NBN Basketball D-League
The NBN D-League is here and it got off to a bang. We have players in grades 7th-9th from all over the state of Arkansas participating. The city of Conway was represented as well as Morrilton, Mayflower, Heber Springs, Vilonia, Greenbrier, Nemo Vista, and Little Rock. Saturday was the first of five games the players participate in during our very first D-League. I am super excited about how much potential each and every player has. Everyone played hard, learned a lot about themselves, and most importantly had fun. After both games were over I had the opportunity to sit down and really think about the games and each of the players. There were 3 things I learned and would like to share.
- Every player has a lot to learn. After coaching both the boys and the girls games I realized how much the players have to learn about the game of basketball. Humans are creatures of habit and after 2 weeks of skill development, the players fell back on what was comfortable to them. Offensively players must learn how to move without the ball, read and set screens, and proper spacing to name a few. There were also some bad shot selections, bad passes, and a lot of missed lay ups. I've been preaching to the players to let their guard down and get comfortable being uncomfortable. I even used a timeout to give constructive criticism to one player. He had the opportunity to bring the ball up the floor (he's a point guard), but he picked up his dribble and looked to pass so he wouldn't have to use his left hand. Defensively players have to understand help and recover, defensive rotations, and how to communicate. No one was calling out screens, sprinting back on defense, or applying good ball pressure. In this league I want all the players to understand that this is the time to improve their weaknesses and continue to build on their strengths. A lot of the habits that have been created didn't happen over night and I don't expect them to change after one game. This does give me an idea of how to move forward with our skill development workouts.
- The players needed this league. When I began toying with the idea of putting this league together, I knew it would be beneficial to all those participating. I soon realized that the players needed this league. Six weeks of skill development training and 5 games is great way to improve your game during the pre-season. Players not only improve their individual skills, but they also can learn some key team concepts. They get the opportunity to play in a game and apply those skills we have been drilling. I don't know a better teacher than experience. And this is something every player is getting, game experience. The games are competitive, the players played hard, and the coaches coached hard (even though I lost both games). After Saturday I realized this league wasn't a good idea because the players could benefit. This league was good idea because the players needed it. I'm not concerned about how well some of the players look during our D-League. I want them ready to roll when their season starts for their school team.
- This league will make me a better coach/skills trainer. I can't demand or ask my players to go the extra mile and try to improve if I'm not trying to do the same thing. This league gives me the opportunity to perfect my craft and come up with different ways to teach and train players of different skill levels. It's a challenge, but it's one I'm willing to take on if it means players will get better and improve their game. It's more than just putting a list of drills together and having the players run through them during our skill development sessions. It's about putting together a meaningful curriculum that builds from week 1 to week 6. I challenge myself to have each player on a different skill level at the conclusion of the league. In order for that to happen I have to continue to grow and get better as a skill development coach. That means more hours reading, studying, and watching film to become the best that I can be.