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Why I draw up drills on my coaching board at practice

This morning I started practice by drawing up a drill on my coaching board.

I do this regularly since 15 years now.  Since the day I coached my very first close game.  And lost it.

I was coaching a U16 girls team and took a time-out at the end, confident to draw up the winning play.

Coming out of the time-out, my key player started dribbling around halfcourt … in the wrong direction and scored on our own basket.


I realized immediately that I must have had my coaching board upside down during the time-out.  There’s no way I could I blame my player.

Later, I also realized that it must have been one of the first times that I would draw up something on the board and expect my players to  execute it prefectly.  An extra reason why the player was not to blame.

We have to realize that players are all different.  And learn things differently.

That goes for new skills, but also for running (wrinkles to) setplays.

Some see it on video and run it.  Many have to walk through a new play before they have it in their (muscle?) memory.  And others are good in transferring a play from a coaching board onto the court.

But not all.

Many coaches forget that when putting the X’s and O’s on the board at the end of a game.

It’s common sense that it’s better to prepare for these special situations on practice.

That special play you have in mind to hit the winning threepointer…  Don’t you want your player to have ran it before?  To finetune the timing of the screens?  Don’t you want your shooter to take that exact shot at least one time before?

But in reality any coach wants to add wrinkles to plays in the heat of the game.  Then you better make sure that your players get better in picking up things from a coaching board.

That’s why I regularly explain drills on practice on my coaching board.  Get my players used to it.

I know many coaches have a cheat sheet in their pocket for these decisive plays.  Allthough it’s often just a placebo.  The thought of having them in your pocket in case you need them, does the trick.

But last week I picked something up that goes one step further.

I was watching a qualification game for the Euroleague Women when I noticed this:

Not only did the coach Lafargue of Bourges have a cheat sheet.  He had them in XXL size to show to the players without having to draw it up.

Can’t make up my mind if I would use it…  Too many arrows at once for players that are not drilled in reading diagrams?  Or a usefull timesaving tool when players ran these special situations on practice before? 

I’d be more than curious what you do explicitly to prepare these decisive moments in a game. Let me know!

Looking forward to you replies and I’ll be back soon with my next video breakdown.



PS: Oh, in case you wonder…  This is what happened after that time-out of Bourges:

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