multi-faceted role of an assistant coach

The Multi-Faceted Role of an Assistant Coach in Basketball

The Unsung Heroes: The Multi-Faceted Role of an Assistant Coach in Basketball

In the world of basketball, the head coach often takes center stage, receiving praise and scrutiny alike for their team’s performance. But behind every great head coach is an unsung hero – the assistant coach. While the title may suggest a supporting role, the reality is that an assistant coach’s contribution is multifaceted and invaluable. In this blog, we will delve deep into the role of an assistant coach, exploring the numerous ways they add value to both the head coach and the players.

Expertise and Specialization

Assistant coaches are not mere shadows of the head coach; they are experts in their own right. One of the most significant advantages they bring to the table is their specialization in specific aspects of the game. For example, some may focus on offense, defense, or player development. Their expertise allows for a more focused and strategic approach in training and game planning. This division of labor enables the head coach to delegate responsibilities and ultimately lead a more well-rounded team.

Player Development and Mentorship

Assistant coaches often play a pivotal role in player development. While the head coach is preoccupied with overarching strategies and team dynamics, assistant coaches work closely with individual players to refine their skills and help them reach their full potential. This one-on-one interaction fosters trust and allows players to receive personalized feedback and guidance. It’s not just about making better athletes; it’s also about making better people.

In-Game Adaptation

During the heat of the game, a head coach has a lot on their plate, from monitoring player rotations to strategizing on the fly. This is where assistant coaches come to the rescue. They have a critical role in providing real-time analysis and recommendations, helping the head coach make informed decisions. Their insights can lead to crucial adjustments that can change the course of the game.

Scouting and Preparation

The world of basketball is highly competitive, and scouting opponents is essential for success. Assistant coaches often take charge of this arduous task. They meticulously study upcoming opponents, identifying strengths and weaknesses, analyzing game footage, and formulating game plans. This allows the head coach to enter games well-prepared, with a strategic advantage.

Team Unity and Chemistry

Assistant coaches are not just Xs and Os experts; they are also the glue that holds the team together. Their role extends to building team chemistry, fostering camaraderie among players, and creating a positive and motivating atmosphere. Assistant coaches often serve as intermediaries between players and the head coach, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working toward a common goal.

Accountability and Discipline

Maintaining player discipline and accountability is crucial for any successful team. Assistant coaches often act as enforcers of team rules and standards. They play an instrumental role in holding players accountable for their actions, on and off the court. This helps instill a culture of responsibility and professionalism, contributing to the team’s overall success.

Strategy and Innovation

Assistant coaches are not just passive implementers of the head coach’s strategies; they are also innovative thinkers. They bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table, challenging the status quo. Their unique insights can lead to the evolution of team strategies and tactics, keeping the team competitive and adaptable in a dynamic basketball landscape.

In-Game Responsibilities

Assistant coaches’ roles extend beyond the practice court and into the heart of the action – the games themselves. During games, assistant coaches have a range of crucial responsibilities that contribute to the team’s success. One of their primary tasks is managing player rotations, ensuring that each athlete is in the best position to perform at their peak. This requires a deep understanding of player dynamics and match-ups, allowing them to strategically substitute players for maximum impact.

Furthermore, assistant coaches often lead specific aspects of the game plan during matches. For instance, they may oversee defensive schemes, ensuring that players stick to the designed strategies to stifle the opponent’s offense. This in-game specialization allows for quicker adjustments, as assistant coaches can quickly identify whether a different defensive approach or a change in offensive play-calling is necessary. They’re the eyes and ears on the sidelines, helping the head coach make informed decisions under intense pressure.

Moreover, assistant coaches are instrumental in monitoring player performance and offering instant feedback. They observe each player’s body language, stamina, and emotional state, communicating valuable insights to the head coach. Whether it’s recognizing when a player needs a break or identifying a potential mismatch to exploit, assistant coaches play a pivotal role in shaping the game’s outcome.

In critical moments, assistant coaches are often tasked with drawing up last-second plays or adjustments during timeouts. Their capacity to stay cool under pressure and devise effective strategies on the fly can be the difference between victory and defeat.

In summary, the in-game responsibilities of assistant coaches are a testament to their importance in the world of basketball. They are not merely spectators; they are active contributors to the team’s performance, consistently making vital decisions that can alter the course of a game. Their attentiveness to player dynamics and strategic insights are indispensable to the overall success of the team.


In conclusion, the role of an assistant coach in basketball is far more intricate and multifaceted than it may appear at first glance. They are the backbone of a successful team, offering invaluable expertise, mentorship, and support to both the head coach and players. While the head coach may receive the spotlight, the assistant coaches are the unsung heroes, quietly shaping the team’s success from behind the scenes. It’s time we acknowledge their contributions and recognize their vital role in the world of basketball.

joe crispin

Play-Based Basketball Practice with Joe Crispin

Welcome to the world of Play-Based Practice with Joe Crispin! In this blog, we will explore the importance of creativity and freedom in basketball practice, the benefits of a constraints-led approach, and how you can help your players play the game better and enjoy the game more by creating a happier basketball environment with insights from Joe Crispin.

