ADB HOOPS MAGAZINE N10 ENG

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N.10 OFFICIAL DIGITAL MAGAZINE

MARCH APRIL 2021

MICHELE ROBERTS NBPA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

AT THE HELM OF THE NBA PLAYERS ASSOCIATION EDUARD SCOTT

EUROLEAGUE CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

ON COURT RIVALS, OFF COURT PARTNERS

FRANK VOGEL: THE 2019-20 LAKERS OFFENSE (SECOND PART) PAOLA ZUCCOLOTTO & MARICA MANISERA: YOU CAN'T MEASURE A PLAYER'S HEART (FIRST PART)



AdB Hoops Publisher Is a digital pubblication of the Alqueria del Basket, C/ Bomber Ramon Duart S/N 46013, Valencia, Spain Editor-in-Chief Giorgio Gandolfi Editorial Office Tel.+39-0372-460585 E-mail: ggandolfi@adbhoops.com

TABLE OF CONTENTS Editorial Join Us in Celebrating Our Tenth 5 Issue of AdB Hoops Giorgio Gandolfi

Art Director: Lisa Cavallini

coaches The 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers 6 Offense (second Part) Frank Vogel

The magazine is published six times per year

The Offensive Links Sito Alonso

Valencia BC, Alqueria del Basket, and the Editor-in-Chief Giorgio Gandolfi are not responsible for the opinions expressed in the articles. All rights reserved All information in this digital publication are provided as news matter only and is not to be used to violate any local or national laws Produced in Italy Copyright 2021 by Alqueria del Basket, Valencia, Spain The articles received by the authors, by any means (e-mail, fax or by postage) will be property of the above Publisher, and the authors will automatically granted to the Publisher the right to publication without asking any fee now or in the future

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to thank for their collaboration all the authors, who shared with us their knowledge. Thanks to: Ms. Lisa Cavallini, Art Director; Mr. Franco Pinotti, Spanish translator; Mrs. Elisa Michel, English editing; Mr. Alberto Chilet, Valencia Basket Head of Communications, and Ms. Paula Mas, L’Alqueria del Basket Press Officer, for the collaboration. To Mr. Joseph Amati, NBA VP-Photography, for Frank Vogel’s photos; UCAM Murcia for the Sito Alonso’s photos; Euroleague Basketball for the Richard Stokes’ photos, and for the Eduard Scott’s photos; Ms. Elle Hagerdon, NBA Players Association Sr. Manager Media Relations & Communications for the help, and for the Michele Roberts’ photos.

Rules QUIZ Roberto Chiari 52 Marketing, MANAGEMENT & Digital ON COURT RIVALS, 54 OFF COURT PARTNERS EDUARD SCOTT Interview by Giorgio Gandolfi

Alqueria News Valencia Basket Bets 62 14 on Innovation to Fill the Stands Again Department of Communication Valencia BC

Various topics 64 You can't measure 20 Success Happens Each Day, Hand in Hand with a Club a player's heart (First Part) Paola Zuccolotto & Marica Manisera Like Valencia Basket Interview with Eva Prieto, Marketing Video library Director of Pinturas Isaval Be a Great 3-Point Shooter 28 By Merche Añón and Mayte Canillas eCoach - NBA Coaches Association INELCOM: Innovation 66 Attacking the Mismatches 29 and Technology for Sports Claudio Prieto Alqueria Events 68 The Art of “FENCING” to Defend 30 Alqueria SERVICES 70 the Low Post Pascal Meurs Hoops for All - baskin Role 3: The Connecting Link 72 Mini Basketball Francesco Longhi FROM INTENTION TO ACTION 32 (Second part) wheelchair basketball David Cardenas Systems of Play: 76 Half Court Offense Strenght & Conditioning Coaches The Prevention of Injuries 38 Haj Bhania in Basketball AROUND THE COURT Matteo Panichi At the Helm of the NBA 82 Players Association Referees Evaluating Referee Performance 44 michele roberts Interview by Giorgio Gandolfi Richard Stokes FOR THE FREE SUBSCRIPTION, PLEASE, CLICK TO THE LINK:

HTTPS://ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM/#REVISTA

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Giorgio Gandolfi } Editor in Chief

JOIN US IN CELEBRATING OUR TENTH ISSUE OF ADB HOOPS

W

ith this issue we have crossed the fi- Michele Roberts, NBA Players Association Executive nish line of ten issues of AdB Hoops. Director, the first woman at the helm of a professioThe story of this magazine started in nal sports union in the USA, and Eduard Scott, Chief 2018 when I read about the Academy, Operations Officer of the EuroLeague, who stepped L’Alqueria del Basket and I was fasci- down from his position a few weeks ago. AdB Hoops nated. I invited Josè Puentes, at that time Director is a technical magazine above all for coaches and “peof Operations and Institutional Relationships of the ople on the court”, but I have always been strongly Valencia Basket, and now General Manager, to spe- convinced that to be at the top of your profession you ak about L’Alqueria del Basket at the International must always be conscious of what happens around Basketball Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, that you, and take “tidbits” from everybody, coaches from I had organized. As has happened several times in executives, referees from coaches, and so on. For this my career, I decided to follow my instincts and they reason, aside from the top coaches, we are glad to rewere telling me that I’d love to work for an organiza- ceive input from top “off the court” basketball people. tion whose goal was to become the best in Europe in several areas. So, I offered Puentes the proposal Talking of coaches and topics related to them, aside for a technical magazine for coaches, executives, from the technical articles of Coach Frank Vogel on strength and conditioning coaches, referees and mini the second part of the Lakers offense, and Coach Sito basketball. Alonso of Murcia, we host a very interesting article on Now after these ten issues, I have many to thank for data analytics in basketball by Paola Zuccolotto and their collaboration: Puentes, who trusted me on this Marica Manisera, two Professors of Statistics at the project, Mari Angeles Vidal, the Director of Alqueria, University of Brescia, Italy, who made a yearlong study who always supported me, Alberto Chillet, Valencia in data analytics on the Italian Serie A2 Championship BC Men’s Media Director and Paula Mas, Valencia 2016/2017, on the 2016 Olympic Games Basketball BC Women’s Media Director, and, recently, Mercedes Tournament, and on the NBA Golden State Warriors. Anon, Marketing Director. In addition, I want to thank my Art Director, Lisa Cavallini, who tolerates my sud- Enjoy this N.10 issue! den and often last minute changes in the magazine, and Elisa Michel, our English proofreader from New York. The results of this collective work are the thousands of subscribers from 77 countries, LES & ANSWERS GENO ranging from the quite small MARK CUBAN ALTS ER LLIN CsIÁAQUESTIONS HOOW DON SH E e ANA DREAS Z AURIEMM P A n S ID IONEL e P L E f Of AROAD AG Seychelles to remote parts of ChiSTA R TO SUCCESS GANA ES SOLO UN TJhUeG-TA“O-A2DMRCAN0AAR”SOFUTHE A PARTE FIBA SECRETARY GEKLIS F NFEANSCAIVNE PLAY DEL TRABAJOR DE L O UN ENTROEN MARK CUBAN’S PHILOSOPHY ES ESP K IN le such as Easter Island. So, we are AD G A MPAANRA M OR TO THE FUT NERAL ENTRREANNK VOG ECIAL DESARROLLAR ON LIFE AND BASKETBALL JUGADORES URE A DEN TRO Y FUERA DE LA ANDEZ extremely pleased that our mission PISTA EL ATADOR DE LA LEAKLERS O FERN MONCH AMADOU GALLO FA LAKER QUE DE LO to help basketball, as well as the AlLL S 2019 S LA S LIG E A AFRIC D STOK queria del Basket, to grow, is yielding -20 UNA COLABORACIÓNANA DE BALONCESTO RICHAR ENTRE FIBA Y NBA the results that we envisioned a couSTELLO ple of years ago. DAN CO giannis SFAIROPOCADAM SI A OFIC REVIST

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COACHES} Frank Vogel } Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach

THE 2019-20 LAKERS OFFENSE (SECOND PART)

Easy and Simple Plays

T

his is the second and last part of the article where we describe our 2019-20 offensive sets and side and underneath out of bound plays. I’d like to emphasis the simplicity and ease of the sets. On every play, player spacing is of the utmost importance. Proper spacing creates stress for defensive rotations and difficult close-outs. In the NBA the play call “21” is a quick paced early flow offensive set, designed to catch the defense in transition and out of position for quick hitting scoring opportunities, either lay-ups, or three-point shots. The set is initiated by a dribble hand off, on ball screen, or by a pass.

21 GET: With 4 and 3 spaced weakside

at angle and corner outside the three6 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

“21”: A QUICK PACED EARLY OFFENSIVE SET


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COACHES } THE 2019-20 LAKERS OFFENSE (SECOND PART) point line, 1 passes ahead to 2, follows the pass and gets ball back from 2, 1 attacks basket for layup, or goes on to low corner, while 2, comes off a flare screen of 5 (diagr. 1). After the flare screen for 2, 5 continues and sets a low side pick and roll for 1 (diagr. 2).

21 KEEP: The start of the play is the same, with 1 passing to 2, and cutting off 2, who keeps the ball as 1 goes to the corner, 5 continues and sets a side pick and roll with 2, 5 rolls to basket and 1 replaces from corner, as 5 rolls to the lane (diagr. 3). After the pass to 1, we have created a triangle with 5 on the low post, with 2 up top and 1 on the wing (diagr. 4).

21 STEP: 5 is in the middle of the court, 2

back screens for the ball handler 1, and then slips to the rim, with 4 and 3 spaced weakside outside three-point line. 1 looks for 2 on slip to basket, 3 and 4 interchange or 4 screens for 3, if no pass, 1 and 5 engage in a side pick and roll (diagr. 5); 2 continues out to weak side corner (diagr. 6).

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“POWER” AN EARLY OFFENSIVE PLAY

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TIDBITS He was a student manager at University of Kentucky under Coach Rick Pitino

} He is friend of Brad Stevens, head coach of the Boston Celtics

} He is married with Jenifer and has two daughters Alexa and Arianna

} He has been head coach o f the NBA All Star Game East Team in 2014 and 2020

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COACHES } THE 2019-20 LAKERS OFFENSE (SECOND PART) POWER: It is another early offensive set, after a free

throw attempt. 1 passes ahead to 2, who is set on the baseline near the lane, and comes off a screen by 4. 2 passes to 4, cuts through and goes on the weak side deep corner (diagr.7). When 4 has the ball in the post, 1 sets a screen for 5, and rolls to the rim, while 5 pops outside to the three-point line, 5 can also flare screen for 1 and dive to basket (diagr. 8). Option: If 1 sees that 4 ‘s defender is behind 4 on the low post, he hits him directly, and basket cuts to the weak side corner, while 5 goes on the top of the court, 3 cuts to the rim, and 2 rotates up to the wing (diagr. 9). Option: 4 spins out for receiving a quick lob pass from 1 (diagr. 10). Option: 4 sets a back screen for 1, who drives down toward baseline, and makes a pocket pass to 4, who has rolled to the rim (diagr. 11).

LOOP DIRECT: 1 dribble the ball down the sideline, 4 makes a “zipper”, down screen, for 2, who pops up to the top of the lane (diagr.12).

