In Part 1 I discussed many of the schemes/plays that are commonly run and how they are usually referred to.
Signaling the Players Involved
During Stan Van Gundy’s lecture that I mentioned in Part 1, he briefly described one aspect of his play call scheme with his elbow series. He uses the terms “In” and “Out” when calling a pick & roll. If he calls “Out”, that is the signal for the 4 man to set the pick. Conversely, if he calls “In” the 5 man will set the pick. For example, if Coach Van Gundy calls “1 Out”, this is a side pick & roll that the 4 man sets for the 1. If he called “3 In”, that would be a pick & roll in which the 5 sets the pick for 3 to come off.
Similar to Coach Van Gundy, I like to incorporate the position number in my play calls whenever I can. Not only does it help designate a “go-to” player for the action, but it is also makes it easier for the players to process a 1-5 middle pick & roll called “15” rather than calling it something like “Minnesota”. Some coaches may argue that the opponent players and coaches will pick up on this and make it easier to sniff out the plays. My opinion is this, your opponent should know (some) calls anyway through scouting. However, as long as you execute your plays with precision this should not be a concern. Make the defense prove they can stop your play(s) on a consistent basis.
One very important thing that I learned through my experience at the University of Florida and being mentored by my good friends at Coaching U is to ALWAYS be prepared and active during games. Too often I get frustrated while watching basketball games on television or in person and I see assistant coaches sitting court-side barking out orders, empty-handed.
The National Basketball Association is the highest level of basketball in the world and is composed of the BEST coaches in the world. One thing I have picked up on in the last couple of years is that you will rarely see an NBA Assistant sitting court-side without a notepad or “book” in their hands. (I call them books because they can become quite thick). They are full of past game notes, scouting reports, play diagrams and play call sheets. Additionally, you will also see them constantly make notes throughout the game on a notepad. So, if the BEST coaches in the world do it, why don’t you? Is it an ego thing, what is it?