Joe Crispin is a former professional basketball player who has dedicated his career to helping coaches and players develop their skills and reach their full potential. His approach to basketball practice is centered around the idea of play-based learning, which emphasizes the importance of creativity, freedom, and fun in the learning process.

So, whether you are a coach looking to improve your team’s performance or a player looking to take your skills to the next level, this blog is for you. Get ready to have some fun and learn how to play better basketball with Joe Crispin!

Offense: Scoring with Efficiency

Crispin’s team’s offensive prowess was good enough to rank fourth in the country in scoring and third in tempo during the 2022-23 season. However, Crispin believes that his team was not efficient offensively, despite their high-scoring games. He explains that their offensive strategy focused on creating more possessions and opportunities for their players, as they had a deep roster of talented individuals. Crispin emphasizes that their offensive success was not solely based on shooting efficiency, but rather on the volume of shots they took. In this blog, we’ll look at how Crispin helps his players enjoy the game more through fast-paced, play-based practices.

Getting to the Free Throw Line

Crispin attributes their success in getting to the free throw line to their fast-paced style of play. By creating more possessions, they were able to draw fouls and get to the line. He also mentions that their strategy was influenced by their personnel, as they had strong one-on-one players but lacked exceptional shooting. Crispin wanted to make the game more enjoyable for his players and believed that creating more opportunities would keep them engaged and motivated.

The Philosophy of Pace

Crispin explains that his coaching philosophy is centered around pace and avoiding boredom. He believes that playing an exciting and fast-paced style of basketball attracts talented players and improves recruiting. He wanted his players to have the freedom to play and make decisions on the court, rather than relying on strict play-calling. Crispin acknowledges that there are trade-offs with this approach, but he believes that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. By giving players the opportunity to shine in live action, he can identify their strengths and weaknesses more effectively.

Defense: Aggression and Disruption

Crispin’s defensive strategy revolves around being aggressive and disrupting the opponent’s offense. He aims to make scoring easier for his team by playing defense in a way that makes offense harder for the opponent. Crispin emphasizes the importance of volume and the balance between taking better shots and taking more shots. He believes that by increasing the number of shots taken, players have more opportunities to find their rhythm and improve their shooting percentages. Crispin also mentions that their defensive approach involves pressing and disrupting the opponent’s rhythm, preventing them from running their offense effectively.

The Importance of Creativity and Freedom

Crispin values creativity and freedom in both offense and defense. He believes that players should have the freedom to express themselves and be the best version of themselves on the court. Crispin encourages players to take shots and make decisions based on their instincts and abilities. He emphasizes that players surprise coaches with their capabilities, and by giving them the freedom to explore and learn from their mistakes, they can reach their full potential. Crispin also challenges traditional coaching norms and encourages coaches to think outside the box and be open to new ideas.

The Benefits of a Constraints-Led Approach

Crispin follows a constraints-led approach in his coaching, using limitations to encourage players’ development. He believes that constraints can be used to create a competitive advantage and foster creativity. By setting specific constraints in practice and games, Crispin helps players develop their decision-making skills and adapt to different situations. He emphasizes the importance of providing players with a broad-based structure that allows them to explore and learn from their experiences.

The Impact of Shot Clocks

Crispin advocates for the use of shot clocks in basketball, as he believes it leads to better basketball and player development. He argues that shot clocks create a sense of urgency and force players to make quicker decisions. Crispin points out that playing without a shot clock often leads to inefficient basketball, as players tend to hold onto the ball and wait for the perfect opportunity. He believes that shot clocks would improve the overall quality of the game and enhance coaching strategies.

Joe Crispin’s unique coaching approach focuses on pace, creativity, and freedom. By emphasizing aggressive defense and a fast-paced offense, he aims to create an exciting and engaging playing style. Crispin encourages coaches to think outside the box, challenge traditional norms, and provide players with the freedom to express themselves on the court. He believes that constraints, such as shot clocks, can enhance player development and lead to better basketball. Through his innovative coaching methods, Crispin aims to create well-rounded and adaptable players who can excel at any level of the game.

Joe Crispin’s Play-Based Practice All-Access Series

Help your players play the game better and enjoy the game more by creating a happier basketball environment.

This All Access Joe Crispin Practice Series from Immersion Videos provides a unique chance to watch how to impart joy in a practice environment while still developing your players and team to have success. Coaching interventions, game-based competitive play, small-sided games, time and score situations, constraints and the use of the shot clock and scoring system, are all used to shape player and team development.

If you are determined to help your players improve in basketball through an engaging learning process that leads to long-term success, then these are the practice videos for you. Instead of doing a bunch of drills, these practices will help you develop a better understanding of how to play more basketball in practice and provide the space for your players to become the best version of themselves. Get access now at

Who is Joe Crispin?

One of Penn State’s all-time great players and longtime professional athlete, Joe Crispin enters his first season as Assistant to the Head Coach in 2023-24 at Penn State University.

Crispin spent the last seven seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. where he guided the Profs to a 114-54 record, three NCAA Tournament appearances, two conference titles and the 2023 Sweet 16. He collected the fourth-most wins by a head coach in school history through his seven years on the sideline.

Crispin engineered one of the most prolific offenses in the country at Rowan, as the Profs averaged more than 80 points per game in each of his final six seasons including 90+ points per game in each of the last two years. A longtime professional player, Crispin joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001 as a free agent and enjoyed a highly successful career in Europe for more than a decade.

