Basketball Sense Magazine

Basketball Sense Magazine
Basketball Sense Magazine
Volume 13 Number 1
September, October 2006
Female Hoops: Changing the Culture
by Brian McCormick, CSCS (1) Educate Coaches
April marks the 10-year anniversary of the WNBA’s birth (play
began in the spring on 1997). At
the time, the public hailed the
WNBA as a means to elevate the
women’s game, provide more opportunities for female athletes, and
spark interest in women’s basketball at every level. In ten years, it
has had mild success providing opportunities and sparking interest,
but the level of play has remained
consistent. More girls are playing basketball, more professional
opportunities exist, more college
scholarships exist, and athletes are
more athletic than in years past,
but the actual basketball skills,
flow of the game, and aesthetics of
the game have changed little.
The WNBA was an attempt
to change and improve women’s
basketball from the top. A better
alternative is to change the game
from the bottom. The proliferation
of AAU basketball has certainly
changed the American basketball
landscape and provided more competitive opportunities for female
players. However, a greater movement is needed to capitalize on
these resources and further elevate
the female game. The following
changes will not change women’s
basketball overnight, and the
WNBA may not even survive long
enough for the changes to bear
fruit, but these ideas provide a
revolutionary change to the way we
approach youth sports, especially
girl’s basketball, and should shape
societal agendas, as well as basketball skills.
Almost anyone qualifies to
coach a youth basketball team,
so teams are stuck with parents
volunteering, or high school kids
earning their community service
credits, or PE teachers coaching
a sport they never played. Some
youth coaches are great and some
possess amazing credentials, as
well as a passion for teaching and
basketball. Unfortunately, many
do not. Many may possess the
passion and the desire to learn
and become a better coach, but
few resources exist to train and
teach coaching. Sure, dozens of
videos exist to illustrate a run-andjump defense or an offense to use
against an even-front zone defense,
but little exists in the mainstream
to educate coaches on coaching;
the psychology of coaching, the
physiology of basketball, the learning styles of children, etc.
If we as a society are serious about sports, and everything
indicates we are, why leave players in their formative years in the
hands of novices without offering
any means of proper training or
self-education? Why does USA
Basketball abdicate its responsibility to train the next generation of
coaches? Better coaches using better training methods will develop
better players.
(2) Make youth leagues (prepuberty) co-ed
Very few differences exist
physiologically between a ten year
old girl and a ten year old boy.
However, once boys and girls play
organized athletics, cultural and
social stereotypes influence the
sports development of the sexes.
As a substitute teacher, I visit
numerous schools each year, usually to teach PE. There are stark
differences between grades 1-3,
grades 4-6 and grades 7-8. Some
of the differences result from the
physiological differences associated
with puberty; however, many differences are socialized, as girls and
boys strive to meet the standards
and expectations the society puts
forth for them.
In grades 1-3, all the kids play
together and everyone is relatively
equal; one or two fake injuries or
stomach aches to avoid playing,
but the majority of kids just play
and have fun and do not seem to
worry about being good or bad or
what their skill level may do to
their reputations. In grades 4-6,
most kids play together and are
still relatively equal, though a few
boys typically stand out as the
best athletes, though sometimes
it is a girl who actually is the best
athlete. Girls tend to worry more
about being with friends than being on the best team. In the 7th
and 8th grade, most boys enjoy
playing and are the aggressors
and best performers; some girls
participate; but, many-boys and
girls-prefer to sit around and talk,
play hopscotch, flirt, or play video
games rather than play the activity, as games are more competitive
and less about fun.
Sometime between the third
and seventh grades, things change;
the change is most apparent with
the girls, but also affects some
boys too, as not all boys excel in
sports, so they fail to meet the
norms society sets and thus try to
continued on page 4
Think About it
Praise in public. Criticize in
There is nothing wrong with
being tough-minded and tenderhearted.
Honesty and pregnancy have
this in common: Either you are or
you aren’t.
Mr. Meant-to has a comrade,
And his name is Didn’t-do; Have
you ever chanced to meet them?
Did they ever call on you?
Deeds, not words.
The heights by great men
reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, But they,
while their companions slept,
were toiling upward in the night.
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Do not let what you cannot
do interfere with what you can
Your mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is
These two fellows live together open.
in the house of never-win,
A tiger never growls after a
And I’m told that it is haunted
By the ghost of Might-have-been.
You should never have an off–Benjamin Franklin
night on defense.
Practices are for coaches.
Any team can run an offense.
Games are for players.
Good teams execute an offense.
Don’t give directions that can
Defense is rules. Offense is
be understood, but give directions principles.
that can’t be misunderstood.
The best coaches are the
–General Douglas McArthur
least tolerant.
BASKETBALL SENSE is published eight times a year: fall (Sept/
Oct), Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, spring
(Apr/May), summer (Jun/Jul/Aug).
One-year subscription: $39.90. Twoyear subscription: $69.90.
© Copyright 1994-2006 by Basketball Sense. It is illegal to photocopy
or reproduce this magazine in any
way. All correspondence should be
sent to:
Basketball Sense
PO Box 1667
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FAX 910-784-8547
E-mail: [email protected]
Editor in Chief:
Murray P Pool, Sr.
Nicholas Abbott
Larry Lindsay
Associate Editor: Lason Perkins
Associate Editor: Chris Kennedy
General Manager:
Angie Pool
Production Design CRI Designs,
and Copy Editing:
Raleigh, NC
Basketball Sense Magazine
Coming In
 The Amoeba Defense
by Lason Perkins
 The Set Play 2
by Lason Perkins
 The 1-3-1 Gap Offense
by Mike Phelps
 Maximum Offense
by Larry Lindsay
 Open-Post Offense
by Lason Perkins
Femal Hoops:
Changing the
Culture........................... 1
Think About It............... 2
Helping Your
Choose a College......... 3
Don Meyers
Definite Dozen............... 5
Teaching Individual
Defense......................... 6
Financial Well
Being.............................. 8
Don Meyer’s
Playbook..................... 11
Modified Motion.......... 12
Sense Quiz.................. 16
Player Parent
Coaches Meeting........ 17
 High-Low Triangle
by Lason Perkins
 Secrets of International
Basketball by Lason Perkins
 Scoring in Ttansition
by Lason Perkins
Volume 12 Number 8
Helping Your Student-Athlete Choose A College
by Brianna Finch
It’s that time of year; seniors
are cramming for the SAT’s, making one last attempt to bring up
their GPA, and filling out college
applications for that all-elusive
college of their dreams. Well, the
same is true for student-athletes,
except they also have to factor in
the recruiting process and the athletic element of their college career.
I’ve heard one collegiate coach refer
to the recruiting process as similar “to asking a date to the prom”;
sometimes you may get rejected
over and over before finding the
right one.
High school athletes, parents,
and coaches need to remember
that not all players are Division I
players, and there are numerous
options to explore. There are many
reputable Division II schools and
athletic programs, many that rival
the low-major Division I schools
in competitiveness. There is Division III, which is typically a strong
academic institution, but usually
do not offer athletic scholarships.
However, many Division III schools
can usually put together a significant financial package if an athlete
is a strong student and qualifies
for academic scholarship money.
There is the NAIA, which can offer
minimal athletic scholarships and
is comparable to Division III in
level of play, sometimes stronger.
