Coaching Situation: Stopping the Snowball Effect

This past week, Duke staged an historic 23 point comeback to upend Louisville and left the college basketball world shaking its head.

Of course Duke’s freshmen sensations, Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones, all had a part in the comeback which was the largest of Coach Krzyzewski’s hall of fame career.

Duke was down 23 points with 9:13 remaining and then the “Snowball Effect” began. The snowball effect is defined as “a situation in which something increases in size or importance at a faster and faster rate“, until it seemingly is out of control.

Louisville Head Coach, Chris Mack tried to stop the momentum – namely by using all of his timeouts early. However, Cardinal turnovers, coupled with Duke’s shot making, turned the tides and Louisville could never regain its poise.

I once had the “Snowball Effect” get one of my teams as well.

Our coaching staff could see it coming, but we could not do anything to stop the collapse. We called timeouts, extended our defensive pressure, tried to run clock on offense, and remained poised on the sidelines to create a calming effect for our student-athletes. None of these strategies worked unfortunately.

In addition, another major factor of us not being able to hold on to our lead was that we missed free throws, including the front end of 1-and-1’s.

ESPN’s Dan Dakich spoke on his podcast “Courtside with Greenberg and Dakich” (Episode “Mount Zion” 2-13-19, 33:05-35:27) about what do when the “Snowball Effect” is occurring. Dakich was adamant that coaches must address the following (in no particular order):

  1. How do I set something up to get us a bucket?
  2. Who can I lean on right here? Who can calm us down? (Dakich recommends that coaches talk to the calmest person in the timeout and talk to the team through that player)
  3. Where can I go to get fouled? – “The great elixir is throwing the ball on to the block and having a player get fouled.”
  4. Coaches should remind players during timeouts, “If all else fails against pressure, ‘pass fake before you dribble'”

Coaches, please share the most forgettable “snowball” moment in your career (the more details the better) and also provide some tactics that you have used to stop it. Did it work? What would you have done different?

Thank you for your comments!

Follow Bert DeSalvo on twitter @CoachDeSalvo #SEIZE

 

 

 

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Art of Playing Point Guard

Here are 5 musts for point guards according to ESPN’s Monday, Feb 20th telecast of the Iowa State/Texas Tech game:

1.Eliminate emotional fogs

2. Decision maker vs. Risk taker

3. Don’t be shot happy but make open shots and timely shots

4. Defend your position

5. Make your team and teammates better

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Running Out of Time: Clock Management

Here is Michael McKnight’s article from the August 29th, 2016 issue of Sports Illustrated regarding clock management in the NFL.

Article link: Second Nature

Even at the highest level, mistakes are made in critical junctures of the game. It is our responsibility as coaches to ensure that our players are comfortable playing in a multitude of scenarios in the critical moments of competition, no matter what your sport is.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Grumpy to Gold: Don’t Forget 2004

AI and TD

With Team USA’s dominance on the international basketball stage since their return to the 2008 Olympics, it is easy to forget their failure in 2004.

Here are some articles that chronicle the 2004 team and the organization’s resurgence.

Red, White and Bronze: The death and rebirth of USA Basketball

Dunk’d: An Oral History of the 2004 Dream Team

Rio Olympics: Ranking the seven U.S. men’s basketball teams of Dream Team era

New details on what went wrong for USA Basketball in 2004

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Post Fundamental Drill

Here is a short video that Kevin Clifford, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Buffalo State, sent me today:

Two things coaches at any level cannot forget to teach is proper footwork and the basic rules of the game (travelling, double dribbling, etc.).

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Basketball and Technology: A SOLID Bet

Anyone who is watching the Pistons-Cavs series can see that Detroit is competing every possession in this series. They have a solid young nucleus of talent and an experienced coaching staff that the fans of Detroit will be able to support for years to come as the Pistons look to return to their glory days.

Actually, if not for a few clutch shots, a stop here or there and being able to keep their best player, Andre Drummond, on the floor as much as possible, this series could look much different years ahead of schedule.

Most concerning are Drummond’s struggles from the line. Drummond’s free throw line woes (he shot a NBA all-time worse 35.5% from the charity stripe this season) have kept him on the sideline in this series more than Head Coach Stan Van Gundy would like. However, it is not because of SVG’s lack of creativity and coaching approach.

Van Gundy recently used some outside-the-box thinking with Drummond as he turned to SOLIDshot, a high-tech basketball solution company that’s slogan emphasizes: “Instant feedback for instant improvement.” (see Ananth Pandlan CBS Sports article and SOLIDshot video).

Of course if the NBA changes its “Hack-A” rule this offseason, then this change may also be a way for Drummond to see the floor much more. The “Hack-A-Shaq/Drummond/Howard/etc.” strategy has been used more widely (according to the Pistons-Cavs ESPN broadcast last evening) this season and makes for the NBA game almost impossible to watch when the strategy is employed for certain players. Even if there are rule changes, teams may still continue to put Drummond to the line with a less obvious off-the-ball approach if he cannot increase his free throw percentage.

Either way it looks like the SVG and SOLIDshot will be rooting for Drummond’s free throw percentage to improve. If it does, the NBA could see the Pistons rise to the top of the Eastern Conference and SOLIDshot could be a staple in NBA, NCAA and high school gyms across America.

In addition, NBA fans may no longer be subjected to the dreadful march to the free line but instead can watch the game flow as it was intended.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo