This week, Sam and TJ discuss frustrations and questions coaches face during seasons as we try to problem solve strategy and scouting decisions as well as common mistakes we’ll want to avoid making. The conversation emphasizes the importance of understanding the variability of opponents and the need for players to adapt to different game situations. Good offensive coaches are characterized by their clarity of how they want to play and their ability to generate good shots. Good passing, cutting, and spacing on offense can be the little details that make your offense go. On the defensive end, coaches should have a clear defensive identity and make adjustments based on their personnel. Not to be left out of your in-season priorities is the importance of player development and keeping that a focus for your players and within your practice plans.
• Understanding changes from game to game
• The 80/20 Rule
• Growing your offense by adapting and evolving
• What Good offensive coaches do
• Shot selection and playing to your strengths
• Having multiple ways to generate the shots you want
• Knowing the most frequent decisions in your offense
• “Offense gets better when your passing gets better”
• Common coaching mistakes
• Defining good spacing
• Adapting to your opponent
• Defensive identity and creating clarity
• Characteristics of good defensive teams
• Forcing baseline v. playing square
• Overcoming lack of athleticism with basketball IQ
• Complementary defensive principles
• What are you taking away and what are you living with
• Process v. outcome oriented
• Minor adjustments v. wholesale changes
• In-season player development
Hey, welcome to the hardwood hustle. Sam and I are going to talk today about in-season adjustments, specifically on offense and defensive end. What things cause you problems over the course of the season? Could be holistic, could just be an approach to the game, an approach to your offense, approach to your defense, or any just little nuances that can cause problems for your team. Sam, I’m going to kick us off and get your thoughts on this. One of the hardest things that I find or at least it takes the most work for me is getting teams, especially young kids, to understand that every game is different. You know? So one of the things you go in and all of a sudden the team is, you know, out there pressuring you and you’re beating them or attacking them off the dribble, maybe with back doors, and you’re trying to cut, and then the next game you come in the team plays a 2-3 zone or they pack line. That’s a totally different game. And then the next game you come in and you see something completely different. I think it’s really a difficult thing, you know, especially if you come off of a good game and they’re like, Oh yeah, we scored the ball really well. We did all these things and all of a sudden it’s a totally different game. As coaches, we understand that. But for players, that’s not the easiest thing to understand.
Yeah, I think so. And I think there’s always a balance between, you know, what the opponent’s doing and what you’re doing because you’re trying to grow your team throughout the season. And or at least maybe I shouldn’t say that in general. For me, speaking for myself, I’m always like, I always feel like our biggest opponent is ourself and not in a coach cliche, like that’s a cool thing to say, but it really is like we have to be the best we can be like we got to take care of the ball. We got to get good shots. We got to be great on defense. And yeah, there’s elements to whoever the opponent is as to like strategically how we’re going to attack them. But for me, there’s always there’s a tension or some gray area there in what I’m communicating with the team that I’m coaching.
You know you go and let’s say you’re running an offense where there’s a lot of screens and one day they don’t switch anything. And the next day they do switch things. And I think sometimes it can cause a lot of problems if it takes a while for your players to recognize that because maybe they had success in the previous game, doing it that particular way. And I think that’s the 20% is that the way what your opponent does can affect what you do. And I see that happen in a lot of teams. It’s like.
No matter what we do, we want to do it really well. And that’s the 80%. But there’s that 20% where, gosh, you know, this is their focus of taking it away. No matter, even if we do this, we have to get to our second option or our third option. Um, because a lot of times good teams make you get to your second or third option. And, you know, it kind of brings me to my second point. It’s not the easiest thing to get teams to understand how important it is to keep playing and make sure that they have multiple options of attack. You know, we talked about it on one of our episodes that you’re trying to create good shots, but really good offensive teams create multiple good shot opportunities throughout the course of the game.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that goes back to like, as you’re building your team system and strategy out in the pre-season and the early part of the season, you’re hopefully building an offense that’s ready for any type of defense. You know, if let’s stay man to man for a second, a team that does switch a lot or they’re aggressive in their ball pressure or they’re aggressive in doubling the post or doubling ball screen, whatever. Like you build out a system that teaches players how to read and react in the moment. Then you’re also presented things as the season unfolds that you haven’t been able to create in your own practices or you haven’t even seen right somebody throws his own an exotic zone or they do something and one of their coverages is different that you that you got a problem solve in the moment and then you come out of it obviously and you got film to look at and break down and then you go to the practice for
And that’s, that’s why I love basketball so much is because, you know, you have a 20, 25, 30 game season and you got these markers throughout where you’re getting tested and challenged and you’re growing. I think the best coaches are able to adapt and evolve and see, you know, we, we talk about it, something like properly diagnosed and then properly prescribe the right medicine for your team. And I think that’s the fun part of coaching.
