Four factors to having a great basketball season

You don’t have to go very far to read a silly blog post about how to get ready for the basketball season. Articles like the 75 things… the 47 things,... the 99 things…. to make sure that you are ready for this basketball season. They're all overkill and ridiculous. If you want to get the most out of the season ahead, that doesn’t meant that you have to add more. It more often means that you have to delete more

Think about what you really need to have a great season. 

What comes to mind is probably not shiny new uniforms, warm-up suits, clipboards, whistles or play diagrams. None of that is going to impact the experience of the season very much at all. 

So what will?    

Start with the process of elimination - cut out the unnecessary. 

What do you NEED TO HAVE! (not a nice to have)... but MUST HAVE'S for your team to have a ridiculously awesome season this year? 

Think about it.    

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#1) Standards / Principles 

Principles are where everything must begin and end.  The principle of the game is teamwork. It always has been. It always will be.   

Have you created (for yourself and for everyone involved with your team) a short list of principles and standards that everyone can abide by? Are they written down so that you can share them and discuss them with your team? It can be very empowering for your players if you can create these principles and standards together with your team. Make sure that they are reasonable and achievable.  Keep in mind that principles within your team are shared agreements that everyone can adhere to at all times (albeit with some effort). Standards within your team are what you will not go below (no matter what). 

Do you have a set of principles written out that serves as reference points for what your principles are and what your standards are? 

Maybe aligning your standards with matters of fairness, equality, mutuality, respect, effort, improvement, attitude, behavior, character, body language can help in creating your team principles and standards.   

#2) Have dynamite (dynamic) practices. 

Teams tend to play with how they practice. So make every practice count. Have every player excited about practice. Say every player’s name in the first 15 minutes of practice. Acknowledge the energy that they bring.  Reinforce more of what you want to see. 

If you are negative, they will be negative. If you are positive, they will be positive. Have a set of verbal commands that everyone knows what to do on.  Do you need to raise your voice when you are getting something across. 

Remember: Not everything needs to stop. Coaches that stop everything every 30 seconds to talk are the most annoying coaches to play for. Keep the flow of practice. 

Another aspect of having dynamic practices is to mix up team and individual work.


Think about your last practice. 

Think about how many touches each player received. How long did they have the ball in their hands throughout the entire practice? 

Really be honest. Think. Was it less than 5 minutes per every hour of practice? 

Just know,... that in a game, the amount of time that the average player touches the basketball only around a minute or two total! (That's it)

  • Practice has to be the place where each player receives the reps. 
  • If you’re only doing team stuff in practice, you’re forgetting about the players. 
  • What can you do to have each player with a ball in their hand for a greater length of time each practice?
  • How would that benefit them individually and collectively?    

#3) Rely on Everyone and Prepare Everyone 

To play a team game, you have to be willing to play everyone. Even if that doesn’t mean guaranteed playing time, you can be sure that in any game, foul trouble and injuries will surely mean that players that you did not expect to contribute in certain situations will be needed. And you better know, if they are not prepared to succeed, then it comes back to you not preparing them. That means you have to prepare everyone.  You never ever know who is going to step up and make a great play, or play a great game at a time when they are possibly least expected. But all players on the team will feel a greater sense of belonging and accountability if they know that every player on your roster will be expected to do their job to the best of their abilities. Whether they succeed or not in the moment, you will only know that you have prepared each and every player as best you can to be successful by giving them your time, consideration, and attention.   

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#4) Honor the team by tracking and reinforcing what really contributes to winning

One player scoring a majority of your points may indeed be a great strategy to winning. But, every player contributing to the win is what makes winning teams great. Use a system that you can implement with your team that accounts for each player's game contributions. These are the “winning variables of the game.” Along with the 4 factors to winning basketball, measure and reinforce each player’s contribution to team’s success by having them know that every time that they got a steal, every deflection, every extra rebound, every charge taken matters when it comes to the outcome of the game. 

The factors written above will not only improve your team synergy, but will give you all of the must haves for a great season.    

Do you want more insights to have a better season this year?

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