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1 passes the ball to 4 on the low post, and then sets a split screen for 2 (diagr. 13).

5 UP DRIBBLE: 2 and

“ELBOW CORNER HEAVY” A PLAY FOR DAVIS AND JAMES

3 in the deep corners, 4 and 5 at the elbows of the lane and 1 with the ball in the middle of the court. 1 passes to 5 and then sets a stagger screen with 4 for 3. 5 makes a dribble hand off pass to 3 and rolls to the basket. 3 curls off of the dribble hand off and attacks the basket, 4 pops back to the threepoint line (diagr.14). After the dribble hand off pass 3 cuts to weak side low post, and 4 pops out after the screen (diagr. 15).

ELBOW CORNER HEAVY: 5 (Antonio Davis) is in the

corner, 3 (Le Bron James) on the elbow of the lane, 2 on the weak side corner, and 4 outside of the threepoint line. In the slot 1 hits 3, then he screens down for 5 and pops out high. 3 can hit 5 on the curl or 1 who popped out (diag. 16).

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www.nba.com/lakers/

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PHILLY KUZ: We start with a one-four set and the ball handler on one side of the court. It is a play for Kyle Kuzma (4). 4 passes to 3 and receives a back screen by 1. 3 can pass to 4 (diagr. 17). If 4 is not open, 2 and 5 sets a stagger screen for 4. 3 swings the ball to 1, and 1 passes to 4 (diagr. 18).

PHILLY WEDGE THUMB 4: All five players are outside of the three-point line. 1 passes to 3, and then, after setting a rip screen for 5, he pops out and receives the ball back from 3. After the screen, 5 gets to the low post on the ball side (diagr. 19).

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COACHES } THE 2019-20 LAKERS OFFENSE (SECOND PART)

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4 sets a mid pick and roll on the ball for 1, and then OUT-OF BOUNDS PLAYS rolls to the basket. 5 cuts in the lane and mirrors the BOX 2: This is a sideline out-of-bound play. With 3, ball. 1 can pass to 4 on the roll, or to 5 on the low inbounds the ball, 5 pins down 1, who curls to the post, while 3 shakes up (diagr. 20). strong side corner, while, at the same time, 4 sets a pin down for 2. 3 passes to 2, 4, pops to the elbow PHILLY WEDGE THUMB 5: The start of the action is after the screen, (diagr. 25). the same, but this time 5 is involved. 1 passes to 3, After the inbound pass, 2 and 4 play a two-man and then, after the rip screen for 4, 1 pops out and game, while 3 screens for 5, who cuts in the lane, receives the ball back from 3. After the screen, 4 and 1 shakes up (diagr. 26). slashes to the low post on the ball side (diagr. 21). 5 sets a mid pick and roll on the ball for 1, and then STACK : Here a baseline out-of-bound play. 1 inrolls to the basket. 4 cuts in the lane and mirrors the bounds the ball, 5 and 4 set a stagger screen for 2. ball. 1 can pass to 5 on the roll, or to 4 on the low 1 passes to 3 and goes to the corner, 2 goes off the post, while 3 shakes up (diagr. 22). stagger screen (diagr. 27).

PHILLY WEDGE THUMB X: Same start.1 passes to 3,

and then rip screens 4, 1 pops out and receives the ball back from 3. After the screen, 4 gets to the low post on the ball side (diagr. 23). 5 sets a mid pick and roll on the ball for 1, and then rolls to the basket. 2 sets a cross screen for 4, then continues to the opposite corner. 4 can receive the ball from 1 on the low post, while 3 shakes up (diagr. 24).

@TeamFrankVogel official_frank_vogel Frank Vogel

Career 2001 - 2004 Boston Celtics - Assistant 2004 - 2005 Philadelphia 76ers - Assistant 2005 - 2006 Los Angeles Lakers - Advance Scout 12 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

2006 - 2007 Washington Wizards Advance Scout 2007 - 2011 Indiana Pacers - Assistant

2011 - 2016 Indiana Pacers - Head Coach 2016 - 2018 Orlando Magic - Head Coach 2019 - Present Los Angeles Lakers - Head Coach


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COACHES } Sito Alonso } UCAM MURCIA HEAD COACH

SPANISH COACH OF THE YEAR 2012

THE OFFENSIVE LINKS EFFECTIVENESS ON THE EARLY BREAK 14 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM


I

n my most recent years as a professional coach I have had several “obsessions” to add to my tactical resources. And I have tried to apply these to all levels of our sport. At first, several ideas on the early break filled my mind with ways to start the offense immediately after getting the ball on defense, in such a way that the players could understand it clearly, and have fun executing it.

It’s very easy now in many games to see starting the offense by passing the ball to the corner while waiting to begin another action, such as searching for spot shooters on the weak side who are guarded by defenders that they do not think will be attacked directly, or when a defensive player is not concentrating. To this point, and by a stroke of luck that occurred when I was driving one day, I understood that the mind is often prepared in a mechanical way that decreases awareness because it is anchored to a structural way of thinking. For example, when we drive on the same road every day, we have the foreknowledge of the movements we have to make to steer correctly into and out of the twists and turns of the road. We even know the synchronization of the traffic lights that we find on the way to our destination. That was exactly the way I used to drive, and I knew and acted that very same way: automatically. I knew that I had to reduce the speed in a certain section, because there was a radar trap that limited my speed to 120 km per hour, and once my car passed that radar at a proper speed, my brain would relax and I’d be convinced that I wasn't going to find any other radar for the next 30 kilometers. My brain didn't posit the thought that the police could have placed a mobile radar 5 km before the fixed radar that I was familiar with, and one day that is exactly what they had done. Five km before the radar that I was anticipating would slow me down, there came a flash from a semi-hidden car and it forced me to brake, but not in time enough

to avoid a fine for exceeding the speed limit. The next kilometers were slower, at legal speed, but the realization that I had gotten a fine for speeding because I hadn’t thought about other possibilities was annoying and created a wake-up moment about how I needed to think differently. What began as an annoyance soon became an idea for my offensive philosophy, which gave me a lot of satisfaction during my years with the San Sebastián and Bilbao teams. The theory was the following: the players had “multiple radars” fixed in their brains, set in place by our own scouting reports on how to play other teams. One of those was very clear. Every team have a set defensive strategy that worked well to stop the opponents from scoring an easy basket from the early break. This involved who gets the ball, how to create balance and how to adjust the shooters, but didn’t take into account the unexpected – the chaos of the game, the disorder that comes from a change in pacing, and the ability to renounce to the previous concepts to play a transition differently. My idea was to disrupt the brain’s usual fixed ideas on how to go on offense, and create a play between the seconds that we get the ball for the early break and we get to the other fixed radar normally in place, both for us and the other team. By changing up our play, we are throwing them off guard and disrupting the other team’s usual playbook. Therefore, the most important thing was to make the opposing team see that our early break had ended - that we had thrown out our original plan - and instead generated short and quick solutions depending on who had the ball. This premise is vital to the point that I ‘m making in this article. So, to continue, I pulled from the computer world a word that has been the key to how we navigate many works and searches that we do on the Internet: LINK. In the field of informatics, where this term is most often used, it is an element that, in a digital document, establishes a “chain” with another resource. It creates a connection; it unites. Why is this important? Because when I went to coach at Baskonia in Vitoria I saw the reaction of the teams to the traditional offensive “radars” in place and realized that they were losing their effectiveness. It made me reflect on the different “links” that comprise the various components of the offensive game. I had arrived with my own “radars” established within the offensive playbook, in a year in which I would have to face the best European teams, and a year in which I was going to have a much better roster than the one of the previous season. ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 15


COACHES } THE OFFENSIVE LINKS It all started to come together in the pre-season, at training camp, when I had very few players from the roster, because they had commitments with their respective national teams. One of those few players at the training camp was an American, who decided to arrive in Vitoria early to get to know the city, the facilities, and to become accustomed to the European style of play. He played with the young players of the second team such as Kurucs, Sedekerskis, and Raieste, and asked all the right questions about the league and the way to execute effectively. This player was Shane Larkin, the point guard, who is now one of the best players in the EuroLeague, and his speed on the court made us take notice and bet on him to do well from his very first experience in European basketball. It happened in the first exhibition games, where I saw that he had a really different way of playing compared to the other point guards that I had coached. I accepted his way of playing, but noticed that he seemed a bit uncomfortable being the only one who played this way. I found the solution by helping the other players understand that Shane had a different style and that having to

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conform to ours would reduce his potential and his enjoyment of the game. In this way, we created our first connection, the “Larkin Link” (diag. 1-2-3-4), which established very clear rules that all the teammates could accept. The first one was the most important: we had to give him the freedom to react as he saw fit when he got the ball on offense, whether right after his own rebound, or receiving the first pass, or stealing a ball, or after the opposite team's basket. Those first seconds on offense belonged to him and the team had to be prepared for it. This is how it worked. First, his strong will to get the ball while on defense made him run some necessary risks, not always acceptable. Second, he needed the proper spacing to be able to attack on the open court and to feel sure that the team was prepared for it. This meant giving him not just the option of dribble penetration, but of shooting from five meters out, with the security of knowing that at least two players would be in the offensive rebound zone. However, there are always caveats, and within this


LINK LARKIN AFTER BASKET

LINK LARKIN AFTER REBOUND

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TIDBITS He likes swimming and traveling

}

freedom there was a problem. Shane’s speed on the dribble penetration, even when making an assist, left him out of position when getting back on defense. We had to establish a defensive structure within this “link”, so the team could help him stop the ball before the other team reached mid-court, thus giving him the opportunity to come back on defense at full speed to steal the ball from behind the offensive player who was the ball handler. Third, we had to create rules for various situations where his teammates had to position themselves to allow him the needed space to generate offensive advantages. Examples of this are when Shane had the opportunity to go full speed directly in the lane after the opposite team's basket, and where he could change the rhythm from mid-court. The last solution was based on how the opposing teams tried to stop Larkin, and this pushed us to use various types of screens, to create the advantage from “link” first options. These were screens of the outside players to facilitate the early offense, with slower or lesser-level defenders who did not want to be matched with Larkin. They also included screens from our players known for their toughness, where the de-

When young he played water polo and he follows this sport

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COACHES } THE OFFENSIVE LINKS fender tried to avoid the contact. In this way, Shane could attack without the need to run the screen. It was done!!! The team had to play the “Larkin Link” in the majority of our games.

2013 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER WITH SPANISH U20

ght away, to offer him a “link”. Reading this initial situation, that he could not immediately get to the rim, he passed the ball on the low post. His teammates recognized that situation and set a side screen, to take advantage of his best skill, which was to cut to the basket using the screen, or to get an alley-oop from the low post. “Rodri Link” (diag. 9-10). In this scenario, if Rodrigue Beaubois, our guard, could not go straight to the basket, he would pass the ball to a teammate, and then receive a back screen by the trailer, get free and receive the ball back for a shot. Analyzing the previous examples, it is clear that these “links”, are an important component of the philosophy of my offensive game. But, it goes further than that. I believe that one of the most crucial parts of the offensive game is the team’s reaction when the defense stops using these links. For this reason, another strategy that I employ on offense is what I call the “Midway Link”. This is when the team recognizes that we are not able to run all our options on the early break and that it will take too long to “link” to another movement to proceed. We then adopt the “Midway Link”, which means the team must identify all available options on the spot, reacting and adapting while continuing to play without stopping.

