The Importance of Being Assertive

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Last week, I got the chance to visit TCU and attend their coaching clinic.  Head women’s basketball coach, Raegan Pebley, spent about an hour teaching her ’21’ defense.  If you’re not familiar with it, it puts a great deal of pressure on the point guard and the wings.  Obviously, you love to create turnovers on defense and this does a good deal of that, but moreso, the opposing offense either has to push the ball in order to stop TCU from getting set up, or they need to alter their normal offensive sets in order to find and exploit the open spots.

One of the many things I wrote down while she spoke was you have to allow your players to be assertive because it’s easier for everyone else to adjust if everyone is going hard.  The worst thing you can do is to just float from one area of the court to another because no one knows what they need to cover.  But if you go flying at the wing, it becomes very clear to everyone who’s open and where the defense needs to rotate.  At that point, it’s a matter of communicating to make sure the offense can’t take advantage.

Further, it can be extended to offense.  How much do you hate it when a player starts to cut and then stops but the ball is already in the air and it just bounces out of bounds?  Maybe the cut wouldn’t have led to an open layup but the ball almost certainly would still be in bounds.

So if you’re looking at your stats from last season, and your assist and turnover percentages on either side of the ball don’t look like you want them to, teaching a little assertiveness may go a long way.