A few years ago many New Mexico coaches went to Las Vegas for a “nearby” coaches’ clinic. This Saturday the UNM WBB team held a coaches clinic at the Davalos Center, the third year they have done so. Each year it has grown a bit more, and there were almost 60 coaches attending this year. While most were HS coaches/staffs, there were also middle school coaches present.

Besides sessions from coach Mike Bradbury (building the dribble-drive offense) and Bill Ferarra (pressure defense), there were sessions by ENMU head coach Josh Prock, strength and conditioning coach Brett Nakashima, and motivational/team building sessions from Nathan Whittaker (NY Times best-selling author & former NFL executive) and Dr Janna Magette, the team building advisor UNM has been using for the past couple seasons.

The event is multi-purposed:

–Build connections with the Albuquerque and New Mexico athletic communities

–Grow the fan base

If those two are successful, it may also pay dividends in recruiting NM players.

Listening to the presentations, few of the basic points were new—but the messages were delivered with energy, in different ways, and in many cases with more detail. Let’s be honest, practices are never run for the purpose of educating the observers so often the “Why that way?” is not answered. Yesterday’s clinic focused more on the “why”, so that the drills and basics could be better applied to each coach’s particular situations. In fact, the most oft repeated point was exactly that, “this is how and why we do things this way, but here are considerations and changes you may want to make based upon your players”.

All three of the basketball coaches used the same teaching approach: describe the drill and why to do it, walk through the drill defining each person’s role and expected benefit run the drill at full speed, then talk about variants, timing, etc., and finally take questions. Under all of the different drills there were some common objectives for the team outcome:
–Train the players to play as fast as possible—get to the point you can do the basics at high speed with few mistakes
–Correct fundamentals early, before they become bad habits
–Correct other kinds of mistakes in due time—but tempo comes first
–The goal is to have your team comfortable playing at a faster pace that the opponent, and then drive the play to that pace. If you do, the other team will make mistakes
–Know why you do a particular drill—and what the definition of “success” is for that drill. Don’t get distracted, stay focused on what that drill is supposed to accomplish.

While most the building blocks and drills were the same as I’ve seen in many other Lobo practices, there was also some talk about changes with the 2019-20 Lobo team. Nothing shocking, but hearing Mike say it was good, and a change from the coach-speak “we’ll look just like last season”. Sadly, I guess the realization that #44 is playing in Spain has now fully taken hold. But seriously, a few of the confirmations:

–The Lobos will be quicker and deeper, but not as big in the post defensively. To compensate the defense will be more aggressive, and work more to keep the opponent out of good shooting positions rather than funnel them to Nike as an eraser.
–Whoever is on the court, there will be enough quickness to switch whenever Mike wants to. This will allow a few more and different defensive tactics. There will be more emphasis on deny and steal rather than stay behind and block.
–Offensively the team is quicker and needs to use that quickness to compensate for the automatic offense that was Jaisa:
—–Beat the opponent down the court to score before their D is set
—–If not, then use quickness and coordinated teamwork to move the defenders enough to get a driving lane
—–The team will shoot the three better than last year, but the layup is still—and will always be—the first choice

Other observations from the day:

–A lot of the drills in the morning were run with a number of the men practice players. Physically, Jordan held her own against most of them. She finished well in traffic.

–Whenever the drills were fast break attack drills, Autumn, Shai, AT were using speed to get a lot of rebounds, both offensive and defensive. As soon as it slowed, they would have a harder time fighting through the men.

–Jayla definitely turns on the energy more when the drills get more like a full scrimmage

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