Game Management

(1)   Time, score, ahead, behind, versus runners, walkers, when to foul, when to take chances, when not to foul, when not to take chances, must control emotions, no trash talking, understand and practice our philosophy for all sorts of game conditions that take place during games and particularly late in games.

(2)   Know which teammate has the hot hand, which one is struggling, which one is in foul trouble, which one is showing their emotions to everyone and which one has everything under control.

(3)   Realize that normally, teams win from the inside, seldom from the outside and you are the player on the floor that has most to say with the flow of the game and probably can control this more than any other player.

(4)   You are more in charge of how we play as you usually have the ball far more often than other teammates. We need to get things done “our way” and need to realize that good defenses will make it tougher on both “you” and “us”. Read the defensive objectives they are operating with(examples…lot’s of ball pressure, tough in the passing lanes, doubling the ball often, sagging back to help inside, switching all screens, doubling the ball on the screen and roll, pushing the ball to the sideline and baseline…do they change defenses often or at time outs. Use of scouting reports or DVD’s are helpful before the game. The less that surprises you about an opponent, the better your chances are of handling their attempts to over-power or confuse you or your team).

(5)   Almost everything begins with you. On offense, you often decide when to go and when to stop, which side of the defense to attack, what set to run, etc.  On defense, the intensity and pressure you meet the ball with sets the standard often as to how the rest of us play. If you are poised, tough, smart and focused, your teammates will usually follow. Leaders show others “how to” by demonstrating and inspiring others as to “how we do it”.

(6)   Realize that a set defense is toughest the first 15 to 20 seconds you face it. The purpose of offense is to get a good shot, so patience, good ball movement, people moving often softens the defense unless they surrender a good shot before that. You and the coach need to understand what a “good shot” is. Good shots usually come from penetration from either the pass or dribble and a solid decision and reaction by teammates. A player committing an offensive charge while driving is usually out on control.

(7)    Know the value of possession of the ball and take care of it. Your opponents cannot score without it. Efficiency wins, not how many shots or possessions we have. Teams never finish the game with more that one possession more than their opponents, so each possession is very valuable.

(8)   You need to also know what our defensive game plan is as defenses that play well together win more often. Also keep in mind, that having an effect on their point guard will hurt their offensive rythem and efficiency. As defense consists mostly of hard work, you need to “set the standard” for our squad.

(9)  Understand the normal laws of momentum in the game. The game is normally won and lost with scoring strings by one or the other team. If the momentum shifts to the other team, typically we need to slow the game down. We don’t run quite as hard, have more patience offensively, make them play defense a little longer. If the “Mo” shifts to us, you try to increase, or speed up the game (unless coach says “no”). Another factor is playing on the road or at home. On the road, keeping the crowd out of the game really helps. Game plan needs to be followed: if we are quicker everywhere, we may want to really open the throttle and run hard on every possession. But if we are bigger and slower, and can hurt them inside, we will probably want to take our time and let the “bigs” get down under the basket. We want to play to “our strength’s”, not to your feelings that day. We may have a key player in the game tired or in foul trouble, but can’t afford to take them out of the game, so we take some air out of the ball. Maybe our opponent has a really solid half court defense, so we may gamble a bit more in the running game trying to get a quick, decent shot before they get set up. Strategy changes a lot of things and a good point guard can adjust their game to give us a “better chance” to come away with a “W”.

(10)  A Point Guard needs to advance the ball (north-south) constantly and not spend much energy going east and west (sideways) both with the pass and dribble. If you sense you are over-dribbling the ball, you probably are. Dribbling is one method of advancing the ball so we can enter into our offense but is ranked # 2 by most good basketball people as the best way to advance the ball.

(11)  The Point Guard must keep both your practice and game face on. Don’t let your opponents see any emotions or concerns in your face. You must play with face of a great poker player.

(12) In pre-game, your task in the locker room is to help create a thoughtful atmosphere of peace and calm. This is no place for non-basketball talk. We all need to focus on the job directly in front of us.

(13) Be a calming influence. You have poise! Don’t try to force passes, shots and drives. Be patient, particularly early in games to help us figure out what they do well and don’t do as well, and play within your physical limitations.

(14) During a game, you and the coach need to communicate regularly. The coach will probably see some things you don’t and you will find some things they don’t notice. We need the best of both of you.

(15)  Handle and treat officials with respect….and show it! That helps both your teammates and our fans keep their emotions under control. Smile and visit with them during the game. They are simply human beings with a tough job to do.

(16)  Keep the 10 second count in your mind always bringing the ball up out of backcourt. It is a lot of time to get the ball up the court and a violation allows us to set up our defense instead of a turnover that often leads to a lay-in. Know when time is getting close allowing a reasonable gamble if needed. Needless to say, the five second counts must also be kept track of.

(17)  In getting open versus a full court press to receive a pass, stay out of the corners if at all possible. They are the most effective double team area for the defense to get. Lines on the floor are often additional defenders…be careful around them and know where you are.

(18)  In crucial situations (late game, end of quarter), know who should have the ball for key scoring efforts and possibly how to set them up.