Basketball Athletic Development

Unlocking Basketball Athletic Developement

Unlocking Basketball Athletic Development is a crucial aspect of becoming a successful athlete. Jamie Smith, a former college basketball player and now an athletic development coach, emphasizes the importance of learning motor skills and the fundamentals of movement to achieve success. In his blog, gain insights on how coaches can help athletes unlock their basketball athletic development and their full potential. He believes that coaches play a vital role in guiding athletes towards achieving their goals. If you’re looking to improve your basketball athletic development, Jamie Smith’s provides an excellent resource to get started.

Smith created the U of Strength to focus on athletic development. He believes that instead of trying to create a factory, he can make the most difference by creating an intimate setting where his full attention is on sport performance, motor learning, and teaching kids how to learn. This includes teaching them how to adapt to skills, develop qualities, and learn processes. Smith also emphasizes that it is important for athletes to not specialize in one sport too early and to take advantage of the opportunity to play multiple sports.

To basketball coaches to learn motor skills and basketball athletic development concepts, Smith has created a video series that provides applicable lessons. This Basketball Athletic Development Series is unique because it has never been done before, where a human performance coach has worked directly with a basketball team over multiple days and then recorded and shared it. This provides athletes with an immersive experience to help them learn and develop.

The Four Pillars

Jamie Smith’s appearance on The Basketball Podcast explored the idea of athletic development beyond a traditional, one-dimensional approach. The speaker emphasizes the importance of respecting and understanding the individual, task, and environment when designing training sessions, and how this leads to developing adaptable and creative problem solvers.

The four pillars of his approach include physical, psychological, social, and emotional factors, all of which are crucial for shaping behaviors and giving context to movement patterns, relevant to sports. They aim to create an athlete-centered environment by building relationships with individuals and valuing their feedback during the training process. This different approach was effective for the team, emphasizing a bigger picture of athletic performance and considering psychological, social, and emotional components important for individual development.

One aspect of this approach is using the constraints-led approach and looking at exercises as movement problems, rather than just exercises to perform. For example, in basketball training, the speaker emphasizes the importance of respecting speed and not always going full speed as the fastest response may not be the best response. Instead, athletes need to be creative and unpredictable to keep opponents guessing.

Smith also believes that it is important to factor in the four pillars of performance: physical, psychological, social, and emotional. He believes that these four pillars are all connected and that it is important to take them into consideration when helping athletes reach their full potential. Smith’s approach also emphasizes the importance of enjoyment. He wants athletes to be excited when they come into his facility and to look forward to their training sessions.

Smith’s approach to strength and conditioning is one that is focused on the athlete and their development. He believes that athletes should be the main drivers of their own development and that they should be the ones to decide what works best for them. He also believes that strength and conditioning is more than just lifting weights and doing drills. Smith emphasizes the importance of the four pillars of performance and the importance of enjoyment. His approach is a great example of how to help athletes reach their full potential.

What about Warm-Up?

Warm-up or pre-training activities is not just about preparing tissues but also an opportunity for learning and exposure to softer skills or non-traditional skills. It should be adaptable, dynamic, and agile to match the needs of the athletes. Smith suggests using gameplay during warm-up or pre-training, as it is a great opportunity to address the four pillars of athletic development.

Specific Advice for Coaches

Adapt and experiment to succeed

    • Smith’s approach is to adapt and experiment. He believes that this is the best way to succeed in any situation. He has applied this to his work with college basketball players and Alex Arama’s prep kids. Smith traveled halfway across the world to Italy to work with these athletes. He had no equipment, but he was still able to adapt and experiment with the athletes. He was able to create an agile, dynamic, and adaptable environment that was able to help the athletes reach their potential.
    • Smith also believes in the power of relationships. He has stayed in touch with the athletes he worked with in Italy. He is available to them through WhatsApp, and is able to help them with any bumps, bruises, aches, and pains they may experience. This is a testament to the power of relationships, and how they can help athletes succeed.
    • Smith’s approach to athlete development is invaluable. He believes in the power of adaptability and experimentation. He has seen the success that this approach can bring, and is passionate about helping athletes reach their full potential. Smith’s approach is a great example of how adaptability and experimentation can help athletes succeed.

Partner with athletes to explore

    • Smith’s approach to athlete development is one of partnership. He believes that by creating a relationship with the athlete, he can help them reach their goals. Smith’s approach involves creating a dialogue between the athlete and the coach. This allows the athlete to express their thoughts and feelings on the topic, and allows the coach to provide guidance and feedback. This dialogue allows for a more open and honest relationship between the coach and the athlete.
    • Smith also believes in the power of exploration. He encourages athletes to experiment and take risks in order to discover what works best for them. Smith understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to success, and that each athlete is unique and requires an individualized approach. By allowing athletes to explore different options, they are able to learn more about themselves and their capabilities.
    • Smith’s approach to athlete development is a great example of how to partner with athletes to explore. His approach of dialogue and exploration allows athletes to reach their full potential. By creating an open and honest relationship between the athlete and the coach, athletes are able to express themselves and take risks in order to discover what works best for them. Smith’s approach is a great example of how to help athletes succeed.