Lastly, there is always the option
of community college, especially if
an athlete wants a little more time
to mature, athletically and personally, while saving money and completing their GE requirements.
There is a fit for everyone.
Whether you are a top five player
in the country or the sixth man
off the bench of your high school
team, it’s important to remember
that YOU are the one in control of
your decision-not the recruiters
and not the scouts. Choosing a
college is a decision that ultimately
Volume 12 Number 8
needs to make you happy. College
is where you will meet new friends,
develop relationships, find new interests, challenge yourself athletically, and learn who you are and
what you hope to be; so it needs to
be a place where you feel comfortable experiencing this growth.
In order to help in this process, below are a list of academic,
basketball-related, and miscellaneous questions that you should
ask coaches, counselors, or college team members at the institution you are interested in. Don’t
be afraid to ask questions. This is
a huge investment in your future
and you have every right to have
your questions and concerns answered.
What is the academic reputation like?
What is the student/teacher ratio?
What is the team graduation rate?
How many of your studentathletes in my sport obtain
their degrees with four years?
Within five years?
Is there a team academic advisor?
Is there a mandatory study hall?
What is the fifth year to finish
degree policy?
What is the summer school
What majors do you offer?
What Graduate programs do
you offer, if any?
What position(s) am I being
recruited for?
What other players are being
What other players are being
recruited at my position?
How many players at my position do you intend to sign?
What is your team’s style of play?
Does the conference earn an
automatic NCAA bid?
What is the practice, workout,
and weightlifting schedule?
Can you play another sport?
Can you play intramurals?
What role does the coaching
staff foresee for me in its athletic program?
What are the year-round requirements of a participant in
my sport?
Does the athletic department or
university provide access to or
assistance with summer jobs?
What is your policy/belief on
red-shirting athletes?
Under what conditions or
circumstances are scholarship
athletes cut from the program?
What is the existing contract
status of the head coach?
Is any part of the athletic program currently under sanction
or probation of any kind for
rules violation?
How long are the practices
during the season? What is
the typical number of hours
devoted to my sport during the
season? During the off season?
If the cost of tuition, room,
and board increases, does the
scholarship also increase proportionately?
What criteria are used to
renew the scholarship each
year? (since all scholarships
are awarded only one academic
year at a time)
How often do you choose not to
renew a scholarship?
Health Care for athletes?
Are there specific athletic dormitories or student housing?
What does the scholarship include? Tuition, housing, books, etc.
What is the overall graduation rate
within the athletic department?
What are the campus crime
Basketball Sense Magazine
Female Hoops (cont)
continued from page 1
hide or avoid playing. During this
period, girls learn to be more passive, while boys learn to be aggressive. Girls learn not to play their
hardest, while boys play as hard as
they can. Girls feel embarrassed by
a mistake, while boys play through
mistakes or just make excuses to
rationalize them.
These changes occur in and
out of sports. Changing the culture
of sports is probably too insignificant to enact true change on
a larger level, but changes in the
sports arena may have lasting results within the sports landscape.
By playing boys and girls together
during the pre-puberty stage,
kids learn to play together; they
see each other as equals, not one
sex as superior to the other. They
play the same game with the same
expectations and coaches do not
dumb-down practice for the girls.
Girls are expected to compete and
play just like boys.
The best female players-Diana
Taurasi, Chamique Holdsclaw,
etc.-grow up playing with boys.
However, they are the exception.
And, when a girl joins a boys’
league, she is immediately an
anomaly and treated differently.
However, if all leagues were co-ed,
girls would no longer be an anomaly; that would just be how it is and
each child would be an individual,
not a representative of an entire
gender. Some girls will fall behind;
so too will some boys; in current
leagues, some kids always bat last
and play right field, while others
always bat third and play shortstop. This happens in girls’ leagues
and boys’ leagues and would happen in co-ed leagues as well.
However, youth coaches have a
large role in shaping the attitudes
and mindsets of young athletes.
And, we recognize that many of the
best women players in the world
played with boys as youths. So, the
question is:
Basketball Sense Magazine
Did the female star play with
boys because she was already a
star? Or,
 Did she become a superstar in
girls’ and women’s basketball
because she played with boys
as a youth?
If the answer is “B”, why not
afford all girls this opportunity
and teach all children in the same
(3) Play more 3v3
In European soccer leagues,
young players (u-10) play smallsided soccer because they are not
ready for a full game. They learn
the basics on a smaller field with
fewer players, which creates more
ball possessions and less running,
and progress to the bigger field and
11v11 soccer when appropriate. In
basketball, leagues exist for kids
under eight years old to play full
5v5 games.
Youth players (u-10) should
focus on 3v3 play to develop
skills and game understanding.
Most youth games denigrate into
bumblebee ball, just as with youth
soccer in the United States. The
teams who continually vie for AAU
National Championships at the
u-10 and u-11 age group are those
with the most effective presses who
make lay-ups; nine and ten year
olds, especially girls, do not have
the size and strength to punish
presses that put four defenders between the baseline and free-throw
line and smother the offensive
player. These games are great for
the victors, but demoralize many
other players, and place an overemphasis on those who mature
early and are bigger, stronger, and
quicker than their opponents.
Half-court 3v3 games balance
the play and put more emphasis
on basketball skill development,
as opposed to smothering presses.
With more space, players have
more opportunities to dribble,
pass, and shoot and defensive
players learn to cover more ground
and move their feet, not just
swarm to the ball.
(4) Skills, not Sets
Along the same lines, teach
basketball skills before teaching
complicated presses and set plays.
Currently, the opposite is true, as
a tough press is the quickest way
to victory, so coaches spend an inordinate amount of time perfecting
press defenses and press breaks,
and precious little time teaching proper shooting form, passing
angles, ball handling, defensive
footwork, post footwork, etc.
By concentrating on basketball
skills at an earlier age, more players develop with an opportunity to
play and excel, not just the biggest,
fastest kids. Presses work at the
youth levels because players are
ill-equipped to face press defenses
because they lack the passing,
footwork, and ball handling prowess, not to mention the strength to
punish presses with long passes
over the top.
The youth goal should not be
to win by any means necessary,
but to develop skills. Kids enjoy
learning new skills and overcoming
challenges; spending hours working on presses and press breaks
is boring, even if it leads to easy
victories. These victories eventually
come with a price, as other players
eventually catch up in terms of size
and quickness, and if these pressing teams do not develop skills, its
players fall behind.
(5) Greater emphasis on allaround movement skills
(athleticism), not just basketball
Basketball is, at its most basic
level, a game of movement, and
its most successful competitors
move fluidly and gracefully. Training basketball players goes beyond
shooting and ball handling; players must run efficiently, stop properly, jump explosively, land softly,
etc. Proper movement skills reduce
injuries and enhance performance.
Watching several high school
and college teams this season, few
players move laterally with sufficient speed; almost every player
moves inefficiently, which slows
Volume 12 Number 8
their speed. Learning to move
properly enhances a player’s defensive ability.
Young players need exposure
to core strengthening exercises,
running form drills, jumping/
landing drills, etc., to insure a safe
training environment and maximize performance. So many teams
at the high school level see their
seasons end due to an injury like
an ACL tear that oftentimes result
from poor movement skills, especially the ability to stop or land.
