Updated: Oct 12, 2021
To end the year we are going to put together a final blog post for 2020 that pulls together some of my favorite materials from the past year.
2020 has unexpectedly provided coaches with an incredible amount of time to study, investigate, and dive deeply into every aspect of the game. With much of the country spending time in quarantine during March & April there were an unprecedented amount of clinics that were offered across the country. Basketball trainers along with Professional, College, and High School Coaches presented material on every conceivable aspect of the game. I personally tried to attend as many of these free clinics as I could and put together useful notes that I could revisit later in the year. As the clinics slowed down and Summer approached it became clear that the rest of the year was not going to go as usual.
Our typical Summer basketball activities such as Youth Clinics, Open Gyms & Summer League were all canceled in the wake of COVID concerns. Despite this, I was hopeful that as Summer gave way to Fall we would find a way to return to a sense of normalcy. To some degree that has happened with a return to school, but that has not happened for basketball. Unfortunately, the final blow of the year recently came in the form of the cancellation of our 2020-21 basketball season. With coaching on hold I have tried to turn my attention towards really solidifying my views on the game and making my website into a good resource for coaches to reference. So with that in mind, I wanted to put together a final post for 2020 that gathered all the best resources I have found this year. Enjoy!
What I tried to do with all of the clinics that were offered this year was to focus on attending the ones which really fit with my own Game Model. I was really interested in clinics that focused on areas where I wanted to improve including; defensive philosophy, transition defense, zone defense, and applying analytics. I also wanted to investigate topics like the two-sided break and different uses of screening in half-court offense. For many coaches, it appeared as if the pure number of clinics being offered was a bit overwhelming, but by narrowing my focus to a few specific topics I feel like I got a lot out of them.
Here is a "Top 10" list for Clinic Notes that I was able to put together this year:
1. Luke Yaklich | Building a Defensive Identity - https://bit.ly/2JgvYVN
I really enjoyed Coach Yaklich's presentation on building your defensive identity. Between his success at Michigan and his resume as a former high school coach I really looked forward to hearing him speak. I thought he really drove home to point of identifying what it is you will and won't accept on that end of the floor.
2. Michael Jagacki | Individual Defensive Technique - https://bit.ly/2wRlJVo
I saw Coach Jagacki's clinic on the basis of a recommendation and was glad that I did. It seems as though Coach Jagacki has really made this specific aspect of defense into a bit of a specialty. He goes through the details of defensive stances and ways in which to work on this aspect of the game.
3. Jay Hernandez | Competitive Shooting & Team Drills - https://bit.ly/3bBAdrk
Coach Hernandez details a ton of individual and team-based shooting drills that he works on at the professional level. Personally, I don't have the offseason coaching opportunity to employ many of these concepts but the idea of a program leaderboard was something that was very intriguing.
4. Joe Gallo | 'How we Create Steals in our Zone' - https://bit.ly/2ZagfAO
I was really interested in Coach Gallo's talk because of Merrimack's surprising success in jumping to Division I. This offseason I have heard Coach Gallo speak of four different occasions and I think his message has been consistent and easy to understand each time. These are some of my favorite zone defense clinic notes.
5. Matt Cline | 23 Zone - https://bit.ly/2QLa80Y
Coach Cline is an Assistant Coach at Eastern Michigan University who gave a detailed talk on their Syracuse inspired 23 Zone. I thought Coach gave a really well-organized presentation that used a mix of diagrams and game film to explain what makes their zone successful and what the main teaching points are behind it.
6. Pat Kelsey | Measuring Performance through Analytics - https://bit.ly/3aYHXDD
Coach Kelsey's talk was a good talk if you are interested in analytics and how to apply them to your own team. One of the best takeaways I had from Coach Kelsey's talk was the creation of a defensive scoring chart that can rank players on important defensive categories.
7. (A) Mark Cascio | Implementing Your Style of Play P1 - https://bit.ly/33Z2khv
(B) Mark Cascio | Implementing Your Style of Play P2 - https://bit.ly/2RbGK3S
Coach Cascio has been someone who I have learned a lot from over the years. He has a great offensive mind and a firm grasp over how he wants his program to play the game. I always enjoy listening to how he envisions his team's style of play and goes about implementing it through practice. These two clinics should give you a taste of that.
8. James Janssen | Implementing the Tagging Up System - https://bit.ly/2UynHmx
One of my big interests was looking at offensive rebounding and transition defense. Coach Janssen's talk was one of only a few that addressed that topic. He gave a really good talk on how they analyzed, taught, and implemented the "Tagging Up System" at Davidson University - and what the results were.
9. (A) Randy Sherman | Screening & Cutting P1 - https://bit.ly/2UyQ1nG
(B) Randy Sherman | Screening & Cutting P2 - https://bit.ly/2RL4xIz
Coach Sherman is one of the best content producers out there and is someone who I have learned a ton from over the years. In his two clinic talks, he got into the details of teaching cutting and screening at the micro-level. For anyone using elements of motion offense, these talks are a great learning resource.
10. (A) Brett Tipton | Two-Sided Break - http://bit.ly/2MmTNAa
(B) Brett Tipton | Drills for the Two-Sided Break - http://bit.ly/3aYSqlw
I discovered Coach Tipton's clinics on Marc Hart's 'System Basketball Channel'. This was a topic that I was very interested in learning about. Coach Tipton got into the philosophy behind it, the spacing terminology, and the implementation of it in a practice setting. These are highly recommended if you are employing this system.
With no Summer Basketball and my kids' Fall Sports seasons put on hold I had a lot more time than usual to create posts for the website. I have always viewed the creation of blog posts as a great way to hash out of my own thoughts on various aspects of the game. If I can organize my thoughts in blog posts form it will only make me a better teacher in person. Generally speaking, my blog posts are about; a) things we are currently doing, b) things we have done in the past or c) things that I am investigating. Since the winter season has now been canceled I am hoping to back over these old posts and really improve their quality.