Enjoy strength and conditioning

    • Smith’s approach to strength and conditioning is one that emphasizes the importance of the athlete’s involvement. He believes that athletes should be the main drivers of their own development and that they should be the ones to decide what works best for them. He also believes that strength and conditioning is more than just lifting weights and doing drills. Smith believes that it is important to focus on performance and that the athlete should be able to find the tools and movements that will help them succeed.

Understand movement input and output

    • To understand movement input and output, coaches should focus on the brain, biomechanics, and behavior. The brain is the source of the athlete’s perception and action, and it is important to understand how the brain processes information in order to create the best movements. The biomechanics of the athlete should also be taken into account, as certain movements require specific body mechanics in order to be successful. Lastly, the behavior of the athlete should be observed, as certain movements require specific intentions in order to be successful.

Rest to recover and improve

    • One of the most important aspects of physical and psychological development is rest. Rest is a critical component of performance and recovery, and it should not be overlooked. Rest allows athletes to recover from the physical and mental stress of hard training and competition. It also allows athletes to prepare for the next challenge. Rest can be achieved through low-intensity activities, such as stretching and light cardio, as well as through complete rest days.

Experiment and observe strategies

    • Experimenting and observing strategies is a key part of the rough housing process. By allowing athletes to experience the activity without providing any tactical or tactical information, coaches can observe how athletes interact with the environment and their peers. This can help coaches better understand their athletes’ individual differences and help them come up with strategies that work best for them.

Movement is key

    • Smith believes that movement is the key to success in strength and conditioning. He believes that providing athletes with the tools to move effectively and efficiently is essential for optimal performance. Smith believes that movement should be used to help athletes become more adaptable and better problem solvers. He believes that movement should be used to help athletes develop skills that will help them in other areas of life, such as social and emotional development. Smith believes that movement should be used to help athletes develop better decision-making skills, as well as better physical and psychological performance.

Change language, perspective

    • Smith believes that changing the language and perspective of movement is the key to success in strength and conditioning. He believes that changing the language and perspective of movement can help athletes become more adaptable and better problem solvers. He believes that changing the language and perspective of movement can help athletes develop skills that will help them in other areas of life, such as social and emotional development. He believes that changing the language and perspective of movement can help athletes develop better decision-making skills, as well as better physical and psychological performance. He believes that changing the language and perspective of movement can help athletes develop a better understanding of their body and how it works. He believes that changing the language and perspective of movement can help athletes develop better coordination and balance. He believes that changing the language and perspective of movement can help athletes develop better body awareness and control. He believes that changing the language and perspective of movement can help athletes develop better strength and power.

Trust the process

    • Smith’s approach to strength and conditioning is one that is based on trust. He believes that athletes should be trusted to make their own decisions and to take ownership of their development. He also believes that coaches should be trusted to create an environment that is conducive to learning and growth. Smith believes that the four pillars of performance should be used to help athletes reach their full potential. He emphasizes the importance of physical, psychological, social, and cognitive performance in order to help athletes reach their full potential.


This approach transcends basketball and is relevant to other sports because of the similarities in motor patterns and attentional behaviors. Jamie Smith’s programming has four pillars: physical, psychological, social, and emotional, and all four pillars need to be factored in for optimal performance. They stress the importance of appreciating all the different variables in strength and conditioning and the specific sport and not just sticking to structured protocols or routines.

Smith emphasizes the importance of taking a multidimensional approach to athletic development and highlights the need to combine physical, psychological, social, and emotional abilities to create adaptable problem solvers, who can handle chaotic and uncertain situations and know what works best for their bodies. By doing so, athletes can unleash their full potential and excel both on and off the court or field. Learn more from Jamie Smith here: Basketball Athletic Development


Nate Oats

Alabama Head Coach Nate Oats: Revitalizing Alabama Basketball

Alabama Head Coach Nate Oats has made a significant impact on the Crimson Tide basketball program since his arrival. With an impressive coaching record and numerous accomplishments to his name, Oats has brought a new level of success to Alabama. In addition to his coaching prowess, Oats has also provided exclusive access to his practices through the “All-Access Alabama Practice with Nate Oats” series, allowing coaches to get an inside look at his coaching methods and program. In this blog post, we will delve into Oats’ coaching philosophy, his approach to practices, and the importance of competition and accountability in his program.

Oats’ coaching journey has been marked by success and innovation. As a high school coach, he experimented with different styles of play before settling on a four-out, one-in system. This system focused on driving the ball and creating open shots, which became a hallmark of his coaching style. When he transitioned to coaching at the collegiate level, Oats continued to refine and adapt his system, eventually moving towards a five-out system similar to what is seen in the NBA. This change allowed for even more spacing on the court and emphasized the team’s ability to drive to the basket.

One of the key aspects of Oats’ coaching philosophy is the emphasis on offensive efficiency. Despite struggling with three-point shooting in some games, Alabama maintained a high offensive efficiency ranking, thanks to their focus on getting to the rim and drawing fouls. Oats recognized the importance of getting assisted shots at the rim and worked with his players to improve their slashing and cutting skills. This emphasis on driving to the basket and creating high-quality shots led to Alabama’s success on the offensive end.