But, having settled on one “link”, we immediately had another problem. One of our players with great defensive rebounding skills, who was also able to dribble the entire court and at times able to get clear advantages and go to the rim, was not being recognized for it by the team. And this lack of recognition created problems such as lost balls, hasty shooting, lack of balance on the rebound and so on. From there was born the “Toko Link” (diag. 5-6). The team needed to provide Toko Shengelia, our power forward, the same latitude they afforded Larkin, letting him recognize situations and run without the ball as the basis of the “Toko Link”. These two players could then run a direct screen between them, with the other teammates providing proper spacing, taking advantage of their respective skills. Therefore, by creating the “Toko Link”, we generated more defensive problems for our opponents with the involvement of an inside player, and without the need to delay or stop our flow off the early break. These two examples alone would have been enough to add to my early break playbook, but by considering the skills of the other players on our roster, we were able to create other such links to exploit their efficiency and effectiveness. ”Hanga Link” (diag. 7-8). This was where we gave Adam Hanga, our small forward, the chance, after a IN CONCLUSION defensive rebound or a stolen ball, to attack one on one My idea with this article is to make a coach think about on the open court and, if not able to go to the basket ri- the type of offensive game structure that he wants to

Career 2005 - 2008 Juventud Badalona Assistant

2013 U20 Spanish National Team Head Coach

2017 - 2018 Barcelona ACB Head Coach

2008 - 2010 Juventud Badalona ACB Head Coach

2014 - 2016 Bilbao ACB Head Coach

2018 Cedevita Zagreb Head Coach

2011 - 2014 Gipuzkoa Basket ACB Head Coach

2016-2017 Baskonia ACB Head Coach

2019 -P resent Murcia ACB Head Coach

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LINK TOKO AFTER REBOUND

LINK HANGA AFTER REBOUND

LINK RODRI

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create, always based on the players’ skills, and at the same time to consider certain set “links” or scenarios that can be used in different game situations to be disruptive without the need to run a specific play. It is essential to indicate the player who will have the responsibility to play the final seconds of the action, but also to determine the positions of the other teammates, based on their skills. There are multiple other variables to be considered: If he is a shooter, who is going to rebound, if he is a player able to penetrate, assessing the spacing and the balance, who is the defender, how much time to run the action, if on bonus or not, and so on.

There are difficult situations during a game, where, for a moment, we can lose control of what is happening, but, from my point of view, they can accelerate the global growth of your team and create problems for the structured defense of the opposing team.

www.sitoalonso.com www.facebook.com/sito.alonso.98 www.ucamdeportes.com/ucamcb/en ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 19


VARIOUS TOPICS } Paola Zuccolotto & Marica Manisera } University of Brescia (Italy) Statist

YOU CAN’T MEASURE A PLAYER'S HEART

(FIRST PART)

Do not reduce the role of Statistics to a collection of indexes

W

e are used to starting our talks on basketball data science from the wrong side of understanding sports analytics. The vast majority of people believe that Statistics in basketball can be reduced to counting the number of shots, baskets, points, assists, turnovers. The most skilled ones are aware of the existence of a huge amount of additional and more complex indexes (available for example at NBA.com), but all , these statistics (and we now deliberately use lowercase to distinguish it from Statistics, which is the science we want to talk about) per se, have a more or less limited meaning. As the famed NBA coach and executive, Red Auerbach, quite rightly stated “I don't believe in statistics. There are too many factors that can't be measured. You can't measure a ballplayer's heart.” He meant lowercase statistics. We do not assert that we are able to measure a player’s heart, or the flicker of imagination that generates a sensational dunk or, even the stroke of luck that turns the tide of a game. All these elements, which make our hearts skip a beat, lift us to our feet to rejoice, fill us with wonder - all that sports really is in our hearts – fortunately, cannot be measured. But, on the other hand, it is not correct to reduce the role of Statistics to a collection of indexes trying to get the game down to a set of numbers. For a statistician, these indexes are simply the data to start from. These data collected in large quantities and appropriately re-elaborated – often using very complex techniques and algorithms – can be transformed into useful information to support technical experts in their decisions. And, if Statistics is not able to measure a player’s heart, it is, however, able to measure very subtle aspects, such as the way a player interprets his role, the impact of high-pressure game situations, the teamwork and the positive or negative influence of teammates

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bdsports.unibs.it

tics Professors on a player’s performance. This is not done by counting the number of assists, points, steals. You do not need to be an expert to understand it. Statistics can rely on a large set of techniques, models and algorithms for data description and visualization, multiple and complex relationships detection, drivers identification, prediction. But beyond all of this, a well-developed research line deals with the study of latent variables, that is, all those variables that are not concretely and physically measurable. Not exactly the player’s heart, but his mental toughness, sense of confidence, leadership, sense of motivation, inner desire to succeed, self-discipline, sense of belonging, these are all psychological traits that can be measured by Statistics and possibly studied in relation to the player’s or the team’s performance. What we want to stress is that Statistics is a tool for decisions and not a substitute for human intelligence. Statistics alone does not provide decisions but supports decisions. Decisions remain up to the basketball experts. Algorithms can never replace the human brain when it comes to pulling together the strings of all the evidence and formulating a final judgment, which will be based on all the gathered information, bringing together the quantitative and qualitative issues into a single perception. At the same time, all the imponderable and unconscious elements, intuitions, expertise and other knowledge that cannot be formalized in a structured way or howsoever measured must be taken into account. The player’s hearts must definitely be taken into account as well. In doing that, the teamwork of the statistician and the sports expert is of paramount importance. The expert describes the matter, by posing the right research questions, which allows the statistician to understand the problem and narrow the focus. Then, expert and statistician together plan the research design: decide which data to collect, considering constraints, practical feasibility, pros and cons of each choice. Subsequently, the analyst carries out the analysis, using his statistical expertise, and then the ball goes

back to both of them jointly for the interpretation of the results, never forgetting the strengths and limitations of the techniques that have been used. The information and knowledge drawn from the data thanks to Statistics is the support for the basketball expert's decisions. As mentioned above, he must summarize all the available information: the quantitative evidence provided by Statistics and the qualitative ones deriving from his intuitions which, coming from experience, are no less

STATISTICS ALONE DO NOT PROVIDE DECISIONS

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VARIOUS TOPICS } YOU CAN'T MEASURE A PLAYER'S HEART important than the other elements. The expert's decisions then give life to new questions, and the cycle continues. All these issues are dealt with in the book Basketball Data Science (Figure 1) addressed to all who, having a basic background in Statistics, want to be introduced to applications in the context of basketball and to the use of BasketballAnalyzeR(bdsports.unibs. it/basketballanalyzer), a Figure 1: Zuccolotto, P., Manisera, M., 2020, package available in the Basketball Data Science: with opensource environment Applications in R. CRC Press. called R (R Development Core Team, 2008 R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing. ISBN 3900051070).

The book is structured in three parts: the first one introduces the fundamentals of basketball analytics (literature review, data description and basic methods such as computation of Offensive and Defensive Ratings, Dean Olivers' Four Factors, several kinds of plots such as barline, radial, bubble and scatterplots, variability and inequality analysis, shots charts with scoring percentages from different areas of the court), while the second part is devoted to advanced methods of basketball data science (discovering patterns in data, finding groups in data, modelling relationships in data). In each chapter of the second part, a FOCUS Section is devoted to putting under the spotlight more complex case studies taken from the scientific literature, briefly summarizing their main findings. The book is the tip of the iceberg of our activity in the field of sports analytics carried out from our academic side: it is part of the work of the BDsports project (Big Data Analytics in sports, bdsports.unibs.it), founded in 2016 at the University of Brescia and designed to set up a unique collaboration of experts interested in sports analytics both from a scientific and a practical point of view (Figure 2). The goal is to create an international network able to facilitate contacts and joint research ini-

Figure 2: Skills involved in the BDsports project 22 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM


tiatives, specifically committed to four channels: scientific research, application, teaching and dissemination. In this article we give a swift overview of some works published in scientific journals, where Statistics has helped to understand some specific issues in basketball. We will prune down from the most technical details, aiming straight into the middle of analysis and results.

CLUTCH AND CHOKE PLAYERS

In his career Kobe Bryant scored 733 game-winning shots. As his nickname, Black Mamba, clearly suggests, the outstanding champion, who tragically passed away a little over a year ago, was a lethal foe that no one would have wanted to have as an opponent in the final minutes of a game. But how do we define a clutch player? Is it enough to count the number of shots that decided the fate of the game at the last second? Of course, but that's not all. We should also consider how many shots, among those taken in the last second, were missed. But, again, that’s not all. We cannot forget coach Jimmy McGinty, played by Gene Hackman, when, in the movie The Reserves, he tells quarterback Shane Falco (Keanu Reeves) that "Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line." So, it's also important to understand whether the player wants to take on the responsibility to shoot in clutch moments or prefers to leave it to his teammates. Also, how do we define high-pressure game situations? Certainly, these are not just the last minutes of a game. In short, the question is definitely complex. A BDsports study attempted to answer all these questions by analyzing almost 100,000 shots and evaluating the performance variations, according to the game situations in which they occurred (Zuccolotto P., Manisera M., Sandri M., 2018, “Big data analytics for modeling scoring probability in basketball: The effect of shooting under high-pressure conditions.” International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching). The basic idea is that if we systematically record lower success rates in a given game situation with respect to another situation, there is some factor that determines this difference. Among the possible reasons, some are technical (e.g., greater defensive pressure) and others are psychological. By bringing together these possible causes (albeit heterogeneous) in the only meaning of "high-pressure game situation", it is possible to isolate the moments in which these situations arise. The study’s first aim was to identify when a high-pressure game situation occurs, and secondly, to provide a measure of the ability of the players in these moments. The starting point for isolating clutch situations was the judgment of technical experts, who provided a first suggestion about the va-

riables on which we should focus our magnifying glass. Subsequently, the identification was refined thanks to the use of an artificial intelligence algorithm called Classification and Regression Trees (CART), which allowed us to identify, within the previously defined framework, the game situations exhibiting the most significant performance variations. We analyzed all the shots taken during two very different championships in terms of organization, length and professional level: the Italian Serie A2 Championship 2016/2017 (480 games, 438 players involved, 69,688 shots) and the 2016 Olympic Tournament in Rio de Janeiro (38 games, 144 players involved, 6,470 shots). The analysis was carried out separately for the two datasets in order to compare results and highlight regularities despite the very different championships. According to the experts’ suggestions, the situations that can generate high psychological pressure on the player when he shoots, can be traced back to five main moments: 1) When the shot is taken close to the shot clock buzzer sound 2) When the score difference is low 3) When the whole team is going through a difficult game phase 4) When the shooting player has missed his previous shot 5) When the quarter or the match is about to end.

