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I haven’t been coaching for that long, and I haven’t come across a player with as much potential as a recent 8 year old who has just picked up a basketball for the first time in his life.

Imagine an 8 year old who can run from the length of the court and back so fast that boys 2 years older than him are still at half court when he finishes. Imagine an 8 year old who has never touched a basketball in his life but can seem to read the play so well not many can pass it past him. He has already scored 6 points in his first two games and I’ve lost count of the number of intercepts. In the words of a 7 year old in our team – “Holy S**t!”

The agility skills of the boy for his age is the best I have seen so far in my coaching career. But there’s a dilemma…there’s so much pressure on a coach to get things right with a player tht has so much potential at such a young age. I’m actually a bit worried about failing the boy.

I can only do my best. Let’s hope it is good enough and we have a future boomer in our midsts.

Let’s also hope we don’t lose him to another sport such as AFL.


There’s some great historical data about great teams bouncing back from a disappointing loss, the most recent being the Geelong Cats in the AFL earlier this year after they lost to the Blues.

My youth league team faces their first thrashing the weekend just past. How on earth does a rookie coach bounce back from a 40 point loss let alone a rookie team?

The rookie coach decided to call upon the ‘big wigs’ response and like the Geelong Cats have done in the past, the first half hour of training the following Monday was spent analysing the game and undertaking an “honesty session”.

The rookie coach had no idea how to run this honesty session so decided to call upon google to answer questions about what a session entails. Google failed, and the only results that were found involved newspaper articles about Australian supporting teams undertaking these “honesty sessions”. This then got me thinking…do “honesty sessions” occur anywhere else in the sporting world? Please comment if you do know of examples.

So the rookie coach undertook this “honesty session” with no background information. It was more or less run on a whim. Some interesting issues were brought out into the open and we then realised we’re still in the top 4 so there’s not too much to worry about 🙂

Only time will tell if this honesty session worked.

Just found an awesome list of links about basketball drills and plays. #basketball

And now I’ve read that there is an app for the bleep (yo-yo) test for the #iphone. All I need is an app that will grow money for me…

Reading that the AFL are now using yo-yo fitness test instead of the beep test. Interesting…

Want some great videos? Need some new drills? Found this while searching for refereeing videos a few months ago and love it. Especially like the passing video. Check out Basketball Manitoba! Trust me you won’t regret it.

Not the best site navigation wise, but the content is great. You will have to register to get full access, but it costs nothing!

Tryouts for next rep season are coming up soon. Here are some tips of what the coaches are looking for!

  • Listen. Listen to the coaches, other players, administrators etc. Listening is how you learn.

  • A lot of “good” players do not get picked because they are not “coachable”. Basketball is a team game and everyone has their role. If you are going to go out and play for yourself, then don’t bother turning up. If you do, you won’t get picked.

  • Play as a team. If someone is in a better position than you, pass it to them. It doesn’t matter if they miss the shot. The coach sees the pass and the shot!
  • Try new things. If you aren’t that good dribbling/shooting on your opposite hand, try it. Coaches look for potential when picking a team. If you are willing to try, it shows you are willing to improve.
  • If someone is beating you in offence every time, try harder next time. Never give up. Once you give up, the coaches lose interest. Sometimes a player is just better than you, but in a year’s time you can be better than them if you keep trying!
  • Do the “one percenters”. Take that great rebound, hussle in defence. Do the cuts in offence even if you don’t get the ball. Deny the ball in defence, go split line. Do that awesome pass. Trust me it looks good. Max Rooke is one of Bomber Thompson’s favourite players because he always does the “one percenters”.
  • Have fun! Don’t forget that it is just a game of basketball afterall. Don’t take it too seriously, but don’t muck around.

I’ll keep editing this post as I come up with things over the next few weeks. Good luck if you are trying out.

So the hard slog of the season came down to the last game of the season for the boys. The winners would go home grinners and the losers would continue to wonder ‘what if’. It was close throughout the whole game, with missed opportunities in the first half providing a one point deficit at half time for the Under 12 2 Cats (or Supercats according to the court announcer). With the scores level going into the last minute of the game, it was time for the stars to shine. Will McDonald showed the crowd how to do a coast-to-coast move, and ended it with a no look pass to Quinny who finished it with an easy two points. Then the cats stole the ball back and with 10 seconds to go, Will McDonald decided to put the game out of reach and hit a clutch ‘swish’ 3-pointer.

