Brian Aldred breaks down Tuesday's Final NBA Coaching Clinic

Continuing the series of recaps on our trio of NBA Coaching Clinics, we chatted once again with Basketball England’s Delivery Manager Brian Aldred on what jumped out at him from the third day of action. Tuesday evening saw Canada Basketball’s Dawn Smyth and Mike MacKay looking at the “Daily Training Environment” and how this can be applied to your own sessions. New York Knicks assistant Ross McMains covered transition offence on the court whilst fellow assistant Kaleb Canales held an open Q&A session. The evening was finished off by Coach Eric Hughes presenting for his fourth time at our NBA clinics, leading coaches through an informative and energetic session on “Incorporating Player Development into Practice Sessions”.


Daily Training Environment

The session began with a clear message that coaches should be relating better with young players and we can help them by creating images/pictures that players can attach and relate to. This will assist the learning process.

One question that came up was “How do people learn?” A discussion followed on the process of storing and retrieving information and as we repeat the process, it gets quicker. Coach McKay used the example of learning names by “chunking” the information together and then repeatedly storing and retrieving it.  I noticed in Sunday’s clinic that Mike had learned the names of the 12 girls from Charnwood within first 10 minutes of the session. He repeated this skill on Monday and Tuesday, learning every player’s name from the demo teams! He then explained how this theory could be incorporated into practice sessions.

A few tips for delivery that stuck out for me:

  • Rule of 3 - No more than 3 items to consider during explanation.
  • Rule of 10 - No more than 10 minutes on the same activity, pause and refresh, the brain needs to be able to recharge.
  • Rule of 30 - 30 seconds max to get the drill going.

What does you Daily Training Environment (DTE) look like? Mike and Dawn challenged the coaches in attendance to think about their own DTE. Is it:

  • A block of one thing v A random mix?
  • A constant environment v A variable one?
  • Simple v Complex?
  • Easy v Hard?
  • Drills based v A games’ approach?

Each has their own merits depending on the standard, age and development of your players, but it is certainly something to think about.

One final thing that stuck with me was the point that in 5v5 play, players may not always get the numbers of reps needed to acquire a skill or concept!


Transition offence

New York Knicks Ross McMains began by explained how the Knicks consider the most important concept they work to be how a player reacts once a set has been broken up. e.g. reading the Pick & Roll coverage. He commented that they aim to ‘Stretch a player’s skill sets but not at a cost of other player’s skill sets.’

McMains said the Knicks had three main Transition rules:

  1. Sprint
  2. Flatten/stretch the floor for ball handler
  3. Fill/stay with spacing to reduce traffic

He then displayed a number of transition drills to work on those rules:

3 on 3 touch the baseline

  1. No dribble, passing the ball to move the ball forward quick as possible.
  2. If defending team recovers back on defence you may allow the offence to dribble
  3. Encourage specific offence motion.

Domino (looking for advantages on offence)

The moment to create a small advantage and turn it into a bigger advantage i.e. bad close out, drive to the basket to force another defender towards you. How do we continue to drive & kick to seek out small domino movements to force bigger ones?

  1. Ball does not stop
  2. A defender can’t guard 2 players
  3. Into space, out to space, encourage penetration to move back out of space.

3 players drill

  1. Ball handler moves quickly forcing the other 2 players to fill, lift or drift to the corner.
  2. Kickout to swing for the shot or drives
  3. Emphasise “into space, out to space”
  4. Coach passes to other players for perimeter shot.

I’ll have some more detailed information on these specific drills once the clinic tape becomes available.


Incorporating player development into practice sessions

Coach Eric Hughes introduced his session by defining development as, “The process of growing or changing with the goal of becoming more advanced” He further commented that player development is 50% energy, 30% trust and 20% knowledge and innovative thought.

  • Energy - Players have to see us and feel us as coaches. Get in there with them and let them see you sweat as well!
  • Trust - You must give them drills that are relevant to them as players and their individual development. Its too easy to lose players trust and once that happens, you’ll lose them.
  • Knowledge and innovative thought - Keep it fresh, keep it current, and make sure your thinking outside the box to always incorporate new drills.

Other tips for Coach Hughes included:

Create the correct mentality in the group – Give them something to do all the time even at water breaks / free throws etc. One group can drink, another can work, then they can switch.

Make sure you include video and “chalk n talk” sessions into your player development. All these factors into gaining the trust of the player.

A defence stop doesn’t end until the ball is rebounded.

Trick players into working on other elements of their game in a drill by extending the drill, through loading, distance or space used and/or adding a competition/timing factor. This was something I also enjoyed from Coach MacKay on Sunday, “Hiding the vegetables of the spaghetti sauce!”

Encourage correct spacing on offence and build awareness. “There isn’t a 2.5 shot in basketball if your foot is on the line. Be a step beyond the arc, it creates a 3 or at worst a long closeout!”

If you have any questions on last week’s NBA Clinics, how you can improve as a coach or what further learning opportunities are in the coming months, you can use the button below to contact Brian.