These are skills which must be
taught, but coaches currently expect some other coach (PE teach-
er?) to do the teaching, and some
athletes never learn.
These changes may not
revolutionize the game, but they
provide a step in the right direction. Youth teams deserve better
coaching and volunteer coaches
deserve the opportunity to better
their coaching skills and knowledge. Better coaches mean better training which translates to
better players. A greater emphasis
on small-sided games and skill
development, whether athletic or
basketball, increases the player’s
aptitude and prepares the player
for more advanced basketball at
a later stage, when players and
teams possess adequate skills for
significant competition. Finally,
boys and girls training together at
an early age increases the intensity of the girls’ development and
lessens some of the inherent biases between the sexes which sports
creates and exacerbates. Hopefully, these changes equal better
performance with better players
progressing to the WNBA, but,
more importantly, a better sports
experience for youth players and
fewer injuries as players grow.
Don Meyers Definite Dozen
Be Committed
To Your Academics
Know your catalog . . . make
a plan . Get a degree. Go to class
every day. Be on time. Take good
notes. Do all extra work possible.
Plan ahead and talk to professor
when we travel or you are having a
problem. Get tutors when you need
Be Committed
To Having Class
Treat teachers, trainers, support staff, chapel workers, Marriott
workers, and all you meet with
respect. Treat other people the
way you want to be treated. Moody
people are rude. Remember to
smile, to say please, thank you, yes
sir, and yes ma’am, and give people
the benefit of the doubt.
Be Committed To
Doing The Right Thing
We have plenty of school rules
. . . know them. Realize if you just
try to do the right thing you will be
OK. Try to do the right thing right
and you are as close to perfect as
any person can be.
Be Committed To The
We realize that our players are
in a fish bowl at Lipscomb. Every
word and action will be watched.
Volume 12 Number 8
Our program’s reputation provides
many opportunities yet brings
many responsibilities. We must be
committed to build on to the tradition of our program and respect
those that have gone before us and
paid the price to build the program.
Be Committed
To Hard Work
Our program is built on the
concept that hard work pays off.
We believe that we work harder
than anyone else . . . and because
of that we always deserve to win.
There is a reason we are the best .
. . we work at it.
Be Committed To Becoming
A Smart Player
Our players must be ready to
learn. We believe we work smarter
than anyone else . . . We must develop players who understand the
game. Our players must be good
listeners and learn by watching.
We must make good decisions, we
must play with poise. We prepare
mentally for practice and games.
Be Committed To Our Team
Attitude Concept
We must have players who
believe in our team concept. Our
program is built on the concept
that the team/program is bigger
than any one player . . . We need
unselfish players.
Commit Yourself To
A Winning Attitude
Our players must be committed to winning but understand
we don’t measure our success by
winning alone. Each time we play
we evaluate ourselves on reaching
our potential. The test for our team
is to play against the game not
just our opponent. We never quit.
We always are looking for a way to
Believe In Our System
Commit yourself to our philosophy, to our system of play. Be
a sponge and soak up the concepts
of how we play. Learn your role .
. . then accept yours and do it the
best you can.
Believe In Yourself
Play with confidence . . . think
positive . . . realize you are a great
player in a great program. Don’t
get down when you play poorly . . .
realize you were chosen to be here
. . . be a leader. Lead by example.
Believe In Your Teammates
Communicate with each other.
Remember the strength of the
pack is the wolf and the strength
continued on page 10
Basketball Sense Magazine
Teaching Individual Defense
by Coach Ronn Wyckoff
Author of “Basketball On A Triangle: A
Higher Level of Coaching and Playing
“More than anything else, playing inspired defense is a matter of will.”
— Phil Jackson
We have to get the ball in order
to play with the ball! Defense gets
the ball! Period!
If both teams are equal and every player handles the ball equally,
how much time will each player
have with the ball? In this example, defense is fifty per cent of the
ame. Well, then that means half of
the game is spent without the ball,
trying to stop the other team from
scoring and getting the ball so your
team can score.
Defense is too important to
just hope that players will get it.
The coaches must teach it.
Not too far into my coaching
career, I became acutely aware
of the importance of teaching
defense. At first, I had been just
setting up defenses and walking
players through their positions and
assignments. I realized that just
telling the players to play defense
wasn’t getting the job done. I
learned ‘what’ and ‘how’ and then
I began to teach every component,
from the placement of the feet and
the stance, how to react, how to
play on the ball and off the ball,
against cutters, in the post, etc.,
etc. We were rewarded with better
play, and I became a fully dedicated advocate of teaching defense.
Defense is so integral to the
overall success of a program that
it cannot be afforded a cursory
inspection, like I was doing in the
first few years. Once we teaching-coaches know the ‘how’, it can
then be taught easily enough, then
drilled to perfection the same way
we develop offenses—over and over
and over, until it becomes unconscious competence.
Basketball Sense Magazine
In my more than forty years of
coaching, I have come to the following realizations about defense:
1.There is often a lot of generalization rather than specific
teaching being done;
2.Many coaches believe zone
defense is easier to teach than
man defense; Most believe defensive skills are easier to teach
than offensive skills.
3.Creating a good defensive player
is infinitely easier than creating
a good offensive player;
4.A team can play good defense
and win even when the offense
is having an off game;
5.Defense has always created
most of my offense.
Throughout my career, at
all levels of coaching, from the
playgrounds in the beginning, to
national teams, we won nearly
three out of every four games we
played. I had some high scoring
teams, and on only few occasions
was I blessed to have any superior
offensive players. My highest scoring teams were my best defensive
I believe in teaching by building blocks.
We teach defense from the
ground up, starting with the placement of the feet. With the first
stage, we show the foot placement
and stance. We need good balance
and to be able to move quickly
while maintaining good balance.
Defense begins with the individual. Team defense is only as
good as its weakest player, so I
look for players who have the will
and desire to become defensive
specialists. I want players who will
take pride in their defensive play
because they are confident in their
Coaches, do not expect your
team to play good team zone
defense if the individual players
cannot execute good, basic man
principles. In man defense we live
by an individual’s ability to play on
his offensive player, with or without the ball. Don’t send your kids
out to play five-on-five and expect them to be successful if they
haven’t got the individual skills to
stop the flash, fight over a screen,
front a cutter, or be able to play
“help” defense.
The successful application of
teaching good defense begins with
a stance that gets the player low,
on balance, under control, and
able to move quickly and efficiently.
To start, have your players assume a stance with the right foot
forward, feet placed wider than the
shoulders and hips. The toes of
the back (left) foot should be about
even with the heel of the front foot.
Bend the knees and get the hips
down, keeping the back nearly
straight. Get as low as possible,
with the feet as wide as possible
but still enabling quick, balanced
movement. Balance should be
centered evenly between both feet.
Extend the right arm forward to
the outside of the right knee with
the hand, as if it’s touching the offensive player. Extend the left arm
out to the left side with the palm
facing the offensive player. This
is the primary stance I teach for
playing on the ball with a dribbler
going to the defender’s left.
Change the feet and hands
and assume the same stance as if
the dribbler is going to the defender’s right. Left foot forward; right
foot back and even with the heel
of the front foot; left arm extended
out toward the dribbler; right arm
extended out in the direction of the
dribble. The arms are forming the
letter “L”.
