Shaka Smart Coaching U Basketball Coaching Clinic Notes

Shaka Smart Coaching U 2014 Basketball Coaching Clinic Notes


These clinic notes are from when Shaka Smart spoke at the 2014 Coaching U Basketball Clinic in Indianapolis, IN. Coach Smart is the head men’s basketball coach at VCU and is considered one of the country’s top college basketball coaches. Previous to coaching VCU, Shaka has also held coaching positions at the following schools; Florida, Clemson, Akron, and Dayton. These basketball coaching clinic notes will cover Coach Smart’s defensive system and a few other thoughts on coaching. The notes were taken by Jacob Collins.


Basketball Coaching Clinic Notes

Shaka Smart: “Culture of Havoc”

3 Book suggestions:

  • Know yourself as a Coach – Denny Kuiper
  • Mindset – Carol Dweck
  • Help the Helper – Kevin Pritchard


All coaches should research Jack Clark – Rugby Coach at Cal-Berkeley


Patriots sign in the locker room – “We don’t become you, you become us.”

  • How?
  • Constantly teach what we do to the smallest detail
  • Constantly reinforce what we do
  • Constantly provide the answers to the tests

Freshman Orientation

  • Twice a week in the summer that provides some of “the answers to the test”
  •  Every day we_____________________?—Ask yourself what we do
  • What do you do every day?
  • At VCU, they work on transitions EVERY DAY
  • Goal: best in the country at transitions
  • Older players teaching younger players how it is done
  • In practice, transition getting water into getting in a huddle
  • Combine things in basketball drills


Core Values

  • Appreciation—see every opportunity as a gift
    • Appreciation to entitlement ratio
  • Enthusiasm—passionate and excited about our process for success
  • Competitiveness—aggressively pursue greatness
  • Teamship—we fully commit to aligning ourselves with the team
    • Goals are all team endeavors
  • Accountability—we are responsible for our team and ourselves


3 types of Accountability


Need to:

  • Coaches must expose any hypocrisy in the program


“If it were natural to be a champion, it would happen a lot.”


Havoc – mentality to the way that we approach the game

  1. Fullcourt pressure defense
  2. Halfcourt pressure defense
  3. Transition offense
  4. Halfcourt offense—ATTACK!!
  5. Relentless attack at the offensive glass


Always want to be the aggressor

  • 2 types of pressure defense (VCU utilizes both)
    • Matchup and pressure ball and deny
    • Trap



  • Element of surprise (trapping v. not trapping)
  • Want to keep the pressure on


“That which gets measured gets done.”

  • If it’s a good trap, the result will normally be good
  • Bad traps will KILL you
  • Have to deal with disadvantaged situations if you are pressing
  • Need to be good at “Fix-It” situations
  • Transition rules apply
    • 1) Basket
    • 2) Ball
    • 3) Ball side
  • Not worried about mismatch


The most important pass to deny is the entry pass

  • No elbow catches
  • Wants to take a team out of their offense
  • Rarely will teams hit backdoor w/o entry pass


Reasons why we press

  1. Turnovers
  2. Force quick and bad shots
  3. Create offensive opportunities for ourselves
  4. Force tempo
  5. Disrupt flow
  6. Make opposing players do things they are uncomfortable with
  7. Difficult to prepare for
  8. Create fatigue
  9. Make depth a factor
  10. Exciting for fans/players/recruits
  11. Identity


Pressing Notes

  • Not a question of if you get fatigued, but what you do when you are fatigued
  • Who gets tired first? Who recovers fastest?
  • VCU wants to play players 6-11 significant minutes
  • Who’s 6-11 is better?
  • The perfect team to play with is a team with no great players (this style)


Pressing emphasis

  • Energy—setting expectation is 1st step in getting them to achieve it
    • Caveat—fouling negates hustle
    • Energy from game to game is up and down
  • Communication—Talking makes you quicker
  • Transitions
  • Deflections
  • 1st to the floor
  • Pressure
  • Stunting
  • Back pressure
  • Outnumbered situations
  • Defending multiple positions
  • Fix-it situations


Trapping Situations

  • Lane to lane—middle tunnel (no trap here)
  • Trap When
    • The ball handler is out of control
    • Ball out of the middle
  •  Favorable defensive matchup=1 man trap
  • Fullcourt 1 on 1 – the first day of workouts


Fundamentals of the trap

  • You have to closeout to the trap
  • Take up ALL the space
  • When he pivots away, take that space away
  • Live dribble = NO ESCAPE
  • No split/No fouls
  • You have to force an obvious pass = informs interceptors where to go
  • Ball above the head = hands above the head
  • If you foul, foul with lower body


Press Notes

  • Fist—Fullcourt with no trap
  • The guy on the ball = madman
  • Off ball put hammer in ribs


Don’t let the ball inbounds

  • Pressure on the ball
  • Position = 1/3 position (1/3) from man and the ball)
  • Stunting = fake with foot and your hand
  • Work on these things every day


2 ways we trap

  • The turn
    • If you see the back of his head, you are gone (the turn)
  • Force the action
    • Force the action from the middle


Key—Pressuring the ball

  • 1 Trapping basketball drill a day
  • 1 Pressing rotation every day
  • Other than that—just working on traps when playing


In scouting focus on:

  • Press attack
  • Entries


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One Response

  1. Great. It is always good to encounter great basketball minds. Magnet system of offense.8 stages.

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