Best of 2020

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 -

  • 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 -

  • 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 -

  • 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' -

  • 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 -

  • 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 -

  • 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 -

(B) Mark Cascio | Implementing Your Style of Play P2 -

  • 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 -

  • 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 -

(B) Randy Sherman | Screening & Cutting P2 -

  • 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 -

(B) Brett Tipton | Drills for the Two-Sided Break -

  • 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.