This won’t be a comfortable
position for the players in the
beginning. Emphasize staying low
to improve reaction time and balance. Continually check the foot
placement, hips low, back straight,
balance between the feet, arm
Volume 12 Number 8
and hand positions. This position is where the defensive game
is played. The muscles must be
trained to accept this position.
(Tell the brain that the body will be
spending a lot of time like this, so
adjust, baby!)
With the players stationary,
do a little drill to have the group
jump on your command from a
right foot forward stance to a left
foot forward stance. With the coach
standing in front of the group, the
coach raises either the left hand or
the right hand and points in the
direction the dribble is going. Players should automatically assume
a correct stance with the foot back
in the direction of the dribble. The
players’ bodies should not jump up
in the air when changing directions. Only the feet and arms are
changing directions. If you were to
draw a line across the top of the
head, when changing directions,
the head would not move above
that line. The feet are barely gliding
over the floor during the exchange.
Now, we’re ready to slide.
The slide is done with a reaching
slide-step in the direction of the
dribble, pushing off the front foot
and reaching with the back foot.
This is: Push; Reach; Fill. Pushing
off the foot away from the direction
you’re sliding, reach and step in
the direction of the dribble and fill
the vacated back foot spot with the
front foot. A very important point
of emphasis here is, the defender
should never lift up (line over the
head!) during the slide, change the
center of gravity or allow the feet to
come together. The same distance
between the feet is maintained
during the slide.
This last point is important.
When teaching a dribbler to attack a defender, the dribbler will
look for defensive weakness. The
dribbler should always be aware of
what his defender is doing with his
feet and what happens to his body
balance during the faking moves.
If the defender places weight on
one foot, the dribbler can attack
and drive to that side because the
Volume 12 Number 8
defender is off balance and can’t
The same thing happens if a
defender straightens up; the reaction time is slowed, or the defender’s body may now be too close to
the dribbler’s body, allowing the
defender to be beaten.
Review the teaching points
with the players: Foot placement,
hips down low, back straight, balance between the feet, arm and
hand extension, slide and reach
with the back foot, push off the
front foot, don’t go up and down
during the slide (like a carousel
With the coach in front of
the group again, have the coach
point out dribble directions, as in
the last drill, and have the players slide, changing feet when the
coach changes directions. When
the coach points out a direction, the players should take 3-4
slides in that direction to get used
to continuation defense. When
changing directions, a player will
jump-switch the feet (without raising up); that is, stop the rear foot
slide and push off it while bringing
the front foot back to become the
sliding foot. While pushing off the
rear foot, reach with the other in
the direction of the dribble. Do the
slides slowly at first in order to get
the whole process controlled and
precise. Make whatever corrections
are necessary here and re-emphasize whatever points need to be
Repeat this drill several times.
When they have it well enough,
the coach can add a ball. Now the
object of the defender’s attention
is the ball first. Teach your players to never take their eyes off the
ball! The dribbler has to take it
with them, has to pass it, or shoot
it. Nothing the dribbler is doing
should affect a defender because
he has his eyes on the ball ready
to react to whatever happens with
the ball. The coach dribbles right
or left and points at the same time,
helping with visual clues for the
direction the defender is going in.
Have them go slowly again. Re-
peat this several times, then begin
quicker changes with the ball, adding forward and backward.
The forward slide would be
done with the front foot away from
the ball side, reaching and sliding.
The ball-side foot is always back,
pushing forward. In the backwards
slide, again the ball-side foot is
back, now reaching and sliding,
while the forward foot is pushing
backward. This whole maneuver
will look similar to a fencer doing advances and retreats with a
At all times, balance must
never be over a foot but rather still
directly between the feet. Quick
changes with the ball will enable
the teaching-coach to spot any
player not reacting and switching
feet quickly enough. The switch
should be done exactly with the
dribbler’s changing hands. Defenders don’t want to be caught with
the ball-side foot forward. Check
players for straightening up during
the switches. Is a player allowing
the feet to come together during the slide? Look at the balance
point—is it directly down from the
middle of the body centered between the feet?
The stance and sliding procedures covered above are for perimeter use, outside of the key, while
putting pressure on the dribbler.
I’ve covered individual stance
and movement that applies to
playing on the ball equally, both in
man and zone defenses. Too many
coaches fail to see this fundamental as being common to both types
of defense. To successfully play on
the ball when it’s in a player’s zone
requires all the skills of sound man
defensive principles and techniques.
Now, let’s drill one-on-one
and, while this is defense, let’s not
forget to emphasize good offensive skills too. (i.e. protecting the
ball, controlled dribble, etc.) The
teaching-coach will want to place
the pairs so that the coach can
see everyone with a quick glance.
Have a player with the ball assume
continued on page 10
Basketball Sense Magazine
Financial Well-Being
by John Forman
Do you have money in the
financial markets? If you are like
most of us, you do. The majority
of people these days have some
form of investment in the markets, often through retirement
programs like IRAs and 401ks.
For many of us, that has proven a
rather unsatisfactory experience
in recent years, as the stock market has not exactly been providing
us the returns we would like to
see. Figure 1, which is a graph of
the S&P 500 index, a broad measure of the stock market, depicts
roughly what has happened to
the value of mutual funds in our
retirement accounts.
It was a rough spell through
the first three years of the decade.
Since the beginning of 2003, the
market is up about 50 percent, yet
it is well below the peak in early
2000. The situation is even worse
if you look at the more aggressive growth sector of the market,
which is represented by the NASDAQ index (see Figure 2).
Those big-time growth stocks
were producing really nice returns
in the late 1990s, but they also
came down very, very hard after
that. The NASDAQ lost about 75
percent of its value. While it has
just about doubled since its late
2002 low, the index would have
to double again to get near those
2000 highs. That’s a lot of value
lost by lots of folks. Many of us
know of people who were looking
forward to retiring, but who had
to put their plans on hold because
they suddenly found themselves
with significantly less money.
This is not to say that investing in the markets is a bad thing,
especially as part of a long-term
retirement plan. If you have consistently been making contributions to an IRA or 401k plan, then
chances are the plot of your balance over the last few years does
Basketball Sense Magazine
not look as bad as those charts.
These programs are very good as
a sort of forced savings plan, they
offer nice tax benefits and when
employer matching comes in to
play, it is like getting free money.
Most people should have them.
That said, passive investing
has its limitations, and putting
money in a mutual fund is passive
investing. After all, once you make
the decision as to which fund or
funds in to which to allocate your
money, what actually gets done
with that money is a decision
made by others. They—not you—
determine the returns you make.
It is kind of like picking a team
based on the players’ past performance and estimated potential,
but never actually getting to coach
However, there is a way to
take more control. It’s called trading.
What is Trading?
Trading can be defined as
taking on speculative positions
(those with the objective of making profits) in the financial markets—stocks or otherwise—where
there is expected to be a finite
holding period. An example would
be buying IBM stock with the
expectation that it would probably
be sold in investing, which is more
open-ended. We put our money in
a mutual fund expecting to just
leave it there and watch it grow.
That is investing. There are other
ways of differentiating between
trading and investing, but this one
serves the purpose in this particular case.
What it really boils down to is
frequency of action. Trading tends
to be shorter term in nature. It is
the process of getting in and out of
positions, where investing is more
about getting in and holding on.
This is not to say, however, that
trading necessarily means buying
and selling all the time. One who
does a handful of transactions a
year can be just as much a trader
as one who does 10 trades a day.
