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Game Coaching - Setting Goals
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Fundamentals - Court Spacing
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This is not an uncommon problem at club level and it can be just as hard to keep the team that is winning easily motivated as it is to motivate a team that is getting beaten by large margins every week. Indeed, the team that wins easily often develops bad habits.
The way to approach either situation is to set appropriate goals for the team and for individuals.
For a team that is winning easily, consider the following types of goals:
- Number of steals from a pass (ie don’t let them steal the ball of the person that has it). This emphasises the need to be in good defensive position;
- Number of lay-ups they score using their “off” hand (the left hand, for a right handed shooter). You could also keep track of their percentage with their “off” hand;
- Play defence in the “quarter court” and keep track of how many times the other team gets the ball into the key (regardless of whether they score). The team will need to play good defence and box out to keep this number down.
For a team that is getting beaten by large margins, the goals should relate to what they are doing in training. These goals define “success” for the team, rather than the score:
- Number of times they get the ball across half way (if that has been a problem);
- Number of possessions where more than two players touched the ball (this emphasises cutting and passing);
- Number of times they successfully box out a player.
This topic is a great reminder to not just success by the scoreline. Probably coached a team that doesn't win a game all season can still have a very successful season.
Sometimes coaches take for granted that players will know what good “spacing” is. If we have good spacing, players should be approximately 5 metres apart, which means that each player has to know how far 5 metres is!
A warm-up drill that can help teach this is:
Have 4 players line up along the foul line and 4 players line up behind them on the baseline. They are now 5.8 metres apart! Have the people in the line at the foul line jog up the court at whatever pace they want. The people behind have to keep the same distance.
If your team is still having problems you could get 5m lengths of rope and have people running in pairs keeping the rope straight!
The “Head, Hands, Feet” method might also help. Below is a court showing 5 offensive players spread out amongst the perimeter. If you join them up they look a little like a “stick” figure, with a head, two hands and two feet. Mark these spots on the floor with cones and tell your players that they must be at either the head, hand or feet position (and only one person at each position).
Any cut must go into the “heart” (the key) but then come out to one of those positions.