It's been a while since I've written about the System (See #13 and #39), but I thought it was time to address it again because I continue to get calls and emails about it every week.
I've taken on an Assistant Varsity position at my local high school this season, and although the Head Coach is not running the System, he still very much wants the boys to get out and run and attack. We focus a lot of our time and energy on competitive 5 on 5 scrimmaging. Now this is far from my personal coaching/teaching philosophy, but it has been pleasant teaching in that environment because I get to work in the moment and help correct issues that I see on the fly.
With that said, it is impossible to have a great System team or program spending 75% of your practice scrimmaging. Here is the big reason why:
Repetition Deficit: Muhammad Ali articulated the power of this better than anything I have ever read (See quote above). The System works when players know what to do, how to do it, believe in it, and completely sacrifice for it. If you have ever coached a teenager, you know that all of those things are great challenges, but trying to accomplish them all can be near impossible without the right purpose and consistency of focus. They must drill the fundamentals over and over and over until the belief in what you are teaching becomes a "deep conviction." The more they get sick of it, the harder they will work to prove to you that they get it and can be great at it. That means shorter drills that are more effective and solution-based.
In the system, there are 4 major things that need to be taught in theory, then on the court in slow motion, then in breakdown parts, then in full parts, and then in scrimmage every single day.
1. Inbounds/Outlets: You must practice everything from the blockout, footwork, how to take the ball out of the net, and how to get out of bounds efficiently every single day. If the inbounder and the point guard know exactly where the ball is going and always expect it to be in the right place at the right time, you can very quickly change the course of a game with easy buckets before a defense can react.
Press? Deny the PG? Pressure the inbounder, you say? Of course, so you must practice how to get the ball inbounds quickly against each of those situations daily. Every coach will come up with some strategy to slow you down. Get your kids prepared for it and ready to execute against it and the other team's coach will spend the rest of the game talking to themselves.
2. Lane Running/Shooting off the Catch: If you are going to put 5-10 minutes daily into getting the ball inbounds quickly, you have to make sure you are giving equal time to getting your players in shape and teaching them where to be to catch the second pass. No, not to catch and get into the offense, but to catch and score. I want my best shooter running the right side of the floor to wing/corner every possession make or miss, and I want my best athlete/attacker running the left side of the floor. My best offensive rebounder runs the the opposite FT lane of the PG. My second-best 3pt shooter/second best rebounder/best all-around player must take the ball out of bounds and trail the point guard about 4-5 steps behind and 15-20 feet to the opposite side. Practice, practice, practice. My guys can score 15 points in 5 possessions down and back in :26 seconds in the full-court 5 v 0 drill we run daily.
3. Offensive Rebounding: Yes, the key to winning games in the System is keeping the tempo high for 32/40 minutes. However, if you don't teach how to crash the boards to create 20-30 additional possessions per game, the other team will end up dominating you.
So, how do you teach offensive rebounding. You must focus on teaching kids how to read the shot, the angle, the odds of where it will rebound to, how to seal a defensive player away from those odds, and how to finish or kick it to a shooter when they get it.
We do this through serious half-court, full-court and individual breakdown drills. The key is making sure that your 3-4-5 understand it is their responsibility to create 80% of those second chances and get them to buy-in to how they can fill-up a box score with the right, "crazy" aggressive approach to going to get the ball.
4. Trapping: How else do you create more possessions? You guessed it...STEALS! Please stress to your players that it is not the steals on the ball that create extra possessions. It is the steals OFF the ball that create them. The more the trappers try and "steal" the ball, the more fouls you will create. The more the trappers work to deflect the ball and create long, looping, lobbing passes, the more the guys behind them will be able to get the ball back.
The most important thing you can teach your kids about trapping is that trapping is a two-part experience: one guy must guard the player with the ball with the same attitude they have in the half court ("he will not get passed me"); the second guy is the trapper forcing the ball-handler into only one direction to attack allowing the "defender" to better defend that direction. Of course, being big, long and physical are important without reaching, but to get them to buy-into the one-guy defends and one-guy traps mentality will change whatever press you run for the better forever!
Happy Running and Merry Christmas! Give me a call if you want help walking through drills of this nature.
Coach Matt Rogers
Phone: (312) 610-6045
Phone: (312) 610-6045
Matt Rogers is a 20-year high school and college coach veteran. He has led two teams to the NCAA National Tournament and one team to High School State Championship. His teams hold numerous school and one NCAA record. He has mentored and coached players at every level while serving as an athletics administrator at the high school and NCAA levels. He has helped numerous players continue their careers at the professional level. He currently is the Head National Scout/Recruiting Specialist for NCSA - Next College Student Athlete where he has helped thousands of young men and women from around the world achieve their dreams of playing at the college level. Coach presently lives in the Denver, CO area with his wife of 19 years and his two children.
To request Coach Rogers to speak at your school or event, you can reach him through any of his contact information above.