Figure 3: Scoring probability and shot density versus shot clock (Source: Zuccolotto P., Manisera M., Sandri M., 2018) ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 23


VARIOUS TOPICS } YOU CAN'T MEASURE A PLAYER'S HEART Preliminary analyses with nonparametric regression techniques have confirmed some of these indications. In particular, the strongest effect on the scoring probability has been found to be that of the shot clock. Figure 3 shows the trends of the estimated scoring probabilities (with a tolerance interval defined with bootstrap techniques), separately for 2-point (left panels) and 3-point (right panels) shots, as well as for the Italian Serie A2 Championship (blue graphics) and the Olympic Tournament (green graphics). The similarity of the results obtained with the two datasets is immediately evident. For 2-point shots, there is a sharply decreasing trend as the available time decreases. Shots taken at the start of 24 seconds (usually fast break shots) have a scoring probability of over 60%, while shots in the last seconds are just over 40%. The situation for 3-point shots is slightly different, where the decreased scoring probability close to the end of game time is confirmed, but there is also a low probability at the start of the action. This is probably due to the fact that these are not fast break shots (very rarely in this case does a player decide to stop and shoot from beyond the 3-point line), but shots attempted at the end of the overall playing time. The gray lines indicate the shooting density and show that the highest frequency is between eight and 12 seconds until the shot clock buzzer sounds. In a second phase, the statistical technique called CART was used to delineate the most critical situations in greater detail and define the scoring probability in these circumstances. With regard to the first

Variable

Shot clock

issue, the situations to be monitored were found to be those reported in Table 1, with substantially similar results in the two considered datasets. Regarding the second issue, thanks to the CART technique we obtained a tree able to estimate the different scoring probabilities corresponding to the situations isolated by the algorithm, sometimes in interaction with each other, separately for 2 and 3-points shots, and free throws (Figure 4). The tree is built with consecutive bipartitions. The variable that generates each bipartition and the categories characterizing the left branch are determined by the algorithm and denoted in correspondence with each division. So, for example, the first bipartition is made according to the type of shot: the left branch contains 2-point and 3-point shots (2P; 3P), the right branch contains free throws. Going down the right branch (therefore, considering free throws), we find that there is a different scoring probability according to the success or failure of the previous shot taken by the same player: scoring probability equal to 74.81% if the previous shot was made and 71.15% if the previous shot was missed. Going down the branch of the 2-point and 3-point shots, the next bipartition further separates the two types of shooting. For 2-point shots (left branch), the scoring probability range from

Significant thresholds in order to detect game situations with different scoring probabilities More than 17 secs (early) Between 10 and 17 secs (earlymiddle) Between 2 and 10 secs (middleend) 2 secs or less (timeend) Standard (24 secs) or extra time (additional 14 secs)

Time

Less than 500 secs (time normal) or last 100 secs of each quarter

Previous shot of the same player

Made or missed

Score difference

15 or less Between 14 and 5 Between 4 and 1 Between 0 and 6 More than 6

Table 1: Situations with a modified scoring probability, identified by CART 24 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

HOW DO WE DEFINE HIGHPRESSURE GAME SITUATIONS?


Figure 4: Tree showing scoring probabilities in different game situations (Italian Serie A2 Championship; Source: Zuccolotto P., Manisera M., Sandri M., 2018)

a minimum of 40.86% (shots attempted in the last two seconds of the action) to a maximum of 65.8% (shots attempted within the first eight seconds of the action). We interestingly note that for earlymiddle shots (shot clock between 10 and 17 seconds) there is a considerable difference in probability determined by whether there has been a reset of the shot clock at 14 seconds (probability of success 60.35%) or not (probability of success 46.78% and 55.01% depending on the score difference). A similar situation, even if less complex, occurs for 3-point shots, which have a success probability that ranges from 29.39% in the case of shots in the last two seconds of the action to 38.44% for shots

made in the first 500 seconds of each quarter, with the shot clock between 10 and 17 seconds. It is interesting to note that in the last 100 seconds of each quarter the scoring probability settles at a significantly lower value (31.19%). The results presented in Figure 4 are relative to the data of the Italian Serie A2 Championship, but the analysis of the Olympic Tournament leads to similar conclusions. The last step of the analysis was devoted to evaluating players’ performance in high-pressure situations. In fact, all the results described so far are relative to average effects. However, some athletes view comFigure 5: Players scoring performance in the last two seconds until the shot clock buzzer sounds for 2-point shots (left) and 3-point shots (right) (Italian Serie A2 Championship)

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VARIOUS TOPICS } YOU CAN'T MEASURE A PLAYER'S HEART petitive situations as challenging, and others perceive the same situations as stressful and anxiety provoking. So, once defined what a high-pressure game situation is, it is important to assess players’ personal reactions in the analyzed situations. For each selected high-pressure game situation, it was possible to produce a graph analogous to the one presented by way of example in Figure 5, which relates only to the situation in which the shot is taken in the last two seconds of the action. The graphs in Figure 5 show on the horizontal axis the skill of the players in 2-point (left) and 3-point (right) shots, measured with the scoring percentage. Data are standardized, so that zero denotes the average skill of the players in the analyzed championship. The difference in performance in the analyzed high-pressure situation (shots taken in the last two seconds) compared to the player's average performance is displayed on the vertical axis. Each player is represented on the graph with a bubble of size equal to the number of shots taken in the situation under analysis, color coded according to his propensity to shoot in the situation itself, measured by comparing the shooting intensity in the last two seconds of the action and in the whole game (red: the player takes the risk of shooting; blue: the player tends to avoid shooting in the analyzed situation). Only the players who have made at least 20 shots of each analyzed type are selected to be shown in the graph. So, for example, considering 2-point shots, player No. 23 has below average skill - he has attempted between 40 and 50 shots in the last two seconds of the

action - recording a further worsening performance in this circumstance. He has a rather low propensity for shooting in the last two seconds, with respect to his usual shooting intensity. For 3-point shots, player No. 37 has a high skill level which is even better when the shot is made in the last two seconds of the action. His propensity to shoot in this circumstance is high. These graphs can be extremely interesting in order to understand each player’s reaction to selected high-pressure game situations. The best players are those represented by big red bubbles located in the top right quadrant. Finally, the article proposes a new overall measure of players' shooting skills, which considers the situation in which the shot is attempted. In the proposed index, each made and missed shot is weighted differently according to the situation in which the shot took place. Therefore, a shot made in a high-pressure game situation, when the scoring probability of success was low, is weighted more than a shot made in a calm game situation. Correspondingly, a missed shot penalizes the performance index the more the scoring probability associated with the moment in which the shot was taken was higher. The indexes obtained for the players of the Olympic Tournament (limited to those who have attempted at least 100 shots) are displayed in Figure 6, where we find the skills (corrected in order to take into account high-pressure game situations) in 2-point and 3-point shots in the horizontal and vertical axes, respectively. Players are represented in the graph as bubbles of size equal to

Career Paola Zuccolotto 1999 - 2005 University of Brescia, Italy Assistant Professor 2005 - 2018 University of Brescia, Italy Associate Professor of Statistics 2015 - Present University of Brescia Big & Open Data Innovation Lab Director 26 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

2016 - Present International Project BD Sports Scientific Coordinator 2018 - Present University of Brescia Full Professor of Statistics

Marica Marisera 2009 - 2017 University of Brescia, Italy Assistant Professor of Statistics 2016 - Present University of Brescia Scientific coordinator International project BDsports

2017 - Present University of Brescia Associate Professor of Statistics


the number of attempted shots and color coded according to the (adjusted) skill in free throws. So, for example, during the Olympic Tournament, Kevin Durant exhibited an exceptional 3-point shooting skill and very good performance in free throws, while he was slightly above average for 2-point shots.

DATA CAN HELP MAKE DECISIONS

The next up on the BDsports agenda is to use psychometric techniques in order to measure latent traits such as mental toughness, resilience, self-confidence, etc., and analyze their relationships with the described statistical indicators of performance in high-pressure game situations. Figure 6: Scoring performance indexes corrected by considering high-pressure game situations (Olympic Tournament; Source: Zuccolotto P., Manisera M., Sandri M., 2018)

paola.zuccolotto@unibs.it marica.manisera@unibs.it

ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 27


VIDEO LIBRARY

BE A GREAT 3-POINT SHOOTER

G

olden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr teaches how to become a great 3-point shooter. “The players have to first focus on being able to shoot close, before they move to the 3-point shot. First, the players must become great shooters from 8 feet, then from 10 feet, and then from the 3-point line. They will need to develop some rhythm to get momentum going into their shot. And remember that the key is also repetition: Stephen Curry shoots 300 shots each practice.” says Coach Kerr.

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ATTACKING THE MISMATCHES

H

ow to react tactically in a game is based on reading the game’s situations and is based on the knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams, thanks to the scouting, the characteristics of the players, the philosophy of the coach, and the game plan or strategy that is intended to be developed. In this case, Real Madrid chooses to enhance its strengths, for facing the aggressive defense made of constant switches on the direct pick and roll of the opponent, Barcelona. The different offensive plays to counteract the Barcelona defensive strategies created defensive problems for Jasikievicius’ team. Claudio César Prieto Argentine professional coach, who also holds Spanish citizenship, he is a FIBA Licensed coach, has attended many clinics and has been the guest of teams worldwide, including the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA. Prieto was on the staff of the

Michael Jordan Brand Classic in Barcelona. He has coached Catalan teams, has the FIBA and top Spanish and Argentine coaching licenses, and is an expert in video analysis. He is a FIBA Certified coach. www.thecoachclaudioprieto.com ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 29


VIDEO LIBRARY

THE ART OF “FENCING” TO DEFEND THE LOW POST

T

o trap or not to trap? That’s often the question to stop the inside game of the opponent. The combination in the EuroLeague of dominant big men and sharpshooters makes it a tough dilemma to make up your game plan. Valencia Basket exploits an interesting concept that finds the best of both worlds. With the inside duo Dublevic-Tobey and versatile wings like Labeyrie, Williams and Kalinic, they rarely need to sacrifice a second defender to stop the inside game of the opponent. Instead of trapping, their perimeter players “stunt” on the dribble of the opponent in the post. The action resembles an attacking move in fencing. It’s a quick attack at the ball, immediately followed by a retreat to their own man. By using a completely outstretched arm and a wide stance with their feet, the defense reduces the space between the center and their own match-up. The fencing is executed on each dribble alternative by the strong side perimeter

player and the top defender. The cue to start this defensive strategy is the dribble of the offensive big man. If not, it would result in an immediate pass back and a wide-open shot. For the same reason, the fencing ends the moment the center picks up his dribble. By this fencing strategy, the offensive big man loses a lot of his power (to create his inside move and his overview to pass) while no shooters are left wide open.

