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Mental Training without Games or Practices

In Basketball, Mental Training by Brock Bourgase

In a lockdown, players and coaches must be adaptable to train. Going outside, running hills, cross-training… creativity is a requirement when so many facilities are closed and activities suspended. Finding the motivation for physical training is as much of a challenge as the exercises themselves. It is equally challenging to train mentally during this time. Without games and scarce practices without defense, the incentive to prepare for them may be lacking. Nevertheless, technology and the power of habit give players a chance.

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10 Changes

In Basketball, Coaching by Brock Bourgase

The lengthy off-season in 2020 was an opportunity for thorough reflection. After attending dozens of virtual clinics, talking to other coaches and reading, I’ve settled on ten ideas that I think complement my coaching philosophy and can be implemented for the next season. I was not seeking to make significant change but incremental improvements.

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Making the Most of High School Basketball

In High School Basketball, Teaching by Brock Bourgase

As September approaches, student-athlete and teacher-coaches are returning school and a new basketball season is upon us. Here are some little changes that coaches can make in order to develop players into responsible people. Coach the entire student-athlete so that they can make the most of their high school experience. It is unfair to expect teenagers to devote all their free time to a sport or one particular interest. Sports offer physical fitness, social interactions and fun and are a healthy part of the school experience, although levels of commitment will vary. Build Personal Connections with Players Get to know …

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Thank You Tim Duncan

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Tim Duncan retired this month, ending a nineteen-year N.B.A. career. Duncan was not a compelling superstar because of his style on the court or controversy away from it, but because of his excellence and consistency. The outcome – five N.B.A. championships – cannot be easily duplicated but players from all levels can learn about the process behind it all. Like the rest of the San Antonio organization, Duncan was about doing the right thing as often as possible. He let himself be coached. Gregg Popovich has been known to coach hard or “Go Serbian” and the three players who anchored …

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How Role Players Succeed

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Richard Jefferson comments on how he adjusted to his role with the Cleveland Cavaliers: “I knew I only could control what I could control. I‘m not a guy that they‘re going to call plays for; I‘m not a guy that they‘re going to run anything for. So I was just like, ‘Richard, just rebound the ball like crazy. Rebound the ball, run the floor, play defense, get on the floor for any loose ball.‘ […] That‘s what I can control, and then try to get shots & try to do some extra things.” Jefferson didn‘t let his limited offensive role …

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The Mozart of Basketball Except

In International Basketball by Brock Bourgase

My favourite anecdote from Todd Spehr’s book about Dražen Petrović and how he established the team culture for the first Croatian Olympic Basketball Team: Radja admired Petrović most for his work ethic. Invariably, when Radja would show up for national team practice, there would be Petrović, before him, already working out. There were constant reminders to Radja and the others that Petrović’s devotion forced the others to evaluate their own efforts. There was a practice session during the first Coratian team training camp that had ended what Petrović perceived as too early. He promptly went to the team’s physician, Dr. …

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Dean Smith’s Coaching Philosophy

In Coaching, N.C.A.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

A couple of discussions inspired me to reflect further about Dean Smith and delve deeper into his coaching philosophy and leadership style. Certainly, this post may have been timelier had I published it at the time of Smith’s passing in 2015 but I feel that the thoughts remain relevant because of his lasting impact on the game. When I began coaching, I was drawn to Smith’s methods because of his winning track record and the fact that he was one of the limited numbers of coaches who had published a book that was easily available in the 1990s. To me, …

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Tryout Success

In Basketball by Brock Bourgase

During the spring and summer season, basketball teams roam the continent, pursuing elusive scholarships, hype and respect. Camps, travel teams and training camps hold tryouts to determine which athletes should be selected and parents and players attend these sessions en masse. Consternation abounds but is this energy directed in the appropriate direction? Following some simple guidelines and putting forth one’s best effort will enable athletes to make the programs that they desire. Athletes succeed not only because of their bodies but also their minds. It’s not necessary to solve any mystery in order to make a basketball team but a …

