Four-Minute Coaching Sessions

by Coach Dick Luther, assistant coach UW-Whitewater

As the season ends, coaches take stock and rebuild for what is next to come with the new season. This four-minute coaching gameplan and tips just might help players understand and grasp your program’s concepts better.

During practice or summer camps take a four-minute break to teach and review important games and fundamental situations. Many times, we, as coaches, assume that our players know many different game situations. Believe me, they don’t. These four minutes have helped me tremendously during my many years of coaching. These minutes are unique basketball teaching techniques adding so much to the normal practice. It is hard to cover everything, but this time each day will add to anyone’s basketball education.

Each day, these important minutes that we teach and review will eventually help with wins! The player’s program notebooks are a teaching tool that all players need. These four-minute lessons should definitely be added to their notebooks.

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

The learning sessions of these four-minute breaks will help the entire team or camp, especially substitutes hearing and seeing these important situations. Many subs, with less playing time, might not listen as well as they should, believe that they will be called upon with injuries and illness to the top eight to 10 rotation. Everyone should be ready when the call is made. Next man up! Game strategies with these quality minutes will also help build everyone’s confidence.

The following are a few teaching examples of four-minute coaching.

    • Stay in the “D” stance, don’t reach — play with feet, hands, and arms.
    • Show and explain a cushion when guarding and keeping that cushion.
    • It has hard to stop drives in the Dribble Drive (one-on-one). Show early help and cover down (help the helper).
    • Show how to foul when you have to and also understanding when you have fouls to give.
    • Post defense with denial, fronting, and especially teach the Wall Up.
    • Quick slide drills
    • Contest shots (do not foul an outside shooter)
    • Foul hard (legally) in the lane, don’t give a basket and a foul.
    • Skip-pass (with good shooters), give a little on the weakside, anticipate and sprint, it is legal to yell, “shot!”
    • Defending weakside flashes in the post.
    • Sprint back on defense (out of the blocks), who’s back at different situations
    • Against strong fastbreak, teams pressure the outlet pass and get back fast.
    • Pride in STOPS; Pride in TEAM’s DEFENSE is a TEAM that WINS!
    • Demonstrate block-outs, body, locate the basketball and go get it.
    • Everyone block-outs before the break starts.
    • Free Throws — Line up players as if opponent’s shooting. Review and show the team what you want with block-out possibilities.
    • Might have to face guard (block-out) a top rebounder.
    • Outlet pass opposite from opponent’s basket.
    • Offensive rebounds to the board with active movement. Don’t freeze on the block-out, keep moving.
    • Everyone can rebound defensively. Check your man on the out and get to the ball.
    • Award and recognize rebounders in practice and every game.
    • Place value in winning the “Battle on the Boards.”
    • Team PRIDE and be STRONG on both ends of the floor. Chart the percentages of block-outs per player. The key to winning is tough, strong board-work.
    • Ball-Handling Drills — Passing is an art; fake a pass, make a pass.
    • Look out of your ears and spread your court vision.
    • With offense, don’t just force the pass. Reset.
    • Out-of-bounds plays must have a safety valve with pass-in.
    • Passing drills against pressure.
    • Last-second passing, also passing with the lead, and how to delay the game.
    • Last-second, out-of-bounds situations and how to to get open.
    • Team pride in having fewer turnovers, and good ball-handling and passing.
    • Dribble moves, plus the use of the retreat or back-up dribble.
    • Explain the 12-second count each has with the catch.
    • Pride with moving the ball and solid team assist numbers. That’s a winning combination!
    • Pride in winning the “Battle of the Turnovers.”
    • Good passing teams WIN. Great passing teams win CHAMPIONSHIPS!
    • Show the difference between a good shot and a forced or tough shot.
    • Explain what good ball movement looks like (corner to corner).
    • Post moves — show how a hesitation works (look, fake), take it up (show backboard work with a variety of shots).
    • Demonstrate 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 fastbreaks — take on the defense.
    • Explain how to effectively delay the game, time, and score (and what one shot really means).
    • Stopping an opponent’s run — Get back on defense; one-and-done on the defensive boards; pressure their outlet pass; run some set plays; make them play defense; players must move (cut hard) and move the basketball.
    • Miss Free Throws on Purpose — Where to place the ball, where rebounders go, be ready, and remember: hit the rim first.
    • Cut to Win — Explain all cuts to the basket and the clear-out; cuts to the basket and post-up. Cut hard the entire game, scoring on cuts really hurt the defense.
    • All shots are team shots; Chart bad and tough shots; Managing the 3-ball; Positive cuts hurt defense and produce WINS — Win the Free Throw Attempt Battle. 

   » ALSO SEE: 9 Effective Teaching Methods for Coaches

Teams that value hustle points are fighters who want to get every loose ball. They want to defend each and every possession. Teams should hit the floor running and that starts in warm-ups. When substitutions are made, run to the new player and tell him or her who their man is, run off the court, and sit next to the coach. There are hustle points in the spirit of the bench. The bench must be alive! Team hustle is to pick up or sprint, to any player who falls to the floor at practice or games. Hustle points are found in their coachability, no matter what happens on the floor. Be positive and play hard. Hustle points are found in a team’s never-give-up attitude.

It takes no talent to hustle and to help the team earn hustle points on the path to victory. Hustle points can be recorded at practice as well as in games with the “Hustle Awards” given at the end of the season.