Raffaele Imbrogno has been coaching since 1980. He is an Instructor for the Italian National Coaches Committee of the Federation and has been Director of the Italian Basketball Federation Study Center. Imbrogno is also the author of several technical basketball publications.
“The only true fact is that without madness, any type of pleasure couldn’t exist.” In Praise of Folly - Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam
We are now in the middle of March Madness, by now a well-recognized worldwide basketball event. The 64 (plus one) American university teams are giving life to one of the most important events on the basketball calendar. This year’s Final Four will be in Detroit on April 6th. The best teams arrive at their final destination, after having fought their way through the classic “stations”: regional games and then the National semifinals. The Women’s Final Four will be held in St. Louis on April 7th. Who will be the winner of the 2009 NCAA championship? It’s hard to answer. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, as longtime basketball player and fan, predicted that the final game will be between the Louisville Cardinals and the North Carolina Tar Heels. President Obama, who recently participated in a practice session with the Tar Heels, predicted that Roy Williams’ team will win the championship. What will Rick Pitino think about that? One thing is certain: March Madness and the Final Four offer spectators great basketball played by some of the best college teams in America: UNC, Louisville, UConn, Pittsburgh. And for you coaches, who are not able to see any of the games, you can experience the coaching wisdom of most of these coaches by purchasing one of their coaching DVDs that have been released by Championship Productions. Check them out.
On the left part of the 2009 NCAA bracket, we have Michigan State with its coach Tom Izzo, author of the DVD “Quick Strikes & Warm Up Drills for Winning Basketball.” Coach Izzo’s DVD includes 76 minutes divided in two sections. In the first section, the coach explains which concepts guide him in drawing his offensive sets (thumb down, “loop” series), and in the second section he describes, using a multipurpose drill (O’Neill drill), a summary of his defensive set. The communication between the players, the ability to make a decision, the attention focused on following offensive transitions, and conditioning are all included in one of his drills. You can order this special DVD on the Internet at http://www.championshipproductions.com/cgi-bin/champ/p/Basketball/TomIzzo-Quick-Strikes-Warm-Up-Drills-for-Winning-Basketball_BD-03228.html.
On the right side of the 2009 NCAA bracket, we find Gonzaga University, coached by Mark Few. If Gonzaga wins in the early round games, they will probably find themselves facing Coach Williams and the North Carolina press defense. In this case, Coach Few surely must use the strategy he describes in his DVD “Scoring Against Pressure Defense.” In 63 minutes, the Bulldogs’ coach teaches the varioius options he uses against any type of mid-court press defense: use of screens on the ball; leave the mid-court open for more space for drives to the basket; use of backdoor cuts; and much
more. Coach Few describes how he teaches these concepts, starting from 5-on-0 and finishing with the 5-on-5. You can order this DVD on the Internet at http://www.championshipproductions.com/cgi-bin/champ/p/Basketball/Mark-Few-Scoring-Against-Pressure-Defense_BD-03224. html.
I have saved two great novelties from Championship Productions for the end. These are DVD sets consisting of live filming at the training sessions of two of the most famous coaches in college basketball, both of them who happen to coach at the University of Connecticut (UConn): Geno Auriemma (women’s basketball) and Jim Calhoun (men’s basketball). In the first set of 4 DVDs, “All Access Practice with Geno Auriemma,” which stretches to over 400 minutes, Coach Auriemma, whose teams have won the NCAA Championship five times, helps create a rare pearl, not only for women’s basketball coaches but for fans of the “triangle” offense.
In the second set of 3 DVDs, “All Access Practice with Jim Calhoun,” you can see the UConn pre-season work-outs in which coach Calhoun plans his offense and defense, paying particular attention to the 2-2-1 pressing defense.
These last two videos represent a radical change in the production of techcnical material for coaches. Finally, we leave the hotels’ halls and the clinics’ courts to go directly where these coaches work “day-by-day” with great results. You can order these two DVD sets on the Internet at http://www.championshipproductions.com/cgi-bin/champ/p/Basketball/All-Access-Practice-with-Geno-Auriemma_BD-03203.html; http://www.championshipproductions.com/cgi-bin/champ/p/Basketball/All-Access-Practice-with-Jim-Calhoun_BD03202.html.
If you have television or Internet access, enjoy the Final Four. We will see if the great Rick Pitino – who recently wrote “Rebound Rules - The Art of Success 2.0”- surprises everybody by winning it all, especially President Obama.