. Louis has also been awarded the 2016-18 tournaments and that it has an option to extend its deal with the city through 2020.

"We have great tradition here. Long standing relationships that we've developed over time," MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin said. "I really think that when we looked at the totality of the bids, St. Louis was the clear winner from a financial standpoint."

Elgin said the Valley targeted St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Indianapolis and Las Vegas as prospective host cities before choosing to keep the tournament in St. Louis.

The league ultimately received bids from St. Louis's Scottrade Center, Kansas City's Sprint Center, which has hosted the Big 12 men's tournament, and the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

"We absolutely viewed the process as open, and I can tell you that we played no favorites," Elgin said. "We really did have three good choices, and I can honestly say this. There are not a lot of conferences that have the kind of choices, the good options we had available to us."

The Valley's stay in St. Louis is the second longest active streak for a neutral site tournament, trailing only the Big East's tenure in New York City. The tournament has drawn at least 50,000 fans in each of the past 12 seasons to St. Louis, whose central location makes it within a day's drive for most fans.

"It was a good opportunity for us to make the best and most prudent business decision for the league," Elgin said. "We learned a lot about the other markets and the commitment St. Louis has to our event."

Pitino: Retirement is not in the cards

Gary B. Graves | The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Rick Pitino's game plan doesn't include retirement any time soon.

Louisville men's basketball coach said Wednesday when asked how long he plans to continue coaching ''for a long time'' thanks to the enthusiasm provided by recent Cardinals recruiting classes.

Pitino said during a news conference discussing a roster that's preparing to enter the tough Atlantic Coast Conference that his ''passion and enthusiasm is better at 61 than it was at 31, and I had great passion back then.

Jamie Rhodes | USA TODAY Sports Images
Rick Pitino is under contract through 2021-22.
''I think it's the players the last four years that have enhanced that passion. ... They stir my drink because they are so enthusiastic, so willing to learn and have such a great attitude.''

Pitino is signed through 2021-22 after agreeing to a five-year contract extension in October 2012. He would be 69 when it expires but sounds eager to coach beyond that age.

Stoking Pitino's fire is the challenge of replacing high-scoring guard Russ Smith, perimeter threat Luke Hancock and reserves Stephan Van Treese and Tim Henderson, all members of Louisville's 2013 NCAA championship squad who helped the Cardinals go 31-6 last season.

The coach believes it's possible with a returning nucleus including forwards Montrezl Harrell and Wayne Blackshear; guards Chris Jones and Terry Rozier; and 6-foot-10 pivot man Mangok Mathiang. Reserves Anton Gill and Akoy Agau are also back.

Pitino praised the veterans' improved conditioning as summer workouts began and is especially pleased with Jones' 10-pound drop to around 176. The coach said he stressed losing the weight in order to become a quicker point guard and was proud of Jones' commitment toward that end.

He said Harrell, one of the team's best rebounders and dunkers, ''doesn't have to show he can score, he has to lead.''

Pitino also believes Blackshear, a former high school All-American, can finally fulfill his potential. If his improved aggression going to the basket is any indication, being named captain appears to have motivated him after an inconsistent junior season.

''It finally got through to him that the sand is running out in the hourglass,'' Pitino said. ''He has dedicated himself more in a short period of time than he has in three years combined.''

The Cardinals' challenge is familiarizing six newcomers quickly and building the depth they'll eventually need against ACC heavyweights such as Duke, North Carolina and Virginia.

Pitino has confidence in a top-10 recruiting class featuring 6-1 guard Quentin Snider, a Louisville native and Kentucky's Mr. Basketball. Louisville has also signed 6-7 guard Shaqquan Aaron, 7-1 centers Anas Osama Mahmoud and Matz Stockman, 6-10 Chinanu Onuaku and 6-9 forward Jaylen Johnson.

Louisville's needs to blend the mix in a hurry, especially with formidable non-conference schedule that includes Ohio State, Indiana and rival Kentucky. There's also the intriguing season-opening matchup against NIT champion Minnesota, which is coached by former Louisville assistant and Pitino's son, Richard.

It all gives the Louisville coach a sense of urgency.

''The positives are we've got a lot of talent and size,'' he said. ''The negative is we've got to get guys ready much quicker than ever before in my tenure as a basketball coach. ... The schedule's a bear, so we've got to get our guys ready physically and emotionally.''

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