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!