Pascal Meurs (born in 1980) currently works as the head coach of Sparta Bertrange (Luxembourg). Last season he was the head coach of EuroProBasket International Academy for professional players in l’Alqueria del Basket in Valencia. He has experience as a head coach at the highest level in Belgium, The Netherlands and France. Pascal is an expert in basketball analytics and a skilled speaker at coaching clinics. He also runs a coaching website and newsletter: www.pascalmeurs.com 30 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM


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MINI BASKETBALL } David Cardenas } Technical Coordinator & Coach, CB La Zubia - Granada

FROM INTENTION TO CONSIDERATIONS ON MOTOR INTERACTION CONTEXTS

T

(PART TWO) he contexts in which motor action takes place both in basketball and in Mini Basketball have a series of specific characteristics that make them unique. Knowing them is essential if we want to achieve transferable learning or make them applicable to new game situations. The probability that learning is transferable depends on the degree of similarity between the contexts of practice and those in which it is intended to be used. As shown in Figure 1, the main characteristic is the presence of a high level of complexity between the elements that are part of the game and this complexity is in turn defined by other determining features. The unpredictable behavior of the players implies

THREE SOURCES OF DETERMINANTS OF BEHAVIOR

32 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM


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ACTION

Finally, all decisions and actions developed in the game are qualitatively evaluated by both players and coaches. The player who makes a pass perceives the result of the action and experiences a more or less positive emotion depending on the degree of achievement of the objective. This emotion is neurally linked to the action performed and is part of the biological mechanisms that humans use in everyday life to make future decisions (Damasio, 1996). According to the “somatic marker hypothesis”, developed by the eminent neuroscientist Antonio Damasio (1996), the emotions associated with experiences act as a filter in future situations with similar characteristics. Our brain activates the neural networks that were generated as a consequence of those actions that produced positive emotions and inhibits those that produced negative ones. This Figure 1. Characteristics of motor interaction contexts in Mini Basketball theory justifies the need to accept error as an indispena very high level of uncertainty, which can impact sable element in the learning process and to provide their decision-making. The uncertainty may be cau- children with freedom to explore play contexts. sed by the appearance of conflicts among the different possible actions that the athlete keeps in his WHAT ROLE DO MOTIVATION working memory and that compete with each other AND OTHER EMOTIONAL FACTORS PLAY? until a decision is made. The presence of ten players Motivation is understood as the set of mechanisms interacting simultaneously, in a reduced space and that energize, organize and initiate behavior, oriencompeting for the possession of a ball, supposes ting it to the achievement of relevant goals or reina great amount of changing information that the forcers (Perales, 2020). It is difficult to conceive of player must process to act quickly in the most effi- a training program in Mini Basketball that does not cient way possible. The players move at different seek to promote the increase of motivation as one speeds and rhythms, changing position, trajectory, of its fundamental objectives. It starts with the inbody orientation, modifying their intentions and, as terests of children and establishes strategies aimed a consequence, their actions. All these changes are at encouraging their desire to continue practicing our sometimes made in milliseconds increasing the di- sport. Learning scenarios that have a playful nature, fficulty of achieving the objectives of the game. The that are dynamic and that stimulate the improvelevel of contextual variability is very high. To further ment of the child's self-efficacy (perceived compeincrease the complexity, the player must select the tence) must be designed. relevant information at all times and disregard that which is not relevant to decide correctly. The pre- The average self-efficacy is in the relationship besence of distracting stimuli requires the ability to tween the effort that the player is willing to invest inhibit the response to information that is not of in- (or resources you are willing to mobilize) and the terest at a particular moment in order to achieve the goals you want to achieve. The role of the coach is desired objective. decisive as he is responsible for adjusting the deALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 33


MINI BASKETBALL } FROM INTENTION TO ACTION mands of the tasks, since the optimal functional difficulty of the teaching / training tasks will also depend on the expectations of the player to achieve the goals. If he perceives them as not being achievable, even if the nominal difficulty is close to his real capacity, he will not be willing to make the necessary efforts. Finally, it should be noted that the emotions experienced in the game not only depend on the perception of competition that the player experiences when evaluating her performance in a task, but on the evaluation made by the coach and the way in which she transmits it. A girl who misses a basket attempt with her non-dominant hand will usually interpret her experience as a failure. If the coach praises her for taking the shot with the hand away from her opponent, a correct choice, the perception of it will vary enough to allow her to experience some satisfaction. This circumstance can positively affect the reinforcement of her behavior and encourage her to repeat it in a similar context. In any case, each specific sporting experience involves dealing with emotions that can affect the pace of learning and sports performance. The player must learn to regulate her behavior and the coach, understanding the role that emotions play in decision-making, must create conditions where those emotions can surface in a way that allows for their proper management.

PROPOSAL BASED ON CONSTRAINTS

The methodology derived from the theory of complex dynamic systems that we referred to in the first part is based on understanding that sports behavior is the result of the interaction between the player and his environment. Although I am not in favor of simplifying the explanation of human behavior to simple interaction with the environment, there are practical contributions in these methodological proposals that are of great interest. Before highlighting these contributions, I would like to make it clear that sports learning cannot be explained on the basis of a simple association between stimuli and responses. The human being is born with mental representations of the world and creates other more abstract ones through experience and learning. The player generates mental representations that include movement patterns associated with specific contexts but also more general abstractions of those relationships generating intentions, that is, abstract knowledge of the logic of the game (Alarcón, 2021). According to the theory of complex dynamic systems there are three sources of behavior constraints: the individual, the environment and the task (Figure 2). 34 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

Figure 2. Newell's model of conditioning factors (1996)

CONDITIONING FACTORS RELATED TO THE INDIVIDUAL

In a complex system such as Mini Basketball, each child has different characteristics that distinguish them from the rest of the team members. Some are temporarily taller or faster while others have more arm span or more control of the action, the pass or shot. The confrontations that can be generated greatly condition the development of the player. Dueling with a faster player conditions decision-making differently than with a slower opponent. The first case demands looking for approaches to the basket trying to overcome the rival by speed, while in the second instance the attacker needs to exploit other resources such as starting feints, different dribbling movements, and additional strategies aimed at generating enough space for shooting. There are other individual conditions of the motor type. The ability to play thanks to previous accumulated experiences or the result of learning processes, represents a factor that influences one's own or a rival's behavior. Children will tend to develop those behaviors that they dominate due to prior learning or because they can obtain immediate better performance due to their physical or anthropometric characteristics (for example:

OTHER INDIVIDUAL CONDITIONS OF MOTOR TYPE


look for the 1 x 1 inside or load the rebound for being taller than most or having greater jumping ability). As we have commented previously, there are also emotional and motivational conditioning factors that, along with the rest of the aforementioned factors, must be elements to take into account in the programming of the Mini Basketball session and in the coach's mediation process to guide learning.

CONDITIONING FACTORS RELATED TO THE ENVIRONMENT

There are environmental conditions of a physical nature, such as temperature, pressure, gravity, ambient light, or more specific ones such as those related to the characteristics of the facilities where children practice (type of surface or sliding coefficient, etc.). The type of education received, the type of family support or the people who make up the closest social environment (friends, relatives) also play an essential role. The expectations generated in this context, the motivational goals, or other factors of a psychological nature, are decisive in the development of sports talent and must be properly managed by the coaches who develop their work in training stages. Unfortunately, sometimes the parents themselves despite all good intentions can negatively affect the possibility of developing sports talent and reduce the coach's scope for action.

CONDITIONERS RELATED TO THE TASK

The way in which the task has been designed, the demands that the established norms represent or the organization of it help the player in his search for effective strategies. When the conditions of the task are changed, new possibilities of action arise. The main determining factors are: the players, the ball, the baskets, the field of play, the time available and the rules themselves. From the perspective of complex dynamical systems, players learn as a result of interaction with these structural elements of training tasks or exercises. Exposure to the created conditions generates adaptive needs of children and therefore implies developing behaviors aimed at achieving the established goal. Any change in these conditions poses new difficulties to be solved. Let's think about the task represented in Figures 3 and 4 (taken from Alarcón, 2020). The player with the ball has the ultimate goal of scoring, but before he can shoot, he must touch one of the three available cones. Defenders only avoid it by standing on top of the cone. When the attacker hits

Figure 3 and 4. Training task aimed at promoting the learning of deceptive behaviors during dribbling movements, the identification of free spaces and different possibilities of ending the attack the first target, the two defenders act simultaneously to avoid his launching it. From the general objective that is raised in the task, the specific objectives arise that will lead to its achievement. Thus, in order to get over one of the cones, he will need to increase the level of uncertainty of the rivals (specific objective) for which he will have to perform various deceptive actions. Once the first challenge of the task is achieved, a defensive 2 x 1 situation will occur that will force you to seek free space or generate it through behaviors that involve changes in rhythm, direction, body orientation, etc. New objectives appear (gain a positional advantage over defenALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 35


MINI BASKETBALL } FROM INTENTION TO ACTION ders, retain that advantage) and, as a consequence, new associated flexible responses. Again, given the established conditions, the children will find themselves having to change the dynamics of the drive, the rhythms of movement, the body orientation until they manage to deceive the opponents, forcing them to react and generating the necessary free space to approach the cone freely. Likewise, when the appearance of the defensive 2 x 1 succeeds, it will generate new responses that favor unchecking and completion (last specific objective: protecting the shot to the basket). A change in the conditions of the task will cause new needs in the players who must adapt and seek those behaviors that allow achieving the objectives. Suppose we reduce the time available to get to touch the cone to 10 seconds. The attacker with the ball will be forced to make his decisions and act in a much more dynamic way. The conditioning factors that we manipulate as trainers to design the tasks and that determine the degree of motor interaction can be spatial, temporal (as in the previous example), or motor (Figure 5). Each of these blocks of conditioning allows specific variations. For example, we can change the shape or dimensions of the spaces to play in depending on the learning objective. If we want children to be conditioned so that they learn to preserve the advantage achieved in a 1 x 1 situation and at the same time be able to develop behaviors of slowing down mo-

Figure 6. Exercise with spatial and motor conditioning factors vement, stopping and shooting, we can propose an exercise like the one shown below (Figure 6).

The attacker plays a 1 x1 in order to score (task objective) in the space delineated by the cones (triangular shape). The spatial restrictions condition the player to explore possibilities of action that allow him to obtain an advantage in depth in the first place or alternatives to distance himself from the opponent to get enough time for a frontal shot, or to pivot to generate a space for shooting. The level of motor interaction would increase if we modified the available free space, not by variation of the attack zone, but by increasing the number of opponents. The following Figure 7 shows a variant of the previous task with this conditioner. The second defender can only leave when the first has managed to overcome the first line of cones and enter the triangle. It is quite possible that in such circumstances the player tries to throw the ball before the second defender approaches and thereby experiences pumped shot possibilities (Bomba/Floater). We can modify the temporary conditions. In the previous case, we could limit the time to achieve the goal to 7-10 seconds, causing an increase in the difficulty of the task. Another possibility is to condition the exit of the second defender so that he canFigura 5. Tipos de condicionantes de las taras not act before three seconds have elapsed que determinan el grado de interacción motriz from the time the player with the ball begins his attack or starts the bounce.

