Coaches Roundtable

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

High School Coaches from across the nation elaborate of what they are passionate about, what they want to take "deep dives into", and what they have pulled out of their own professional development.

When brainstorming Blog Topic Concepts for this offseason I stumbled upon the idea of a Coaches Roundtable. I wanted to pick the brains of a few High School Coaches on their thoughts on a number of topics. I was lucky enough to get four other coaches to join me in discussing what part of the game they're passionate about teaching, what 'deep dives' they are making this offseason, and what aspects of their coaching they have adjusted over the years.

Our collection of coaches cover five different states, both the girls and boys games, and have coaching experience at all levels:

Jamie Smith (@ffshooters) - Girls Varsity Coach at Solon High School, Iowa

Ryan Smith (@r_b_j_c) - Boys Varsity Coach at Choudrant High School, Louisiana

Jon Watters (@CHSLadyHuskies) - Girls Varsity Coach at Chapin High School, Texas

Jonathan Toczynski (@J_Toczynski) - Boys Freshman Coach at Bergen Catholic, NJ

#1. What is the Basketball Topic you are most Passionate about? How did that come to be?

Jamie Smith @FFShooters


Without a doubt it is shooting. I believe this is the most important fundamental in basketball. I also think it's the most neglected fundamental in the game of basketball. It does not matter what offense you run if you can’t shoot the ball you won’t score. For me this became relevant to me 15 years ago when I always found myself saying “We can’t shoot it”.

Jon Watters @CHS Lady Huskies


I love all things Offense. I know that sounds broad at first, but ever since I started coaching it’s been my obsession. I’ve evolved significantly in my beliefs on offense, but I haven’t lost my drive to get our program to perform at a high level. Earlier as a head coach I was so consumed with Offense that even though I had delegated defensive responsibilities my attitudes were rubbing off on our players, so I’ve had to do better with that. But I am obsessed with making sure our offense can compete with anyone.

Ryan Smith @R_B_J_C

"Practice Planning" The topic I’m most passionate about is Practice Planning. Specifically, questions like how should we organize our practices and what activities lead to the greatest transfer? This developed after learning about the topics of Essentialism, the 80/20 Principle, and aspects of Motor Learning/Skill Acquisition.

*Note: Check Out @R_B_J_C's Tweets, as he will often post his Practice Plans.

Jonathan Toczynski @J_Toczynski


For me, it would be spacing. Arriving into the offensive phase exceptionally spaced gives the possession a chance to be successful. Without the initial spacing, I believe any action that follows is fighting against itself. Having the correct spacing is an advantage in itself.

Michael Lynch @LeicBasketball


Shots at the rim are the most valuable shots in the game. However, players rarely get uncontested shots in a game. So we must be able to not only finish at the rim, but do it in contested situations as well. Having access to programs like Hudl has now allowed me to more accurately assess where we are going wrong when shots are missed (As well as use made shots as exemplars).

I also would say that I do not enjoy teaching kids an endless stream of finishes, but more so showing them when to apply the appropriate styles. Being able to see this in a practice setting, and then get examples of those exact finishes in games is a rewarding experience.

Here's what other Coaches in the Twitter World had to say on the subject:

What is the Basketball Concept you are going big on? What has attracted you to this?

Jamie Smith @FFShooters


Along with shooting - which is something we always go big on - we have gone big on getting an advantage on every possession. Putting the defense in a disadvantage leads to more uncontested shots. Coach Sherman of Radius Athletics has been a big influence on me and our team in understanding this.

Jon Watters @CHS Lady Huskies


I have really started to become relentless with individual player skill sets. Now that I am content to focus on our offense and defense become elite as opposed to drastic changes, this has freed up time to be spent on the skills needed for my players to execute. I never used to worry much about footwork, finishing, etc. because I was too consumed with “Floppy X Hammer”, but now I find that player development has really unlocked a segment of our on court play.

Ryan Smith @R_B_J_C'

"Player Development" This offseason we’re going big on individual player development. We want our players to be able to use both hands and feet comfortably. For a few years now, I feel like I didn't do a good enough job developing players' “weak” hands. There were times last season that not being able to make a play when going to our off hand really hurt us. I’m hoping that the time we spend on this now will help us in the long run with our game based practices.

Jonathan Toczynski @J_Toczynski