#1 Mistake Basketball Coaches Make

Finding a player's natural moves and movements

As either a player or coach we see the latest “hot move” or “special offense” and how it slowly implements into the game. Some coaches might remember the season after 2003 (Syracuse won the title) - suddenly every team was trying to implement more 2-3 zone into their defensive strategy. If only we all had a back line of 6’7 and above. It is only natural to see what works for others and apply it for our own use. That may not always be the best thing to do for a player or a team.

When I am looking to improve players at the highest level, I first begin by watching film on them. I want to see their natural movements, strengths, and weaknesses. Most importantly, I like to see what they do under the heat of the moment or under pressure. That usually shows their natural instincts and what they lean towards doing majority of the time.

From there, my mind suddenly starts to see other players that look similar to them and are successful. However, it may just be parts of other players that I would like them to see and implement. I then gather video of the respected player and show them situations they are in and how they could improve by doing more of X or Y. I then pull video from those successful players and they can see how in those same exact situations, the skills/moves used by those players to be more efficient.


In my latest breakdown of a foreign pro, who I believe has the potential to be in the NBA, I noticed his finishing on pick and rolls were not always as fluid as they should be. I noticed two players that he could implement their skills into his game and would make him more efficient. Draymond Green and his amazing ability to finish off one foot, either going left or right and extending for layups. Draymond also has an amazing ability of getting to that space on one dribble on the P&R catch, making him very efficient. So from there we would implement these situations/skills into the player’s game through their workouts.

The 2nd player I showed him was Joel Embid and his amazing ability of ball faking. Who knew that Joel Embid as big as he is, ball fakes almost every time near the rim? Implementing both of these basic skills is going to improve this player and make him more efficient on finishing the play- this is important because he sets amazing screens!

I know my title referred to a mistake, but my theory is you need to really analyze the player you have or team before just implementing something. I suggest to not teach a player a move that worked for you as a player, or a move that works for another player, it may not be natural to them. In the same breath, just because a team runs a certain offense does not mean it is best for your team.


On to another player that I broke down, where he needs to improve finishing. I saw in clips that he used a floater sparingly, but it looks very unnatural. I actually recommended he get rid of using the floater in his game completely. Now, in today’s time where it’s the “hot move” one might think I am crazy, however, just remember one of the greatest basketball players of all time never used a floater, Kobe.

Concepts to Consider

Although I did not recommend a floater for a certain player, it does not mean I don’t love the floater. The floater is a practiced skill that takes time to develop and there are some details to teaching it. Let’s get to my concept to consider: As a coach, should we be teaching floaters with both the right and left hand? I always believed you had to use both, then I have been watching Trae Young. He might have the best floater of all time.

Did you know that Trae only uses his right hand for floaters, even when he has a defender on his right hip. Trae has really caused me to think if I can help a player become more effieicent, maybe it’s best to just teach using your strong hand only when using the floater. What do you think, is this a better idea?

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Stay the course and persevere - Coach Sullivan