36 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM


Figure 7. Variant of the previous task including a second defender Finally, we can include new restrictions, this time of the motor type. If we want to promote the appearance of deceptive behaviors based on great gestural variability, which generate a greater level of uncertainty in the opponent, we can prohibit the player with the ball from turning his back on his defender. Faced with the risk of losing possession of the ball by breaking the rule, the attacker will avoid protecting the ball during the dribble and will be obliged to alter the rhythms of the dribble with accelerations and decelerations and changes in body attitude through flexion/ extension of the different body joints, etc. If it were an exercise to be used with children who play Mini Basketball and therefore at an early age, it could be the case that when they were attackers with the ball they did not have a sufficient level of play to overcome the first defender. In this case we could add a driving force for the defender, which favors attacking success, reducing the difficulty of the task. It would be about forcing the defender to dribble a ball while trying to prevent the attacker from achieving his goal. Likewise, we can propose that they carry the ball in their hands to try to touch the attacker's, in which case they would change roles. In short, we will stimulate a more creative behavior in which the different trials, with their possible mistakes and successes, will constitute a reference system for decision-making under similar conditions in future situations.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES TO ACHIEVE A GENERAL OBJECTIVE

Career 1985 - 1987 University of Granada Sport Club Coach, Women's Team

2007 - 2014 Granada Province Coaches Technical Advisor

1986 - 2005 Different Clubs Div. II-III- EBA Youth Coach and Men's First Team

2015 - Present Club La Zubia EBA League Coach and Technical Coordinator 1990 - present University of Granada Basketball Teacher

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STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACHES } Matteo Panichi } S & C Coach Italian National Teams

THE PREVENTION OF INJURIES IN BASKETBALL IT'S A VERY CURRENT AND VERY COMPLEX

T

he topic of injury prevention in sports is both very topical and very complex at the same time. To understand how much recent attention the world of sports has placed on this topic, just type in "pubmed", the reference search engine for scientific articles, and the words "injury prevention" to see the enormous surge in the quantity of articles from the 2000s until today. The topic is much debated and very controversial because the causes that can lead to injuries in sports are many and, in some cases, still unknown. In my opinion, a holistic approach to the problem is timely and very important. The possibility of falling into evaluation errors or being conditioned by bias is very high. In addition to the purely physical sphere which we will talk about in this article, the components relating to the medical, technical, nutritional, psychological, socio-relational part are of fundamental importance. Below, I will explain the issues concerning the physical trainer, all of fundamental importance but not exRISK FACTORS INTRINSIC

NOT MODIFIABLE Sex Age Previous injuries Dominant side Anthropometric measurements

EXTRINSIC

Game level Role Time of the season Temperature Play surface

38 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL LOAD MONITORING REQUIRED

haustive since, as stated, the causes of an injury can be multiple and multifactorial. As a last premise I want to underline the fact that nowadays in the world of sports sciences and physical preparation there is a tendency to talk about reducing the risk of injury rather than prevention. Despite the attention and care given to the maximum number of details, injuries are inevitable and therefore it is more correct to say that we are working to reduce their incidence rather than to prevent them entirely. Risk factors are generally divided into intrinsic and extrinsic and among these there are some modifiable ones in which we can intervene and others that cannot be modified. (Table 1) MODIFIABLE Power Flexibility Postural imbalances Muscle imbalances Alteration of the support load Body composition Fitness level Psychological factors Workload Match frequency Game tactics Footwear Taping Contacts


/www.fip.it

AGE AND RELAPSES

Two risk factors universally recognized in a lot of sports injuries are the age of the athlete and his previous injuries. Since these are two non-modifiable factors, it will be necessary to make note of them during the recruitment and construction of the team and share any possible risks with the club.

TRAINING LOAD

Another risk factor is the training/ play load to which athletes are subjected. Although the load indices are different and their direct correlation with injuries is much debated in the scientific community, greater exposure to load certainly increases the percentage of risk. Therefore, it becomes more and more necessary to monitor the internal and external load, be it done through local positioning systems, accelerometers, heart rate monitors or even simply with questionnaires on perceived

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL LOAD MONITORING REQUIRED

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STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACHES } The Prevention of Injuries in Basketball

fatigue to be submitted to athletes according to the possibilities.

MONITORING OF READINESS AND WELLNESS STATUS

There are several strategies for obtaining information about the player's condition to assure that he is not too fatigued or stressed. Simple questionnaires can be used that invite players to provide an assessment of the state of fatigue, the sensations of soreness or pain and the duration and quality of sleep. Or, we can use devices for evaluating HRV (Heart Rate Variability) and dynamometers and force platforms that can provide us with important information on neuromuscular freshness and readiness.

FUNCTION AND MOTOR CONTROL

An important focus is that relating to skeletal muscle function and movement efficiency. Evaluating the way in which the subject moves, understanding the functional limitations related to mobility or stability deficits, identifying muscular imbalances, asymmetries and deficits in the basic motor patterns is certainly an important starting point for structuring effective prevention programs and inserting the most suita40 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

ble general and specific stabilization exercises during training. This aspect is closely linked to the theme of motor control and proprioception. In fact, a very important part of training is that relating to the afferents (proprioceptive, visual and vestibular) that reach the Central Nervous System from the periphery. Being able to receive quantitatively and qualitatively relevant information and knowing how to rework and integrate it automatically and effectively is a decisive quality for improving motor control. Our nervous system is plastic and very adaptable, a correct administration of adequate stimuli through exercise therefore has a significant impact in this direction.

POWER

A fundamental point is that relating to the athletic development of the player: all skills are important, but strength is the main one. The goals to be achieved with strength training are twofold: } Structural objectives } Goals to improve the quality of movement


TIDBITS He likes to spend time with his family, reading and studying

}

He loves to go boating and scuba diving

} He enjoys drinking a glass of good wine in company

ONE ASPECT TO CONSIDER: RECOVERY STRATEGIES

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STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACHES } The Prevention of Injuries in Basketball HIGH-RISK MUSCLES

HOW TO TRAIN

SINERGIST TO TRAIN

HOW TO TRAIN

Biceps femoris

Eccentric work hip dominant 1

Semitendinosus (gracilis, sartorius, popliteus)

Increase fatigue tolerance 2

Gluteus maxim (oblique abdomin adductor magn

Rectus femoris (Central tendon)

Eccentric biarticular (hip ext emphasis) 4

Hip Flexors

Hip flexion 5

Core sagittal pla

Gastrocnemius (Medial head)

Eccentric work 7, Stiffness 8

Tibialis posterior

Plantaflexion + supination 9

Gluteus maxim

Adductor longus Adductor magnus

Isometric 10 Eccentric work 11

Balance with Abductors

STRUCTURAL OBJECTIVES

Among the former we find all those methods that are used to structurally modify the architecture of muscle and fascial tissues, favoring the strengthening of the tendons and the strengthening and lengthening of the muscle fascicles. Proper use of these exercises aims to strengthen the myofascial structure and protect tissues and joints. Monitoring strength levels and muscle asymmetries through tests with dynamometers, strength platforms, accelerometers or simply with more classic evaluations in the weight room, is very useful for highlighting problems and working to eliminate them. With regard to muscle injuries in (Table 2) you can find a focus on the muscles most prone to injury and how to best train them from a prevention perspective, as well as an indication of the synergistic and complementary muscles to train.

OTHER MUSCLE TO

Core muscles

MOVEMENT-RELATED GOALS

The latter, on the other hand, can be divided into two topics: } Strength exercises related to movement, i.e. all those exercises that improve motor control, management of joint angles, rotations, proximal stability that improves distal mobility and specific sports positions. } Specific force expressions: Power, RFD (Rate of Force Development), stiffness. Here we use explosive and ballistic exercises to improve the ability to accelerate, decelerate and have elastic reuse of force, fundamental aspects in the game of basketball.

PLACEMENT OF THE EXERCISES

The general preventive exercises and those chosen according to the problems and individual characteristics of the player can be proposed at various times depending on the focus they have: } Before training (individual preventive program). } During the warm-up (team dynamic). } During strength training (complementary exercises). } In a dedicated session (individual, group or team). } After training (individual or team cool down).

RECOVERY

A final aspect to consider is that of recovery strategies after training and matches. These are very important to decrease DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), lower inflammation and improve the balance between the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic for better rest and recovery. Among these strategies, the most effective are 42 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM


O TRAIN

HOW TO TRAIN

mus nals, nus)

Concentric Hip extension 3

ane

Anti extension 6

mus

Concentric Hip extension 3

s

Anti extension 6 Anti rotation 12

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

45° Hip extension (eccentric emphasis) / Single leg deadlift (eccentric emphasis) Nordic Hamstring / Eccentric hamstring slides (neutral or intrarotate) Glutee bridges / Hip trusters Spanish band squat (eccentric emphasis w/hip extension) Band resisted dead bugs Dead bugs and roll out variation Calf raises (eccentric emphasis) Stiff jump and land / Lay up jumping press Plantarflexion + supination Isometric 60° squeeze / Copenaghen plank Standing EB adduction LL / Copenaghen plank (eccentric emphasis) Pallof press variations / deceleration twist

certainly manual therapy and massage, cryotherapy, immersion in cold water and compression techniques. Stretching, which has many other structural benefits, does not appear to impact recovery. Proper nutrition and supplementation are also key points for optimal recovery and subsequent good performance.

CONCLUSION

The topic addressed is very broad and has been treated partially; the genesis of injuries is multifactorial and often still unknown. It must be remembered that in addition to the known factors, chance also plays an important role. Nevertheless, to increase the field of control and reduce the risk, every member of the staff who works around the team, be it manager, technician, doctor, therapist, nutritionist, physical trainer, sport scientist, etc., can, through the deepening of knowledge on the subject, have an ever-greater impact in this field.

matteo panichi matteo panichi

Career 2002 - 2013 VL Pesaro Youth Teams S & C Coach

2010 - 2011 Montegranaro Div. I S & C Coach

2009 - 2010 Vanoli Cremona Div. I S & C Coach

2011 - 2013 Italian National Team Assistant S & C Coach

2015 - Present Sr. Women's Italian National Team S & C Coach

2019 - Present Armani Milan Div. I Performance Team Member

2017 - Present Sr. Men's Italian National Team S & C Coach ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 43


Referees } Richard Stokes } Euroleague Basketball Sr. Director of Officiating

EVALUATING REFEREE PERFORMANCE TO STIMULATE EXCELLENCE

T

he rationale for any evaluation process is to stimulate excellence whether it be at work or in sport and for professional referees, this is one and the same. Certain junctions in the referee’s road map of the season, or indeed in their career, need to form recognised staging posts for both reviewing and reflecting progress, (or possibly a lack of it) and then setting clear goals for the next part of their development. The possibility of ‘drift’ during a season, without these points of personal review that are outside of the continuous general group feedback, must reflect trends or habits that can be worked on to change or improve upon. This will give an opportunity for change and to better manage expectations for their schedule of games later in the season at the critical point of play-off and finals. Euroleague Basketball currently has a group of referees who have accumulated National, European and World experience in many cases and so their existing game knowledge and judgment is already extensive and probably at the high end of the pyramid, but despite this, the average age of a EB referee is around 42 years of age. Recognition must also be made of their ability to base their decisions on several changing or unique circumstances around incidents driven by their experience of the game as a participant as well as that of an official. As identified by Mascarenhas, Collins and Mortimer (2002), the art of officiating (compared to the craft), at the elite level, is more difficult to measure and may even be described as an ‘x-factor’, but it remains an essential element at elite level officiating and therefore needs to be reflected in any critique. Many assessment reports for elite officials tend to focus on key factors that are hard to sometimes to quantify. The element that is perceptually the most important in the referee’s world, is one of fairness. The use of evaluation/feedback templates can be quite subjective in asking the evaluator’s opinion on the performance of an individual or crew and while the evaluator can make every effort to be as fair as possible, the use instead of a checklist of demonstrated skills or habits, serves to both remind and unify the feedback across multiple individuals and offer a level playing field that is more objective and can therefore form a cornerstone of any future evaluation. 44 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