The idea is the same.
Why Trade?
Trading is a way for the individual to take more control of
his/her financial well-being and
produce better returns than passive investing is likely to generate.
Trading means taking responsibility for your performance, and not
leaving it completely in someone
else’s hands. The results can, at
times, be spectacular. I will use
myself as an example.
In 2000 I made the transition
from working in a professional
environment full-time to coaching full-time. During that period, I
wasn’t really paying much attention to my retirement accounts,
as my focus was elsewhere. One
day, a year or so later, I did look,
only to find that my balance was
half of what it had been when I
left my job thanks to the market’s
decline (sound familiar?), and it
wasn’t looking like it was going to
recover very much any time soon.
Fed up, I rolled the money out of
the 401k where it was sitting (I
wasn’t working for that employer
anymore, so I was making no
deposits) into an IRA account and
started trading stocks myself with
the money. In 18-24 months, I
more than made back all the money the fund managers had lost,
doing nothing all that fancy. I am
sure that had I left the money in
the 401k, I would still be waiting
today to be back to where my account balance was in early 2000.
I don’t mention this to brag.
Nor do I tell this story to suggest
that people ditch their retirement
accounts and trade. Rather, what
I am trying to provide is an indication of what individuals can do
when they take charge of their
own finances. I sincerely believe
that everyone can learn to trade
Volume 12 Number 8
effectively, and in doing so, can
have a significant impact on his or
her financial situation.
Now, there are loads of excuses for not trading. Most of them
are not very good ones.
“I don’t have time.”
Despite being one of the most
frequently heard, this is probably
the most pathetic excuse for not
trading there is. Why? Because
the availability of technology and
information in the modern day
means that we can operate in
literally any time frame we want.
Many people, when they hear
“trading” think it means sitting
in front of the computer all day.
While that certainly is one form
of trading, most of us do not have
the schedule to allow us to dedicate hours each day to monitoring
the markets. The good news is
that we don’t have to tin order to
trade effectively.
I will again use myself as an
example. My college coaching
position has me frequently in the
gym, in meetings and on the road.
What’s more, I run a club program
and a couple of businesses on the
side. In 2004, even though there
were long periods when I did not
trade at all, and I probably only
put on a dozen total positions all
year, I was still able to make 200
percent plus in the stock market.
If I can trade given my schedule,
and have performance like that,
anyone can.
“I don’t have the money”
In the past, this was a pretty
viable excuse for not trading.
These days, though, one can
trade with relatively little money.
Transaction costs have dropped
dramatically over the last decade
and there are more trading options than ever before. There is
one particular trading platform
which allows an individual to
put on trades of as little as $1 in
value, and they have no minimum
account size requirement.
Is it better to have more money? Absolutely. The more capital
you have at your disposal, the
Volume 12 Number 8
better are your available options
and the more actual money you
can make.
Having more money is not
always a good thing, though. For
the inexperienced trader, it is
better to have only a little money
at risk. Why? It is the same as
anything else. Just like athletes
new to a sport or to a skill make
mistakes as they are learning,
so do new traders. And just as
you would not throw your new
player in to a championship game
against experienced opponents,
neither should those new to the
markets to take on large trades
and put significant portions of
their assets at risk. It’s common
sense. It is better to make the
inevitable mistakes when there is
relatively little at risk.
“It’s too risky”
Trading is only as risky as you
make it. If you take risky trades,
then trading is risky. If you don’t,
then it isn’t. There will always
be the risk of losing money on a
trade. That is completely unavoidable. But that could be said about
all of life.
Driving is one of the most
risky things in the modern world,
but we still do it. We reduce the
risk by obeying traffic rules, planning our route, wearing seatbelts,
paying attention, and all that.
Does that completely eliminate
the risk of ending up in an accident? No, it doesn’t. Nor does it
necessarily keep us out of traffic jams or from getting lost. We
understand the risks, though, and
weigh them against our need to
get places in a timely fashion.
Trading is the same. We do
it because it helps get us where
we want to go—in this case, financially. There are going to be
hiccups along the way, but if we
are focused and conscientious,
we can minimize the risks—and
potentially the damage—an unfortunate turn inflicts and remain on
“It’s too complicated.”
Do you accept that kind of
excuse from your athletes? I’m
guessing not. Nor should you from
yourself in terms of trading, especially when it’s not true. Technology and competition have combined
to make trading so much easier
than it has ever been before. All it
takes is a couple of clicks and you
can execute a trade, check your
positions, get news and anything
else you need to do.
Can trading be complex? Sure
it can. There are those in the markets who use complicated software, mathematical algorithms,
even artificial intelligence. None of
that is necessary, though. Some
of the best traders use little more
than price quotes or a simple bar
chart. How intricate you get is
strictly a matter of personal preference, not necessity.
Is there a learning curve?
You bet. Trading is like anything
else, there are things you need to
know. The good thing, though, is
that there are loads of resources
out there to help you learn.
Trading the financial markets is a way for us coaches—who
often tend to be control freaks
anyway—to take charge of our
monetary well-being. Anyone can
learn to trade effectively. It’s a lot
like athletics. There are going to
be those who excel based on some
natural gifts, but just about anyone who commits to it and puts
forth the effort can become a solid
performer in his/her own way.
And just like sports, even a
little is better than nothing. You
need not become a super-active
trader to gain the benefits. The
simple act of becoming involved
in trading will make you more
knowledgeable and aware of the
financial markets. That not only
helps you in your decision-making
about retirement account allocations and the like, it also impacts
the rest of your life. The financial
markets aren’t just stocks. They
include things like interest rates,
Basketball Sense Magazine
commodity prices and currency
exchange rates. All of those elements play a part in your life, in
the form of mortgage rates, gasoline prices, the cost of the vacation
to Europe you have in mind and
in a wide array of other ways.
Also, like athletics, trading
need not be a solo affair. There
are loads of resources out there to
help you learn about the markets
and determine your best course
of action. A good place to start
finding them is at, a web page I
have specifically put together to
help you find the tools you need to
learn more about the markets and
John Forman is the assistant
volleyball coach at Brown University. He is also the club director for
RI Blast Junior Volleyball and is
USA Volleyball CAP II certified. He
holds an MBA from the University
of Maryland and a BS from the
University of Rhode Island. He is
the author of the The Essentials of
Trading: From the Basics to Building a Winning Strategy (Wiley,
April 2006).
Definite Dozen (cont)
continued from page 5
of the wolf is the pack. Encourage each other and support each
other. Don’t ever forget the importance of the shell around the
team. Be a friend. We understand
that we are all different - be tolerant of teammates and others.
Believe In Your Coaches
Know that your coaches are
trying to make you better people
and players. Ask questions . . .
don’t whine and complain. Learn
to take tough coaching. You must
believe that the coaches are doing what they think is right for the
team and you.
Basketball Sense Magazine
Individual Defense (cont)
continued from page 7
a protective stance as if dribbling
to the defender’s left (right handed
dribble for the dribbler, body between the ball and the defender).
Have the defender step up to the
dribbler, place the right foot to the
dribbler’s front (left) foot and slightly
outside it. The left leg will be back
and outside the ball for the slide.
Now with the feet placed, drop the
body as low, and the feet as wide, as
possible for quick reaction.
