Rebounding Squad - The Animals
Rebounding Squad - "The Animals"

Coaching: Know Your Best Teams for Specific Situations

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Your starting lineup may not be your best team for certain game situations. Here are several basketball examples:

  1. When breaking an opposing full-court press, you may want a group of smaller, quicker ballhandlers.
  2. When you want the best half-court defense, you might call on larger athletes who may not be great scoring threats.
  3. When you need to cut a deficit in a hurry, the best lineup might include smaller three-point shooters, a passer and one or two big inside players.
  4. When guarding a lead at the end of the game, you want ballhandlers and good foul shooters.

The fact is, different players have different strengths, and the synergy between certain players makes them more effective in combination in certain situations.

Identify Your Special Teams

As a coach, you should identify which groupings of players are more effective in these special situations. You can record them on a game sheet to save time and eliminate indecision during the stress of competition.

Team Nicknames
You could even identify these special lineups with a nickname and have them work in practice as a group. Your pressing team could be the “Weasels,”, your best rebounders, the “Animals,” the fast break team, the “Greyhounds,” etc.

1. Morgan Wooten, Coaching Basketball Successfully, Human Kinetics Publishers, 1992.
2. Sherry Winn and Rachel Pike, Coaching for Success: Mental Magic to Trick your Athletes into Winning, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014.

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© 2014, Physical Education,

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