An individual’s opinion of a performance can unfairly affect the progress of that official and this can in turn can negatively impact the process. There needs to be an objective set of measurements, based on the competence of a referee to complete numerous tasks. There cannot always be a simple yes/no response to each task as the opportunity to demonstrate competence must also present itself if the evaluation is to be fair and not skewed by incorrect data/feedback. A competence-based evaluation structure can therefore form the basis of any procedure, but other contextual events must also be judged and considered as part of the overall opinion. The assessment model should arguably reflect a more ‘business-orientated’ approach in evaluating and as-


THE ART OF OFFICIATING IS MORE DIFFICULT TO MEASURE

sessing performances, due to the business environment of professional sports in which referees operate and should therefore be held accountable. They require a performance-based appraisal, with constant support and feedback, in order that they retain a high level of output or improve further, keeping pace with the development of the sport. Their ceiling being the ability to transform this feedback and theory into practice. Desire or a high motivation to improve may not be enough, other factors may prevent further development which are not in the direct control of the referee or the organisation but instead reflect the mental and physical capacity of the referee and the rate of development. In short, they may reach a lower ceiling than some co-officials and this also needs to be recognised and evaluated to manage individual expectation, through a clear and transparent process.

Professional sports organisations and business share a common ground. As officials move from a vocational/part-time involvement to a professional involvement, then the structure of learning and development must change as must the provision of resources. The principle of continuing to use referee coaches to both mentor and coach referees (at different times), whether directly working with referees in-game or in a role of facilitating reflection post game form two additional strands that can be defined in a new structure of appraisal and feedback in delivering this continuous flow of feedback that also exists in business. An evaluation process therefore needs to include the following six elements:

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REFEREES } Evaluating Referee Performance } Competency-based evaluation for accuracy and basic skills, } Evaluation of performance under pressure (critical game decisions) in the context of Art v Craft decisions reflecting elite skills in application of the rules, communication, and game management, } Feedback that gives clear learning and development points and recognises the application of best practice, } In-season summary (progress to date) connected to post-season summary with medium and longterm goals respectively, } The ability to extract trends across the group to drive the educational syllabus, } A robust analysis to support the retention/release of referees.

EVALUATION PROCESS AND DESIGN

To fully evaluate any future process of assessment, clear goals must first be defined as the outcomes for

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what should be delivered. Although we have previously defined six areas, as outputs, any assessment process should be a tool to drive better results and a higher accuracy in decision making, which should then in turn push the application of the rules and interpretations in the correct spirit with which they were conceived and written, and the result should be a contest that is more consistently determined when officials make decisions. It should be recognised that all the stakeholders are fallible, coaches and players make mistakes as do referees, but reducing these to a minimum and ensuring consistency of application from the referees’ side, will lead to a greater level of satisfaction and acceptance by the participants and possibly also by extension, the fans. Therefore, consistency must be a key outcome, not only in the single game, but in each round of competition and across the season. The second element must be to have accurate decisions when performing under duress or stress. Eu-


PARTICIPANTS SEEK PERFECTION IN AN IMPERFECT WORLD

ropean basketball can provide a highly pressurised environment under which referees have to work, therefore the ability to remain in control physically as well as mentally is sometimes a massive challenge. In looking at how other sports officials and other workers perform under pressure we can look at both the goals and the evaluation processes in other invasion sports and workplaces where the outcome of those decisions is highly important. It is fair to say, that several outcomes are possible for officials based on the events that take place and that in many aspects there not be one right, or one wrong answer. There may be several right answers or outcomes that will work. In a similar way, officiating is not always black and white either, there is grey but the grey needs to be reduced or minimalised and dealt with, within certain contextual limits. As an example, this was also reflected and, in some ways, embraced when reviewing the analysis of a set of offside decisions within a group of elite football referees. Having reviewed over 3,800 offside situations, they found a small number (less than 1%) where a consensus could not be reached and therefore the elite group were given the latitude to decide ‘either way’. In a high-profile sport with multiple cameras and angles this may sound unusual, especially now with the advent of VAR, but in retrospect, if any group is operating at 99% accuracy then they are doing extremely well in that field. All EB referees have played basketball to some level, as have most if not all coaches at some point, but few

referees have played at an elite level. Involvement first players and then later as coaches and their inclusion into the decision-making process, can help to define how the game is played and officiated and how rules and interpretations can be developed. This can be a key element to solutions when or where officials disagree. It is rare to find a sports official who has not played/competed in the sport they officiate, but just because coaches and players have not officiated does not mean that they have a poor level of the role of a referee. In fact, they are generally astute and understanding of the positioning and mechanics, how the rule(s) should be applied, as well as in which spirit. Being able to react under pressure and make the right decisions can be described as demonstrating expert performance. Whilst players and coaches may know the game and its rules, they are not paid to officiate a game, this is the specialist area of the referee and the training possibilities for that role is not the same. It can be argued that you more you practice at any skill, the more accomplished you will become. Players train and practice to then perform in games. By comparison referees gain experience and training mostly in competitive, meaningful games, not scrimmages or practices and so the need for accurate evaluation and feedback from games becomes highly important. There is a theory that referees can learn the rulebook and mechanics manual and they can then become accomplished. But the reality is that you can train in the rules, but not always in how to apply them as the ‘rider’ is going to be what the situational application is. ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 47


REFEREES } Evaluating Referee Performance As an example, when discussing with armed forces how staff are evaluated under pressure, it is invariably answered by how quickly they can carry out an order, as discipline in reacting quickly and accurately is often the key. Skills can be learned not only verbatim, but also by acquisition through negative or positive experiences. The results of research into naturalistic decision making (NDM) covering military situations which offer a parallel to officiating, such as ill-structured problems, uncertain environments, shifting or competing goals, action/feedback loops, time stress etc., goes on to explore the role of situational awareness in decision making. Many human errors that are attributed to poor decision making in multiple fields, are due to problems with the situational awareness of the decision-making process. In this respect and following a review of procedures, a change in culture within the US Army occurred as they noted, replacing lists of requirements to be fulfilled with the option to be more fluid in reactions. Evaluation needs to recognise that basketball officiating has the need to be ‘game-aware’ or to have situational awareness to be both prepared correctly and then have the right selection of decisions that can apply. This can be as simple as reading an increase in things that have an emotional response, physical play, increasing complaining, or competitive matchups within a contest. In addition, it will also affect how we use communication and body language that is appropriate and authentic to go with the decisions that are made. As well as recognising the elements and goals that the evaluation should deliver there are two other parts to the process that need to be positioned correctly. First is that the evaluation must drive excellence, but it must also facilitate improvement by coaching. One of the key changes we made 5 years ago was to change the role of Observer to that of Referee Coach. We wanted our referees to feel that they were being coached to be better, not only observed and marked out of one hundred for example. The feedback is via 4-step process that was first devised and used by the Referee Department during my role as Head of Competitions and Referees in FIBA Europe. It was designed to make the referee’s reflection of their performance, the central point and not the opinion of the referee coach. We should always try to ensure that the referee feels that they are being shown a way to be better and that they are able to self-reflect and identify the areas for development themselves where possible, within this structure. This feedback must then be accurately reflected in the evaluation but car48 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

ried out in the right way, it can be driven at least in part by self-awareness and self-reflection along with parallel input from a coach. In summary, the formation of a report that is solely based on a grading or opinion, will have the end user focused on a number or mark, rather than the content of a report that should show a joint acknowledgment of areas for improvement and development as well as recognising what is better and best practice. Although a grading system may be needed internally (in terms of giving value to certain skills) this should be used to define the fine margins that may be needed to nominate referees, retain them or if necessary, release them. However, the content of the report should focus on defined competencies and habits, plus an element of decision making that applies to the that situation in that contest. This may not be the same in all contests, but there may be several acceptable outcomes, or at least more than one, that is dependent upon the context of the action to be decided upon. We need to see some decisions in black and white, such as the ball in or out of play, but there will remain other actions relating to emotion, or levels of varying contact that will vary from game to game.

RATIONALE AND IMPLEMENTATION

When assessing the decisions that referees are making in basketball and indeed in many other invasion sports, the decisions will of course include those that do not interrupt the play or flow of the game. This can be viewed as one of the arts of officiating in knowing when to intervene and when to remain passive, through a conscious decision of doing one or the other. Non-intervention can also be attributed to not knowing what to do or not seeing the action because of poor mechanics or lack of game knowledge. Despite this, we can view the outputs of the decisions of our referees in four categories which will form the basis on which their decisions will be based. This system of identifying decisions and not just calls was first established in the NBA: CC Correct Calls CNC Correct No Calls IC Incorrect Calls INC Incorrect No Calls To put these decisions into context, there would need to be a certain threshold by which the decision would be noteworthy. For example, a simple out of bounds play that 15,000 fans and the officials all see the same, would not qualify as noting within a CC, but plays that give rise for discussion, or show empathy with the game and the emotion, whilst being correct


EXPERIENCE GENERALLY COMES FROM MISTAKES

and fit the rules and interpretations would carry more importance. As such all the actions by the referees that are interventions (when the whistle is used or a basket us scored) are pre-recorded and so all decisions like this can be evaluated. The more challenging aspect is to evaluate the decisions where no call is made, or where any contact is marginal or does not affect the play. Our template design carries the following competency-based sections to be completed. Some may be expanded further, such as types of fouls, but each section must have an output, or the evaluation cannot be completed/submitted. The referee can be marked as Achieved, Not Achieved, or Not Applicable (did not occur), and in each case where there is a Not Achieved, it is obligatory to explain the situation and why NA was applied. Referee Coaches have the possibility, but not the obligation to add comments in where Achieved is checked. Internally a loading maybe given to each section based on greater or lesser importance of impact in the game. The following main areas and sub-areas are only an example of

how this can be structured: Application

Understanding and applying fairness.

Behaviours Communicative, Self-confident and respectful, Embraces teamwork, Handles pressure, Shows composure, Demonstrates game control, Shows leadership, Demonstrates feel for the game. Mechanics

Understands and applies in all 3 positions.

Playing Rules Fouls

Jump ball, Out of bounds, Foot violation, Traveling, Double dribble, 3, 5, 8 and 24 sec violations. Principles of contact, Recognises and penalises. ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 49


REFEREES } Evaluating Referee Performance Administration Protocols/Procedures. Mechanics

Understands and applies in all 3 positions.