In addition to their offensive prowess, Alabama’s success can also be attributed to their competitive mindset. Oats believes in creating a competitive environment in practice, where players are encouraged to compete and push each other to improve. He uses various scoring systems and incentives to motivate his players and hold them accountable. Whether it’s sprinting back on defense, pressuring the ball, or communicating effectively, Oats has established non-negotiables that players are expected to adhere to. By instilling a competitive mindset and a strong work ethic, Oats has fostered a winning culture within the program.

End notes:

Oats’ impact on the Alabama basketball program cannot be overstated. His innovative coaching style, emphasis on offensive efficiency, and commitment to competition have revitalized the Crimson Tide and established them as a top collegiate basketball program. Through his “All-Access Alabama Practice with Nate Oats” series, fans have been able to gain valuable insights into his coaching methods and program. As Alabama continues to thrive under Oats’ leadership, it’s clear that the future is bright for the Crimson Tide.

Nate Oats Alabama All Access Practice Series

If you’re a basketball coach looking to take your team to the next level, then you should definitely check out the Nate Oats Alabama All Access Practice Series from Immersion Videos. This series provides exclusive access to one of the best basketball minds in college basketball. You’ll learn the methods that have produced one of the most entertaining styles of play in the game.

Open the doors and get full access to three practices to get an inside look at how Nate Oats runs his practices and program. You’ll learn how to create a dynamic offense, insights into building culture, and how to blend intensity with teaching. This video will give you a full arsenal of ideas to improve your team’s effort, intensity, and scoring. Don’t miss this opportunity to get an all-access look at one of the country’s top offensive coaches in action as his team learns how to be efficient and free-flowing on offense. You can learn more about this series and purchase it at

Basketball Tryouts

Running Effective Basketball Tryouts: A Coach’s Guide

Basketball tryouts are a crucial part of building a successful basketball program. They are an opportunity for coaches to evaluate players and select the best team possible. However, tryouts can be stressful for both coaches and players. It’s not fun to ever cut a player from a basketball team, but it’s a necessary part of the job.

The good news is that basketball tryouts can be fun and engaging, especially when you have creative ideas to work with. In this blog, we will explore some of the most exciting and innovative ideas that coaches can use to run more effective tryouts. From warm-up drills to skills challenges, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started and make tryouts a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved!

Running effective basketball tryouts isn’t just about finding the best, but also about cultivating talent, building a basketball family, and crafting an experience that players, whether they make the team or not, will feel seen. As a coach, it’s your responsibility to run tryouts that are not only fair but also highly effective in identifying the best fit for your program. In this blog, we’ll explore creative ideas to help you conduct a more efficient and comprehensive basketball tryout.

    • Pre-Tryout Evaluation: Before tryouts even begin, consider implementing a pre-tryout evaluation process. Invite potential participants to submit a brief questionnaire or video showcasing their skills and motivations. This can help you identify players with specific attributes or experiences that align with your team’s needs.
    • Skill Assessment Stations: Divide your tryout into skill assessment stations that evaluate various aspects of a player’s game. Include stations for shooting, dribbling, passing, and defensive skills. Assign knowledgeable coaches or former players to oversee each station, providing valuable feedback to participants.
    • 1-on-1 Drills: Introduce 1-on-1 drills to assess a player’s ability to defend and score in one-on-one situations. This can reveal a player’s basketball IQ, as they must make quick decisions on offense and defense. Use these drills to gauge a player’s competitiveness and adaptability.
    • Game Simulations: To assess how players perform in game-like scenarios, organize mini-scrimmages or controlled 5-on-5 games. This allows you to observe how participants handle pressure, communicate with teammates, and execute team strategies.
    • Fitness and Conditioning: Basketball is a physically demanding sport, so don’t neglect the importance of fitness. Include conditioning drills like sprints, agility exercises, and endurance tests to evaluate a player’s overall fitness level. This also helps identify players who are committed to maintaining their physical condition.
    • Basketball IQ Test: Create a written or verbal test that evaluates a player’s understanding of basketball concepts, rules, and strategies. This can help you identify players with a high basketball IQ, which is crucial for effective team play.
    • Character Assessment: Assessing a player’s character is equally important as evaluating their skills. Conduct interviews or have a panel of coaches observe players off the court to gauge their attitude, sportsmanship, and teamwork. Look for players who exhibit leadership qualities and a willingness to learn and grow.
    • Team Building Activities: To assess how players gel as a team, incorporate team-building activities into the basketball tryouts process. This could involve problem-solving challenges, communication exercises, or group discussions on basketball-related topics. These activities can reveal valuable insights into a player’s ability to work with others.
    • Mental Toughness Drills: Basketball is a mentally demanding sport, so include drills that test a player’s mental toughness. These can include free throw shooting contests under pressure, simulated game situations with a dwindling clock, or scenarios designed to test a player’s ability to focus in high-pressure situations.
    • Feedback and Communication: Throughout the tryout process, maintain clear communication with participants. Provide constructive feedback, both during and after the tryout, to help players understand their strengths and areas for improvement. This fosters a culture of growth and development within your program.
    • Guest Coaches or Evaluators: Bring in guest coaches or experienced players to provide fresh perspectives during tryouts. Their insights can offer different viewpoints and enhance the evaluation process.
    • Video Analysis: Record basketball tryouts and use video analysis to review player performances. This can be a valuable tool for identifying nuances that may not be evident during real-time observation.
    • Transparency and Fairness: Above all, ensure transparency and fairness in your tryout process. Clearly communicate the criteria for selection and stick to them. Make decisions based on performance, attitude, and potential rather than personal bias.
    • Second Chance Evaluation: Consider offering a second chance for players who may have had a bad day during initial tryouts. This can help ensure that no talent goes unnoticed due to a single off-day performance.

