Category Archives: Coach Stricklin

Social Media “Don’ts”

Social Media and AthletesSeveral times a year I’m still amazed at some of the things that college and high school athletes share on their social media accounts despite the troubles that others have experienced by posting without thinking.

Here are some guidelines that the University of Michigan give its student athletes to prevent potential problems.

While a couple of these guidelines are geared more to college athletes the majority of them apply to athletes of all ages.

Don’t accept friends or follow requests if you are not sure who they are coming from.

Don’t put anything on social media tat you would not want your family, your future employers, those reading the front page of the newspaper, or the whole world to see.

Don’t post offensive comments, personal attacks, or racial comments.

Don’t post when you’re emotional, like right after a game. You are most likely to say something you will regret later.

Don’t post anything about a recruit, even if it is someone you know, as this will result in an NCAA rules violation.

Don’t post or tweet anything during class.

Don’t publicize information about your team, the athletic department, or the university that is not considered public knowledge.

Every college coach I know can tell you about at least one player that they either refused to recruit or quit recruiting because of something they read on a social media account. Don’t add your own name to that list of players!


Use Hockey Steps to Shake Your Defender

Hockey StepsHere is a great tip from the Concord Storm that can be used either with or without the ball:

“As you run forward at a moderate speed, take a series of short, quick, parallel steps. Stay low with your knees flexed. Combine this with a change of direction move and you will have your defender scrambling behind trying to catch up.”

“Also while you are running and taking these hockey steps alternately thrown in some head and/or shoulders fakes. This will help confuse the defense because with different body parts all going in different directions the defense can’t be totally sure which way you will eventually cut.”

How to Seperate Yourself from the Pack

Pat Riley ShowtimeHere is some great advice from basketball Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley who is now the President of the Miami Heat.

It is taken from Riley’s book “Showtime.” Although the book is a little older it is still full of awesome insights for players and coaches alike.

The ones who can really separate themselves from the pack are those who understand what it takes to sustain excellence. To get away from a “to have” mentality. “To have” is something we get early in our life. To have power. To have a little bit of prestige. To have position. To have the car and the house and all those things that we feel that we need.

And then you understand later on in your career that those things don’t mean anything. When you experience them you realize the only thing left is to be the very best. You prioritize “to be” over “to have.” And when you’re thinking about being the very best, you’re making sure that you’re being a person, a performer, whom you can be proud of.”

A Closer Team Might Only be a Touch Away

Closer TeamsOften times a team’s culture is reflected in it’s day to day activities, routines, and traditions.

Some of these routines need initial instruction and explanation and others are so simple and obvious that everyone catches on immediately.

One such routine takes place it the UCONN women’s program. At the beginning of every practice coach Geno Auriemma has the team gather around  the center circle at mid court.

While Coach Auriemma is talking, each player quietly and discreetly touches the player next to her until they’ve worked their way all around the circle.

The touches might include a quick pat on the back, a tug on the shorts, or a slight fist bump – each player seems to have her own style and preference.

It’s not important how its done but why it’s done is very important. The touches signify that everyone is “all in” together, that everyone is important and that no matter what they do in practice that day (or what happened the day before) they are united.

The most interesting thing about this UCONN tradition is that even though it has been going on for years Coach Auriemma has no idea who actually started it.

That means a player started it, obviously without recognition or fanfare, in hopes of bringing her teammates a little closer.

What are you doing each and every day to bring your teammates closer together?


Successful Teams Act like Geese

Geese V-FormationHave you ever noticed how a flock of geese always seem to be flying in a “V” formation? Well they do and understanding how and why they do it can help all of our teams.

First of all, studies have shown that a flock of geese flying in formation can fly over 70% farther than a goose flying by itself. This is possible because as the birds flap their wings in unison, the ones in front create an updraft for the ones in back, allowing the ones in back to conserve their energy.

In other words, if you want to go a little faster then go by yourself but if you want to go a lot farther then go with a team.

Secondly, whenever the goose at the point of the V starts to get tired because he is taking on the brunt of all the wind resistance, he drops out of the lead and rotates all the way to the back. Another goose takes its place in the lead and the formation moves forward.

When every teammate is willing to step up and be a leader as well as share whatever hard work is necessary, then that team has a chance to accomplish great things.

Third, all the geese in formation constantly honk while flying. Maybe they are honking encouragement so the leader doesn’t slow down and maybe they are just “singing” a “marching” song like they do in the military. Either way they are constantly communicating with each other no matter how easy or difficult the journey.

Have you ever heard of a great basketball team that did not communicate effectively and constantly both on and off the court?

Lastly, whenever it becomes necessary for a goose to leave the formation, at least one other goose escorts it back safely to the ground and stays with it until it can return to the group. However, the rest of the flock keeps moving.

Great teammates are always supporting each other and looking for ways to help each other become stronger and more effective. But nothing is more important than the group (team) and the inability of one team member to keep up cannot keep everyone else from reaching their ultimate destination.

Is the above story and all of its facts completely true? I honestly don’t know if it is or not but I’m not sure it really matters.

What matters is the lessons that the story contains:

1. Teams can go farther when everyone is working together and heading in the same direction.

2. While everyone on the team should be willing and able to lead, they should also be willing to take on whatever role that will help the team succeed. If that means being out in the forefront then great but it might also mean staying in the background while someone else takes over.

