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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Basketball Coach Weekly Article – Issue 220

Please enjoy this recent publication from Basketball Coach Weekly titled “Adjusting Your Coaching Approach.”

I hope this article may help others in the coaching profession as they attmept to balance coaching and their personal lives.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Sideline Stories – Basketball Coach Weekly 185

Here is a recent interview that was published in the most recent Basketball Coach Weekly – Issue 185

I appreciate Basketball Coach Weekly’s Editor-in-Chief, Mike Austin, interest in my perspective and decision to step away from the game temporarily due to family obligations.

I am looking forward to getting back to the sidelines very soon.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

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

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

NBA Conference Finals: Open Court

Here are a few thoughts on the NBA Conference Finals:

– Isn’t it amazing how fast momentum can turn in a series? A famous saying in baseball is that “you are only as good as today’s starting pitching”. Maybe basketball’s version should be “you are only as good as you are when you are making shots”.

– All the pressure is now on the Thunder. If they lose game six, all bets are off. Durant and Westbrook could go from dominating a the best regular season team ever in a short series to losing a 3-1 lead in dramatic fashion. If they lose a 3-1 lead, the narrative will certainly change to “still can’t get win the big one” instead of “it’s their time and they are the most explosive duo to possibly ever play together.”

– If you are Coach Billy Donovan, you have to like the effort his team played with in Game 5 last night. It would have been easy for OKC to mail it in and say let’s win Game 6 at home. Instead, even with under a minute left, Westbrook rebounded his own free throw miss and kicked it to Durant who had a clean look at a 3pt shot, which would have cut the lead to a one possession game. It was great to see OKC’s bench reaction to Durant’s miss. They all gave him five and knew they were just a few plays away from stealing the game and closing out the series.

– Why does Draymont Green feel the need to kick everytime he jumps for a rebound/shot?

– The Raptors have been in this situation before. You know after Gam 2 when nobody gave them a chance to win. It should be interesting to see what kind of resolve they come out with tonight at home vs. Cleveland.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Hoops 101: Don’t Ask Mr. Cruz

All politics aside, here is a sure fire way to not win the state of Indiana when running for President (see DailyMail.com article).

It’s a basket, hoop, rim, the tin, goal…there are so many synonyms. Just don’t use “ring” when you are possibly the most passionate basketball state in America when explaining the basket, Mr. Cruz.

Coach Bob Knight, a Donald Trump endorser, was quick to criticize Cruz and noted that “a guy that would come into this state (Indiana) and think that we played with rings instead of baskets is not a guy that’s very well prepared to do a whole hell of a lot.”

Coaches, be sure to communicate effectively with your team or the message you may be sending may get totally skewed.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo