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I have a great deal of experience teaching players of all levels. I also have extensive playing experience. I have coached all levels of players, both boys and girls and men and women. I have also set up, and directed basketball camps and clinics for the past 10 years in multiple cities and states. I have competed with and against a number of current and former NBA players, streetball players, and college and top high school players in summer leagues, and various 1 on 1 through 5 on 5 tournaments. I also just recently returned from coaching a professional team in China. I have a great deal of patience, and I have many ways to teach the fundamentals of basketball and more detailed facets of the game.
I love to teach and engage the players I am working with at whatever their level is. I recommend that our sessions be video'ed - a cellphone will do just fine, for future reference.
I have also included my Coaching is Teaching Philosophy, which I employ as part of my lessons and instructional work:
Coaching is Teaching Philosophy – Coach Gil Llewellyn
One: I believe basketball is a game within the bigger game of life. The journey must be as enjoyable, if not more enjoyable than the destination. I believe that is also true for life.
Two: As coaches, we need to remind our students of the value of the great game of basketball, beyond the apparent immediate objectives. The value of the game, could extend to nearly the entire span of one’s life. We must not let our students short circuit that value. A value that includes learning new skills, and ways of learning. Learning teamwork, sharing, and many, many other valuable life skills. The opportunities of the game, include having a great way to make new friends, meet new business connections, stay in great shape, gain more inner peace, that can last a lifetime.
Three: I believe, where ever you are in your basketball journey, embrace the gift of the game, to live a better life, to improve the lives of others, while you work to make that team, earn that scholarship, get that pro contract, or whatever your immediate or short-term or long-term objectives might be.
Four: I believe, the higher the level of competition the more the score matters – but it is still just a game within a bigger game. Coaching is teaching. A coach is a teacher. If you can reach you can teach.
Five: I believe, the basics of the game are essentially the same at every level, but attention to details is increasingly more important as you ascend to the next level, and the next. With that being said, there are only a handful of basic fundamentals which will essentially never change, but there are thousands of drills, with more being developed every day. Coaches love to add their own wrinkles. However, as a coach, just know the basics, applicable to your level of student, very well, and have core drills that you know and can use to teach these well. And, be willing to learn from others, including those you hope to teach. Teach progressively, physical skill, with conceptual understanding of the how, when, where, why to use it.
Six: As far as basketball is concerned, the primary focus should almost always be on High Intensity Basketball Training – HIBT, unless there are injuries, or other factors prohibiting that, for 1 ½ to 2 hours at most, most of the time.
Seven: I believe it is a very smart thing to get multiple viewpoints, particularly when working with less experienced players, as to what to work on first. What is most priority? What will make the biggest improvement in the player/student’s overall game right now? Consult the player/student. What do they feel they are having trouble with? What do they feel their weaknesses are? What makes them nervous? What questions do they have? Consult their coaches, teammates, consult their parents, their guardians. Conduct your own evaluations by looking at video tape and/or running a circuit of drills to assess. Then devise a plan, and be prepared to modify it, even during that lesson, and keep everyone in the loop on what you’re doing.
Eight: I believe it is a good idea when working with groups of kids, to pay attention to their individual strengths and weaknesses, (actually make notes) by putting them through general fundamental assessments. But also use this opportunity to match up players of equal skill and ability, as well as matching them up with players that are better than them, that they may not get along well with, or otherwise may be challenged. Have the better players make them better. Use different variations of play from 1 on 1 through 5 and 5 (if there are enough players), and disadvantaged situations like 2 on 1 and 3 on 2. And use healthy competition to spice things up by traditional drills, and “out-of-the-box”methods.
Nine: I believe using video is very important. There is an old saying: “the video doesn’t lie.” Whenever possible, videotaping of lessons, games, scrimmages, is a very good idea. Have them watch these tapes on their own, then watch them together, and go over anything that can help improve things. It is best to have a video that covers the whole game action, but also tracks the individual player on the ball, and off the ball. Sometimes students will never “see” something, or seem to be able to be aware of something, until they actually see it, by watching themselves on video.
Ten: I believe that position-specific training should certainly be done, but you don’t want to limit players’ general knowledge of all positions. “Post players”, should know about “perimeter play”. And “perimeter players”, should know something about “post play” – since they are going to need this knowledge, if they want to be more complete as players.
Eleven: Players are people first- whether big, small, young or old – we all respond better when treated with Respect, Compassion and Understanding. Kids are people with smaller and younger bodies. As coaches, we have to know our people – different people respond differently. So, know how to teach and reach each individual in the best way possible. Some, you can yell at, and they take it in stride, and some you can’t, or they’ll go off and hide. Some learn better by being shown and told, others learn better by diagrams and writing things down in bold. Closely observe and listen to your students, and don’t be surprised if you have to deal with something totally dis-related to basketball that can be life changing-including change your life.
Twelve: As teachers, we are learning, too. As teachers, we are getting better. Progress is possible, but perfection is probably not. I believe that basketball is a game of mistakes, and education, and practice on the fundamentals can eliminate many mistakes when taught with an engaging, positive and encouraging approach. I believe you give those you teach the freedom to experiment with newfound skills and knowledge, to be eager to be pushed beyond their comfort zone, to be willing to make mistakes, and to learn from their mistakes. This learning environment must be a safe, nurturing, though challenging environment.
Thirteen: I believe, as teachers, we must also let the game teach itself! Players can drill, drill, drill, but they also need to be put into scrimmage and real game-like situations where they can learn, be challenged, and be successful. You have to play the game. You have to be put in game time situations to get your timing, spacing, communication, sometimes even your thoughts and emotions right. With that being said, “Court sense” can pretty much be summed up as having “a keen appreciation of and ability to apply the right fundamentals in a timely fashion to existing game situations”.
Fourteen: As teachers, we must be able to break things down into simpler parts, so our students can start to get it, and we see that glint in their eye, a newfound confidence; a sense of progress. We must also be able to ratchet up the difficulty, by building things up, piece by piece, to keep our students challenged and getting better. This takes interested, hands-on, instruction. Some things take some time to get, but it’s important to make I-n-c-r-e-m-e-n-t-al progress, in every lesson, no matter how small, and make sure your students know they are involved in a process, that may take some time.
Fifteen: I consider John Wooden, Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, Pat Summitt, to be some of the greatest coaches that ever lived, and there are many other fine coaches/teachers to learn from in many walks of life. I feel that we are all learning or can learn from each other – either what to do, or what not to do, within basketball and beyond.
Sixteen: I believe, sophistication of offense - plays, schemes, rigid positions, etc. is fine, so long as it does not get in the way of basic principles, and/or results in too much thinking. Simplification is key - based on a matter-of-fact understanding of basketball plays, timing and spacing, and simply learning to quickly observe the details of what you see.
Seventeen: I believe great team defense wins championships – and that most definitely includes rebounding! Good teams will score points, and you have to score more points to win, but who will get the necessary “stops” when it counts? This comes down to hustle, anticipation, taking risks, helping each other, and extreme passionate energy – winning the “50/50” game (diving for loose balls, taking charges, getting deflections, etc. to tip the scales to your advantage.
Eighteen: When the leagues are comparable, I believe that good teams playing together beat teams of great individuals. Great individual offense will beat great individual defense, and the same can be said for team offense and team defense, with very rare exceptions.
Nineteen: Excellent communication and bonding on and off the court is probably the major factor in interpersonal and team chemistry, in whatever game(s) of life you are playing.
Twenty: I believe no matter what level, it has got to be more fun than not – there has to be progress, you have to be inspired, and live to inspire and serve others, too.
Twenty-one: Obviously professional basketball is mostly a business; nonetheless, there is still application for all of the above, in greater rather than lesser degree.
Thanks for reading. Coach Gil
I have a great deal of experience teaching players of all levels. I also have extensive playing experience. I have coached all levels of players, both boys and girls and men and women. I have also set up, and directed basketball camps and clinics for the past 10 years in multiple
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