Yeah, let’s stay on offense here for a second. Let’s just talk about like, you know, I think all of us as coaches are trying to level up and be the best we can be. Let’s talk about the best offensive coaches that you see out there at any level. You know, it could be a youth coach, high school coach. What do they do really well? I’ll start us out with a thought that I wanna get your thought. You know, I think a really good offensive coach starts with number one, they know how they wanna play. They know what they’re trying to get. They know.
I think number two, a sign of a good offensive coach is their team takes good shots. You know, they really have good, clear identification of what a good shot looks like. So I’ll just start with those two. Number one, they know what kind of shots, you know, they’re going to get and generate through their offense. And number two, they select good shots. And I think, you know, it’s easier said than done, but when I see a team that they have an identity, know what they want to get and they take good shots, that team’s usually hard to beat no matter what you do.
Yeah, I would agree with that. Maybe build on an ad one, like building on the shot thing. Like, yeah, I think that’s like at a real high level. When you watch good offensive teams, not only do they know good shots, but then their, their players play to their strengths. So you don’t see good offensive teams with like a guy taken or girl taken shots that aren’t their shots. Right. So you don’t see the big taking a bunch of threes or, you know, the best shooter not getting the most threes. So I think that, and then building on that, I do think they have balance in their attack. They attack you from a multitude of ways. You know, it’s kind of easy, I shouldn’t say it’s easy. It’s easier to defend a team that just attacks you from the three ball, or they just attack you from the post. But when you start having multiple ways that you got to defend off the drive, off post-ups, off cutting action–you know when they become a versatile attack, that’s just really hard to guard
Yeah, I think the same thing, you know, because over the course of the year, we just, you break down so much film, you know, at, at our level, we just have so much access to film, you can watch every team and every one of their plays. And as I watch the film, I think you’re right. Those teams, you know, let’s just say a team’s really good in transition, but they don’t really have an identity in the half court. They don’t really got an eye on you. Like, I think you can take away transition. You can do things to make that difficult or a team.
You know, they just say, Hey, we’re going to do everything off the ball screen. And, you know, you prepare, you throw a bunch of things at them in the ball screen, but they don’t have other ways that they score and other ways they attack you. It’s not that hard. The teams that are solid at multiple levels, you know, they get a few offensive rebounds, they’re pretty good in transition when they get to the half court, they have a way, you know, they want to attack you and then a second way they want to attack you and they’ve got different options. I agree. Those are the hardest teams. And I think they’re also the hardest teams to build, I mean, for a good coach.
You’re trying, everyone’s trying to do that, but it’s not the easiest thing to do. I think a good starting place for that is knowing exactly what kind of shots you want and then having multiple ways to generate those. So for instance, we want shots at the rim and we want kick out threes. Do we have more than one way to create kick out threes? More than just, you know, a ball screen. Are there multiple ways to actually get that shot? I think it’s a good starting place to building your offense. If a team does this, or this, we have multiple ways to get inside-out threes, if that’s a part of your offense.
Well, what do you think about this? Cause you know, we’re in the middle TJ of our PGC coaching in season track we’re doing. And so one of the questions we ask coaches and we’ve done this at clinics that actually triggers a lot of conversation and it’s pretty thought provoking is, okay, let me just do this with you real quick. We didn’t plan for this. So this will be organic. Like in your offense that you run right now, what decision happens the most and if there’s like two decisions – like man this decision happens the most What is it?
Yeah, I think passing decisions happen a lot. You know, like where to pass the ball.
When you say passing, are you talking like, who to make the right pass to, whether to bounce it in the post, whether to hit the cut or whether to just like, or like all of it? Is that what you’re saying?
Yeah, I was lumping all of those together. I mean, I think good offensive teams are good passing teams. And I think they make that decision, whether it’s outside hand, whether it’s bounce pass, whether it’s, I just think they’re solid at making passing decisions. When we play teams that are really good shooting teams, the first thing that comes to my mind is how to make them a bad passing team. Because I think passing is something that happens over the course of the game quite a bit.
Yeah. So on that, look, okay, let’s stay there for a sec. Do you, okay. So if that’s the most common and sounds like important decision in your offense.
Well, in some offense, I would also add in there too, what to do without the ball. There’s a lot of decisions, what to do without the ball. And sometimes the coach has more structure over what you’re gonna do without the ball. And sometimes there’s more freedom with what you’re gonna do without the ball. So depending on the type of offense, I say what you’re gonna do without the ball is a decision that can be a one that’s made a ton of times over the course of possession. If it’s not highly coached, dictate exactly where you go.
Yeah, on that point, that would be my answer too. Right. Probably any offense that’s out there, it’s what’s the four players that don’t have the ball doing. That’s the most common decision. But I don’t think it gets worked on, practiced, trained enough in today’s training age, trainer world. Kids aren’t working on how to play without the ball. So therefore a lot of them don’t know how to play without the ball. So yeah, I agree with that. Coaches listening, if you hear that, think about your own offense. I think the most common decision is that, do I fill, do I cut, do I stand, do I space away on penetration? And how much are you working on that? But back to yours, TJ, do y’all, back to the passing one, do you spend a lot of time working on these passes?
Yeah, you know, actually, as we’re talking through this, like in season adjustments, you know, that’s one of our points of emphasis coming off the break. One thing that was evident to me that I didn’t really catch probably early enough is last year we had a lot of different scenarios where we had good passers in spots and it made our offense look better. And then when you change the personnel, their talents are different. I mean, they’re good players. Their skills just aren’t the same. They do other things well. And I realized how important some of that passing was. We weren’t making those same reads and those same passes that were leading to buckets because they were more cautious, more safe with the ball, trying not to turn it over because they didn’t trust their passing. So I think offense gets better when your passing gets better. And I recognize that as something to adjust our offense. We got to work on that some more.
Yeah, if you think about teams, you know, that go to the NBA, let’s jump to the NBA for a second, you think about the Denver Nuggets, when you throw a five man, a big man out there that has point guard skills or, and, or you play multiple point guards and you’ve got better passers. I mean, I agree with you. That actually a point of emphasis right now for my team I’m coaching is we don’t have enough clean catches like that sounds so fundamental and simple. How many times we’re not catching the ball clean because the passes aren’t on target it’s out of our zone. We have to reach for it. Not only like, you know, the common phrase is, a bad pass to a good shooter creates a bad shot. Well, I’d say like sometimes we’re making bad passes where the, the open shot is no longer even open. And so that is a big point for the next couple of weeks for us is we are going to work a lot on passing and catching and the crispness of the pass and the receiving of the pass. But I would say, this is a good conversation because I don’t know that most coaches think about what happens the most in my offense and then does that happen in practice? Or are we just doing the same drills in practice because we did them last year?
Yeah, you know, I think another common mistake made, you know, playing off that one a little bit is sometimes you go into the preseason and you’ve watched film and you found offensive stuff you love and you go and then, you know, I mean, I think about, just a lot of the stuff that they run and watching the NBA finals last year and you’ll get to all the stuff that he did. And it’s like, gosh, that’s so hard to guard. Right. And so then you can set your team up in many of the same actions.
But when it’s not him making the passes, it can look totally different. And I think that I’ve seen a lot of people, you know, try and do that and, and try and spread the floor, you know, five out. And I’ve heard it said before, like, what’s a good spacing? Well, it’s when all of your players are in dangerous spots. You know, a lot of times people think of good spacing is like as far apart from each other as you can be. But if you watch like the nuggets play, their spacing is incredible and it changes based on their personnel.
