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How the Bucks Adjusted & Beat the Suns

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

After Phoenix won the first two games of the 2021 N.B.A. Finals decisively, it seemed as if Milwaukee would be hard pressed to avoid a sweep. Not only did the Bucks extend the series but they completed an impressive sweep. Most teams do not feature a dominant athlete like Giannis Antetokounmpo but there are some ideas that any coach can take from these games and apply to their own teams. Pressure the Ball: Jrue Holiday did an excellent job of setting the tone and pressuring Devin Booker and Chris Paul the length of the top. This used up the shot …

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Cobra Kai & Leadership

In Coaching, Leadership, Television by Brock Bourgase

Watching Cobra Kai on Netflix, I was thinking about how this highly unrealistic show could be applied in the real world. Certainly, basketball coaches shouldn’t covert their clubs into gangs that brawl with their neighbourhood rivals but I thought of some other ideas and sent them to the Internet. Spoilers after the break.

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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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Basketball Lessons

In Coaching, Leadership, Teaching by Brock Bourgase

After reflecting, I wanted to post some thoughts about how I feel regarding recent events in the news: One of the best aspects of basketball is the opportunity to compete with diverse people. When you play the sport long enough, you realize that anyone can play, irrespective of their background, gender or stature.  When you want to win, you pick up the players who will get buckets, no matter who they are.  Success on the court is earned by skill and effort, as it should be in life.

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Star Trek Leadership, Part VI: Chain of Command

In Star Trek Leadership, Television by Brock Bourgase

The simmering Federation-Cardissian tensions come to a boil in “Chain of Command.” Edward Jellico replaces Jean-Luc Picard as captain of the Enterprise and everyone feels the stress from a rocky leadership transition. In this case, leaders can learn what not to do by noting the consequences of poor choices made by Starfleet and its officers. A conflict between Captain Jellico and Commander William Riker distracts from the key objectives, endangering millions of lives. Radical Honesty As the episode navigates towards the climax, Jellico needs an expert shuttle pilot for a dangerous mission. He speaks with every shuttle pilot onboard and …

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Accountable Athletes

In Leadership, Sports by Brock Bourgase

In the middle of the 2008 season, David Ross was cut by the Cincinnati Reds and thought that his professional baseball career may be over. He eventually signed to be a third-string catcher with the Boston Red Sox put played sparingly for the remainder of the season. After the team lost in the 2008 American League Championship Series, General Manager Theo Epstein told Ross that he had heard some rumours that the catcher was a bad teammate but added that he had not found this to be the case in Boston. Ross was concerned about his reputation: as a free …

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Why We Compete

In Coaching by Brock Bourgase

Larry Bird once said that he “always hated seeing someone watch the ball roll out of bounds.” The quote summarizes a player who could do it all: shot, score, rebound, pass, dribble and defend. Although he was a superstar, Bird would hit the floor, dive into the stands, encourage his teammates and play through pain. From his parents, Bird learned to never take a day off – or in his case a play or a game. When describing Bird, players and coaches use words such as “grit,” “drive” and “competition.” To develop that legend, Bird had to apply that work …

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Bringing Team Culture to Life

In Coaching by Brock Bourgase

As a coach, I always aim to improve my communication skills. While I have a firm grasp on my philosophy, as well as the team culture and style of play that I want to see, it is nothing if I cannot get the message across. As John Wooden would say: “You haven’t taught until they have learned.” Emphasizing a team culture helps youth adopt a different mindset, assuming the dominant characteristics of the group. Character skills are malleable, like intellectual and athletic ability (Tough, 2012, p. 97). Key words can be repeated in huddles and used as positive self-talk. It …

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Pin Down Series Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

When there is sufficient time and space, shooting percentage skyrockets. Use pin down screens to free shooters so they can take high percentage shots. Ray Allen Series (Pin Down A) Learning Goal: Learn how to use pin down screens away from the ball. Points of Emphasis: Stay low & balanced when cutting, using the screen & catching the ball. The cutter starts under the basket and prepares to use the screen. The cutter goes to the left side and curls around the cones in order and receives a pass. After shooting, the cutter goes to the other side and executes …