The defender, reach out with
the right arm. It should extend fully
so the hand just brush touches the
dribbler’s hip, thigh or knee of the
front leg. If this arm is kept extended, always “touch-touch-touching”, without bending the elbow, it
will act as a measurement for the
defender that they have the right
distance from the dribbler’s body. If
that arm bends, the dribbler is getting too close. Don’t leave this hand
maintaining the touch on the dribbler. This is a “touch-touch-touch”
and is not meant to impede the
dribbler, but in addition to keeping
the distance marked between the
two bodies for the defender, it also
serves as a reminder to the dribbler
that the defender is right there.
The left arm is extended wide
in the direction of the dribble,
outside the ball. While the front
hand should never reach across
the dribbler’s body for the ball (it
should be used to stop a cross-over
dribble that is coming toward it), the
back hand leading the ball should
be intimidating the ball all the time,
coming up at the ball rather than
slapping down and possibly hitting
the dribbler’s arm or hand.
The arms extended in this fashion represent the letter “L”. Within
the breadth of this stance, the area
the arms and feet cover on the floor,
the defender should have the dribbler within his or her “embrace”. If
the stance is correct, the defender’s
nose should be “on” the ball. The
nose is the “me” in “ball-me-basket”,
the position the defender on-the-ball
should always be in. Remember,
keep your eyes on the ball!
Now have the dribbler change
directions and hands with the
dribble. Have the defenders copy
exactly what was just done going to
his left, now to the right: Left foot
forward to the outside of the dribbler’s front foot; left arm extended to
“touch”; right leg back and outside
the ball; nose “on” the ball; and the
right arm extended outside the ball
creating the “embrace”.
Review. Go slowly in a “dummy”
fashion where the dribbler does not
try to beat the defender. Just take
a few dribbles in one direction and
then change direction. The defender
also does nothing to impede the
dribbler, constantly giving ground
to the dribbler, at about a 45-degree
angle, while maintaining “touch”
contact. This is practice for the
defender to get proper on-the-ball
positioning while sliding and in the
jump-switch on the change of direction. Teach quick exchange of feet,
arms, and hands while pushing
off the front foot and reaching with
the back foot in the direction of the
dribble. At the same time, this drill
allows the dribbler to get a feel for
how to dribble-protect under close
defense. Keep to a given area of the
floor, so the drill doesn’t get out of
The teaching-coach can use
“freeze action” by blowing the
whistle and have everyone stop immediately where they are. Now all
positioning for both offense and defense can be checked and adjusted,
if necessary.
We want everything to come
in good time, so we have not allowed the dribbler to do his thing,
nor allowed the defender to crowd
the dribbler. They must all have a
feeling of confidence and control
with their skills before we take it to
the next level. I don’t want pressure
to perform offensively or defensively until they have mastered this
“dummy” script. Building skills by
Volume 12 Number 8
Don Meyer’s Playbook
Wolf for “3”
1 dribbles toward 2 who loops
to the top along with 4.
1 looks to drive to basket with
2 filling behind and spotting up. 4
spots up at top and 3 pops to corner with 5 screening. 1 finds open
man for “3”
Triple from Out-of-Bounds
2 will cut off creen by 5, then
3, then 4 always looking for a spot
to receive pass and shoot. If a
defender looks to switch on any of
the screens, the screener will step
to the ball.
Triple vs. Man-to-Man
1 dribbles toward 2 as 2
breaks off screens by 5, 3, and 4
to the opposite wing or top looking
for a spot to receive pass and shot.
Majerus vs. Zone
1 dribbles toward 2 who cuts
to the opposite corner. 5 posts the
middle defender and 4 fills behind 1.
1 passes to 4 who reverses to
3. 3 drives into a gap and looks to
feed 2 or 1 as they spot up. 3 can
also hit 5 in the lane or pass back
to 4.
1 dribbles toward 3. 3 cuts
across lane and screens for 5. 4
loops down and screens for 3. 1
looks for 5 inside and then for 3 at
the top.
Denver (for a shooter)
1 dribbles toward 3. 3 cuts
low into lane. 5 sets low creen
for 3. 4 loops down to set second
screen for 3 as 3 cuts back up to
top. 1 reverses to 3 for shot.
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Volume 12 Number 8
Basketball Sense Magazine
Modified Motion
Taking the best from three different offensive systems –
(motion, continuity patterns,
and set-plays) – to build a
workable man offense.
by Mark P. Zacher
Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach
Mount St. Mary’s University/
Emmitsburg, Maryland
Coaches today, in designing
and deciding upon a man-to-man
offensive attack for their teams,
have a wide range of selections
that basically fall within two very
broad categories.
On the one hand, there is
motion offense. This is a system
that emphasizes teaching players
“how to play” rather than “how to
run plays”. In motion, players are
given a set of rules that they are
to follow, usually concerning spacing, movement, and screening,
and then they are given the freedom to operate within those rules
according to how the ball, their
teammates, and their opponents
move. It is, fundamentally, a freelance offense. The advantages of
this system are the freedom that
it allows players, the near impossible task of trying to scout such
a system, and its adaptability as
players are taught how to “read”
the flow of the game and to react
accordingly. The disadvantage is
that it requires a significant time
for players to learn the system,
feel comfortable and free in using it, and then coordinating
their movements with those of
their teammates. Much too often,
unfortunately, beginner teams using motion tend to resemble four
offensive statues standing around,
not knowing what next to do, and,
therefore, watching the one player
with the ball go one-on-one.
On the other hand, there are
pattern plays and offenses. This
system, which can be further subdivided into two categories, uses
Basketball Sense Magazine
precise and practiced patterns of
movement to create scoring opportunities for a team. These patterns
can either be “set-plays,” - (these
are designed to be run from a
starting point to a finish and have
the goal of getting a specific player
open or getting a specific shot.), or they can be “continuity offenses,” - (these are patterns that are
run continuously, constantly resetting without end, until a scoring opportunity is utilized.). An
example of a set-play is what has
often been labeled as “America’s
Play”. It involves specific patterned
player movement that terminates
in getting a shot for a team’s best
shooter off of a double-screen. The
advantages of running set-plays
are that a coach can control the
movement of his or her players
and can, generally, decide who,
where, and when a shot will be
attempted. The disadvantage is
that once the set pattern has been
run and an open shot has not resulted, the team needs to stop its
offensive movement, pull the ball
back out, and call another play.
An example of a continuity offense
is the popular “flex offense.” This
offense is run and reset from one
side of the court to the other until
an offensive scoring opportunity
is exploited. The advantages of
continuity offenses are, again,
a coach can control his or her
players’ movements, the players
know where they should be and
what they should be doing, and
the resetting nature of the pattern
allows the offense to “work” the
clock and control the tempo. The
disadvantage is that the continuously resetting pattern can become easy to defend. In addition,
finally, there are also a number
of common disadvantages to both
set-plays and continuity offenses.
These include that they are somewhat easy to scout, defenders can
recognize what is being run by
either the play call or the pat-
terned movement, and players are
generally denied much offensive
freedom or creativity.
Of course, the key to both systems, motion offense and a patterned attack, is player execution.
