Ultimate Guide to Improving your Basketball Knowledge

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The interesting thing about the best leaders is that they immerse themselves in both teaching and learning. Growth comes by both          – Kevin Eastman

Coaching isn’t all about packed arenas, nail-biting games, and running practices. There’s a much less glamorous side of coaching…  But a side that all truly passionate coaches love.

A side that involves staying up till 3am dissecting games, travelling across the country to attend coaching clinics, and giving up our free time to learn from the best coaches.

We have an incredible opportunity to impact the lives of our youth players, but first we must attain the knowledge all great coaches require. We must learn the right things to teach, the right things to say, how to communicate with our players, the best drills, how to be a leader, and many more important things.

How do we do this? By constantly studying and learning the game of basketball.

Below I’m going to share with you 13 different ways and many, many resources on how you can improve on your current basketball knowledge. If you’ve got any resources we’re missing, leave a comment!


1. Read Books

I love to read. Especially coaching autobiographies. So much knowledge can be gained by getting a true insight into the lives of former and current coaches and the struggles they had to endure to be successful.

I came across a quote from George Raveling on his Twitter account last week that said this “A dog is not our best friend, books are our best friends.” And since I don’t have a dog anymore (sad face), I’m inclined to agree.

Some of my favourites in no particular order:

1. Sum It Up – by Pat Summitt
2. They Call Me Coach – John Wooden
3. The Carolina Way – Dean Smith


2. Attend Coaching Clinics

Coaching clinics are a great way to meet other coaches and get advice from some of the best coaches in the game.

It wouldn’t be smart for me to list specific clinics to attend because it is going to depend entirely on where you’re located which clinics you are able to attend. If you are located near one, don’t miss it. You’ll regret it.


3. Study Previous Game Tapes

It’s great to watch other games and pick up little tips and tricks you can use for your team, but no game is more beneficial to watch than your own games.

By studying your games from the previous seasons in detail you’ll see which areas of your team needs improvement, which areas your team is good at, what you should be doing differently, etc. This is essential to develop a great pre-season practice plan so that you’ll be ready for next season.


4. Mastermind with Other Coaches

Living in an age with such great technology has it’s benefits. We can now meet, connect, and mastermind with other coaches incredibly easily. Something the coaches before us couldn’t do.

We’ve all got coaches that we look up to and admire. Send them an e-mail, a tweet, a FaceBook message… you’ll be surprised how many of them are more than happy to connect with you if you just reach out to them. You’ll never know if you don’t try, right?

If you plan on sending someone you admire an e-mail, here’s a blog post on Medium I love that I recommend you to read. It will certainly improve the chances of you receiving a response.

Medium – How to get a busy person to respond to your e-mail.

Use the above post along with this blog post detailing 8 different ways you can connect with other coaches.


5. Watch DVD’s

Word of warning: DVD’s are expensive… but can be well worth it.

It seems like every week Championship Productions are releasing another basketball coaching DVD giving us insight into the drills and game-plans used by some of the best coaches in basketball.

If you have some spare cash lying around, DVD’s can be a great investment.


6. Online Clinics

The free option you have is to watch online clinics. There are a ton of free clinics available online if you just know where to look.

My favourite place to find them is the FIBA YouTube channel. They post a ton of great clinics on their channel for free and I highly recommend you subscribe to it. Only problem is they’re posted along with a ton of other videos you’ll probably find irrelevant. Just have to keep your eye out for the good ones!

Some of my favourite are…

1. Cutthroat Defensive Drill – Brett Brown
2. Transition Drills – Jamie Carey
3. The Shooting and Drills – Juan Orenga


7. Google

Have a specific coaching question you need answered? It’s probably answered somewhere on the internet. Actually, scratch that. It’s definitely answered somewhere on the internet. And Google can lead you to it.

There are so many great blogs and websites on the internet about coaching basketball that are posting a massive amount of terrific content.

If I ever have a question Google is usually my first port of call and it will link me to many great articles on any topic I’m asking about.


8. Participate in Forums

There are a ton of insanely smart coaches that are participating in forums on the internet. Forums make for a fantastic place to share ideas, hear ideas, and get feedback on your different thoughts and techniques. Not to mention you’ll be building relationships with other coaches. And as I keep saying… that’s very important!

As I mentioned in my post on connecting with other coaches, I’m not as active on forums as I’d like to be. But here are my two favourites…

1. http://coachingbball.proboards.com/
2. http://www.basketballcoach.com/coaching/


9. Join a Basketball Membership Website

Online membership sites allow you to view premium content from some of the top skills coaches from the comfort of your own home. Most basketball membership websites are for players, but the ones listed below have many great workouts and drills that will help you with your coaching.

Here are three online basketball membership websites you can think about signing up to.

1. http://miskillz.com/
2. http://www.hoopsuinsider.com/
3. http://basketballhq.com/


10. Subscribe to Coaching Blogs.

By subscribing to blogs you make sure you never miss out on any of the content they publish. It’ll get sent straight to your e-mail so that you can view it when you have time.

While we’re on this topic, if you like the content I’ve been putting out, you can subscribe to my blog (cheesy self promoting, I know). You can do that at the top right of this page. Thanks if you do!

If you don’t like my blog (that would make me sad), here are 13 other awesome coaching blogs that I check out all the time.

1. Hoops Thoughts
2. Hoops Skills
3. Jeff Haefner’s Coaching Blog
4. Layups
5. Coach Dunlap
6. Breakthrough Basketball
7. Stronger Team
8. Keys to the Gym
9. Hoops Roundtable
10. George Raveling
11. Men’s Basketball Hoop Scoop
12. Online Basketball Drills
13. KCS Basketball


11. Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are the new big thing. Everybody’s starting to do them. I listen to them every time I’m driving since I’m usually in the car a couple of hours a day. Why would I waste time listening to music when I could be learning!

I’ve decided to list only one basketball coaching podcast since I believe it’s the only one you’ll ever need.

The Hardwood Hustle Podcast by Alan Stein and Adam Bradley.

Please do yourself a favour and don’t miss a single episode.


12. Follow the Smartest Basketball Minds on Twitter.

Are you a tweeter? I am. I love spending time connecting and socialising with other coaches and skills trainers on Twitter.

When I’m watching live NBA and NCAA games I’ve usually got Twitter open on my phone so that during time-outs and between quarters I can get an insight into how other coaches and analysts are seeing the game and what their thoughts are.

Some of the tweeters I always look out for are:

1. BBall Breakdown
2. Zach Lowe
3. Amin Elhassan
4. Nate Jones


13. Like FaceBook Pages Dedicated to Coaching.

More of a FaceBooker than a Tweeter? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with that too.

1. Proactive Coach
2. Ganon Baker Basketball
3. Functional Basketball Coaching


Now Get Cracking!

Bookmark this page and refer back to it regularly. Use this blog post and the resources provided to improve your coaching knowledge. You can never learn too much!

Are there any other resources you use that other coaches might want to know about?


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