Observations and Key Themes From Coach Kerry Rupp Visit

Posted on May 09 2018

Respected Oregon State University Associate Head Coach Kerry Rupp was the international guest coach for the 2018 Basketball Australia Coaches Conference, May 7 and 8. Coach Rupp also presented clinics and on-court sessions in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne during his week-long stay in Australia.

A renowned player development coach and respected collegiate coach, Coach Rupp focused on skill and concept development in his presentations, as well as sharing his thoughts on developing players holistically.

Videos from the clinics will be available in the coming weeks, but here are some brief observations from one of the great teachers in our game.


  • Importance of holistic player development – “building life champions”
  • “Admission ticket” concept – attitude and effort on the court, weight room and in the classroom
  • “We don’t expect all A’s [in grades] but we expect an ‘A’ in effort”
  • Important to have a consistency of language through your program – key part of Coach Rupp’s coaching is a base system of language – same language, key teaching points and “action phrases” as clinics presented in Australia some 15 years ago.
  • “PHD attitude” – Passionate, Hungry and Driven

Body Positioning & Athletic Development

  • Play the game “low, wide and leveraged”
  • “You play the game to the level of your conditioning” – importance of players being in great physical shape
  • The game is one of “base and balance”
  • Importance of activating the two largest muscle groups in the body – glutes and quads
  • Activating the core a key element in playing the game in a wide, low, balance stance
  • “Sit into your game” – the ability to establish and maintain a stance “is what makes a pro a pro”
  • Young players tend to “knee press” rather than “hip press” – if knees are in front of toes in an athlete’s stance, they are not balanced and athletic
  • On the first step on offence “get long in the back leg” – if any athlete gets long in the front leg, they will stand in their stance
  • Key points on developing efficient movement:
    • Bent back leg
    • Heel over toe
    • Chest over knee
    • In a stance with appropriate “hip press”, athletes should have an “athletic scoop” through the lower back

Skill Development

  • The game is about creating “time and space”
  • Players need be aware of four things on the floor –
    • Who are you?
    • Who are you playing with?
    • Who is guarding you?
    • Who is guarding your teammates?
  • Old adage of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” does not apply to player development – elite players pay to have someone break down their game, build it back up and tighten it up
  • Fundamentals, don’t sacrifice technique for speed in the early teaching
  • The “partnership of passing” – “on target, on time”
  • Best passers put back spin on the pass so it locks into the hands of the receiver
  • Pivoting – importance of pivoting on correct part of the foot – heel pivot on the reverse (towards basket), toe on the forward pivot (away from basket)
  • Play the game “low to lower” – don’t stand up on the pivot or dribble move
  • “Body up, body in” on the move
  • Eliminate “negative steps” on the initial move – playing low and wide with chest over knee will assist with this
  • “Rip, sit, sweep” on the perimeter move – low to lower body positioning
  • Heel-toe action on the move – importance of maintaining heel-toe relationship to maintain stance and being efficient on offence


  • Best shooters aim for the back of the rim – “everything is long versus short”
  • “Catch to the T, load to the V” – thumbs form a “T” on the catch, arms create an inverted “V”
  • Show “hungry hands” to receive the pass
  • “Load to the V” – bring the ball to the shot pocket
  • “Load to the V, lift to the V, see the V, shoot the V” – shot mechanism
  • Ten toes to the rim on all shots
  • Shot release – “everything rises together” – one step shot
  • “Ball and butt rise together”
  • “Stick and pose” – importance of holding the follow through
  • Importance of developing the mid-range game – pull-up jumper and two feet floaters – “pound, pop & up” on the footwork

Post Player Development

  • Play the game “low, wide and leveraged” in the post
  • Importance of playing “low to lower”
  • Post presentation – “bars and L’s” with the arms to create a strong target
  • “Toes and numbers to the ball” in the block
  • On the catch, chin on inside shoulder, ball to the ear – “get V’d up to the load”
  • Firmed up wrist on the load to the ear
  • All fakes in the post are short and with bent arms
  • Importance to teaching stance, pivoting and movement pattern in sequence
  • Stay leveraged on the catch – loose through the hips, use small, continual pivots to stay on balance
  • On the power move, “back shoulder load” – protect the ball
  • Use of off-hand to protect the shot – importance of being able to play with two high hands (developing strength in the shoulders key conditioning element)
  • Use of “scoop step” on the counter move step – maintain stance through the move
  • On the post-side drive, use of three step movement to create time and space – “one for length, two and three for organisation”



  • Coach Kerry Rupp
  • Oregon State University Men’s basketball
  • Coach Wayne Tinkle
  • Basketball Australia
  • Basketball NSW
  • Basketball ACT
  • Basketball Victoria

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