Friday, October 12, 2012

You're an Idiot

I have a treat for you at the bottom of today's post, so bear with me while I cover a few details, and then click on the video link below and (hopefully) enjoy!

I leave this afternoon for the 8th (or thereabouts) annual Run and Gun Clinic, held this year at Jackson Community College.  Andy Hoaglin's team at Jackson led the NJCAA in scoring this year at 102 ppg, with the able assistance of Jon LaBeau, who coached the System very successfully in high school before coming onboard to help Coach Hoaglin install it at JCC a few years ago. The clinic schedule is posted below, and if you are close enough to come, I hope you will make the trip to Jackson CC to join us.  If not, I think clinic DVDs will be available, and I'll post something early next week to let you know, in case you are interested in buying a copy.

11:00 (On-Court) Andy Hoaglin - Jackson CC Women
12: 15 (On-Court) Dave Arnold - Manchester MI HS
1:25 Lunch/ Q & A - Bob Belf
3:00 (On-Court) Dave N. Arseneault - Grinnell College Interim Men
5:00 (On-Court) Gary Smith - Redlands College Men
7:45 Dinner/ Q & A - Restaurant
8:30 Breakfast/ Q & A Belf
9:00 (On-Court) Jon LaBeau - Jackson CC Assistant Women
10:20 (On-Court) Doug Porter - Olivet Nazarene/ North Central Women
12:00 Done
Before heading out the door, I wanted to conclude our discussion about the importance of "buy-in" by touching on a related topic:  answering criticisms.

One thing I remember about Westhead's clinic lectures was that he usually began with the following disclaimer: "If you run the system, one of two things will happen.  You'll either win a championship, or you'll get fired."

I agree with that basic sentiment, in that it is absolutely true the System is not for everybody!  It won't make you a smarter coach or a better teacher of the game, or a better motivator.  As I said yesterday, it's not a "magic pill."  And you'll subject yourself to a lot of criticism if things blow up.  BUT...

Remember that the Grinnell System is not exactly the same thing as Westhead's Loyola Marymount System, because it was designed to compensate for a lack of talent.  Which, in a nutshell, means that you have a slightly lesser chance of getting fired using the Grinnell System. 

The LMU system (as it's still called) is like most uptempo styles in that it will generally favor the more talented team.  Remember the old coaching principle:  the more possessions, the more opportunity for the better team to prevail. And (on the flip-side), the fewer the possessions, the more likely it will be that the inferior team can keep it close and sneak out with a victory at the end.   Using an extreme example to illustrate this theory: in a one-possession game, Illinois State might beat the Chicago Bulls.  In a 48 minute game... no way.  Unless Derrick Rose gets hurt again.

On a side note: do you want to know why there are so many coaches who advocate ball-control basketball?  Because most coaches are pessimists by nature.  When it comes to their own team, they aren't all that sure how good they are, so they figure "We'll play ball-control, keep it close, and win in the end."  Furthermore, pessimists don't mind losing as much as they mind getting embarrassed, and they want to avoid blowout losses at all costs.  In ball-control basketball, a "blowout loss" is 55-41, which is fine, just as long as the superintendent's son got to play a lot.  But in an uptempo game (the theory goes) the score could be 85-41.  So, if you have less talent (or think you have), you can compensate by slowing the game down.

But David Arseneault designed his System to compensate in another, revolutionary way.  I say "revolutionary" because as far as I know, it's the only system ever designed in order to allow a less talented team (including the superintendent's son) to compensate for their lack of talent by playing faster, rather than slower.

How does it compensate?  That's a discussion for another time, but trust me on this, it's mostly true (assuming you teach and motivate the System well, and the talent disparity is not huge).  Bottom line:  If you have talent, you can win playing any style you want.  Without much talent, you might be able to hang in there by using the System.  And you'll (usually) have more fun, even when you lose!

But whether you are talent-rich or talent-poor, coaching the System will, at times, open you up to criticism.  With that in mind, let me give you a quick list, just so you won't be surprised when some well-meaning System Critic pulls you aside to explain all the reasons why "You are an idiot."

1) You shoot too many threes (it's too "unbalanced" and perimeter oriented)
2) You can't win the big one with this style
3) Your kids play no defense ( and give up too many layups)
4) You have too many players in your rotation, and your best kids (i.e. my kid) need to play more
5) You can't get "in the flow" playing one minute shifts, and
6) If this style is so great, why doesn't everyone use it?

Hopefully the following video link, which I put together this summer, will aid you in answering your detractors... or at least give you a good laugh.  :-) See you in Jackson!
(feel free to share this--and the Blog--with other coaches!)


  1. Love your blog...just about ready to take the leap. Any chance you can re-link your video? It doesn't work...thanks

  2. Our program is starting the system as well so I look forward to reading your blog, I can't see the video either.

  3. Sorry about the malfunctioning video link. The company that produced the video went out of business and I can no longer access it!