Everything is in motion

Today’s post it will be more about basketball.

I will share with you why I chose to teach 4 out 1 in motion, numbered fast-break and “aggressive” or “pressure” half-court man to man help-side defense.

Of course, everything begins with a good base, and I mean here the fundamental skills that every basketball player should possess. How Jay Wright, the NCAA Villanova Wildcats, is saying: “Everything matters!” when we are talking about individual skills. The way we teach our players in practices, the focus on the details and the direction that we give for learning perfect technique creates good habits. But today I will not insist on individual skills or fundamentals.

I believe that a basketball coach, from the tactical point of view in teaching team skills, or whatever you would like to call it, has to be focused on seven training goals: defense, defensive rebound, fast break, secondary break, offense, offensive rebound, and transition defense.

My vision is if I will succeed to teach them all of these and if they can focus and perform it at their best, then we can talk about a Championship team. It is a long process which takes time and dedication from everyone involved, but I am not in a hurry and neither my players should not be.

Now, I will tell you why I chose 4 out 1 in motion. I was thrilled when I watched the way Villanova Wildcats are playing basketball. Their team is moving as a live organism; it is something that is flowing so lovely and is so enjoyable to watch. I decided to study the way Jay Wright created their offense, and after six months I decided that is one of the best ways to train the youth and I will explain it.

From all the motion systems that I have been studied or played, I think that 4 out 1 in performed correctly has the perfect spacing or better said allows the young player to learn how to space out correctly. All the best teams in the history of the game used a motion system in their game. That’s why I believe that teaching the young athletes a motion system prepares them for more complex motion offenses that will come when they grow-up.

The 4 out 1 in motion can be adjusted at any skill level and can be taught since early years. Among other benefits for their basketball development, they will learn the basic concepts of all offenses like cutting, timing, screening, and passing.

Basketball is, first and foremost, a game of decision-making. The most benefit point when players learn a motion system is a freedom that they have to read the defense and make their own decisions which lead in the end at building their basketball IQ. They will understand the game of basketball and they will be ready to learn more complicated systems or plays in the future.

Then, I chose to teach numbered fast-break because I believe only a good set of rules and specific tasks for each player creates the best opportunities.

I am using Tom Izzo of Michigan State University numbered fast break. In this system, each player, sorted by his position number, has a designated route to run and also specific action to make. For example, the same player will inbound after a basket, the ball is not allowed to touch the ground, and he always passes on his strong hand side.

It is tailored to reduce the number of decisions a player has to make and thereby reduces the turnovers. I know that I said I am pro teaching own decision making, but for fast-break, I would like to limit the number of decisions, because our goal is to score in 4 seconds.

Performed correctly I believe number fast-break is very hard to defend and our team can set the tempo of the game. Also, if everything goes well, it produces easy and open shots. Spacing is excellent, and this is because players have designated routes to run. And just like in the case of 4 out 1 in motion every detail matters to have a successful fast break.

Here are the details that we have to pay attention at:

  1. Don’t let the ball hit the floor;
  2. Fast inbound;
  3. Catch and run;
  4. Butts to the sideline;
  5. See what happens before it happens;
  6. Dribble low and in front;
  7. Use inside hand – makes the pass more efficient;
  8. No crossovers – crossovers will slow you down;
  9. Pass for touchdowns;
  10. Keep the ball in the air – chest passes are faster than bounce passes.

I left for the end the defense because I like the most to teach it. I am sure that a good man to man defense is team defense and not just five individuals guarding their own man, but five players working together and trusting each-others.

Pressuring the ball and staying in the designated gaps ready to help and helping at the right moment, creates team chemistry based on mutual trust. As I am saying to my players, there is no community on the earth which can function without trust. That’s why first of all they have to know after they gave all their energy in stopping the ball, there is someone behind them ready to help. When they will understand this and will be able to do it, they will be a team, one mechanism which functions as a whole, maximizing the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of players and providing power and energy for the offense.

For the Pick & Roll defense, I chose to teach them to go “over and hard hedge” with inside rotation and recover. There are more options to defend a Pick & Roll, but I believe this one is very efficient if everybody is doing his job.

If I am looking at an ideal team, I see it with players who are working together in the same direction and not like individuals able to score a lot of points alone. My team should move like the waves of the sea, or like the clouds on the sky going to the same direction and at the same time.

Isn’t it lovely to watch the waves or the clouds?

I believe it is. This picture I’d like to see when I am watching basketball. Something so lovely that my eyes and my soul will be caressed.

And how can I build a team like this?

I think the way I described it in this post. All the system that I like to use and which I believe in are basing on constant movement.

Why did I choose to teach all of these?

Maybe because in our world everything is in motion and it is how all the things should be.

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