Now that practice is upon us, a timely topic to cover is how often and why we stop practice to teach. Certainly those are two loaded questions because practice gives us the many teaching opportunities that we need to prepare our teams.
In a number of previous articles here on Hoop Coach, we asked coaches where they stood on various spectrums. One such spectrum was the number of players a coach has crashing the offensive boards. If the answer was four, offensive rebounding likely thrived and transition defense likely suffered. If the answer was one player going to the offensive glass, rebounding likely suffered and transition defense was likely good.
So too does a spectrum exist on stopping practice to teach. At one end, you have the coach who rarely stops practice and lets his players play through everything. At the other end of the spectrum, you have the coach who regularly stops practice to correct and teach.
Like all spectrums, where one stands isn’t necessarily a matter of being right or wrong; it simply becomes a matter of philosophy and one’s approach to the game. The advantage of stopping regularly, of course, is a probable increase in execution efficiency. On the flip side, the advantage of letting players play through mistakes is players will learn to play through all the unexpected and unplanned things that happen in games. It simply becomes a matter of WHEN a coach wants to review-at the precise moment of the error or later in a general review.
Obviously, I’m not referencing drill work here as much as I am 5 on 5 play. Personally, I believe I erred on the side of too much stoppage and if I had to do it over, I would stop play less and do more reviewing later.
I’m not advocating one approach over another or even that there should be balance as much as I’m suggesting that coaches should self-evaluate before they get too deep into the season and lose that opportunity. For coaches who aren’t exactly sure where they stand philosophically on this topic, maybe it’s a good time to experiment-emphasizing one approach one day and the other the next day.