Either system can be effective
if players execute properly, run
their cuts hard, locate bodies on
screens, and look to take advantage of the scoring opportunities
that present themselves. Likewise,
neither system will work if players
do not execute or play hard. The
key is always in getting your players to treat every offensive possession as if they are running their
offense with the goal of perfect
execution, be it motion or pattern
In attempting to combine
the best features of each of these
systems and to negate the disadvantages inherent in each, the
“modified motion” offense was
developed. Basically, this is a
patterned offense that gives the
players some freedom, without the
need to make a play call, to read
the defense in entering the ball on
offense and then provides specific movements that they are to
run based upon this ball-entry. It
involves continuity, as the offense
continually resets itself after each
specific movement. And, finally, it
provides options that can be used
to get a specific player the ball for
a shot, a possible post-up, or a
dribble penetration opportunity.
The initial set of the “modified motion” is a high 4-out - 1-in
(Figure 1). As in a pure motion
offense, proper spacing is a necessity in our “modified motion” and
the five positions need to be filled
for the movement to reset and
continue. As a team learns the
different entries and the resulting player movement, the offense
should be executed quickly, cuts
and screens should be properly
timed, and rapid ball and player
Volume 12 Number 8
movement should become the
Out of this 4-out-1-in set,
the player with the ball has the
freedom to initiate the offense in
anyway that he desires. However,
this should be done based upon
how the defense is playing. For example, if the defense is not denying wing entry passes, the pointguard can easily pass to the wing.
But, if the defense is denying the
wing, then the point should make
use of any of the other options
available. Each of these different
entries will then initiate the team’s
movement on the floor without the
need of any sort of play call. Hopefully what results is a coherent offense in which the team-members
are reading each other’s movements and reacting harmoniously.
The six different entries into
the modified motion that can be
made are: a wing-entry-pass, a
pass-entry-on-top, a skip-pass-entry, a post-entry-pass, a dribbleentry-to-wing, and a dribble-entry-on-top. Any of these can be
made initially to begin the offense
and any of these can then be
utilized as the offense is executed
and reset. The players have the
freedom to read how the defense is
playing and to make use of any of
these without the burden or need
of calling out a play. And, in turn,
each of these entries will begin
the appropriate player movement
as the team reacts to the decision
that is made and where the ball is
To begin, 1 makes a wingentry-pass and immediately cuts
Volume 12 Number 8
to the basket and then out to the
ball-side corner (Figure 2). At this
point, the player on the wing with
the ball has two options available.
look for the shot off of this doublescreen and then, if the shot is
not taken, replace the top right
position (Figure 4). On the pass
to the 4-player on top, with no
shot taken, the motion positions
should be refilled as 2 and 5 replace themselves and the 3-player
continues through to the opposite
wing (Figure 5). The offense is now
reset and rapid ball movement,
with appropriate player movement, should continue.
The player can either pass to the
corner or pass-fake to the corner
and hold the ball. The pass to
the corner option is made as the
1-player is cutting out from the
lane. Immediately, the passer cuts
to the basket and the quick look
is for the give-and-go (Figure 3).
The second option that the
player on the wing has after
receiving a wing-entry-pass is to
pass-fake to the corner and keep
the ball – (Figure 6). The 5-player
will read the pass-fake and then
As 1 receives the pass, he should
dribble out of the corner to replace
the wing spot, looking for this
give-and-go cut. As this is occurring, on the weak-side the 4-player should cut down and then off of
a staggered double-screen set by
the 5 and 2. The 4-player should
step out of the high-post to set
an on-the-ball screen for 3. These
players work a screen-and-roll. As
this is occurring, 4, on the weakside, cuts down and sets up to use
a down screen set by 2 (Figure 7).
This movement provides an outlet
pass for 3 to either make a shot or
to reset the offense. If the screenand-roll option does not result in
a scoring opportunity, the offense
is reset as the positions are refilled – (Figure 8).
Basketball Sense Magazine
– will then cut low off of 5 (Figure
10). The immediate look on this
cut is for the score. If a scoring
pass is not made, 2 cuts out to
These are the main two continuity movements of the offense.
For the most part, the rest of the
entry options will result in the ball
being on the wing and the wingplayer have the options to either
pass to the corner or pass-fake to
the corner and keep the ball.
The next entry option that the
point-guard, or any player on top,
can make is the pass-entry-ontop. If the pass is made on top,
the wing player on the side of the
passer immediately back-screens
for the passer to fade to the wing
for the skip-pass. This option often produces an open shot on the
wing – (Figure 9). If the shot is not
taken, the player who made the
skip pass – (2-player in the Figure)
the corner and the wing-player
has the options of either passing to the corner or making the
pass-fake and keeping the ball.
Once again, we are into the same
two basic wing options. Of course,
the player on top who received the
initial pass, 2, also has the option of not making the skip pass
if it is not open, and he can then
use any of the other entries of the
The skip-pass-option should
be made when both the wing and
top players are being strongly
denied. In this option, 1 skips the
ball to the opposite wing. On this
pass, 1 makes the low cut off of 5
(Figure 11). The two wing options
will then result with 1 cutting out
to the corner if he did not receive
a scoring pass on the initial cut.
The final pass option that can
be utilized is the post-entry-pass.
On the pass into the post, the top
players will scissors off of the high
post looking for the hand-off and a
possible lay-up (Figure 12). Gener-
Basketball Sense Magazine
ally, if a hand-off option is open,
it will be the second cutter. If a
hand-off is not made, the second
cutter (2 in the Figure) continues
down and sets a screen for the
wing (3 in the Figure). The 2-player cuts off of the screen and then
off of the high post and receives
the ball (Figure 13). As this is oc-
curring, 1 and 4 set a staggered
double-screen for 2 to come to the
ball-side wing looking for the shot
(Figure 14). Finally, if the pass is
not made to 2 for the shot, 5 steps
out and sets an on-the-ball screen
for 3 and 1 clears to the opposite
wing (Figure 15). The 3-player
looks to penetrate to the basket
Volume 12 Number 8
can v-cut back out to the corner,
which would result in the two
main wing options being available
(Figure 18). Or, he can turn and
and has the option of 1 as a kickout shooter if the denial defender
sags to help. If none of these options are taken, the ball is simply
taken across the top and the players without the ball refill the spots
of the offense (Figure 16).
The dribble-entry-to-wing option should be utilized when the
defense is strongly overplaying
and denying. The player on top
with the basketball (1 in the Figure) dribbles at the wing player,
keeping his dribble alive, which
triggers a backdoor cut. The initial
look on this dribble-entry is the
backdoor to beat a strong overplaying defender (Figure 17). If the
backdoor pass is not made, the
cutter then has two options. He
Volume 12 Number 8
back-screen for the post-player to
cut hard to the ball-side box. This
provides a perfect post-up opportunity as it often catches the post
defender sleeping (Figure 19). If
the post-up option is not open, the
screener – (3-player in Figure) –
steps out for the ball reversal pass
and an immediate back-screen
and fade occurs on the weak-side
(Figure 20). If the skip-pass is
made, this initiates the skip-pass
option and the offense continues
(see Figure 11).
The final entry option, the
dribble-entry-on-top, will result in
the other top player (2-player in
Figure) – cutting off of the highpost, circling, and then coming
off of a screen on the new ballside. As the dribble-entry is being
made, 4 on the wing cuts in to
screen for 2 to coming out on the
wing. This is a possible shot opportunity (Figure 21). If a scoring
pass is not made, the ball can
then be entered to the wing and
the two main wing-entry- pass
options are available. Of course,
as always, the player with the
ball has the freedom to make the
appropriate entry with the other
players reading his action.