Congratulations to Will McDonald for winning MVP of the game. An amazing achievement considering he just played enough games to qualify due to 6-months out with a dislocated hip. Harry Shannon played brilliantly in defence all game, and never runs out of energy (even when the coach leaves him on for all of the second half). His composure in the last few minutes of the game ensured the cats had the best chance of winning. Nathan Gillespie, Lucas Matsubara, William ‘Hummer’ Humble, Jacob ‘J’ Willis and Jacob (samo) played a finals series to remember. These young guns are the future of Geelong Cats. Lucas and Nathan especially came of age in the later stages of the season. Quinny is amazing. Whenever he didn’t play during the season, the team missed him dearly. His 20+ boards a game ensured many second chance shots for us and none for the opposition – especially in the grand final. Captain Dion matured beyond his years as a season went on. His support for his teammates throughout the finals series was extraordinary. Ethan Braslis provided flexibility for the team. When talls were missing or in foul trouble, he played 4 in offence. When we decided to play tall, he played 2 in offence and could shutdown a defender half his size.

After the game, most of the team headed off to Lygon Street for some well deserved pizza and pasta. The parents and coach needed some wine to ease the buzz!

As coach, I would like to thank the boys for a great season. Their support was amazing, their improvement as the season progressed even more amazing. The boys wouldn’t be who they are without the support of their parents. They drove them around the state for games and were full of encouragement throughout the whole season. It was a pleasure to coach such a wonderful team, with great support from their families. Thanks also go to Tim O’Leary and the first team for letting us train with them every Sunday. The drills we ran together only helped with our development. Thanks to Lisa Wilkinson for helping out with training when I wasn’t available and Brenton O’Brien for coaching them in a few games while I was overseas, working or in hospital! Brenton and Tim were also my ‘yelling’ coaches during the final series. I really need to find a booming voice from somewhere! Finally, thanks to my fiance for putting up with my constant babbling about the team in the last year!

All the best in the future boys. Hopefully I’ll coach you again soon.

I recently attended the Level Coaching course run by Basketball Victoria Country Council in Geelong. I learnt heaps, but one thing I implemented straight away was Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the team to meet each game (this is my Under 12 rep team). Since I have implemented these KPIs, the team has only lost the grand final at the Ballarat tournament by 6 points. Considering we lost to Eltham 3 by 50 points when we played them more than 6 months ago – I was proud of their improvement!

The KPIs I have implemented:

  • Less than 15 Turnovers per game (remember I am coaching under 12s!)
  • More than 30 rebounds a game
  • Limit uncontested shots by opposition
  • No second chance shots by opposition (opposition offensive rebounds)

Clear goals for the team to meet seems to have worked so far. We beat a team by 9 points in the Ballarat tournament that we lost to by 12 points only 2 weeks before!

Clarity seems to be the key.

Phil Jackson is one of the greatest basketball coaches the world has ever seen. Yes, he was blessed with having the best player ever under his wing, however he also invented the “triangle” offensive play that resulted in two 3-peats by the Chicago Bulls in the 1990’s. If you have ever read any of his books, the thought processes of this great man is mind-boggling. If I can be an eighth (1/8) of the coach Phil Jackson was I will be more than happy.

My representative team lost by 2 points last week. Unfortunately, basics such as traveling and shooting let us down. We should have won, but we didn’t. It’s hard to bring about change in a player, when every Wednesday’s domestic game,  traveling is rarely called. The most common problem I have come across in my short stint of coaching is the jab and crossover travel. So many players jab with one foot and then instead of crossing over the same foot they jabbed with, they crossover feet instead. This is usually an easy habit to eradicate with repetitive drills.

On the other hand, I’m having trouble eradicating the “omg I have pressure on me I’m going to step around them, lift my planted foot and then dribble” travel. How do you replicate this in training? Is there a drill I can do? This usually happens in my team when players try to step around/step through 2/3 opposition players. I’m trying to convince them that you cannot beat 2/3 players, but typical 10 and 11 year olds, they think they are indestructible! Does anyone have any ideas on how to diminish this travel from my team’s game? Any help would be be appreciated.

We’re playing at home tonight. Hopefully we will have a player in a couple of weeks to replace Wil (the player who has dislocated his hip). Wil is doing well and I’m off to visit him on the weekend to loan him some basketball dvd’s and books! He was lucky enough to get a photo in the newspaper yesterday!