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Star Trek Leadership, Part V: Dealing with Disaster

In Star Trek Leadership, Television by Brock Bourgase

For me, one of the fascinating aspects of Star Trek: The Next Generation is their collaborative problem solving. All team members have a role to play and everyone’s best efforts are integral to success. Characters don’t come to blow, there are few battles between egos and situations must be analyzed critically. In the episode “Disaster”, the Enterprise is impacted by quantum filaments and all members of the bridge crew must step forward and lead. Delegate Responsibilities: Captain Picard is stuck in the turbolift with three children who received top honours in a recent science fair. Children have long been a …

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Rebounding Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

Rebounding is a skill & tactic that is neglected in basketball practices. Practices include ballhandling, shooting and defense but sometimes stop short of completely finishing the possession. Among the Four Factors, rebounding accounts for twenty percent of basketball success. Coaches can help by allowing game situation drills to continue beyond one shot, until the defense secures the ball, and by regularly practicing rebounding drills. Drill should instruct individual rebounding techniques & small group tactics for team rebounding. McHale Rebounding Drill (Rebounding Phase A) Learning Goal: Rehearse skills & techniques for offensive & defensive rebounding. Points of Emphasis: Assume a low …

Defensive Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

Here are some drills that can teach a progression of defensive skills, expanding beyond the ubiquitous Shell Drill. 1-on-4 Defensive Skills (Defense Phase A) Learning Goal: Improve major defensive skills each player should know. Points of Emphasis: Ensure players use proper technique while playing defense at high intensity. At one basket, players take turns playing defense. The defender starts with the ball & initiates the drill by passing to an offensive player on the wing. The defender closes out & shifts positions as the ball is swung, finishing by taking a charge as the last player drives. The defense works …

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Transition Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

As more leagues adopt F.I.B.A. rules & shot clocks, playing at full-speed becomes a indispensable skill on the court. Teams that can attack the basket before the defense has set up & play downhill will generate high percentage scoring chances. Five Man Fast Break (Phase A) Learning Goal: Pass, dribble & score in transition. Point of Emphasis: Move the ball down the court from the first pass to the three-point line in under four seconds. Squads of five players go up & down the court six times (three trips there & back). One of the posts grabs the ball as …

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Pick and Roll Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

In F.I.B.A. play, offenses often go to a pick & roll situation as the shot clock winds down. The action can also be used in transition & half-court offensive systems. Players must not only master the dribbling, passing, screening & finishing techniques but also understand how to read the defense & make sound decisions. Two-Player Game (Phase A) Learning Goal: Understand the basic techniques & tactics required for the two-person game. Points of Emphasis: Move without the ball & dribble at game speed. Two players start in each corner and the remaining players start in the centre jump circle. The …

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Weak Hand Drills

In Drills by Brock Bourgase

In game situations, players must be able to dribble the basketball, pass and finish with both hands. Good defenses will force an opponent to their weak hand so elite players must become equally proficient with both hands. Five Finishes (Phase A) Learning Goal: Control the ball and finish with the non-dominant hand Points of Emphasis: Stay low, read the court, be explosive Set up five goals outside the three-point line (in the corners, on the wings and at the top of the key). The player starts under the basket and using their non-dominant hand dribbles around the cone and finishes at …

Spring Basketball Workout #6

In Practice Plans by Brock Bourgase

Emphasis: footwork, explosivess, core strength & stability, ballhandling Summary: This is a variation of my first spring workout. By repeating many similar drills & exercises, I hope to reduce coach-centered instructional time so I can focus on individual feedback. Referring to the same basic drills reinforces the teaching points so that the players can practice them on their own. I extended the time of the workout to allow more time in the weight room & on the stairs. Reflection: Establishing habits is tricky. I had to give more feedback than I had hoped to regarding defensive positioning & communication. Even …