Players and coaches should have a thorough understanding of the solutions to the many problems which may arise during a basketball season. Listed below are a number of such situations.
1. What is the proper method of covering a shooter after a long shot? Do not turn your head to follow the flight of the ball. Make a quarter-turn and work in toward the basket with the shooter; meanwhile keeping yourself between him and the basket.
2. Do you think it safe to relax on defense after you have lost possession of the ball? No, because if a team uses a fast break, you will not be able to keep the play in front of you. The defense should return to their defensive positions as soon as possible after the ball changes hands. If any relaxing is to take place it should be done while you are waiting for the offense to arrive. This is the only time to rest, not while you are moving down the court.
3. Do you approve of batting or slapping a ball which bounds off the defensive basket? No, it is a dangerous habit to develop and may cause you to lose a ball game. The ball may be deflected into the hands of an opponent for an easy shot and a quick two points.
4. When scheduled to play two games per week, how many scrimmages do you hold between games? If games are played on Tuesdays and Fridays, I would hold a stiff scrimmage on Monday because of long layoff between Friday night's game and Monday's practice. A light practice would be scheduled for Wednesday. Thursday would be devoted to drills and shooting practice followed by five to ten minutes of scrimmage. Scrimmaging too often and for long periods of time can make a team too sluggish during games. Basketball methods can be taught by means other than a scrimmage.
5. Is it wise to permit your players to witness other teams in action during the playing season? I would encourage the boys to see other teams in action provided it did not interfere with their studies and rest. If possible, they should try to see the better teams play. A study of their future opponents in action should prove valuable. It will give them a chance to observe their opponents' strong, and weak points.
6. Which style of foul shot do you recommend? I do not recommend any particular type of foul shot, but I do encourage the boys to use the shooting style that feels most comfortable to them. Once they have chosen a particular type of shooting approach and have become quite successful with it, they are discouraged from using any other type of shot.
7. What is the best way to cover the foul shooter defensively after he has taken his shot? As soon as the ball touches either the rim or backboard, the player assigned to cover the shooter should immediately jump into the lane directly in front of his opponent, facing the basket. He must position himself so that the shooter is unable to get any rebound. If, however, the opposition does get possession of the ball, the guard must turn immediately to follow the shooter. This must be done quickly to prevent the opposition from getting a return pass and a good shot at the basket.
8. Do you recommend use of the backboard for shooting? We use the backboard for lay-up shots from the sides and for shots either six or eight feet from the basket. Shots in front of the basket are completed without the use of the backboard. All long shots, whether shot from the front of the basket or from the corners, should be aimed at the front part of the rim. Foul shots should be made without the use of the board.
9. What are some of the most important things to observe when scouting a team? What kind of an offense do they use? Do they use the weave? Do they use the pivot play? Do they use set plays? Are they smart and aggressive as a ball club? Do they use the fast break? Is the team big? Do they shoot well from the outside? What are their jump-ball formations, out-of-bounds plays, foul-shooting alignments? What type of defense do they use? Do the players get back to defensive position fast? Is an all-court press used? Are they aggressive on defense? Do they rebound well defensively? What are the strong and weak points of each player? Who is their top scorer? Is he a good set shooter? Is he a good jump shot? Is he a good foul shooter?
10. How does a man cover two offensive men coming down the floor? You must stay in the center of the floor between the two men coming down whenever possible, feint in the direction of one player and keep the other player guarded at the same time. Do not leave the middle of the court. Keep your hands up and retreat gradually. This is a difficult situation, but bear in mind if a shot is taken try to make them shoot from the outside; do not let them get in for a lay-up shot!
11. What is the best method of feeding a player who is cutting for the basket? Always make your pass ahead of the runner and time it so that he does not have to break his speed in order to catch the ball. The type of pass to be used will depend on the distance the ball must travel. If you are close to the man cutting, a two-handed chest pass is most desirable. If a long pass has to be made, a sharp one-handed wrist pass or a bounce pass is recommended. Whichever pass is used, do not throw it too hard.
12. Some players shoot at the basket with a great deal of spin on the ball; others shoot with what we call a "dead" (no-spin) ball. Which do you recommend? I have always advocated the spin shot, since a spinning ball has a much better chance of finding its target than a dead ball. A dead ball must be absolutely true or it will hit the rim and bounce away. However, a spinning ball may hit the rim, hit it again, and drop through the hoop.
13. If one of your starting players has three personal fouls charged against him in the second quarter, is it wise to keep him in the game? Such a decision would depend a great deal on the score at the time he committed his third personal foul. If the game was close, I would remove him from action to save him for the second half. If we were far behind, I would let him stay in the game. Some coaches will immediately remove a player who picks up three personal fouls; others will not take him out unless the score is very close to the end of the first half. Other coaches also believe in leaving a player in regardless of his fouls. They feel that a boy does not play as well after sitting and cooling off on the bench.
14. What do you tell your players during the half-tune intermission? I have our managers chart the shots taken by the players of both teams. Working with the score book, I create a good picture of what happened during the first half. The shooting chart tells us where our opponents are hitting and enables us to make any needed defensive adjustments. I tell our players how many personal fouls they have committed and the number on each of our opponents. I check the number of points each opponent scored, and offer suggestions as to how we can stop the leading scorer. They are told the number of time-outs we have taken. We then go over our offense and defense and make any necessary adjustments.
15. What would you instruct your team to do when the score is tied and you have the ball with two minutes to go? I would instruct them to move the ball around carefully looking only for the sure shot. No long shots are allowed in this situation. A lost ball followed by a chance shot has spelled defeat for many a team. It is advisable to give the ball to the player who can drive well for that last shot.
16. If one of your regulars is off form in his shooting and passing at the start of a game, would you permit him to continue or would you substitute another player? I would let him stay in the game until he has a chance to get thoroughly warmed-up; if he shows no sign of improvement then it may become necessary to take him out of the game. It's not a good policy to have your players worried about making mistakes in fear that they will be taken out of the game. Coaches who make a practice of removing players from the game because they do not make a good start, place their boys under too much pressure. If a player has been doing a good job in the past, there is no reason to believe that he will not straighten himself out. The less pressure you put on a boy, the better he will perform.