I’d always heard of football coaches scripting out their first 5 or 10 plays of a game, but it’s not something I’d heard of basketball coaches doing. However, when I met up with frequent Basketball Coach Weekly contributor Justin Duke (author of 46 Winning Warm-Ups), who says he sometimes scripts his first few plays to help build confidence.
He said his squad last season was “offensively challenged”. Duke wanted them to have confidence entering the game knowing exactly what play they were going to run. Plus, if the plays are successful, you now have a few buckets on the board to start the game and set yourself up for a better chance at victory.
Jeff Staser, who previously coached in the smallest division in Illinois (and compiled a 97-26 record in his four years on the bench), says he always scripted the first three plays of every game. Here is his reasoning:
“Each play was for me to learn how they were going to defend certain screens, which gave me info for late-game situations on what might work. I also wanted my team to gain confidence in executing.
“In addition, I would run a defense, which was totally different than what they would have practiced for us. (Our typical defense) used a 2-3 zone trying to emulate Syracuse while also adding half-court traps. So, we always went with man for two possessions or another zone to get the other team out of rhythm. Maybe the other team would have to burn a time-out or the ball ended up in a non-shooter’s hands.”
Do you normally plan out the first few plays of your game? Do you think it’s an advantage to be prepared or do you think basketball is too unpredictable for this to be an effective strategy?