Tuesday, April 9, 2019

How to Win when You Shouldn't...

If the Title alone didn't intrigue you, I'll try to not lose you in the first paragraph either. Before we go any further this isn't directly about how to X and O your way to win. It's about ideology and a couple examples I've witnessed and been directly apart of.

The toughest question to answer in coaching has to be How do we win with less talent? Whether you are coaching 5th grade or a Pro team, at some point you are going to find yourself facing a team with more talent than you have.

This season I watched Coach Mike Neighbors' team do something extraordinary in the SEC tournament. They beat South Carolina and Texas A&M in back to back games to reach the SEC Championship game. The staff did an amazing job of preparation. Chelsea Dungee also had the best scoring tournament of anyone ever in that league. But that wasn't the takeaway I got from watching this team. It was this:

1. Coach Neighbors asked each player to do 1 more thing. That was it. Just do 1 more thing.
Get one more rebound than you normally do. Get one more loose ball you normally wouldn't get. Just do 1 more. As simple a notion as it sounds, That was the difference in winning. One more.

2. Ask your team to do one less.
As a team, can we have one less turnover. Can we limit them to one less offensive rebound? 
Keep the focus on 1.

3. Everyone has an Achilles. 
Every team has a weakness. Yes, even the Warriors. Your job as a Coach is to find that weakness and use it to your advantage. Are they bad shooters? 
<Sidenote 1>
I have been on the losing end when I decided to leave their worst player wide open 
and he made 2 3s.
 We lost by 4. 
Remember, that's a HUGE rim up there 
and if Air Bud can make a basket, their worst shooter can too.

Do they have a small guard? Can you change your offense?
<Sidenote 2> 
Here is something we've all seen. 
Team A has a small guard. Team B decides to post that guard up. 
That's all fine and dandy as long as you've practiced it. 
Who is making the entry pass? Have you worked on post moves with that guard?
If you have, do it. But realize this: That guard has been small THEIR ENTIRE CAREER. 
They've probably been posted up before. So if you haven't worked on it, it may not work.
The main thing is this: Don't get outside of what you do UNLESS you've worked on it. 

4. Attack their Star
Make their best scorer defend and defend multiple actions. Most "Star" players don't like contact. Make sure you have contact on every screen, every block out. Every drive, you try to draw a charge. Nothing dirty. Just a lot of contact. 
Now, this can back fire and you could find yourself on the bad side of a 30 point performance if the Player has a little MJ or Mamba to them. 

5. You don't have to be Perfect.
I've never been apart of or even seen a game where a team was perfect. You are going to miss shots. You are going to foul. You are going to turn it over. The key a lot of times is how you react as the Coach. Train your Players to focus on you and your staff. (That's another topic too). When things are going wrong, and they will, Players need something or someone to recenter their attention.

True Story: We were about to play a team that normally presses a lot. I knew I couldn't mimic their pressure in practice. So we showed it on film....and then we watched Ricky Bobby get in the car with a cougar.(edited for content of course) 
On my game card there was a picture of a cougar. During a timeout I told them "gotta drive with a cougar in the car. Players laughed."  We ended up losing but the pressure never bothered us and  wasn't the reason. The purpose was to focus on what we could control and know that at the worst we would still be fine. 

So that's how you do it. Pretty simple, right? We are all planning on an undefeated season next year, right? 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how to win when you "shouldn't" as long as it isn't about stalling. 
you can always reach me at gwhite32@att.net