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Building the Spurs Culture

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Gregg Popovich Explains How the Spurs Select Players: “For us, it’s easy. We’re looking for character, but what the hell does that mean? We’re looking for people — and I’ve said it many times — [who] have gotten over themselves, and you can tell that pretty quickly. You can talk to somebody for four or five minutes, and you can tell if it’s about them, or if they understand that they’re just a piece of the puzzle. So we look for that. A sense of humour is a huge thing with us. You’ve got to be able to laugh. You’ve …

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2015 N.B.A. Offense Lessons

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

The first half the N.B.A. season has demonstrated the progression of offensive basketball at the highest level. Young players can develop their own game by playing with focus and patience and applying some of these elements. When young teams run discipline sets, the ball moves, everyone looks good and the team takes advantage of good looks. If that same team rushes, disjointed basketball unfolds and teams look their age. Any team can play hard, play smart and play together on offense. Coaches should study the best teams in the league because they are applying concepts that work against the most …

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The Secret Play

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Larry Bird and Dennis Johnson developed a special chemistry on the floppy/pin down action during their time with the Boston Celtics. Using a pin down is as much about the fundamentals of cutting, passion and shooting as it is reading the defense and reacting to their moves. When opponents would overplay his use of the screen, Bird would cut backdoor for the layup. Note how Bird pushes off his own teammates Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish and takes his man into a bunch of traffic to create space for himself. Johnson throws a variety of passes off the bounce, one …

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Follow Your Shot

In International Basketball by Brock Bourgase

“Don’t get caught watching the paint dry.” Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch A screen and roll play continues after the shot is released. The defense must still secure the ball and the offense still has some high percentage scoring opportunities on the offensive glass. Defense: Cory Joseph goes over the screen so Facundo Campazzo cuts back and uses Luis Scola as a rescreen. Anthony Bennett stunts to stop the drive and Campazzo must pass the ball. Scola pops and Kelly Olynyk, who was playing under the screen closes out the shot but does not make contact on the box out. After the …

Duke’s First Practice

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Mike Krzyzewski talks about building a team culture with the 2014-15 Duke Blue Devils. Concerns for the coach included developing leadership on the court, planning and periodization with only ten scholarship players (which later became eight) and creating a team identity after a summer spent training in smaller groups. The team is seen working on fundamentals – such as a variety of passes and footwork – and defense, two excellent building blocks for any team. Even on the first day, the team is shown getting after it on double teams in the post and downing and hedging screens. Read and …

Duke’s Summer Workouts

In N.C.A.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Duke won a National Championship and made three first round drafts picks during their offseason work. Basketball players need to train in order to push themselves to the next level. The Blue Devils developed: strength in the weight room explosiveness using plyometrics agility and footwork on the court foot and ankle stability on the beach toughness on the stadium stairs core strength by doing functional movements togetherness by working out as a team

Being Tony Allen

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

Guarding Klay Thompson and the rest of the Golden State Warriors, Tony Allen has demonstrated tenacious effort and modelled solid defensive skills for younger players to follow. The Grizzlies have played competitively so far and forced the N.B.A.’s highest scoring team into some poor shooting performances. Guarding the Ballhandler: Allen turns Thompson to the left and keeps his hands active. However, he is not riding his man or reaching down. Instead, Allen reaches for the ball between Thompson’s hand and the floor. He pops it loose from below as it is on the way up, avoiding a foul. Allen is able to tip it …

Fouling at the End of Games

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

The Lakers experienced an awkward play at the end of of Friday’s game against the Grizzlies. Memphis was up a single point with under twenty seconds remaining but Los Angeles elected not to foul immediately. Eventually, Kobe Bryant ran over and fouled Mike Conley. The Lakers eventually lost by three points. Some areas for improvement: L.A. did not seem to discuss who they would foul if this situation arose. Conley was the best free throw shooter on the court and it might have been possible to trap him in order to steal (hopefully) or force him to give up the …