3. Honest and effective coach to coach communication, coach to player communication, and player to player communication are all essential for team success. A silent team is usually not a winning team.

4. Stuff happens. Players sometimes get hurt, become academically ineligible, and/or make bad decisions. Great coaches and teammates should always be there to give whatever help and support is necessary to make the team whole again but at the same time everyone needs to understand that the progress of the team cannot be completely sacrificed for one individual.

The Perfect Present for Basketball Coaches

BC 250Still looking to buy a last minute Christmas present for your “favorite” basketball coach?

Then by all means consider subscribing to Basketball Classroom! (Especially if your favorite coach is you!)

Basketball Classroom is the first of its kind in terms of coaching programs. It’s no nonsense, straight to the point information produced by real coaches for real coaches and is presented in several multimedia formats to accommodate all learning styles – just like a real classroom.

The program contains dozens of videos, special reports, audio files, charts, diagrams, interviews, and animated plays. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting to coach your first team or if you’ve been pacing the sidelines for years, you can benefit from the information in Basketball Classroom.

Some Christmas gifts lose their value almost as soon as they are opened. The benefits from enrolling in Basketball Classroom can be career changing and will last forever!

Check it out now! – you and your players will be glad you did (make sure your speakers are on or you have a headset on to watch the preview video).

Merry Christmas from your friends at HoopSkills!!

A Simple Trick to Improve Team Chemistry

Team Chemistry TipWant to bring your team a little closer together?

Then try this really simple yet effective technique – from now on have every player and every coach touch every other player or coach he sees throughout the day.

High five, fist bump, choreographed team hand shake – it doesn’t matter as long as there’s some type of quick intentional physical contact.

The key word here is EVERY.

Every player and every coach gets the exact same treatment and attention regardless of personality, grade, or stature.

Leading rebounders, bench warmers, head coaches and volunteer assistant coaches are all greeted and acknowledged by everyone else.

No one is left out!

It might sound silly but try it for two weeks and I promise your team chemistry will improve and everyone on the team will be a little tighter!

Viglione Ball Handling Part 1

Ball Handling Part 1A couple days ago I posted some excellent advice from Danielle Viglione. Here is the first part of one of Coach Viglione’s ball handling workouts that she uses at The Sacramento Skills Academy:

Make sure you go game speed. If you get tired during any part of the workout, shoot free throws until you can go full speed again.

Stationary Dribbling: (keep your chest up, your eyes up, your hips down and pound the ball through your wrist and elbow. Never let any air between the ball and your hands!)

    • Pound dribbles right and left hand without a mistake: 20 reps in 15 seconds
    • Pound dribble into crossover: 15-20 reps in 15 seconds
    • Pound dribble into between the legs: 15-20 reps in 15 seconds
    • Pound dribble into behind the back: 15-20 reps in 15 seconds
    • Pound dribble right hand into in and out dribble with left foot jab: 15-20 reps in 15 seconds
    • Pound dribble left hand into in and out dribble with left foot jab: 15-20 reps in 15 seconds
    • In and out dribble with crossover continuous without a dribble in between: 15 reps in 15 seconds
  • Pound dribble and mix and match any of the above for double moves (double crosses, between leg and crossover, behind back and crossover, crossover between leg, etc.)


Coaching Advice from Ohio State’s Urban Meyer

Coach AdviceWhen Ohio State was announced as the fourth and final team to get into this season’s inaugural football playoff many were disappointed, especially TCU and Baylor.

Anyone who has followed Urban Meyer’s coaching career certainly couldn’t have been surprised because the guy flat out knows how to win!

However, when author Pat Williams asked Coach Meyer what advice he would give coaches just starting out in the profession, his answer undoubtedly surprised many,

Here’s the best piece of advice that I can offer any young coach: you don’t have to be a nutcase to be successful as a coach. If you don’t have balance in your life, you’ll be consumed by the job. You’ll destroy your family and end up in the street without a life. You can be a successful coach and still be a good husband and dad. You can have all the success in the world, but without a balanced life you’re not a good coach as far as I’m concerned. You’ve got to have something other than coaching.

That’s great advice at any time of year but especially important during the holiday season. Don’t be so consumed by preseason games and Christmas tournaments that you completely forget about your family, your friends, and the reason we celebrate this time of year.

5 Ways to Use a Ball Screen

1. PNR1Reject the screen.
Fake into the screen and when your defender starts to cheat over the top drive in the opposite direction

2. Attack the hedger.
If there is a hard hedge by the screener’s defender then attack his front foot. As soon as he opens up his stance you will have a clear path to the basket. If the defense likes to show and retreat then start by driving hard and stopping quickly to freeze the defender and then drive hard again.

3. Bounce back.
This is  an effective technique to use against defenses that want to trap on ball screens. Start over the screen and then bounce back dragging the defenders with you. As the defense extends more space is created making it more difficult for the defense to rotate and cover up.

4. Drive the screen.
Pictured on the right this is the most common method of using an on ball screen, especially at lower levels. Once the ball handler drives past the screen he can go to the rim, stop and shoot the ball, hit the screener rolling to the rim, or drive into the paint and then kick it out to an open teammate.

5. Stop behind and shoot.
If your defender goes behind the screen then stop right behind your teammate and shoot the ball. Just make sure you don’t go past the screen or your defender will be waiting for you.