Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sometimes during the season as a coach, you are so close to the process that you don't always see things. I have always found when I watch game tape of our teams in the spring, I am amazed at the things you can see that you may have missed in the season. This winter as I look at last year's game tapes for scouting purposes, it has really been enlightening. It is striking how much better we are defensively this year.
Last year there was a huge learning curve for myself as a coach. We had pressed most of my career at Galesburg, but not with the detail and thought that Coach Smith (Redlands), Coach Arseneault (Grinnell), and Coach Porter (ONU) described. It was a whole new world of subtle adjustments and a variety of drills to teach pressure techniques. Before a game a couple weeks ago I was concerned about how to handle an opponent's press break. After a couple days of email exchanges with Coach Smith, I had a much better idea of an effective strategy.
All three of them have opened my eyes. As a result, I am not quite as much the novice about teaching or adjusting our pressure. Still learning.
But the real key is how much better our players understand and execute. Everyday in practice you see "veterans" from last year moving around in our press with a much greater aggressiveness. They are much more confident in what they are doing. An example tonight in practice-- we did a drill where we were working on finding people quicker and then a second drill where we had to try to control dribblers going full speed. Then when we got into our actual 5 on 5 work, in four press possessions in a row, Tai and Baylie took the specific skills from the drills and executed them exactly in the 5-5 situation. And we are having more and more players being able to do that.
Vs. Notre Dame, they did something a little different against our press. While one team was on the floor, we could talk with the next five going in. In effect we could have our own time out. We didn't make a complicated adjustment but just a simple change in how we wanted to position one player after we scored. The group went in and executed exactly as we had hoped. So all we had to do was have the next group going in watch. In effect their "time out" was live and visual. A year ago, we as coaches and as players could not have made that adjustment. Experience does count.
Pressing is not easy and sometimes is more complicated than we can handle. And pressing is a gamble, so it is not a sure thing in every game. But we keep getting better. It is really exciting to see how this group keeps working and keeps improving- fun to coach.
Posted by Massey Basketball