NBL Coaches Share Knowledge in Hobart

Posted on Sep 26 2019

The 2019 National Basketball League Pre-season Blitz was recently held in Tasmania and as part of the event, a number of NBL coaches shared some knowledge with local coaches at a series of clinic and development activities.

Thanks to the Tasmanian State Government, the NBL and Basketball Tasmania for all the coach development work as part of the successful Blitz and thank you to Nic Martin from BTas for sharing his notes and observations from the Hobart clinic.

Nic Martin is the Basketball Tasmania Development Officer (South) and he has provided his notes from the clinic held in Hobart. Championship Perth mentor Trevor Gleeson joined Dan Shamir (NZ Breakers), Ross McMains (Melbourne United) and Illawarra head coach Matt Flinn in presenting some different ideas on teaching the game.

Trevor Gleeson (Perth Wildcats)

Offensive Observations

  • Best offence is the “Fastbreak” – spend time with your teams breaking down transition offence 2on1 and 3on2. Encourage early kickaheads and basics of driving lane & passing lane
  • These principles then flow into receiver spots in transition (5 D’s – Driver, Drift, Diagonal, Dunker & Drag)

Defensive Observations

  • Best offence is the “Fastbreak” – when on defence we need to take away opportunities. We do this by sprinting back and overloading the ball side
  • Perth is renowned for being a great rebounding team. Clear emphasis on hitting player 1stand then searching for ball 2nd

General Observations:

  • Perth have always set the benchmark for the league. They have a clear progression throughout the season with their system and know how to pace themselves (don’t want to show all your cards early)
  • Have a consistent language – this will save you time at training sessions when moving from one drill (or play) to the next
  • Sessions need to be player driven. Assistant coaches float around to ask questions and stimulate though, but the huddles are predominately run by the players when scrimmaging
  • Find time to “just shoot” before or after sessions – doesn’t always have to be scripted – if the players feel good about their shot and have a good feel for the rim/ball that’s what matters

Dan Shamir (NZ Breakers)

  • Watch the top teams and see what the best players do – learn from them
  • Defensively, we want to slow teams down and disrupt them and take them out of their timing/flow on offence
  • In the backcourt, we want to pressure the ball handler and try to turn them 2-3 times
  • In the half-court, we want to bust through hand-offs and get through screens as quick as possible
  • Closeouts – most difficult thing to defend in the game, almost an impossible action to defend. At the professional level the game is evolving, and new techniques are being taught (i.e. “fly-by” and jump stop footwork)

Ross McMains (Melbourne United) 

  • As a coach you have 2 choices – keep doing the things we do, or be innovative and try new things
  • When you watch the players at the World Cup, you see how creative players are starting to get with their passing – encourage your players to try new things and explore
  • On offence, avoid teaching sets straight away – instead focus on offensive habits (i.e. what do we do if defence does this…). The sets and actions we run then become easier once we have broken this down
  • In transition, we have an emphasis on SPRINTING (want to have 25+ sprints per game). This is the 1stthing we want our athletes to do when we get the ball, from there we then want them to find the side-line and keep spacing
  • When coming down the floor in transition we then want the athletes to quickly assess the situation – Are we outnumbered? Do we have an advantage? Do we have a mismatch?
  • On offence the paint/keyway is gold. We need to create space so we can attack the keyway and if we drive and kick the ball out, we can’t stand still in keyway – sprint and space

Matt Flinn (Illawarra Hawks)  

Attacking a zone:

  • When attacking a zone, we want to “crack the shell” (distort / shift the defence)
  • Pass fakes are your best friend when playing against a zone
  • We tell our players that everyone has a green light Vs zone
  • What is old is new – get the ball to the high post and short corner Vs the zone. We also look to dribble exit, cut exit which might drag a player on defence
  • Regardless if we are playing zone or man, we can’t get consumed with where our teammates are and what we need to do next – watch and read the defence!

General quotes/observations:

  • Always looking for ways to stimulate team and motivate them
  • How do you stop a bully? With strength of numbers and by “bullying them back”
  • Everyone has 2 wolves inside of them. A wolf that is responsible for anger, fear, depression, anxiety etc and a wolf that is responsible for joy, happiness etc… What wolf wins? The one that we feed
  • How do people treat you when you can’t give them anything? That’s the real test of character

Acknowledgements – 

  • The NBL
  • The Tasmanian State Government
  • Basketball Tasmania
  • The NBL coaches
  • Ron Riggs for his excellent work on the video production
  • Nic Martin
  • Mark Radford




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