Here are 10 Posts from 2020 that I thought coaches will find useful.
1. Web Clinic Notes - http://bit.ly/3o3crLr
This is a collection of over 60 clinic notes that were taken back in March & April. I mentioned my favorite ones above, but there are a ton of others that's could provide a ton of value for your program. This was easily the most viewed post on the website this year.
2. Motion Strong - http://bit.ly/3aVRe22
One of my favorite posts this year was on how we used Motion Strong Action this past season. I gave a few clinic talks on this subject during quarantine and included those videos on the website as well. I detailed why we chose this, how we taught the reads, and provided diagrams and video clips to accompany each aspect of the action.
3. 212 Pressure - http://bit.ly/2KPqRjP
In this post, I detailed the goals and teaching points of the 212 Press. We used diagrams and video clips to take a look at the three key areas; Pressure the Basketball, Trapping, and Flowing into our Half Court Defense. I have a number of breakdown videos in the website's 'Videos' section as well.
4. Slot Blur Screen - http://bit.ly/2KTwOwb
This is my most recent post discussing the use of a Slot Blur Screen in your DDM Offense. This is one of my favorite concepts that we have used over the past few seasons. I detailed the teaching points behind scoring off the action and making plays off of the help that arrives.
5. Transition Building Blocks - http://bit.ly/2X1Swk5
I was inspired by a Twitter conversation about transition building blocks and I decided to create a post that detailed my own beliefs on this subject. I discussed the concepts of spacing, establishing an outlet, and flowing into half-court offense.
6. Drill Library - http://bit.ly/3bajTkn
One topic that I wrote a bit about was the idea of creating your own drill library for practice. Last year I wanted to create a single page drill library that I could create my practice plan from each day - in this post, I detailed how I organized it and what the process of planning practice looked like.
7. 23 Zone Series - In this series, I detailed how each position in the 23 Zone has natural steal opportunities embedded into their responsibilities. As usual, I tried to provide diagrams and video clips to give examples.
(A) Guard Steals - http://bit.ly/3o2xFJa
(B) Wing Steals - http://bit.ly/2KOdP60
(C) Center Steals - http://bit.ly/3rFujOy
8. Motion Shooting Drills - http://bit.ly/3aZ7rUq
I wanted to create a post that detailed how we incorporated portions of our Motion Offense into our skilled development. In this post, I gave a number of ideas on how to recreate the shots we get in our Motion Strong action to our shooting drills.
9. Resource Organizer - http://bit.ly/34WKPQq
I created a simple google doc for coaches to organize the resources they have found over the course of the offseason. I have always found it difficult to sort through the collection of notes, links, and tweets that I accumulate - and this is a great way to organize it all.
10. Defensive Identity Tool - http://bit.ly/3rT6UcG
I created this post after watching Coach Yak's 'Defensive Identity' clinic. I took some of his talking points and created a simple self-assessment that coaches could use to narrow down their own defensive identity.
One of the best ways to connect with other coaches is through the use of Social Media. Sharing content, engaging in clinic talks, and participating in Twitter chats have all been extremely useful ways to connect during this challenging year. Twitter offers a unique environment where thousands of people will contribute their thoughts daily. If you are not finding ways to bookmark or save your favorite tweets then many of them get lost in the mix. I wanted to put together a quick list of my tweets from 2020 that coaches might find useful.
Here is a list of 10 Useful tweets from 2020.
Tweet #1 - Giving out some of my favorite resources on skill development topics.
Tweet #2 - A Short Video I created on the idea of teaching a concept in Part & Whole form in practice and then seeing it play out in a Game.
Tweet #3 - I have been working on a "Remastered Series" in which I am going back to some of my first blog posts and trying to dramatically improve their quality. If you enjoy the posts on the sites I think these will be worth your time.
Tweet #4 - Here is a tweet about the most essential teaching points in our offense. This is something I usually revisit each year and make slight tweaks to.
Tweet #5 - I had a chance to go on Coach Steve Collins' Coach Unplugged Podcast and discuss my thoughts on Practice Planning. We got into a number of topics such as my drill library, best practices, lessons learned, and the challenges in 2020.
Tweet #6 - Put together a tweet thread on the rebounding responsibilities of players in a 23 Zone. I discussed the idea of high-pointing, guard boxes, boxing out, and the danger of overpursuing.
Tweet #7 - I was putting together a blog post on Transition Principles and I thought a screengrab of our Transition Running Lanes would be useful to include.
Tweet #8 - Tried to elaborate on how we use 4/4 Cut-Throat in the practice setting. We are simply trying to allow players to play freely while working on some of our main offensive actions.
Tweet #9 - One aspect of offense that we spend a lot of time working on is 'flowing' into half-court offense. I thought this was a great example of flowing from transition to half-court offense from the 2019-20 season.
Tweet #10 - I saw Coach DeMarco post a video on Tennessee's Screen the Screener BLOB Series and wanted to add a clip of our own team executing this concept. We thought this was a nice complement to our Motion Strong Action and got a few scores out of it early in the season.
Concluding Thoughts -
The silver lining of 2020 was the insane amount of sharing that took place amongst coaches. This sharing has taken place in Clinic, Twitter, and Blog Post form and I have tried my best to carefully organize what I thought has been most valuable. Not having Summer Basketball, my Youth Clinic, and a 2020 Season has been an extremely disappointing twist - but I have tried to utilize this extra time to interact with other coaches and deeply study the game different aspects of the game. I am anxious to get back to doing what I love but until then I hope the work I put into the website will inspire coaches to continue to improve.
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