George Raveling Coaching U Basketball Coaching Clinic Notes

George Raveling Coaching U 2014 Basketball Coaching Clinic Notes


These basketball coaching clinic notes are from when George Raveling spoke at the 2014 Coaching U Clinic in Indianapolis. Coach Raveling has been a part of the basketball community for a long time and has a wealth of information and wisdom from his basketball coaching career. These notes were taken by Jacob Collins.


Basketball Coaching Clinic Notes

Creating a Great Bench

Kevin Eastman on George Raveling
  1. Thought leader
  2. Lifelong learner
  3. Mentor
  4. Confidant

“Seek wisdom from those who came before you.” – Kevin Eastman


Coach Raveling
  • “Nothing in life is of any value unless you can share it with others.”
  • The game suffers from overdoes of groupthink
  • Absence of mavericks, basketball nerds, innovators, and characters
  • Basketball coaches have 2 responsibilities
    • Coach your team
    • Lead your program
  • What got you where you are won’t get you to where you want to go
  • Make yourself more proficient as a leader
    • Really educators
    • Do a self-audit =  who we are? What are we about? Why are we on Earth?
    • Look at life through a non-traditional lens
  • Learn things you don’t know but should know
    • How do I maintain the necessary skills to survive?
    • Why do we do what we do?
      • Is there a better way?
      • Do we have a system that allows players to see beyond limits?
        • It has to be something that allows a player to see his/her own greatness
      • Players will do what they have to do to make you happy (Compliance)
        • Liberate them
      • If you are not careful, you can coach a very good player into being average
  • Be 2 things
    • Servant coach
      • Not about me. It’s about them
      • Fundamental obligation to serve the needs of that player
      • Free players minds (liberate them)
      • Spend too much time on how and very little on why
    • Spend more time on why and how becomes easier
  • Knight on basketball drills
    • Explained why they did the drill
    • Competitive
  • Coaches voice is power
    • Doc Rivers kept the Clippers together with intellect, words, and voice
    • It comes down to “voices and choices”
      • The voices we listen to determine the choices we take
    • Create and develop a more productive bench



  • Place for joy
  • Place for pain
  • The true personality of the team resides on the bench
  • Developing a productive bench
    • Ideal bench:
      • 8 starters
      • 2 specialists
      • Practice players/ redshirts/ projects
    • Must have a blueprint of what you want your bench to consist of
  • Bobby Knight on the Olympic team—“I’m playing 8 guys; let’s pick the last 4 based on attitude.”
  • Have to live life strategically
  • Do we celebrate success?
    • Find as many opportunities as possible to celebrate success
  • Accountability—need to do a better job
  • Make players on your bench feel special
  • Attitude on the bench—“We got your back.”
  • Have to have an energy bunny
  • In recruiting — look for leaders (energizers)
  • Unique responsibility of coachers—coach players to be a winner in the game of life
  • If you expect to achieve success, you must have an organizational structure
      • Strategy
      • Execution plan
        • Failure is not in the strategy; it is poor execution

  • You MUST establish what the expectations are of that bench!!!
    • 2 questions you must ask of players on the bench
      • 1) Why? & 2) What is in it for me?
    • Set of statistics/matrix to measure performance
    • Must have in place a system to measure performance
  • Vital Questions
    • What is the purpose/objective of our bench?
    • What value does the bench create?
    • How do we achieve maximum performance?
    • Do we have a “bench substitution patter?”
      • Substitution philosophy?
    • Why do we use our present seating arrangement?
    • How to create added value?
  • Roles
    • In the absence of defining player roles, they will define their own (bad)
      • A role can change game to game, week to week, etc.
      • Roles change as circumstances change
    • Not how many minutes you play, the quality of performance of minutes you do play
      • “85% of all NBA players are role players.”—Phil Jackson
    • Rarely do the 5 best players make the best team
  • Goal: To consistently maximize the production and performance of our bench
  • Vision: a position of distinction
  • Bench: Liberate—Coach—Power
  • Use the bench
    • Strategic adjustment
    • Rest
    • Corrective action
    • Enhance energy
    • Personal foul protection
    • Rhythm alteration
    • Player rotation
    • Role adjustments
  • Turn the bench into a classroom!
  • Assistants Role on Bench
    • Protect
    • Influence
    • Teach
    • Motivate
    • Alert
    • Observe
    • Instruct
    • Monitor
    • Voice
    • Monitor behavior
    • Eyes/Ears/Voice
    • Monitor fouls
    • Confidence builder


  • Players in the game—Physically participating
  • Players on the bench—Mentally participating
  • Concept—“Next man up”
    • Be Ready
    • Be Enthusiastic
    • Be Smart
    • Be Productive
  • “If you want to find out how good a guy is, put him with 4 starters.”—Dr. Jack Ramsey
  • Someone comes to his desk; he moves and sets beside them.
  • If a kid comes in, are you going to listen? Give them a chance to speak.
  • Players want to talk
    • Listen to what he says
    • Help him with what he needs to say
    • Listen to what they DID NOT say
      • What they didn’t say often reveals more about them than what they do say
  • “The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow, do it anyway.”


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