By implementing these creative ideas, you can run basketball tryouts that are not only effective in identifying talent but also promote growth, teamwork, and a positive culture within your basketball program. Remember that the ultimate goal is to build a strong and cohesive team that can succeed both on and off the court. Good luck with your tryouts,


Slam Dunk Basketball Fundraising for Your Program

You’re a passionate basketball coach, committed to honing your players’ skills, building a championship team, and taking them to the top of the game. But then, there’s that one part of the job that tends to make even the most ardent coaches cringe – basketball fundraising. It’s true; basketball fundraising isn’t usually on the list of a coach’s favorite activities. The endless spreadsheets, phone calls, and bake sales can sometimes feel like they’re taking a fast break in the opposite direction of fun.

But what if we told you that basketball fundraising doesn’t have to be the mundane chore you once imagined? In fact, we’re here to turn the tables on those basketball fundraising blues and show you how to make it an exhilarating slam dunk for you and your team. Yes, you heard that right – fundraising can be FUN!

In this blog, we’re going to unveil a playbook filled with creative, exciting, and downright enjoyable basketball fundraising ideas tailored specifically for coaches. These ideas will not only help you raise the funds your program needs but will also add a new level of excitement to your coaching journey. So, if you’ve ever wished for a fundraising experience that’s more “alley-oop” and less “ho-hum,” keep reading because we’ve got the game plan you’ve been searching for. Let’s get ready to score big on and off the court!

Hoops for Hope Tournament: Organize a “Hoops for Hope” basketball tournament where teams can register and compete for a grand prize. This fundraiser can involve both the players and the community. Invite local businesses to sponsor teams or donate prizes, and charge an entry fee for each participating team. Additionally, have a halftime three-point shootout contest for spectators to join in on the fun.

Basketball-Themed 5K Run: Combine fitness and fundraising by hosting a basketball-themed 5K run. Participants can dress up in their favorite basketball jerseys or costumes and run/walk the course. Charge an entry fee and provide medals or trophies for the winners. Consider offering a post-race basketball shooting contest for additional entertainment.

Slam Dunk-a-Thon: Turn your fundraising event into a dunk extravaganza. Rent a basketball court and invite participants to show off their dunking skills. Set up donation stations around the court where spectators can pledge money for each successful dunk. Players can compete for the highest number of dunks or the most creative dunk.

Skills Camp for Kids: Leverage your coaching expertise by organizing a basketball skills camp for kids in the community. Charge a fee for enrollment and teach young players the fundamentals of the game. Parents will appreciate the opportunity for their children to learn from a qualified coach, and the camp can serve as a great marketing tool for your program.

Basketball Art Auction: Tap into the creative talents of your players and local artists by hosting a basketball-themed art auction. Encourage participants to create basketball-inspired artwork, whether it’s paintings, sculptures, or crafts. Promote the event to art enthusiasts and sports fans alike, and auction off the pieces to raise funds for your program.

Celebrity Basketball Game: Bring some star power from your community to your fundraising efforts by organizing a celebrity basketball game. Invite local celebrities, athletes, or even former players to participate. Sell tickets for the event and offer VIP experiences like meet-and-greets with the celebrities. The excitement of seeing well-known personalities on the court can draw a large crowd.

Basketball-themed Cookbook: Collaborate with players, parents, and supporters to create a basketball-themed cookbook filled with delicious recipes. Include favorites from the team and family recipes, and sell the cookbooks to raise funds. Personalize it with team photos, anecdotes, and basketball-related stories to make it even more special.

Basketball-themed Movie Night: Host an outdoor movie night at your school or a local park, featuring a classic basketball film like “Hoosiers” or “Space Jam.” Sell tickets, popcorn, and concessions to attendees. Consider incorporating a halftime skills showcase or a mini basketball game during intermission.

Online Merchandise Store: Create an online merchandise store with customized basketball-themed apparel, accessories, and memorabilia. Promote the store within your community and among fans of the sport. A portion of the proceeds from each sale can go towards your program.

Basketball Freethrow-thon: Challenge your players to a freethrow-thon where they seek pledges for every successful free throw they make. Set up a designated time and location for the event, and encourage supporters to come and cheer for the players. This not only raises funds but also allows your players to improve their free throw shooting skills.

3-Point Contest: Organize a 3-point contest where participants compete to make the most 3-point shots within a certain time frame. You can charge an entry fee and offer prizes to the winners.

Basketball Marathon: Host a basketball marathon where players play basketball continuously for 24 hours. You can ask people to sponsor each hour of play or make a flat donation.

Basketball Auction: Host a basketball auction where you auction off items such as signed basketballs, jerseys, and other memorabilia. You can also auction off experiences such as meeting with players or attending games.

