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Monday, November 22, 2010


Bob Knight is not a "system coach" but his perspectives on coaching often apply to lots of different coaching situations. When your team loses, Coach Knight says that all too often the coach's and fan's reaction is that they need to change their style of play, their set plays, or the defensive schemes. So the coach who plays Bob Knight style mm defense, panics and puts in a zone defense. The coach who has been a motion offense coach, watches some ESPN games and puts in some new set plays.

In the mid-'80's, I had some teams that struggled to win (but they played hard). As a result, it seemed like everyone we played would slap a full court press on us. And we struggled vs. pressure. So every Sunday I would call coaching friends and ask them about pressbreaks. We kept putting in pressbreak after pressbreak looking for the "magic pressbreak." One summer Dan Sullivan took me to Milwaukee to work a basketball camp. Don Casey, a pro assistant was at the camp and spent each evening diagraming x/o's for us. After 2-3 hours one night going thru pressbreak after pressbreak, Don Casey made the important comment, "Coach, if your kids can't handle the ball and executre, it really doesn't matter what pressbreak you run."

Sometimes when we struggle it is easy and convenient for me to blame it on the "system." The reality is some of our best teams in the '90's were "system-like." Our '96 team pressed all over, looked to fastbreak, and played 10 players regularly. Last summer I watched some of the old tapes, our '96 team averaged a shot within 12 seconds of getting the ball.  So yes, the system can work on a high school level, we have already proven that. It is not the "system", it is the execution of the "system". There is no short-cut to success, success is the result of repetition until execution is automatic.

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