Postulates of Coaching Basketball

by Creighton Burns:

I am going to give you some thoughts on the game of basketball I have learned and have come to think of as postulates of basketball.

A friend of mine Al Rhodes, who is an excellent high school coach from the state of Indiana, lectures the players at his Junior 5 Star Camp about the “5 Postulates of Offense.” I am going to steal his term, and talk about many different postulates in regard to the game.

They are in no particular order.

1) It is not what you teach, but it is what you emphasize! It is not what you know, it is how you teach and what your players know that gets the job done! The most important part of teaching is not ‘the how’ but the ‘why’!

2) The team that shoots the most free throws and gets the most rebounds will usually win.

3) Players must be running full speed in two steps when converting from offense back to defense.

4) When playing defense, keep the ball out of your “house.” In other words, Keep the ball out of the middle.

5) To beat a zone defense, you need to exhibit patience, make good passes, employ pass fakes, penetrate into the middle of the defense by pass or dribble, and get good shots for your best shooters.

6) Good offense is played from the inside out. In others words attack inside and then kick it back out.

7) When coaching use the ’sandwich” method of coaching. For every negative criticism you make of a player “sandwich” it between two positive comments.

8) When attacking a press, attack the basket. Do not get the ball across the time line and then pause. Take the ball to the baseline and reverse the court!

9) If you are going to have a championship team, each player must give up his personal agenda for the good of the team. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

10) Players will not care how much you know until they know how much you care!

11) Every great team is DISCIPLINED!

12) The more you demand as a coach, the more the players will produce for you. Have high expectations and challenge your players to get better!

13) If your players are “dogs” in the classroom, they will be dogs on the floor.

14) “Whatever it takes” — encourage second effort! Everyone makes the first effort, but the champions make the second, third and fourth efforts, whatever it takes to win the game!

15) “Less is more!” Use the KISS method of coaching. Keep it sweet and simple.

16) Emphasize balance and footwork. I once heard John Wooden spend an hour discussing balance and footwork during a clinic.

17) Pay attention to the “details.” Those little details end up being big!

18) Spend a minimum of 20 minutes shooting each and every practice.

19) The Mikan Drill is a great drill for all players — post and perimeter.

20) Three things are important in teaching defense — great effort, communication and teaching methodology.

21) When you talk about playing hard, make sure your players know what you mean. For example; a player is not playing hard if he quits sprinting back on defense or does not run hard on the fast break…if a player plays scared…if a player does not screen…if a player forgets a play…if a player bitches, whines, complains or makes excuses…if a player does not dive for the loose ball, take the charge or rebound…if a player fouls as his opponent drives around him…or if a player does not help on defense.

22) A great defensive philosophy is:
A. Do not give up the layup,
B. Do not foul,
C. Contest every shot,
D. Give only one contested shot and get the rebound.

23) Believe in what you do and understand what you do, and why you are doing what you are doing!

24) You must make sure you establish and explain roles to each and every player.

25) Part of being a good communicator is being a good LISTENER.

26) Demand that your players talk and communicate on the court. A silent, quiet team cannot play good defense.

27) Make your practice tougher than the game!

28) Teach you players to pass fake and shot fake.

29) If there comes a time when you have to make a decision between a player and the team, make sure the players know it will always be the team!

30) Make sure that your players know they are a part of the program for life — regardless of their stature on the team.

31) You win with shot makers not shot takers.

32) Make sure your players understand that practice is not punishment, nor is repetition.

33) Regardless of the style of play, never get away from teaching the fundamentals of the game.

34) Be yourself!

This is the first half of Creighton’s postulates of basketball–Click here to read the second half:  Postulates of Coaching Basketball Part 2

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