Basketball Raffle: Sell raffle tickets and offer prizes such as autographed basketballs, jerseys, and other memorabilia.

Basketball Skills Challenge: Host a basketball skills challenge where participants compete in various skills such as dribbling, shooting, and passing. You can charge an entry fee and offer prizes to the winners.

Basketball Trivia Night: Host a basketball trivia night where participants answer questions related to basketball. You can charge an entry fee and offer prizes to the winners.

Basketball Car Wash: Host a car wash where players wash cars in exchange for donations. Choose a location that is easily accessible and has plenty of space for cars to line up.

Basketball Bake Sale: Host a bake sale where players bake and sell goods such as cookies, cakes, and brownies. Promote the event through social media, flyers, and word of mouth. Encourage players to invite their friends and family.

Basketball Movie Night: Host a movie night where you show basketball movies such as “Space Jam” or “Hoosiers”. You can charge an entry fee and sell snacks.

Basketball Game Night: Host a game night where participants play basketball-related games such as “HORSE” or “Around the World”. You can charge an entry fee and offer prizes to the winners.

Basketball Photo Shoot: Offer photo shoots with players in their uniforms or with props related to basketball.

Basketball Silent Auction: Host a silent auction where you display items such as signed basketballs, jerseys, and other memorabilia. Participants write down their bids on sheets of paper next to each item.

Basketball Scavenger Hunt: Host a scavenger hunt where participants search for items related to basketball around town. One example might be to create a list of basketball trivia questions and hide the answers around the playing area. Players must find the answers to all the questions to win. Another example could be to create a list of basketball-related items that players must find and take a photo with. The first team to find all the items and take photos wins.


Raising money for your basketball program doesn’t have to be limited to traditional methods. By getting creative and engaging your community, you can find innovative ways to support your team’s needs while fostering a sense of unity and excitement among players and supporters alike. Whether it’s through unique events, merchandise, or collaborations with local celebrities, these creative fundraising ideas will help your basketball program reach new heights. So, lace up your sneakers, gather your team, and slam dunk your way to fundraising success!

basketball timeouts

Mastering the Art of Basketball Timeouts

Basketball timeouts are an essential part of coaching, and they can be used to great effect if managed correctly. Timeouts play a crucial role in strategizing and guiding the team towards success. However, running an effective timeout requires more than just a well-thought-out plan. It demands effective communication and an understanding of the your players, and their needs in the moment. In this blog post, we will delve into the types of communication and strategies that can make a timeout truly impactful.

Timeouts in basketball are more than just a pause in the game; they are crucial strategic tools that can turn the tide in close matches. To harness their full potential, coaches and players must anticipate and employ them wisely. In this blog post, we’ll explore the art of timeouts and how to make the most of them for your team’s success.

The Importance of Timeout Management

Timeouts are primarily used for strategic purposes, and they can make or break a game, especially during nail-biting moments. When a timeout is called, players should swiftly make their way to the bench.

Timeouts should be divided into two segments. The first part should be dedicated to players for hydration, towel refreshment, and other personal needs. In the final part, all focus should shift to the coach’s instructions. Players should remain alert and attentive to any changes and adjustments discussed.


During basketball timeouts, effective communication is key. Ensure that all players make eye contact and are actively listening before speaking. It’s also essential to maintain order – only one person should speak at a time. Too many voices can be distracting and counterproductive. In timeouts, it’s not uncommon to witness multiple coaches addressing different players simultaneously, so coordination is paramount.

Given that players often remember very little from timeouts, it’s advisable to keep adjustments and changes simple, limiting them to one to three key points at most. Additionally, don’t expect your team to successfully execute anything entirely new that hasn’t been practiced beforehand.

Before we delve into the intricacies of running effective basketball timeouts, let’s first explore the various types of communication that coaches employ.

    • Verbal Communication: Verbal communication involves talking and listening. During timeouts, coaches convey instructions, strategies, and motivational words to their players. It is essential to find the right balance between being assertive and supportive in order to engage the team effectively.
    • Non-Verbal Communication: Non-verbal communication, often the most powerful form of communication, encompasses body language, gestures, and facial expressions. Coaches must be aware of their own body language and how it impacts the team. In today’s era, where athletes respond differently to aggressive communication, adopting a more positive and encouraging approach can yield better results.
    • Written Communication: Coaches often utilize written communication during timeouts. Whether it’s writing plays on a whiteboard or conveying specific instructions, the clarity of the message is paramount. It is crucial to ensure that players understand the symbols and diagrams used, as misinterpretation can lead to confusion and mistakes.
    • Visual Communication: Visual communication involves what players see. Coaches use whiteboards to illustrate plays and strategies. However, it is vital to ascertain whether players truly comprehend the visual cues presented. Taking the time to explain and confirm understanding can prevent misunderstandings and enhance the effectiveness of visual communication.

