Ask the Experts
When it comes to youth basketball coaches, it would be pretty tough to find one who deserves the title “expert” more than Don Showalter. A five-time gold-medal winner with USA Basketball and head coach of the USA Developmental National Team program since 2009, Showalter is back in 2014 as head coach of the USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team.
A high school basketball coach since 1976 who has won over 581 games, Showalter took over as head coach at Iowa City High School in 2012 and was one win away from the 2014 Iowa state tournament in his second year of rebuilding the Iowa City squad. With USA Basketball, he has led the USA men to gold medals with undefeated records in the 2010 and 2012 FIBA U17 World Championships, and the 2009, 2011 and 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championships. Later this summer he’ll lead the USA U17 World Championship squad in its quest for a third-straight U17 world crown.
So there are few coaches better suited to answer your questions about coaching, practicing and preparing to be a champion. Showalter will regularly answer your questions on USAB.com – submit your questions via Twitter using hashtag #AskCoachDon.
Here are this week’s questions:
We were a high turnover team last year. Any advice to help improve our issue? -- @jscoffman
This is an area that needs to be emphasized in practice every day. You have to have some accountability for turnovers. In many of our drills and scrimmages, we take points away for the team that makes a turnover with consequences at the end of the drill. This makes the entire team accountable and adds some peer pressure.
What are your deal-breakers with kids, things you will NOT tolerate, regardless of location, circumstances, culture, etc? -- @coachreinhold
Deal-breakers may vary each year depending on your team. Obviously, breaking any code of conduct, being disruptive in the classroom, negative statements on social media and bad grades are deal-breakers off the court. Not being on time, not attending all team functions, not looking the coach in the eye when being talked to, rudeness to another adult and bullying are examples of deal-breakers as well. This does not necessarily mean removal from the team but means this action must be dealt with in a fair and firm manner, no matter how good your player is. I believe a player earns fairness, meaning that a player who is never late but is late for a good reason once in a great while is not the same as a player who continually pushes the late button.
What do you do if you don't have spot up shooters or stretch bigs? Lol! -- @CoachMattThomas
That is a problem!! Look at running more of a cutting offense that keeps the players moving to get shots off the move or dribble.
What is your best offense against the 1-3-1? -- @EttingerAaron
The best offense is a 2-1-2 set with your best player in the middle of the court at the free-throw line area, but with the flexibility to move up and down the lane to get open. Screening is good as well versus a 1-3-1 - especially to screen the defensive wing opposite the ball so the skip pass can be made. A good point to remember is that all zones -- 1-2-2, 1-3-1, 2-1-2, 3-2, 2-3, 1-1-3 -- will look the same when the ball is on the baseline.
Would you consider coming to Scotland and sharing your knowledge and experience with our youth basketball players? -- @4pointUK
Great to connect with you and looking forward in coming to Scotland to teach basketball!
Don't forget to submit questions for Showalter on Twitter at hashtag #AskCoachDon!