I just returned from the Nike Basketball Coaches National Meeting in Las Vegas. What a great opportunity to learn from the very best coaches in America! I got to hear Josh Pastner talk about his full court press philosophy and the importance of the “controller” in starting the press. Jamie Dixon from Pitt emphasized how he gets the University of Pittsburgh hoops team to perennially lead the nation in offensive rebound percentage. Mark Few went through offensive sets and philosophies. Bobby Knight discussed drills, free throw shooting in practice, as well as building relationships with players (yes, that’s what he said!)
Much like running an optometry practice or a business, I saw that each coach is successful with his own philosophy. They’ve learned, experimented with, and ultimately embraced certain concepts to build their own personal brand in their program. Dave Rose, the 9-year coach of BYU who has made the NCAA tournament 7 times and the NIT 2 times, emphasized his philosophy of being solid on defense but outstanding on offense. His success has shown that while many coaches emphasize defensive stops, his offensive “out-score the opponent” mentality can be just as successful. There is no single best way to run a business or coach a basketball team. Through education and experimentation, we all improve and integrate our teachings into our own personal coaching philosophy.
One of the underpinnings of each coach’s philosophy was the importance of building individual skills. They each stressed that there was no substitute for trying to improve in every facet of the game. This includes sports vision and the ability to be quicker and more accurate. It also slows the game down. The slower the game seems, the quicker the decisions are made and the player improves.
How are your sports vision skills and how do they measure up to your competition? If you’re not sure, it’s time to set up sports vision assessments pre-season for each of your players. If you have questions, call or e-mail me. Or if you want to talk more hoops, let’s go have a cup of coffee!