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Early Season Offense

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

Put together some thought on Offensive Concepts for the early part of the season in the #GBetBBChat this week.

Coach Demarco runs his #GBetBBChat each week on Wednesday nights and this week we discussed Offense Early in the Season. For various reasons those first few weeks are typically some of favorite practices of the season. It's also the time of the year where I constantly find myself trying to strike a balance between:

  • Making sure we are prepared for all scenarios

  • Concern that we are overloading them with information

I put together my responses from the chat and tried to add a little context to them.

Q1 - Improvement

One area where I would like to see our team improve is in the % of our offense that is achieved in transition.

Now this is a statement that is easier said than done - as it requires us to get defensive stops along with successful pushes and finishes. Graduating seven Seniors, including our School's #6 All Time leading Scorer will certainly complicate things.

One of the things that our really successful teams in 2016 & 2017 both did was get out into transition and find ways to finish those lay ups and high value three points shots. Regardless of personnel this is something that needs to be accomplished by our players at a higher clip.

A2 - Essential Points

Putting together a document in which you narrow down all of your core teaching points can be a valuable exercise.

When I answered Q2 I referenced a project that I had been working on for a few years now. I typically revisit this each offseason and break it down into three components:

  1. Pillars

  2. Transition Principles

  3. Half Court Principles

Specifically, Coach Demarco's question was referencing Half Court Offensive principles. In that case the two areas I would spend the most time is spacing & actions.

Spacing -

When it comes to teaching your offensive system I generally tend to start with Transition and then work on flowing into our half court spacing from there.

This offseason I spent a significant amount of time researching the two sided break vs the Rim Runner System - which will be somewhat of a strategic shift this year.

Action -

As our roster has changed from 2017-18 our DDM approach has given way to a more Motion oriented style of Offense and that can be seen in listing teaching points referencing Setting, Cutting & Reading Screens.

A3 - Install By 1st Game

Just saw the mistake I made in labeling my tweet (A4 vs A3)! Anyhow...

I'm always amazed at how much better our execution and spacing is at the end of the season than in those first 2-3 games. From an offensive perspective I believe that we need to focus on what our main principles are going to be and try not to overcomplicate things.

Early in the season our focus needs to be on:

  • Transition Concepts

  • Main Half Court Concept

  • Drive & Space Reactions

As we improve and progress through the season addition layers and read can be added as needed.

A4 - Teaching Progressions

Depending on where we are in the season the methods being used to teach offense might change.

As this conversation was specific to the first few weeks of the season I would generally follow the kind of a progression I detailed in the tweet.

  • 5/0 Transition

Initially we would work on Transition Running Lanes, Spacing, & Read Progressions. Eventually, we would add defense to the drill and incorporate "flow" into the transition work.

  • 3/3 and 4/4 SSG's

I would say that using 3/3 and 4/4 play is something we are doing throughout the year. This allows our guys to consistently get in and out of the action - and gives me a chance to jump in when teachable moments occur.

A5 - Early Season Spark

I think avoiding isolated drills and incorporating your offense into Skill Development, SSG's & Transition is a good idea regardless of where we are in the season.

Streamlining your systems and teaching points can also be a way to maximize your early season practice time as well. Ask yourself what the 1-2 things you are building your identity on are and really lean into those things in the early parts of the season.

Concluding Thoughts

Those first few weeks of the season are typically some of my favorite practices of the year. There are always a few players that surprise you with their development from last season. I'm always interested in how a new group of players is coming together as a team. The basketball specific kids have been waiting for the season since the summer and the desire for kids to get back in the gym is greater than ever this year. Let's keep our fingers crossed that things go well in the next weeks and our guys get a chance to play.

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