Coaching Basketball Clinic Notes

I am just taking main points from coaching clinic notes that I feel are relevant for players and coaches.

From Tom Thibodeau (big thanks to Zak Boisvert for sharing these notes)- “Wolves Playing The Long Game (Sports Illustrated):

“He is probably the most hands-on coach that I have ever seen,” says Carl Anthony-Towns. “Writing little things on the board. Drills, he wants to be part of them. Detailing strategic work. He is a part of it. It’s almost like he has assistant coaches but he doesn’t need them.”

-“Analytics can measure a lot of things, but it’s very difficult to measure drive.”

-The four pillars of coaching: leadership, teaching, communication, and motivation. All require the same thing: the investment of time.

-“I think that sometimes the thing that makes them great that initially gets them here is they’re chasing excellence, and you do that by making the commitment to put everything you have into something. And if you get lost along the way and start chasing other things, the commitment doesn’t remain the same, so the result won’t remain the same.

December 2016 – From Zak Boisvert:

Temple coach Rhule a rising star “I’m involved in all of the evaluation process,” Rhule said. “I think I have to be involved in every step in terms of the evaluation of prospects. I want every kid that comes to Temple to know from the head coach on down we view him as a first round draft pick.-

“We don’t worry about position,” Rhule said. “Once they get here our guys will find the right place for them. We want guys that play with intensity and like to play the game. We feel like positions are going to work itself out. That’s why on defense I think you see a lot of playmakers and guys that run around and hit.”

“I think as a coach you have to take a chance on really good kids that love playing football and have the tools, and we as football coaches have to develop them.”-

“For me it starts with my college coach, Coach (Joe) Paterno, seeing the emphasis we had at Penn State in developing players, I want to recruit and develop much like we did at Penn State,” Rhule said.

“Coach (Tom) Coughlin, no coach I’ve been around has been better at putting players in position to succeed. He’s a tough coach, a demanding coach, but he has great relationships with his players.”

“Then Coach Addazio taught me recruiting is not about trying to be perfect, but finding guys you think can be successful and going out and recruiting them. I also learned how to be great recruiters as a staff.”

Mike Martin, Brown

“Refuse as many ball screens as you use.”


From Brad Stevens– One of my Favorite Coaches


But the differences between the NBA and college basketball are so vast, Stevens said, that it was important to reset his odometer to zero when he joined the Celtics. And as he enters his third year in Boston, he still has time to put in.“Nobody is born with all the answers,” said Stevens.


“We’ve got to learn and we’ve got to grow and we’ve got to work at it. I’m still learning and I’m still getting a feel for being good in this league, because it is a much different challenge. The players are better, the games come quicker, the practices are less and the game has to be played a bit differently.”

At a coaches clinic in Michigan, I saw Brad talk and he spoke about game type shots for his players in practice. He tracks and records how many actual game shots each player shoots in practice from scrimmages to shooting drills and if he doesn’t hit a certain number, the next day they shoot more.

  • Shoot at least 100 game shots for your main players per practice
  • If you aren’t happy with the execution, doesn’t scream, doesn’t yell, just says, let’s come back in the morning and try again.
  • High standards in a supportive demanding way

Stevens would prefer not to dip beyond a 10-player rotation. And he would like to use a cycle of four big men. Last season Boston had great success with smaller lineups, sometimes playing Jonas Jerebko and Jae Crowder at center and power forward. Doing that this season, which is certainly an option, would pinch the rotation of post players even further.

Yes, there will be injuries and illnesses, but there is no way to promise the opportunities that emerge that way.

“This year is going to be challenging because of the equality,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “Even up to this point, there really hasn’t been clear-cut winners and losers, and I think that’s going to be a challenge. That’s going to be a tough thing for Brad to manage until guys clearly win jobs.”

But this is where the culture Ainge and Stevens created could be beneficial. The locker room is now filled with hard-working, high-character players who seem to buy into the notion that they are only as good as the sum of their parts. And when they witness the success Stevens has had, it makes it easier to believe in him.

“They’re pros. You’ve got to be a pro,” Stevens said. “I mean, it stinks. I’d like to play everybody equally. But they only let us play five at once, you know?

Read more on analytics with Brad Stevens here.

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