Get Your Team Ready For The Stretch Run! By Michael Podoll, Managing Editor

EDITOR’s NOTE: The following article is a continuation from an article that appeared in the February 2004 issue of Winning Hoops (page 4). To order this issue or to become a subscriber to Winning Hoops double-click the “Subscribe” button at the top of the page.

IN WHAT HAS become a popular yearly tradition in our February issue Winning Hoops brings you game-tested tournament tips and ideas from some of the best coaching minds in the world.

This exclusive annual feature will help you prepare your team for the rigors of post-season tournament competition.


“Run short intense practices. At this time in the season it’s important motivate your second team to play harder than ever.”

“Have quick starts to your practices not long leisurely ones. Keep your “coach-talk” to a minimum and make the players do most of the communicating during these practices. Get them out of the gym FAST after practice.”

Dick Bennett Head Mens Coach Washington State University Pullman Wash.


“Here in Canada our boys’ Provincial Championships are a weekend event. After coming to the end of a long regular-season schedule league finals and regional playoffs if we are still in a position to compete in the championships we prepare just as hard during this week as with any other game.

“One season however my assistant asked if I’d consider taking Wednesday off during this week of preparation to give the kids a physical and mental rest before our final Thursday practice. After some hesitation we finally tried it. Without telling the players we worked really hard Monday and Tuesday and then surprised them with an off-day that Wednesday. We came back and worked on fine-tuning things on Thursday. As our team left for the championships that season the kids were rested morale was high and we came home with a tournament championship! Is taking a key practice day off risky? Very. But since then we’ve been to the championships each season and have instituted this ‘day-off’ into our preparation plans with continued success.”

Gib Hinz Head Boys Coach Caronport High School Caronport Saskatchewan Canada


“Spend extra time on special situations at practices. Many playoff games come down to one or two critical offensive or defensive possessions. Your team will be better prepared to handle these situations if you have recently practiced them.”

Dave Fuhrman Boys Varsity Coach Bradford Area High School Bradford Pa.


“When the post-season approaches ‘normalcy’ is the key. Prepare for the games as you would any other. Don’t underplay or overstate the importance of the upcoming events. The goal is to win the whole thing so celebrating the first win as if it is the championship exhausts critical emotion that your team will need at the end. Play the game one possession at a time.”

Carolyn Peck Head Womens Coach University of Florida Gainesville Fla.


“If you’re going to use a press in the tournament it’s important that you spend time working on the press and you should do some pressing in the final games of the regular season. You need to be ready to press if you get down in the post-season and have no other options. And if you aren’t ready then it’s game over ó and season over!”

Eddie Andrist Head Mens Coach University of Wisconsin óStout Menomonie Wis.


“Prior to the tournament make time to fine-tune your offense and set plays. Execution is the critical key that time of year. More importantly make sure that everyone ó including the coaches ó has fun!”

Kristy Curry Head Womens Coach Purdue University Lafayette Ind.


“When the post-season approaches ‘normalcy’ is the key. Prepare for the games as you would any other. Don’t underplay or overstate the importance of the upcoming events. The goal is to win the whole thing so celebrating the first win as if it is the championship exhausts critical emotion that your team will need at the end. Play the game one possession at a time.”

Carolyn Peck Head Womens Coach University of Florida Gainesville Fla.


“If you’re going to use a press in the tournament it’s important that you spend time working on the press and you should do some pressing in the final games of the regular season. You need to be ready to press if you get down in the post-season and have no other options. And if you aren’t ready then it’s game over ó and season over!”

Eddie Andrist Head Mens Coach University of Wisconsin óStout Menomonie Wis.


“Prior to the tournament make time to fine-tune your offense and set plays. Execution is the critical key that time of year. More importantly make sure that everyone ó including the coaches ó has fun!”

Kristy Curry Head Womens Coach Purdue University Lafayette Ind.





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