They sub in and sub out, they’re in different spots, but they’re always in dangerous spots. And I think that’s a difficult thing because, you know, every coach has different [personnel], maybe you only have two shooters, maybe, you know, like how do you create that? The one thing I think that you can do, and I think this is a good thing for coaches to look at that can help you create good spacing on the floor is develop a team of good cutters because cutters can always be dangerous. Because most players on your team can make a layup. And so I think a lot of times, you know, we look at good spacing like spaced out and I’ve played some teams where they’re really spaced out, but I don’t respect two or three of their shooters. And so is that good spacing or is that not? And so I think making good cutters, developing good cutters, and then back to the first point of developing good passers, like good passers and good cutters, you know, they’re gonna get a lot of good opportunities for good shots.
And I think along with that, because in today’s game, and most kids from middle school all the way to the pro level, what do most kids want to do the most of? They want to shoot threes. They want a space to that arc and shoot it. But you actually, but you got to teach those kids that aren’t as good, those players that aren’t as good as shooters to your point to be great cutters. Like Mikael Bridges, great cutter from the weak side. You know, the Warriors, when they started winning championships in 2015.
They had great cutting action. Like we made a lot of Curry and Clay’s shooting, but they throw it into the post with no intention to score. And they just had made great, excuse me, made great off ball cuts. And so when you teach your players how to be a good cutter, then they’re gonna have more success. When they have more success, they’re gonna have more fun. They’re gonna play more minutes. They’re gonna add more value. So that’s a good point. And the other point, I think a common thing is we see another team do something and this happened, we copy it. Coaching is a copycat profession. We watch film. We say, wow, I like that side out of bounds. I’m going to put that in. I like that ball screen they ran. I’m going to put it in. And sometimes that’s the right decision because it was, it was good action, but sometimes it was the wrong decision because their Jimmy’s and Joe’s are different than yours.
And they’re going to have success because they ran it for that. You know, Jokic, there’s only one of them in the world.
Yeah, yeah, no doubt. I mean, I think just, there’s so many factors in offense and you can easily get into a silo of how you want to play the game. And I think, you know, there’s so many things we talk about it offense. I mean, I think we’ll just we’ll wrap it up and move to defense here and just talk about some common defensive problems. But I think going back to what you stated earlier, you know, the 80-20, like or whatever percentage you decide on, like, how much is it about you? And then how much is it about adjustment?
I think going 100, you know, one way or the other, it’s all about adjusting to them, or it’s all about just doing what we do. I think it’s a mistake, because I think basketball is a pretty fluid game, and you know, good coaches are gonna make moves and decisions that are gonna make you adjust, and are you flexible enough? Do you have enough things within your offense to be able to adjust on the different things you’re gonna see? I think it’s a really important thing. Now, when we move the defense, you know…
Let me just say one thing on that because I do think if, if you constantly are just adapting to your opponent, then you know what happens. Then you don’t have an identity. You don’t have your own identity because you’re always focused on the opponent. So just want to make that one final point. Sorry. Back to defense.
No, I, no, I agree with you. That’s why I think it’s like that 80-20, because I’ve also seen teams just be who they are and it’s not good enough. Like the other team does things that take you out of your plan. A and B kind of the old bill Belichick we’ve talked about many times, like just cut the head off the snake. And, and if you don’t have counters and you don’t have backups and you can’t make adjustments, that’s a problem.
You know, and so I, yeah, whether it’s 90, 10, 80, 20, I think just the flexibility to adjust a little bit is an important part of an offense. Going to the defensive end of the ball. Look, I think this is probably 80, 20 as well, but I really do think it’s important to know exactly who you are and exactly like, you know, have high level of clarity on what you’re gonna do. I’ve noticed this with our team. You know, we…
We see so many different actions and we see a lot of different types of ball screens where they focus on the roll or they focus on the primary ball handler. And we have to change ball screen coverages sometimes over the course of a game. But I really have found that high level of clarity, not thinking much are the most effective defensive teams where they know exactly what you’re trying to do. When a defensive team is thinking a lot, they make a lot of mistakes on the defensive end.
Definitely 80-20, if not more. I want a high level of clarity on exactly what we’re trying to do.
Yeah, I think that’s a good point. I recently did this film study, TJ, on the number one defenses of all time in college basketball.
Okay. It’s Texas tech 2019 when they lost in the national championship game to, Virginia. From the Ken Palm metrics of it. They’re the number one most efficient defensive team. So I did this big film study of them. Why I watched every single NCAA tournament game of theirs.
Yeah, I was at that game.
What I found was, they played really hard. They were really tough. They were really clear. Like they wanted to keep the ball on the sideline. They wanted to help really early. They were going to switch everything. And that was their identity. And they were really good at it. And I actually, Saturday night, I was sitting there watching, you know, Chris Beard, the coach is now Ole Miss. One of my former players is on staff.
And so I found myself watching their entire game Saturday night. And I saw a lot of, a lot of similar characteristics from that team, but to your point, and I’m building to my point here and back to your point is, yeah, I think you gotta play aggressive and fast. And when I say aggressive, that doesn’t mean you got, you know, it doesn’t mean you have to ball pressure, but aggressive means you’re thinking freely. You’re really clear about what you’re gonna do. There’s not a lot of confusion.
And when there’s not a lot of confusion, you know, I know we had this quote… You made fun of me last time, but it is, “slow meat, slow feet.” Um, so you gotta be fresh and thinking instinctively.
Yeah, I thought that one was done. Thanks for bringing it back, Sam. You know, I think it’s really important to, very much like the offensive end to know your personnel, you know, ’cause when you, I mean, let’s compare those two things for a second. I remember being at the Texas tech and you know, another team that wasn’t bad was Virginia defensively, you know what I mean? And those two teams actually played in the championship and when I looked at the personnel, they were very different defensively, but I thought both coaches totally played to their strengths, and did well.
And so, Texas tech was athletic. They had good rim protection. They didn’t mind speeding you up and helping from that, you know, they knew where they were going to get their help from. It was just like on point. Now here’s mistakes I’ve made before myself. We’ve really emphasized keeping it to the baseline and we’re going to show up and we’re going to help and we’re going to go. Well, I’ve had years where our rim protection was poor. Like it was very average when they got there. I mean, they would get straight up and get blown by or get a foul. They would get there and they couldn’t alter a shot. They would, a whole bunch of different things that happened.
And it made me recognize like, man, we don’t want to be in that situation as much as possible. So then we might square our stance up a little bit and say, look, we want to influence them to the baseline because we want to know where our help’s coming from, but we don’t want to get beat. You know, and Texas tech, when you watch them play, they were okay getting beat almost like they just were not letting you have the middle, but they were so good at getting into early help and great rim protection. It didn’t matter.
And so I think a team could watch them play and say, man, whatever it all costs, they were just not letting you go middle, even if they were getting beat baseline. But I don’t know that fits every team, especially if your rim protection is not good and doesn’t help you might want to, you know, go a little bit more Michigan state where you’re squared up on the ball and it’s keeping the ball in front of you is more important or, you know, pack line where it’s like really early help on the perimeter so they don’t get to the post very much. Those are decisions that I think are really important for a team. You can watch somebody play and be like, that’s how we wanna play. But you might not have that personnel and you gotta recognize that quickly or else you might be in that kind of rut the entire season.
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a good point. I thought about that actually as I was watching this game, Ole Miss, California on Saturday night and realizing, like, the Texas Tech team did not have, like, uber athletic starting five. They had some good athletes, but they weren’t just, you know, elite across the board, but they were elite defenders.
I agree with you TJ, but I think I’d also say yes and maybe meaning also when you have a system and you’re really good at teaching it and you can get your players to believe in that system and do it really well, then I think you can be successful. Because a lot of here’s what I was here a lot of coaches say, well, we’re not athletic or we don’t have the athletes or the quickness to get out and guard you man to man. I don’t know, I think when you know how to guard, when you teach how to guard the ball and how to force the ball where you want it, it gives you a step or a half a step or a step and a half more quickness, but you have to teach it. If I know, if I’m guarding you and you’re quicker than me and I’m forcing you sideline and I know I’m forcing you sideline, it gives me a little bit more quickness because of how I’m gonna position my body. And if you drive it that way and our help is that way, like that allows us to play quicker and more athletic. I mean, basketball IQ makes you more athletic, it would be my argument.
I agree. And I think you’re trying to make good defensive players as good as you possibly can. And I imagine it’s different at every level, but there are certain times and certain things that hurts you more than others. Like I think it’s important to know what situations do we not want to be in. And I really think a lot of times defense starts with, you know, two big decisions. Where do we want the ball to go? And like, how do we want to guard the interior?
