Coach's Clipboard Newsletter #77
January 1, 2016
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Dear Coaches, Players, Friends,

Happy New Year!

Today's Quotes:
"All battles are won before they are fought." - Sun Tzu

"As long as there are exams, there will be prayer in public schools."



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Pre-game Preparation


I am referring to the immediate pre-game time... not the week of practice before the game. This is an important time for the players and coaches to get comfortable with the situation at hand, and focus on the job to be done. Being organized, and having everyone under you organized, I think is very important... so that everything is "routine", no surprises. But every coach has his/her own way to get his team ready.

pregame preparation


It's a "routine"... have a standard routine. We follow a routine, and do these same things for every game, whether we are on the road or at home, have won ten games in a row or lost three in a row, whether our opponent is 0-10, or undefeated. 

Look and act "professional"... we dress as a team, everyone in a white shirt and tie, and either a varsity vest or a sport coat, but all the same.  When we walk into a gym, we want to look good.  We expect everyone to act with class as gentlemen and ladies before, during and after the game. Parents, teachers and fans are proud to see their kids looking good and in "team" attire.

Allow enough time... rushing around at the last minute creates a disorganized, frantic mood entering the game. You want players and coaches to be relaxed, calm and "in control" starting the game. Arrive at least 45 minutes before the game (or sooner if you have a home game and want to watch game film, or the JV game).

Players need time to get dressed, get ankles taped, stretch, perform warm-up drills, and practice shooting and free throws. We allow about 5-10 minutes for the players to get dressed, while we organize the bench, get clipboards and stats sheets ready, make sure we have enough chairs/seats for our players, etc.

Things to do before the game
...
Review with your assistant coaches the starting lineup and defensive match-ups, substitution patterns, and any special strategies.
Have an assistant get the opponent's starting line-up from the scorer's table.
Assistants should know their roles and where you like them to sit.
Have your official score book roster entered in advance.  Make sure it's correct.
An assistant should have clipboard and pens ready, make sure there are enough chairs, medical kit is on the bench, stats assistants are ready, etc.

The locker-room team meeting (before taking the floor)
... this meeting is used to focus our players on the job at hand, discuss our game plan, and review the things that help make us successful. Set a calm tone.  We announce the starting line-up and then review our defenses, half-court and full-court, and any special adjustments that we have worked on in practice specifically for this opponent. We point out the opponent's best players and how we plan to contain them.

Motivation and the "big" game
...  sometimes we coaches want to come up with a great, passionate "win one for the Gipper" speech or inspirational quote to get the team "fired-up".  In actuality, the kids already know that it's a big game and may be over-hyped and nervous.   Instead, I think a calming, business-like approach is better. 

Being nervous is normal and can be a good thing if that extra energy is channeled into playing great defense, rebounding and hustling for loose balls.  Use a job-like mentality... don't worry about playing good or playing bad, winning or losing... just everyone do your job... no more, no less.

See:
Pre-game Preparation


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Till next time...
Best wishes,
Dr. Jim Gels, aka "Coach Gels"
The Coach's Clipboard
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