skip to Main Content

My biggest take-away from the Spanish model

I’m a huge fan of the Spanish youth basketball development. I honestly believe it’s the best in the world.

I’ve have been lucky enough to experience and live the Spanish model from closeby. I haven’t been hiding it. At the end of this article, I share the links to some previous articles (and there’s definitely more to come in the near future!).

But for the first time I want to handle the question I’ve been asked most often:

What’s the biggest take-away from your experiences in Spain?

I always found it hard to answer. How do you want me to single out just one thing…? How can your summarize their methology and vision in a couple of sentences…?

But actually I have my answer ready now. I can even do it in ONE sentence:

“Spanish coaches at ALL levels & ages teach the ACTUAL game of basketball”

Euhm, Pascal, that’s it…? That’s all there’s to it…?

Well, yes, it’s a huge key point that is overlooked and underestimated.

It’s crazy how quickly basketball has changed in a few years time. Like a revolution. Therefore, it’s important not to teach the game from the textbooks, but the game that is played today. By the time a skill or drill ends up in a textbook, it risks to be old-school.

And it’s easily said, but I believe it demands a huge investment from coaches.

It requires coaches to
📌 have a passion 🔥 for the game to watch a lot of high level basketball with a coaches eye (not as a fan)
📌 spend a lot time ⏰ preparing practices. Very rarely drills are repeated with the same set-up and cues.
📌 translate 🎓 what they see into drills and constraint that match the age group and level of their team (no doubt the hardest part!)

And not for a while. Not for one or a couple of seasons. To become a great coach, this is an neverending growth process.

Let me put this into practice with one example that relates to my most recent article.

Last time I wrote you about ‘The wrinkle that every coach wants in his playbook‘.

It’s not enough to recognize a play in a game. Being a coach is much more than about the X’s and O’s. There’s more to it and probably we all spend too much time on the tactics.

Being a seniors coach, you ask yourself how to prepare your team for this situation? To get the timing right, what are the cues and reads?

Being a youth coach, you wonder how you teach your players to finish these situations around the rim in traffic.

Below you see a drill I introduced during a coaching clinic I gave in Kaunas (Lithuania 2019).

(Huge disclaimer: No rocket 🚀 science to be found here. The best drills are often the most simple ones. No complicated rotation between many lines. Just execute a skill that relates to a gamelike situation.)

By varying the constraints, cues and location I end up with a drill that I use for all ages and levels at their best benefit and goal 👇

Which game will you be watching tonight? And what will be your take-away for tomorrow’s practice? I’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned, till next time!

PS: On previous occasions, I already wrote about my experiences and lessons from Spanish basketball, for example here, here, here and here. And there’s more to come in the near future!.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top

Recently I did a podcast with Chris Oliver of Basketball Immersion.