Because there’s a lot of things that change. If you have a post player or teams play with a post player, fronting gives you some advantages and disadvantages. Three quarter gives you some advantages and disadvantages. And I think it’s also really important to make sure that your post defense matches your perimeter defense. A lot of times when people say, hey, we’re gonna play on the high side and force everything baseline. That’s a problem because that guy’s gotta get to that help every single time and a good post player can take you out of that.
I think that playing pack line where you forced everything baseline and the guys on the low side of the middle of the three quarter makes the post-entry harder. And I think those things have to match up, but I think just as important, not 1, I shouldn’t say just as important, but really, you know, a 1-B is 1, know how you want to guard. What are we trying to accomplish every possession? I think that’s a super important thing. And 2, what situations do we need to stay out of the most?
Because every team has liabilities and, and every team has defensive players at just about every level, except for elite defensive teams, where you have players that can be a liability and staying out of those situations, I think is a really important thing.
Yeah, I agree. And lining up all lining up every decision can’t mean cannot be made independent of the other to your point. Yeah, how we guard the wing. It should determine how we’re going to guard the post or vice versa. How we’re going to guard… I would start with the wing guarding the ball. But yeah, so what we do is we’re guarding the wing because we do force sideline.
We stay high side when it goes to the wing, we fight all the way around and get to the low side or we full front because those two things align. We, you know, like, what are you gonna do when the ball goes in? Like we trap everything. We trap post centers, we trap ball screens. You know, that’s something new just across the board doing this year, but all that is fits into our system. And then we live with what we know we’re gonna live with. Like we’re gonna try to speed you up, make you shoot quick.
We know on occasion, we may give up a quick open three. We don’t love it. We don’t love it, but we’ll give that up like a transition skip past three. Well, we’re not okay with is giving up, you know, layups at the rim, you know? And so, yeah, I think that’s an important thing. You can’t… Well, you could be great at everything potentially, but that’s, that’s really hard to do.
You know, one of the things I know our team’s pretty good defensively when I hear this word from our team, like in practice or game, “We’re livin.” Two words, but “we’re living.” And so for us, that means like they took a shot and they made a shot. We’re not happy about it, similar to what you said, but that’s the shot we’re living with. And so when our team knows that like, all right, they made one and we don’t like it, but we also know that they didn’t get the one we didn’t want them to get.
And I think that goes back to what we were talking about earlier, just a high level of clarity on knowing what you’re trying to get and what you are trying to take away from them. I think that’s a really, really important thing because you’re gonna play faster when you do that. And there’s some players that need all the speed they can get. And that goes back to what you were saying earlier, which is the mental idea that I know exactly what we’re trying to do. I know exactly what coach wants out of me.
We have players that we run certain different coverage and certain things. And it’s like, man, that’s probably going to be a turnover for the other team. And then we have other players where like, if we don’t execute that right, that’s a bucket for the other team. Like that’s how close it can be. And so that’s why players really need to be able to be free their minds so that they can play fast.
Do you think most teams are outcome or process oriented? Meaning, you know, you’re down 35 to 22 at halftime and the other team, you know, hit five contested threes and took some bat, but the coach goes in and he or she’s, you know, ticked off because of the result or when you think about all the teams you play. do you think they’re more process oriented where a team takes a bad shot and makes it and the coach is actually like, all right, we’re good with that. Like how many coaches are process or outcome based?
I think more outcome based just because we’re emotional. You know what I mean? Like in the game, it’s like you’re going to want to find out why they hit that three, even if it was the right thing. It’s like, well, you could have been a step that way or you should have moved on the pass of the ball or I think most of the time we feel like the other team should never score, which isn’t reality. But we feel like they should never score because we have all the answers. This is what we should have done defensively.
And then, you know, I find myself sometimes in that way a little bit more outcome based until I watched the film. The film helps me be more process oriented. And I think over the course of my career, watching a lot of film has helped me to be more about the process. But I know early on, I was definitely more like outcome, like because they score, we did something wrong. And I just think that’s a little bit natural. But I think, like I said, diving deep into the film can really help you kind of even out your emotions.
Yeah, one final thing I think about because I’ve had conversations with coaches about this. I’ve talked to some Division I high school coaches who call and they’re trying to bounce ideas off me about, hey, I’m thinking we need to change our offense. Hey, we run a dribble drive. We need to be a little more motion oriented or hey, we do this on defense, but it’s not working. This is the time of year where you start having those thoughts, right?
If you’re not winning a ton of games or you’re hovering around .500. So TJ, the question is do we stay the course and just get better at what we’re doing and have been doing since October or do we pivot? Do we punt and we make a wholesale change? That’s not a fun place to be in.
Yeah. You know, that’s not a fun place to be in. My recommendation to coaches is to first look for minor adjustments to what you currently do to make it better. You know, it’s one of the reasons I’ve liked the read and react over the years, because it has a lot of flexibility in it. You know what I mean? Like you can tweak little things and still run the same offense. You could change your alignment and still run the same offense. And so I’ve really liked the flexibility of that.
But, you know, gosh, if you’re hardcore on something and there’s no flexibility within the offense, that’s a much tougher decision where it’s like, hey, this is, you know, we’re running flex and it’s not working. Now do we go dribble drive? Those are two polar opposites, you know, and that’s a tough decision to make, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time developing and growing your offense. And I see it happen all the time and we’ll face teams in our league that look totally different 10 games later where they’ve changed what they’re doing. And I’ve seen it probably work a lot fewer times than I’ve seen it actually not work. And I’ve seen it be successful a couple of times where people made a wholesale change, but more often than not, it’s not a successful thing.
Yeah, I agree. And that’s why I’m such a believer in having a principles based offense as your base, like where you’re teaching your players how to play, such as your point, the read and react with, you know, mixing in your set plays to get your get the right players, the right shots when you need to rather than as opposed to the continuity or extremely pattern based offense. If that if it doesn’t work, like, what do you do? You’re just used to running a certain pattern. So, but every coach has to make the decision, obviously it’s best for them, but that’s where I land on most of that conversation.
Yeah, I would wrap it up with this offensively or defensively. One of the ways I think you can never go wrong is continue to develop players and develop their defense, develop their offense. Because we may be a little bit different in this, but I think a lot of times people look at skill development as a preseason thing, and now you’re in season and it’s all about the team.
We go heavier on skill development in the second half of the season than we do the first half of the season because we kind of should know what we’re going to do by that point. Now we just need the players to get better at what they’re doing. And so whether that’s better closeouts, whether that’s better angles on the drive, whether that’s better cuts on offense, whether that’s better passing with whatever, you know, I think a lot of times our default is to change the offense or defensive scheme. Whereas sometimes I think the solution might be just developing players within this scheme.
and making them better at doing at what you’re trying to do. And I think that’s oftentimes neglected because maybe it’s not a fast enough fix.
No, I love it. I think that’s so money. I think so many coaches would benefit from cranking up the player development, get it, you know, cause that players get confident, right? From more reps and sometimes season goes on and they get like four shots in a two hour practice or a 90 minute practice. And you got it. You got to get your players reps. So there’s, there’s twofold there.
You’re working on things that’ll make your players better than makes your offense better, but also giving your players that individual confidence and that mindset I think is critical.
Yeah. Hey coaches. Um, I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. It’s tough to narrow it down as we’ve had on our PGC coaching calls and we’re going through in season support, the number of thoughts, questions and problems is numerous. You know what I mean? And we can go so many different directions. We just kind of went a little bit offense and defense and bigger picture items, um, for you to think about, but we have to make a lot of tough decisions in season.
over the course of four or five months, there’s a lot of things that happen in the game of basketball. And so we might not have got all the answers for you, but we might have asked some of the right questions that maybe you need to be asking about your team. What do we need to do? What do we need to adjust? Is it wholesale? What do we need to get better at? Is what we’re doing actually effective? We know it’s not easy. And sometimes we thought we’ve had the right answers, then you realize through heartache in the game or two that you don’t have the right answers. And so…
We got to constantly be searching for the answers for our team. That’s what we do. We solve problems and I think good coaches solve culture problems, leadership problems, X’s and O problems. And you got to ask yourself the right questions to be able to solve those problems. So, Hey, thanks for listening. Hit us up at a hardwood underscore hustle. If you got any thoughts, he is Sam. I am TJ. We are the hardwood hustle.