Friday, December 7, 2012

Minimalist BLOBs

My good friend, Olivet softball coach Ritchie Richardson, is the most organized person I know.  Despite being from Tennessee, he eats fried chicken with a knife and fork.  He also has the neatest office, desk, and files I've ever seen.  There's a picture of him in the dictionary next to the word "Fastidious."

I asked him about this once, always looking for organizational tips, and he said that in his work and personal life he believes in what he calls "Minimalism."  In other words, he's ruthless in eliminating the "stuff" in his life.  He tosses out paper, keeps his email screen clear, and has a very simple system or routine for organizing everything.  In general, he believes keeping everything in his life lean and mean.  And this approach translates to his coaching as well; his softball teams are a model of efficiency on the field.

Is your version of the System minimalist, or "maximalist?"   What I mean is, how complicated is what you do?  My first year coaching the System we had one press, one man-to-man offense, one zone offense, and two quick-hitters.  I long for those days, and should I ever be a head coach again am resolved to streamline our approach.  I'm convinced that the less "stuff" you have in your system, the better you will execute what you have. 

For example, how many Baseline OB (BLOB) plays do you have, and how few could your really get by with?  I know, the complaint is, "I have to have several plays or else the other team will scout us and take us out of our game."  But they'll do that anyway, won't they.  At least your league opponents will.

Why not try Gary Smith's approach:  One BLOB with multiple (freelance) options, and one SLOB.  I'm sure you can figure out a way to run a play that gives players freedom to just get open and score, flowing into your basic set.  Then you don't have to waste practice time developing the timing of all that stuff and can focus on running the floor hard and offensive rebounding. 

To illustrate, Grinnell uses an interesting BLOB:  Everyone runs in a circle in the lane as the inbounder takes the ball from the official.  At some random point, everyone in the circle breaks to a spot, with the best player ususally catching the ball in a scoring area (the fade spot) where he shoots or drives and creates.

Never forget, the more stuff you have in your offense/defense, the longer your practices, and the less likely you'll make it home in time for Dancing with the Stars.   So... consider making this your mantra:  no muss, no fuss.  Minimalist Basketball.

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