Here are some tips on how to run effective basketball timeouts:

    • Plan ahead: Practice timeouts in practice. Run through timeout strategy with your assistant coaches in advance of games. Anticipate and plan for specific opponents for potential timeout strategies. Have a game plan sheet that keeps your focused about possible interventions.
    • Communicate effectively: During the timeout, make sure you communicate your message clearly and concisely to your players. Use a whiteboard or clipboard to draw up plays and show your players where they need to be positioned on the court.
    • Adjustments: Use timeouts seems like an opportunity to make adjustments, and while yes that is true, it’s also a time to help players understand how to do what you are doing better. Change is sometimes necessary but more often than not the best strategy is to get your players to do what you do better.  Of course if something isn’t working, use the timeout to communicate a new strategy.
    • Emotions: Emotional control and consistency in the way you communicate in timeouts is important.  It’s important to stay in the moment during timeouts, even if things aren’t going according to plan. Your players will look to you for guidance, so it’s important to remain composed and focused on solutions, rather than problems.


By mastering basketball timeouts management and communication, you can elevate your team’s performance and increase your chances of victory. So, remember, it’s not just about stopping the clock; it’s about seizing the opportunity to strategize, adapt, and succeed. It requires skillful communication and adapting to game situations and emotions. Understanding the needs of players can help coaches tailor their instructions and engage the team effectively. By combining effective communication and catering to individual needs, coaches can maximize the impact of timeouts, leading their teams to success.

Tobin Anderson

The Pressing Defense System of Tobin Anderson

Tobin Anderson is a basketball coach who has been known to use his pressing defense system to great success. This tactic involves applying pressure on the opposing team’s ball handlers to force turnovers and create scoring opportunities. Anderson’s coaching career has been quite successful, with his teams winning several championships and making it to the NCAA tournament multiple times. In fact, the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights, recently pulled off a stunning upset against Purdue in the tournament, becoming only the second #16 seed to ever defeat a #1 seed in the tournament. Now that we have an idea of Anderson’s success, let’s dive deeper into the pressing defense strategy and how it has helped him achieve such great results.

Anderson discussed his pressing system and the importance of turnover margin in his team’s success. He also talked about the influence of Rick Pitino and other coaches in developing his pressing system. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into Coach Anderson’s pressing system, exploring the teaching points for both on-ball and off-ball defenders, the importance of defensive decision-making, and the strategies for confusing opponents. We will also discuss the role of the backcourt players and the recovery aspect of the press.

On-Ball Defense

Coach Anderson emphasizes the importance of on-ball pressure in his pressing system. He wants his players to be aggressive and make it difficult for opponents to pass and dissect the press. However, he also cautions against pressuring too much and getting beat easily. The on-ball defenders are instructed to stay open to the ball, not denying the pass inbounds, and being square to the ball handler. The goal is to make the opponent go hard and put pressure on them to make quick decisions.

Defensive Decision-Making

In Coach Anderson’s pressing system, defensive decision-making is crucial. Players need to know when to trap, when to rotate, and when to stunt. They must be instinctive and have a good feel for the game. Coach Anderson encourages his players to be active, foot-faking, and ready to rotate when necessary. The players in the backcourt need to be smart and not lose their man. They must understand their role in the press and make the right decisions based on the situation.

Confusing Opponents

One of the key aspects of Coach Anderson’s pressing system is to confuse opponents. He wants his press to be unpredictable, making it difficult for opponents to know when and where the trap will come. By using match-up oriented concepts, Coach Anderson’s press can resemble both a zone press and a man press, creating confusion for the opposing team. The press is designed to dare opponents to beat them over the top, while also shrinking the court and forcing them to go sideline.

Off-Ball Defense

Off-ball defenders, especially the backcourt players, play a crucial role in Coach Anderson’s pressing system. They need to be active, foot-faking, and ready to rotate when necessary. The backcourt players are instructed to be uphill, up the line, and take away the direct pass. On the weak side, they should come over to the midline and dare opponents to throw the diagonal cross-court pass. The off-ball defenders need to be engaged, communicate, and be in position to make plays.

Recovery Aspect

In Coach Anderson’s pressing system, the recovery aspect is vital. Even if the opponent breaks the press, the defense is not out of the press. Players need to recover quickly, get back to their spots, and play half-court defense. The goal is to prevent layups, threes, and fouls, and get back to playing five-on-five basketball. The recovery aspect requires players to be disciplined, communicate, and make quick adjustments.


Coach Tobin Anderson’s pressing system has been a key factor in his success. By emphasizing on-ball pressure, defensive decision-making, confusion, and recovery, Coach Anderson has created a formidable pressing system. His players are taught to be aggressive, smart, and adaptable, making it difficult for opponents to handle the press. Through practice, game-based play, and video analysis, Coach Anderson’s players develop the necessary skills and instincts to excel in the pressing system.

Tobin Anderson Pressing System All Access Series

If you’re a basketball coach looking to take your team’s defense to the next level, then you should definitely check out the Tobin Anderson Pressing System All Access Series from Immersion Videos. This series provides exclusive access to one of the best basketball minds in college basketball. You’ll learn the methods that have produced one of the most effective pressing defenses in the game.

Open the doors and get full access to three practices to get an inside look at how Tobin Anderson runs his practices and program. You’ll learn how to create a dynamic defense, insights into building culture, and how to blend intensity with teaching. This video will give you a full arsenal of ideas to improve your team’s effort, intensity, and defense. Don’t miss this opportunity to get an all-access look at one of the country’s top defensive coaches in action as his team learns how to be efficient and aggressive on defense. You can learn more about this series and purchase it at