This article was written USC assistant women's basketball coach Taja Edwards. Coach Edwards just recently joined the Trojans coaching staff, but has held previous coaching positions at Cal State Fullerton and Ole Miss. Taja also has college basketball playing experience as well from playing at Fresno State.
What does a “Great Offense” look like, and what does it consist of? These are all questions that a coach or player would ask when looking to develop an offense that is going to win games. Well, it has been seen throughout time, that a great offense can be made up through several different intangibles.
To have an effective offense it takes great coaches, as well as great players. Another key is a great defense, because great offenses are usually stimulated from great defenses. Along with these basic foundations I believe that there are some additional steps that need to be taken before conducting a great offense. When you begin to cultivate your offense you must consider your philosophy as a coach, and make sure that it fits your players and what you are trying to accomplish.
Doc River’s, the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers refers to it as “Setting the Table”. Coaches must have a vision of what their program will portray on the court, and off of the court. Once you set your vision you can begin the process of creating a “great offense”. Without the vision, you will struggle to know what to do as a team, and where your team should be heading.
Always know who, and what you are; it will become your identity. Are you a team that hustles, scraps, and wins all the 50/50 balls; or are you a team that is too cool for school? As a coach you have a huge impact on what your team's identity is going to look like. You must be willing to develop your team's identity on a daily basis.
Basketball coaches must also know the personnel of each and every player on their team. Only then can you as the coach put them in situations to be successful on the court. For example, you will have to figure out if your team is going to better at running up and down the floor on offense, or if they are going to be better at using half court offense to score. This is all determined by the identity of your team.
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Filling Player Roles
Identify each player’s role, and encourage your player’s to be a star at THEIR role. Most players see their value in how many points they score, so it is up to you as the coach to be able to show players the value of filling other roles on the team. Once players buy into their roles; coaches must continue to add to the core of who they are. This cohesiveness can bring great chemistry to a program.
It is important that you ask yourself questions like: Who do you want taking the shot? Who is your most dominant paint enforcer? These types of questions will help you determine what type of offense you want to have, and what players to run your offense through. This goes back to getting your best players the ball in spots on the floor where they are comfortable, and are able to shoot a high percentage shot.
A great offense must have great execution. Create a culture of execution. Everyday in practice draw up “in game” plays. When the game is on the line you must be able to execute offensively. An entire season can be determined by how you handle end of game situations, so this is extremely key. You must be able to execute when the game is on the line, and the way you execute will be determined by the way you prepare.
Manufacturing Points Within a Game
Lastly, you must have balance within your offense. You must be able to manufacture points within a game. During the 2013-2014 season, UCONN Women’s Basketball averaged 5.6 offensive rebound points per game, as well as 15.4 points off creating forced turnover’s against their opponents. Needless to say, they had a “Great Offense”. Whether it is points off of turnovers, offensive rebounds, fast breaks, etc. you need to be able to generate points throughout the course of a game.
“Success is in simplicity - confusion brings doubt, limitations and failure.” - Kevin Eastman