Saturday, November 3, 2012

Today's Lesson...

Any of you who are high school teachers will know the answer to the following question...

When one of your students (usually the one with the stud in his tongue and the creatively colored hair) strolls into the your classroom at the beginning of the hour, what's the first thing he asks you?

Right.  "What are we doing today???"  Or, sometimes, my favorite variation of that same question: "Are we gonna do anything today?" 

I used to enjoy replying: "No, nothing.  We're just going to pass out comic books and take the day off."  Not detecting my sense of irony, Mr. Tongue Stud would usually exclaim, "Aw-right!"

We concluded Zone Week on Friday with another day of reviewing:
  • Our Zone Offense, starting with 5/0 options, today reminding the trailers to spot up in a curl area when they are attacking an odd zone
  • Progressing to 5/0 Zone Offense off the rebound, moving to ORB spots for a second chance three, and jumping into our press after a score
  • Playing "HC Defense Breaks" vs. a 1-3-1 (our basic zone).  This drill has us starting a possession with the PG and Trail at halfcourt... after the shot (make or miss) the defense breaks the other way, trying to create a quick shot vs the 1-3-1, then once more having the original offensive team break back. 
  • Then reviewed our Half-court zone attack vs. 1-2-2 HC press.
  • Then we worked on our Sideline and OB-Under zone plays vs. a 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone.
The point is, if we had any players with creative hair who wanted to know at the beginning of practice, "What are we gonna do today?"  then our answer would be pretty clear: "We're working on our ZONE attack." 

Now, we could have chosen to organize things a little differently (as some System coaches do) by planning the practice around, say, "Fast Breaking after a Score, vs. both M/M and Zone Defenses."  Or, "Pressing after a Dead Ball, from Full-court, Sideline, and OB-Under."  In other words, we could have planned today's lesson around HOW we obtained possession, rather than what defense we are seeing AFTER we gained possession.

With that said, here's the bottom line:  We do not work on everything, every day.  Never, never, never!  Why do you think our practices are 1:30 (or less!)?  Because we don't try to do it all.  Every practice has one topic.  In our case, today it was "Zone Work." But whatever it is, we organize everything around that emphasis. 

I know the conventional approach is to spend the first 45 mintues of practice (or, heaven forbid, the first hour) on "fundamentals," the next 45 minutes on offense, and the last 45 minutes on defense. 

My belief is that a) you cannot possibly get players to go at System pace for that long, b) they'll get more out of practice by focusing on one topic per workout, and c) your practice planning is clarified and streamlined because you merely select the drills or team activities that are consistent with your emphasis for that workout.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is the System.  Get better at one thing, every practice!

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