The final movement that can
occur goes all the way back to the
initial pass to the wing and the
immediate cut that is made by the
passer (see Figure 2). The cutter
(1-player in Figure) also has an
option, in addition to cutting out
to the corner, that can be taken
and the other players must read
and react to accordingly. The 1player can also, if he feels like the
post defender is sleeping, turn
and back-screen for the postplayer (Figure 22). The post player
Basketball Sense Magazine
again, as in the dribble-entry-towing option, cuts to the ball-side
box looking for the pass. The
reset movement is the same for
this option as for the dribble-entry-to-wing option. If the post-up
option is not taken, 1 steps out of
his screen to receive the reversing pass and an immediate backscreen and fade will occur on the
weak-side (Figure 23).
Sense Quiz
1. The 3-point field goal line is how wide?
A) 2 inchesB) 3 inches
C) 1 inch
D) 2 1/2 inches
2. Can a visiting team be called for a technical foul because of the behavior of spectators?
3. What is the penalty for calling successive time-outs during an overtime period?
4. A player accidentally kicks the ball to his teammate who lays the
ball in. Is this basket allowed?
5. During the opening jump ball, is a player required to jump and attempt to control the tossed ball?
6. A player inbounds the ball from the half court by successfully
throwing the ball in his basket. Is this a legal basket?
7. Is it a violation for a player who is standing still and in control of
the ball, to touch the ball to the floor?
8. Does it count as a player’s dribble if, while standing still and in control of the ball, he touches the ball to the floor?
9. A player attempts a front court pass to a teammate. The ball, untouched by any other player, is deflected off of the referee’s leg and
into the backcourt. Can the passer retrieve the ball in backcourt
and maintain possession?
10.The home team provides the game ball. If the visiting team objects
to the choice and provides their own choice, who gets to make the
final decision concerning which game ball is used?
Sense Quiz Answers: 1) A 2) Yes 3) No penalty, it is just not allowed. 4) Yes. Accidental kicks are not a
violation. Judgment call. 5) No 6) No 7) No 8) No 9) No 10) The referee.
These are the movements of
the offense. They need to be broken down and individually taught.
Then, as the players become more
and more comfortable in reading
the entries, they should be drilled
continuously with rapid player
movement and ball reversal until
the offense moves easily from one
option to the next. The result will
be a team that is difficult to scout,
has offensive freedom, and yet is
running a series of carefully designed patterns.
The offense is a type of “motion” in that it provides the players with the freedom of decisionmaking and takes out the need of
making verbal play-calls. It is a
“continuity-offense” in that it constantly resets itself until a scoring opportunity is utilized. And
finally, it also offers “set-play” opportunities as specific entries can
be run to get a shooter an open
look, to get a post-up opportunity,
or to get a two-player, screen-androll look. The “modified motion”
offers the best of all three!
The Basketball Sense Desk Calendar
This calendar will make a great gift for you, your staff, or a coaching friend. It is
not available in retail stores. There is nothing quite like the Basketball Sense Desk
Calendar. Printed as days of the month only (leap day included), the calendar
can be used over and over for years to come.
Dimensions: 5 ½ x 4 ¼ inches.
Price: Only $14.95, plus shipping; Five or more, $12 a piece, plus shipping
Basketball Sense Magazine
Volume 12 Number 8
Player/Parent/Coaches Meeting
by Bill Ayers
Mead, Washington
Every year, two weeks prior to
the season, we hold a mandatory
meeting for all prospective players, their parents/guardians, and
program coaches (note: failure to
attend this meeting by a player
and/or his parents/guardians
would preclude a young man from
turning out for the program. We
offer the opportunity for those who
miss to meet with the head coach
later only in extreme extenuating circumstances). Our primary
intent is to avert any potential
conflicts in the future by clearly
outlining our program philosophy
/goals, to enhance player/parent understanding of our methods
and procedures, and to field any
questions pertinent to these areas
(we also discuss eligibility requirements as well as the district athletic policy/handbook, and allow
local vendors to display basketball
shoes at discounted prices).
Each family unit receives a
booklet divided into the following
This section includes a welcome, brief bios on the coaching
staff, and usually a borrowed comment on basketball in general (e.g.,
why the game is so special and
what makes it so great – we want
parents to get a feeling for our passion for the game.
Comment on the Previous Season
A comment by the head coach
on the previous varsity season,
accentuating the contributions
of graduated seniors and briefly
outlining the prospects for the
up-coming year. It is here that we
like to introduce players/parents
to our “catch phrase” for a particular season (e.g., “While we can’t
ensure success, we can deserve it.”
This was our mantra for a recent
season where our talent pool was
Volume 12 Number 8
shallow and we knew we would
have to work extra hard to have
This section is the cornerstone
of the booklet. It is here that we
introduce our general program
philosophy and goals. What can
parents expect their sons to garner
educationally from participating in
our program, aside from the development of individual skills, physical fitness, and team strategy (see
attached “Dear Parents . . .”)?
We also list an outline of the
characteristics that must be evaluated when selecting teams at the
various levels, as well as a ten-step
procedure that will enhance academic success.
Here we clearly outline communication parents should expect
from our coaching staff (e.g., location and times of all practices and
contests, team rules and guidelines, procedure regarding injuries
during participation, etc.), communication coaches expect from
athletes/parents (e.g., advance
notification of any schedule conflicts, special information regarding physical limitations, etc.), and
again cover issues not appropriate
to discuss with coaches (playing
time, team strategy, play calling,
other student-athletes)
This section is directed at the
parents. We attempt to define what
attributes a real Wildcat basketball
parent would possess, and then we
expound upon them. Attributes we
discuss are:
 Shouting words of encouragement
to your son during the game.
 Shouting words of encouragement to all Wildcat players,
even if they are playing in front
of your son.
 Refraining from razzing the
other team’s players.
 Allowing the officials to do their
job and call the game, understanding that they are human
and are capable of making
 Leaving the game at the gym
and talking about it only if your
son initiates the discussion.
 Not blaming the coaches for
your son’s problems or lack of
playing time.
We also include a copy of the
poem, “A Parent Talks To A Child
Before The First Game” (unknown).
Lastly, we include a life size picture
of Julius Erving’s right hand (an
example of being born with real
physical tools) and a college fact
sheet for high school basketball
compiled by Metro Index Scouting
Service (the stat that only 1.2%
of all high school seniors in the
U.S. play D1 basketball is an eye
opener for many parents).
Care of Equipment
We include explicit directions
for care of all equipment we issue
to our athletes (washing/drying
instructions, storage, etc.).
This is an important section,
and we have found that parents
have a lot of questions regarding
nutrition. There is a plethora of
materials on the internet regarding
nutrition and athletes. Gator Aide
has some good material.
The final section consists of
game and practice schedules (place
and time) for all teams, as well as
phone numbers (work/home) of all
program coaches.
It has been our experience
that this pre-season meeting with
parents, players, and coaches
goes a long way toward creating a
cooperative attitude amongst all
parties involved, and has lessened
the amount of in-season turmoil
as a result of clearly outlining our
philosophy and expectations.
Basketball Sense Magazine
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