Doing the Little Things Right = More Wins

By Adam Barnes

NCAA Women's Basketball 2015 Division1 Championships - 4th Round: Florida State vs South Carolina MAR 29

What little things can you do to build “Team” during the off-season?

  1. Build team through ownership – Senior led workouts, open gyms, meetings, team events, etc.
  2. Build commitment – Morning/Weekend workouts – it is the seniors job to get them there and monitor attendance
  3. Build Trust – Lift, run, play, study, sacrifice – PAY THE PRICE TOGETHER
  4. Build Togetherness – Team camps, summer shootouts, team league, AAU, etc.
  5. Ask your team what they have put into next season already?

Areas of continued growth, ownership, and commitment

  1. Advanced Physical Development – Weekly lifting and conditioning designed to train athletes during the school day consistently year round.
  2. Team Leagues at all levels – Game situations, understanding team play, live/intense repetition. Valuable for young coaches too.
  3. 1 Day, 3 Game Shootouts – Allows for bench development and team mental and physical development. Overcome adversity together, learn how to work as a core unit.
  4. Summer Youth Camps – Allows for community service and becoming better role-models, as well as an extra opportunity to teach the game. Great learning experience for coaches, players, and staff.
  5. Team Dinners, Retreats, Meetings – Builds team chemistry and trust; liking each other helps, respecting each other is the ultimate goal.

Coaching the Little Things

One of the biggest little things is getting the most out of yourself, as a coach.

  1. Prepare Diligently
  2. Post daily practice/workout schedules (minute by minute plans w/ specific instructions)
  3. Post the practice, game, and weekly goals for the entire program to see
  4. Be consistent with daily goal reminders (pick 2 or 3 to emphasize daily)
  5. Use a silent stretch period with a verbal rehash of daily practice emphasis for increased focus
  6. Use the clock for time and drill transition
  7. Be consistent with praise and criticism. Assign other coaches to rag and praise.
  8. Delegate coaches daily duties (focus on player checkouts, stance, help side, etc.)
  9. Borrow from other coaches..what works and fits your personnel. OB plays, sets, etc.
  10. Talk with your coaches, other coaches, and your players…ask them what they do or what they think about all kinds of issues. It is all about learning, not pretending to know.
  11. Read books, study tape, and above all, scout your own team. Know your tendencies. Your opponents will take away something you do well.
  12. Test your team’s listening skills, develop it, just because they hear you doesn’t mean they actually heard you.
  13. Insist that players coach each other and themselves positively in practice. One way to do this, have them echo or state your corrections with it happens and before you do.
  14. Give leaders to do list and expect them to get the team to follow.
  15. Shake hands with your players after a game, win or lose. Make sure they know you appreciate their effort.
  16. Evaluate practice with your staff, during and after, and then be able to effectively communicate the evaluations with your team.

Players Little Things

One of the biggest little things is getting the most out of your players.

Offensive Little Things We Emphasize:

  1. Square up to the basket, in the post too
  2. Shot fakes, jab steps, sweeps, and hard jabs
  3. Set up the cut, and cut hard, with a purpose
  4. Use the screen shoulder to shoulder – GET LOW and GO
  5. Use the bounce pass when possible
  6. SOLID screens – wide, low, and at the proper angle
  7. Use ball fakes, especially versus a zone defense
  8. Make TWO people guard you – drive hard, to the rim, with a purpose
  9. Be ready to shoot of the pass, and above all, follow your shot – but do not rush it
  10. Lack of skills = Limited players. We focus on SKILL DEVELOPMENT
  11. Make your lay-ups and free throws and you will probably win the game

Defensive Little Things We Emphasize:

  1. Talk and communicate effectively. Talk to the ball, on switches…
  2. Take away vision (active hands, play the passing lanes). Ball pressure
  3. Guard 2 players…be on help side and close nearest gap
  4. Have a stance coach
  5. Finish your defense with a solid team check-out/box-out drill
  6. Get EVERY 50/50 ball
  7. Best team defensive drill: Full court 3 on 4 to 4 on 3
  8. GOAL: Hold teams to single digits per quarter and reward them for team defense
  9. No shot, bad shot, one shot mentality

Team Little Things We Emphasize

  1. Pursue Excellence Everyday – NO DAYS OFF
  2. Put Your Team FIRST
  3. Attitude is EVERYTHING
  4. It is not what you do but how you do it that counts!
  5. Enthusiasm and Fun
  6. Fundamental Focus
  7. Intensity on the floor in practice and games
  8. Chemistry is a team thing, EVERYONE should be involved in the process
  9. 90% of success is BELIEVING it can be achieved

Last Little Things:

On Quality Control: “If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, when are you going to have time to do it over?”

John Wooden: “If you don’t do the little things well, the big things won’t matter…pay attention to detail”

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Adam Barnes
Player Development Specialist (High School, College, & NBA) & Recruiting Analyst/National Camp Director
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