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.

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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!

So is anyone off to the Basketball Victoria Coaching Conference? I’ll be there. Meant to attend the Guy Molloy coaching clinic except I had that dreaded cold virus that is going around and couldn’t make it.

Anyway, had some bad news last week. One of my rep players fell over a hurdle during athletics and dislocated his hip. He is out for 12 months. Bed ridden at the moment. Imagine being 10 years old and bed ridden with the bottom half of your body in plaster and immobilised. I don’t think I could handle it and I’m an adult. All the best to Wil and his recovery. Hope to see you out there playing basketball again in 12 months time.

First game this Friday night for regional teams in the VJBL. I will only have 7 players. We’re playing in Broadmeadows against Broadmeadows 2. Will be a difficult game to win. Hopefully we’ll get a win first up!

I did some more research after that last post and came across some great youtube videos. This first one is really good. Incorporates pivoting before the pass – sweep step pass.

This second one is a video of the very famous 3-man weave. It is shown in slow-motion for those coaches coming from a non basketball background!

Enjoy, and let me know of any others you think are worth posting about!

I am currently in my third year of coaching and am only just realising how important it is for all players on the team to know how to pass well. I’m a point guard, I should know better! So here are some great passing drills for you to try out. Passing creates more shooting opportunities. Remember, it’s not all about the passing, but the receiver too. Ensure the receiver is moving! Also, think about this as a team rule…NEVER pass to a stationary player!

For some great passing drills check out basketball passing drills and how to become a great passer.

Sorry about the delay in posts – a 5 week trip to Japan had to be organised and taken! Anyway, I’m back coaching new teams for the new season and learning a lot with each new team. For those who would like to follow Andrew Bogut – the only Australian playing in the NBA – check out his website. You can also follow links on the website to add him as a friend on facebook. He only has 811 friends as of today!

Andrew was just hitting peak form but has been hit by a knee injury and will be out for the next 1-2 weeks. I’m sure all Australian basketball fans wish him the best of luck in his recovery and hopefully he can continue his great form when he returns.

I recently attended a coaching shooting clinic at Diamond Valley. I think I was the only non Diamond Valley person there! Darren Perry and Charles Ryan ran the clinic. It was a great clinic and I was overwhelmed by the information. Things have changed since I learnt how to play, especially the idea of the triple threat position. I learnt it as on your hip protecting the ball, but now it is taught as in front of your body, using your strength to protect the ball.

Although I didn’t get a copy of the video, I thought I would post a few goodies from youtube. I especially like the first one. Notice the position of the guide hand (the weak hand). It is there to “guide” the hand, not to provide any strength on the shot or even take over the shot

For a more detailed video, checkout Pistol Pete’s video. Very mechanical and can be very daunting!

Pistol Pete tells you to aim for the front of the ring. I like to look at the back of the ring from where I am shooting. If someone you are coaching is having problems with their shots falling short, tell them to use their knees more and if that doesn’t work try telling to aim for the back of the ring. I’ve had that help a few kids I have coached before.

If anyone else has any other videos, links out there to share, please place them in the comments!

Reaction time in basketball can mean the difference between an easy layup or a turnover. The Fordson drill teaches the player to respond to voice. Check out the 1st drill in the video below to see how it goes. Some key points:

  • Do not let the ball hit the floor
  • Make sure the player doing the layup shoots with the correct hand. So if the player underneath the ring calls out left, they need to shoot with their left hand and vice versa
  • Do this drill as fast as you can as it can increase fitness levels

Ball handling is an important aspect of basketball. If you cannot handle a basketball properly, you won’t be able to catch, shoot, steal, dribble, rebound or pass correctly. Below are a few youtube videos I have come across. Remember the following when doing ANY ball handling drills:

  • Try and keep your head up!
  • Do the drill with both hands.
  • If it is too easy for you, try to do it even faster. The more times you drop the ball, the better ball handler you will become!

For more videos, search for ball handling on youtube.