As coaches, we often “blame” our players for the need to simplify everything but in reality is often us that make things more complicated than necessary. I think there are five reasons for this even though we don’t always do these things intentionally.

1. We worry about things that will never happen.

I’m all for being prepared; in fact I’m a big fan of being over prepared. However, my team does not practice three different jump ball plays and four different offenses to run against a triangle and two defense just in case we ever go into double overtime and see a junk defense.

Instead, we concentrate on using the 80/20 rule – 80% of our practices are focused on the 20% of things that take place every game.

(Sometimes it’s more like 90/10 because we want to be very good at the things that happen most often.) Conversely 20% of our practices are focused on the other 80% of things that don’t happen as frequently.

2. We have a strong desire to impress others.

Most of us will say that we don’t, but many coaches, especially younger ones, want to impress their peers, their players, their players’ parents and their fans with their coaching ability. They mistakenly think that will happen if they run several complicated and intricate offenses.

If that happens to be you keep in mind that Vince Lombardi’s Packers ran only five plays and John Wooden’s famous UCLA teams had only three offenses and he never used all three in the same season. If you want to be as impressive as Lombardi or Wooden don’t overcomplicate things and instead create better leaders, help players improve and execute, and win more games!

3. We don’t consider basketball IQ.

Even though we talk about it all the time some coaches forget that their own basketball IQ and their ability to grasp and process detailed concepts is much greater than that of their players. Remember, it’s not what a coach knows that is most important but rather what the players know and can execute.

Look at it this way – the majority of students are average. A few will get mostly A’s and B’s and a few will get mostly’ D’s and F’s but the vast majority are average in academic knowledge and/or execution. What makes you think your team would be any different? A few of your players will understand everything; a few will understand nothing, and the rest will be average.

4. We mentally get bored.

Earlier I said that many younger coaches want to impress everyone but older coaches have their stumbling blocks too. Many eventually become mentally bored and so start looking for other challenges and other ways to stimulate their thinking.

These coaches often begin studying other coaches and their systems and take detailed notes on every book, video, drill, and diagram they can get their hands on during the off season.When practice starts in the fall they are still excited about what they’ve learned and try to put in everything whether they completely understand how to teach it or not. Before long the players’ heads are spinning and the same coaches are pulling their hair out.

5. We never throw anything away.

Have you ever laughed at your parents or grandparents for never throwing anything away? Of course you have! Well coaches are the exact same way. A coach will put in a quick hitter for a particular game that involves using four post players and will win a game with it.

Then every year after that he will put in the same quick hitter and will practice it regularly even if he doesn’t have a single post player on his roster. Don’t laugh because it happens all the time.Throw old drills, offenses, and defenses away or at least put them in storage. Your team doesn’t need to have 10 offenses, 20 out of bounds plays, and 40 quick hitters – especially since your team is not going to learn/remember/use most of them.

Before you blame your team for overcomplicating your program take a good look at yourself and see if any of these five things apply to you. It might not completely solve the problem but will certainly be a good start.

Good luck!

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