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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Analysis

We have just completed our organized team summer basketball work. It is nice on a high school level to have time to re-implement the Grinnell System. It is different working on it in summer than in the season. In our set up, it is tougher to have quality practice time to develop habits, but you have the "carrot" of informal games to work on the System. 

Here are some of my reflections of how it works putting it in during the summer (some thoughts may apply to in-season too).
Development of Basketball Concepts
1- Fastbreak development- While it would seem to be pretty easy to work on, the "habit" of sprinting lanes needs constant reinforcment in practice settings. Some of it is the fatigue of multiple games, but it goes back to practice. By the time we were in Carolina, seldom did we get any #1-#4 layups.

2- Quick shot mentality- This is an area that I felt I did a bad job training them and getting the concept across early in the summer. As a result, we tended to be more of a "set offense" team, taking threes. This will be one of our primary focuses in November. This may be the area that we saw the most development this summer. Players new to the System, early in the summer pass on open three- waiting for "better shot." As summer goes on, most take and look for the quick shot.

3- Three mentality- This may be the area that we saw the most development this summer. Players new to the System, early in the summer pass on open three- waiting for "better shot." As summer goes on, most take and look for the quick shot.
        I find that the new "preferred shooters" were pretty self-conscious. I believe that something that has been very important for us is for me to criticize our #2's in front of their teammates for not shooting. Not only does the message that they must shoot get through to them but to their teammates. At the end of the summer, we have 8 of our 15 players not hesitating when open.

4- Offensive rebounding- This would seem like one of the easiest things to establish. Offensively this is toughest thing to teach in summer with lack of practice repetition. Players do not go to the o-bds with the energy they will need to go. We had some individuals who were pretty good as offensive rebounds, like Myra Diggins, Chloe Anderson, Rainee Sibley, and Dani Teel. But seldom did we have "8 feet in the paint." Repetition, repetition, repetition- to build it as an automatic habit.

5- Full court pressure defense- This is easily implemented in summer and really became the "identity" of our team each summer. I think pressing all summer gives the team a sense of aggressiveness that makes them a System team. In particular, our #2's and #3's really improved dramatically. In Carolina, Rainee, Sharron Diggins, Paige Klinck, Dani Teel, and Allison Mangieri were very good.

6- Half court pressure- For us, we became average at best in applying half-court pressure. You cannot sub every 35 seconds with running clock in the summer or lose too much playing time. So by subbing every 2 minutes you do not get the half court pressure you want. People who think the subbing every 35 seconds is a gimmick should how much better we can become with our half court defense. You just cannot get players to fly around the way they need to fly around in the half court if they are playing for 2-3 minutes.

Development of General System Concepts
1- Playing at a different speed- I believe traditional teams play at 75% of Max Speed and the object of System teams is to get players at 90%+ of Max Speed. Too many games, too long of rotations to get this done. It is a danger of summer play. As Gary Smith has pointed out this needs to be major focus when start inseason practice. If we can accomplish this, we will be pretty good. It is really, really tough to break the 75% of Max habit players have developed.

2- Personal Motivation to Become Three Point Shooters- This is probably our greatest success. Players new to the System want to be one of the shooters after playing in the summer. This past morning I had two players come in at 8:30am to get in 100+ made threes.

3- Development of Depth- Summer is a great opportunity to do this. Players get tired playing multiple games in a day so they welcome having 12-15 players. Because you need them, you play them, because you play them, they develop. (At least some of them do). This summer at different times we had 16 players play in "varsity" games. All 16 have shown a potential to be an asset to the varsity team. Obviously they will all play different amounts and different roles but I am betting we will have more players playing significant roles than any team in Illinois.

4- Chemistry- In working with female hs athletes, this is the easiest summer achievement. The girls really like this sense of team and the large number of players playing. Our greatest achievement of the summer was the level of enthusiasm our players had for each other and for the game. I have never had a team play with more enthusiasm and show more enthusiasm than this group did.

5- Belief in System- Early in the summer (early in season) it is tough because there are bad games. While we did not win all of our games, it only takes a few games where you dominate an opponent with fastbreak or threes, and pressure defense- and the players really believe in what they are doing. Their is an excitement feeling you are going to be the aggressor, and that you have the potential to dominate.

There is a lot of work left to do, but we had a good summer.

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