Basketball Coach Weekly – Issue #125 – DeSalvo Article

Here is my article that was just published in this week’s Basketball Coach Weekly – Issue 125 – DeSalvo Contribution.

Specifically I want to touch on my second point “Don’t Be Afraid to Change”. Here is the story behind this important point.

Last season, as the Head Coach of Southern Connecticut State University, our team was struggling due to an injury to Mariah Hankton, the team’s senior co-captain, 2nd leading scorer and end of shot clock shotmaker.

The loss of Mariah not only hurt us from an X and O’s standpoint, but our players were demoralized and emotionally void. Before Mariah’s injury we were an impressive 10-5 in the NE-10, with five games to go.

Predictably, we struggled without her, but needed just one win to secure the three seed and a first round bye in the conference tournament.

I told our team “we will not lose the same way” which is one of my philosophies as a coach. It is my responsibility to figure out a way to not keep repeating the same mistakes and do whatever is necessary to help our team be successful.

With that in mind, we played zone defense again the College of Saint Rose, something we had not done all season long. This bold strategy kept Saint Rose off balance for the entire first half and without Mariah, we won a buzzer beater (who had 26 points in our first meeting in a 78-75 road win at Saint Rose) against the Golden Knights, 65-63 (see buzzer beater), on senior day. This strategy coupled with expanding our bench, specifically with contributions from Abby Hurlbert, was really the difference in the outcome of the game

This philosophy held to one our team’ standards of “Flexibility”. I think it is very important to be flexible with your players in all aspects. I think our staff did a nice job of being flexible with players who were late arriving from class, allowing some to miss community service if they had a nursing test to study for, and listening to them as a whole regarding practice intensity/duration.

I hope this personally story helps some coaches have some confidence in being willing to change.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo