OT - Coaching Discussion

Dylan can nix this if he wants, but I thought this might be an interesting thread over the course of the season. I’m assuming there are other coaches on this board and I’d be interested to hear from everybody. I would also think coaches have some resources or tips to share or maybe they just want to share how they’re team is doing or just share some experiences they’ve had over the years.

A little background from me: I work in an elementary school in Toledo, OH. Unfortunately, our district went to a K-8 model about 10 years back and in the process, the district lost all their junior high and elementary teams. All leagues in the city are now pay-to-play. Luckily, I found a guy that runs a league for K-8 for the entire community that’s only $30 a kid and it operates out of my building. The K-6 students are divided into age groups (K/1, 2/3, 4-6) and practice at separate times. We mostly just focus on skill building for those age groups. They get divided up into 4-6 teams, depending on how many kids we have, and compete against each other. For the junior high kids, it operates more like a typical junior high team would. We practice a few nights a week and will be starting games here soon against other junior high kids in the city in a league offsite. It’s all volunteer run and the league is registered as a non-profit.

This is my second year helping out and my helping with the junior high kids. The other coaches have been doing it alot longer than me, so I’m just sitting back and being an assistant this year. I know the kids really well since I work in the building and that’s where most of the players come from. I’m also only 31 and all the other coaches are 50+, so I have a little better understanding of their generation. I don’t speak up too much in terms of organizing the practice or what plays and drills we should run, though I plan to take on a larger role in the future. I’m planning on keeping stats on the bench as well and hopefully be able to turn that into useful information for the kids and coaches.

I’ve found a few things to be useful in developing my personal philosophy on tactics. One, obviously is this site, with Dylan and Gibson and the other contributors providing alot of information. I also listen to High School Hoops and Coach Unplugged podcasts, which have been pretty useful, though I don’t subscribe to their website. I’ve read a couple basic books on drills.

Anybody have any books, sites, or other resources that they find useful? I’d also just love to hear how anybody got involved in coaching or what they enjoy most about it.


I coach HS ball in Minnesota and have kind of been all over the place as far as levels. I played D3 in NY, then coached D3 in NY, went to WVU with Beilein and then Huggs (in role of what is now called Assistant to Head Coach). Moved to MN and coached D3 and now to HS. My dad was a HS and college coach in NY and that helped me get a connection with Coach Beilein to work camps and eventually work for him.

One of the best places for development stuff is @bballimmersion or Chris Oliver. Does a ton of games based approached stuff (can’t just start with games though). He finds great drills to implement that I use with my 5-12 graders in PE and practice. There are a bunch of other good follows on twitter that Oliver will retweet and that’s how I find a lot of stuff.


I’ll echo the Chris Oliver praise. He is an excellent resource. Chris coached for several years at the University of Windsor (Ontario) before choosing to focus on Immersion a year ago. My son attended his camp a couple of times when he was younger, and Chris came to our city to help with local camps a few times. He’s outstanding.

My hoops coaching career is done (probably). I coached both HS girls and boys teams for a number of years prior to my wife and I starting a family. That was a long time ago. My main national influence back then was Kevin O’Neill (anyone remember him?) and his motion offence. I wanted to stay involved in the game after we had kids, but didn’t want to devote the time that continuing to coach would require, so I joined the local officials association. I’ve now been officiating at the HS and college level for 21 years. When my son was old enough to play organized hoops, I coached his club team for a few years. That was a lot of fun, but was of course limited mainly to individual skills as opposed to team concepts with any level of complexity. I could see myself as an assistant coach in the future; the one year I spent as an assistant when my son reached HS was a lot of fun, as a nice mix of individual skill work, team concepts, and in-game decision making, without me having to really organize anything.


I do not think I could handle being a ref. I get anxiety reffing our scrimmages in practice. Credit to you for doing it for so long.

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Thanks. It’s mostly a lot of fun, but there are some trying moments.

Gibson’s site is great too, lots of resources, sets etc. One of our members, gobluemd16 is a great follow on twitter too @eric_shap.

Kudos to you for coaching middle school. I’ve been coaching varsity boys for the last 5 years, and find myself increasingly frustrated with the way young players conceptualize the game (so much trash talk, taunting, wanting to look good more than winning, etc). Maybe it’s always been that way, but I’m considering moving to the girls game in the near future.