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  • Jeffery Johnson

Teach Process Over Memorization

Many people call themselves a coach because they only know how to teach plays or drills. Anyone can go on YouTube and teach a drill, but a real coach must be able to teach why the drill is important. They also must utilize it for the betterment of the athletes overall development. Why is it important to have good hand-eye coordination with your weaker hand? It’s simple. You will have to dribble, pass, shoot, block, rebound, and defend with both of your hands. It’s imperative to teach athletes that.

I had a coach that drilled us with plays when I played AAU Basketball. He didn’t teach “why” it was important to move, or respond, in certain ways. He also didn’t teach what I should do in case the play broke down. Teach the rules and processes of the game instead of only teaching x’s and o’s. Improvisation and decision making are huge elements in sports. Athletes must be able to react and respond to situations with a clear head. Only the ones that have been prepared to do so will see great results.

Jeff are you telling us to not teach plays?

Absolutely not. I’m telling you to teach the general movement patterns, actions, decisions, and counters needed to handle game situations. I use the word “counter” as an alternative plan. When I teach my athletes how to attack the basket with a strong move, I always teach them 2-3 counters they could use when the plan derails. For example, if the drill is to drive hard to the right side of the basket, what happens if a defender steps into your driving lane? You can’t run them over, and you probably can’t jump over them. One of the best things to do is to use a counter to create space and separation from the defender. A simple counter would be:

Drive towards the right side of the goal

A defender steps up to contest the shot

You spin going back towards the middle and left side.

Get it? A second counter could be adding a pump fake immediately after the spin. There are many ways to incorporate a counter. It really depends on the athleticism and ball handling capabilities of the athlete.

Again, I am not saying plays are wrong. I am saying that you have to teach more than just the play itself. Teach “why” this particular play works against the opponent’s defense. If you do that well enough, your athletes will have no problem fitting into any program in the country.

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