My interest in simplifying came after reading "The One Thing" and "Essentialism". I don't know if this is a blessing or a curse, but everytime I read or watch something it's done through the eyes of a basketball coach. My natural instinct is to ask, "How can I apply these principles to basketball?"
First, I am not suggesting that the game of basketball is simple. The game of basketball is actually complex. I needed to recognize the complexity of basketball and plan my practices accordingly.
Create a practice environment that develops quality decision makers.
Use games that are centered around "Perception - Action Coupling".
Use games/drills that will have the most "bang for our buck".
I had to make serious adjustments to the drills we were using. For more details on how to structure practice, dig through the following basketball specific websites:
John Leonzo Basketball
Learn to Coach Basketball
Research on the topics above can be overwhelming. We need to get back to the topic of simplifying. What are some things we can do to meet those practice priorities? Reduce our drills to the ones that involve players making their own decisions. We need to throw out the drills where the coach dictates every action. Use defenders with every drill. Make our drills more random. Basically, use a games based approach. Use games that are easy for your players to understand. Find 3 - 5 games that meet the standards above. Instead of spending your time finding new drills/games, look for ways to make slight adjustments your core activities.
I love ideas like this. I appreciate Mike's article because it made me really think about the most important skills. I encourage everyone to write down their own list. Then look for ways to reduce your list to the essential items. (More on that later)
How can we apply #SimplifyingBasketball to our game strategies? Let's focus on what to run on offense. Sadly, I can't even guess how much time I have wasted over the last 12 years stressing over what my offense my team was going to run. It's actually really embarrassing. That has been my biggest worry throughout the years. Looking back, I spent so much time on decisions that were not gonna make that big of a difference.
We now operate on a series of principles.
Coach Collins is 100% correct. The offensive style you choose needs to cover the three points listed above.
I would also add:
Simplifying Team Strategies
For every phase of coaching basketball, (practice drills/games, skills, transition, man offense, zone offense, press offense, trap offense, defense, BLOB, SLOB, special situations, strength and conditioning, movement skills, etc.) I believe strongly that every coach should take the time to write a list. Start each list with the most basic aspect of each phase and work your way through all the things you could teach your players. Number your list straight down and see how high you can get. Then the real magic happens. Take each list and reduce it down to the essentials. Keep asking yourself, "What are the things that matter the most?". See how far you can reduce the lists. Review your lists regularly to keep you focused on the things that will make the biggest impact. Reduce. Eliminate. Simplify.