Conclusions

Contextual and Key Match Decisions

IMPACTS AND FUTURE PRACTICE

The role of the Referee Coach is to focus more on the IC’s and especially INC’s where the game is not interrupted so that through the feedback, there is a summary of what incorrect actions/decisions need to be addressed by being in the correct position to fully analyse the play and then understanding what is seen and the decision to be taken. So, the place from where the decision is made and whether the referee has an open angle to make a good analysis must also be recorded in terms of best practice for mechanics. You can make a good decision from a poor position, but you will then be under pressure, so there is a need for good decisions from good positions and the better the positioning the better chance of making a correct decision. Proximity is important but having the right look or open angle is the key. Then the work, or the processing of the play will depend on understanding the players actions along with the game knowledge possessed by the referee. Basic positioning and proximity can be taught, the ability to read the next action or movement and the angle to analyse the bigger picture needs experience, and experience generally comes from mistakes. However, the basic principles of positioning and a rules knowledge will form the foundation from which even unpredictable events can be handled. Research has shown that intuition from experience gained would enable to the quick processing of multiple pieces of information without noticeable cognitive effort, whereas analytic thinking mainly guides input information. Decision time should not vary as a function of coherence, but if additional information increases (either from experience or memory or other team members), then the decision time should decrease. This supports the rationale that through the correct feedback, analysis and reflection, the analytic element in the evaluation can also drive the change in behavior and in the accuracy and speed in decision making. As referees are working in a team, we should also evaluate if in certain play situations the sharing of information or teamwork leads to a more accurate decision or alternatively if there is a development need in communication. 50 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

Likewise, there is always a possible downside. The evaluation must also recognise unacceptable decisions where both the referee is wrong and the organisation’s integrity is called into question. Participants seek perfection in an imperfect world (as do fans and media), but if a referee is wrong by rule or if the contest’s outcome (result) can be attributed to an incorrect decision, the evaluation must reflect this to trigger a sanction or even suspension. Education is always the first option in correcting mistakes, but as in business the consequence of mistakes may have a far-reaching effect, and so while the referees must feel protected in their role, they must also accept the results of work that is not of an acceptable standard. By moving away from moving away from quantitative based evaluation to a qualitative one, will drive the change in desired practice and eliminate performance driven by grades. The performances should lead to greater challenges and the continuing engagement of the referee staff. Feedback should focus on the habits and skills required for elite officiating as determined by the proposed draft evaluation template. This template also leaves opportunity for contextual decisions making under pressure that maybe cannot be categorised definitively, but nonetheless is an important part of the work a referee does regarding his decision-making capabilities. The impact should be that a more objective evaluation is achieved through competencies, but with the ability to recognise the art of officiating as well as the craft. In conclusion a greater involvement of the participants should be utilised in developing officials as well as the training and support given to the Referee Coaches. Induction and ongoing training for Referee Coaches in how to evaluate and feedback requires us to ‘coach the coaches’ and this is an area on which we currently rely on their previous high-level experience, but this in no way guarantees that they can teach what they used to apply. The so-called business approach in evaluation must also extend to this area with guidelines and role play to ensure consistency in feedback, but with the evolving role of officials in professional sport as well as the need to embrace technology in the future, the demands of evaluation and development become more and more critical as does the need for greater accuracy and consistency.

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Referees } Roberto Chiari } FIBA Referee Instructor

RULES QUIZ 1) After the game has started, team A head coach requests that player A12 shall be added on the scoresheet. The addition shall be permitted. £ YES £ NO 2) A10 reports to the timer during the time-out to substitute A4. Before the end of the time-out, A4 commits a technical foul. A4`s technical foul shall count towards team penalty situation in the quarter. £ YES £ NO 3) Player-head coach commits his 2nd unsportsmanlike foul and is disqualified. Playerhead coach may remain in his team bench area and continue to act as the team head coach. £ YES £ NO 4) A5 is one of the starting 5 players but he is injured 5 minutes before the beginning of the game. Team A head coach designates A6 to substitute A5. Team B head coach can also substitute 1 player in his starting 5 players. £ YES £ NO 5) A1 is injured and the game is stopped. A1 is not able to continue to play immediately. A referee blows his whistle making the conventional sign for a substitution. Team A head coach (or team B head ANSWERS 1) NO. After the game has begun, no new player can be added on the scoresheet. (OBR ART. 4.1.2) 2) NO : A player becomes a substitute when during a time-out, a substitute requests the substitution to the timer. A4`s technical foul shall count towards team A penalty situation in the given quarter. (OBR ART. 4.2.3 and 41.1.1) 3) NO : The player-head coach must go and remain in his team's dressing room or shall leave the building. He shall be replaced by his first assistant coach, if there is no first assistant coach by his team captain. (OBR ART. 7.9.) 4) YES : Players who have been designated by the head coach to begin the game may be substituted in the event of an injury. In this case, the opponents are also entitled to substitute the same number of players, if they so wish. (OBR ART. 5.8.) (OBRI 5-9) 5) YES : The substitute for A1 has already entered the game. Therefore A1 cannot re-enter the game until 52 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

coach) requests a time-out after a substitute for A1 has entered the game. At the end of the timeout, A1 has recovered and requests to remain in the game. A1 shall be substituted. £ YES £ NO 6) If it is necessary to protect an injured player, the referees may stop the game immediately. £ YES £ NO 7) The player's shorts ends below the knee. This is legal. £ YES £ NO 8) After the beginning of the game, the scorer notifies a referee that A1 on the playing court is not the one indicated as starting 5 players. The error shall be disregarded and the game shall continue. £ YES £ NO 9) The number 1 is a legal player number. £ YES £ NO 10) There are 6 free-throw rebound places along the restricted area. £ YES £ NO

the next game clock-running phase of the game ends. (OBR ART. 5.7.) (OBRI 5-15b) 6) YES : The primary concern of the referees is the health and safety of the injured player. If it is necessary to protect an injured player, the referees may stop the game immediately. (OBR ART. 5.2) 7) NO. The shorts must end above the knee. (OBR ART. 4.3.1) 8) YES. If the error is discovered after the beginning of the game, the error shall be disregarded and the game shall continue without any sanction. (OBR ART. 7.2.) (OBRI 7-4b) 9) YES. Legal numbers are 0 and 00 and from 1 to 99. (OBR ART. 4.3.2) 10) YES. There are 6 free-throw rebound places along the restricted area. (OBR ART. 2.4.3) OBR = Official Basketball Rule OBRI = Official Basketball Rule Interpretation


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MARKETING MANAGEMENT & DIGITAL } EDUARD SCOTT } EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL CHIEF OPERATIONS

ON COURT RIVALS, OFF COURT PARTNERS THE CULTURAL SHIFT FLOWING THROUGH EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL & ITS CLUBS

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INTERVIEW BY GIORGIO GANDOLFI

he Euroleague Basketball organisation was created by the elite European men’s basketball clubs in the summer of 2000, and since the 2000-01 season has organised the top two men’s competitions in Europe: the EuroLeague and the EuroCup. During the past 20 years, the league has been gradually evolving the culture amongst the clubs that own, operate, and participate in its competitions. For the past decade one of the individuals who has played a key role leading the league and its clubs has been its Chief Operations Officer, Eduard Scott. We spoke with him from his office in Barcelona, Spain. In 2020-21 it is practically impossible to have a conversation with anyone without talking about COVID-19. What measures have Euroleague Basketball taken in your competitions due to the global pandemic? Almost one year after COVID-19 reached Europe, we all look forward to the day when we no longer talk about it because the world has overcome the global pandemic nature of the disease! The morning after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it as a global pandemic, we suspended our competitions, began detailed conversations with our clubs, stakeholder associations, IMG Media, rights holders and corporate partners. From March until May 2020 in-depth preparations including Health & Safety Protocols, modified competition systems to complete the EuroLeague and EuroCup seasons 54 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

5 EUROPEAN PLAYERS AT THE 2020 NBA ALL STAR GAME

in a single market-controlled environment (“bubble”) as well as negotiated modifications to rights holder and corporate partner agreements were put in place. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions on professional team practices in a couple of European countries, we did not have sufficient guarantees that both competitions could be resumed with equal preparation for all teams, so we took the historically difficult decision to cancel the rest of the 2019-20 season. To prepare for 2020-21, together with our clubs we radically updated and evolved the Health & Safety Protocols, approved Special Regulations due to COVID-19 to manage games impacted directly or indirectly by the disease, created Pandemic Response Guidelines to support the clubs and fans in the new reality, in addition to negotiating settlement agreements with the EuroLeague Players Association and EuroLeague Head Coaches Board for the cancelled season. Which type of clubs have suffered most from the effects of COVID-19, and what learning points have you taken as a whole? Contrary to the principles of sustainable good governance, we can say that the clubs who have suffered the most are those with the most balanced


S OFFICER

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MARKETING MANAGEMENT & DIGITAL } ON COURT RIVALS, OFF COURT PARTNERS

budgets. Clubs whose gameday revenues (ticketing, hospitality, arena food & beverage, arena merchandise, arena parking etc.) are for example 25%, 35%, or 45% of their total revenues have been the worse off, seeing an important revenues reduction in the 201920 season, whilst in the 2020-21 season they are planning for the worst with no gameday revenues at all. Clubs with significant shareholder contributions for example 40%, 50% or 60% have suffered less, although their shareholders have had to further increase their contribution to cover losses. This second model is not sustainable over time, therefore one of the key learning points is that all clubs and competitions must have balanced operating budgets, with one of the available tools being stringent Financial Fair Play regulations, with the aim to protect the longterm viability of the clubs themselves and therefore also the sport and its competitions. You have mentioned that the Euroleague Basketball Financial Stability & Fair Play Regulations play a key role. Do you consider them as a fundamental pillar in the EuroLeague and EuroCup? All regulations serve a purpose and can be considered 56 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

a means to an end. Financial Fair Play alone would be an academic case study, but when added to the competition Bylaws, to the club’s business plans, to the clubs and leagues marketing strategies, to the global professional basketball market, then they become in our opinion a fundamental pillar to the growth of the clubs and the competitions. As clubs continue to generate higher market revenues, the system should always be designed to encourage investment by clubs in their facilities, in their staff, in their youth programs, ensuring that expenditures are always proportional to the money that is coming into the club. Europe is without a doubt a market leader in global basketball when we talk about player development, merely looking at the number of players that are recruited to the NBA, who are winning titles for their club, or winning medals in National Team competitions. Where can European clubs continue to develop on the basketball operations side? One of the things that is often forgotten is not only the influx but also the quality of international / European players into the NBA over the past 20 years. The number has more than tripled, with every sin-


gle summer multiple European players hearing their name called in the first or second round of the NBA draft. Another example is that in 2000 not a single European player participated in the All-Star Game, whilst in 2020 Antetokounmpo, Doncic, Gobert, Jokic and Sabonis played. The work that European clubs, academies, and coaches perform year in year out is unbelievable, and it is very rarely adequately compensated. Where European clubs can improve is in the strength & conditioning of youth as well as senior players, in addition to in the health / performance / recovery fields. Players growing up in the US system continue to be stronger, faster, and tend to suffer less injuries than players in Europe, whilst the mental and physical health of players, which can be supported via qualified coaching staff. Many clubs and academies can and should develop this in the future. You raise a very interesting point when talking about the health of players, as well as all other stakeholders in basketball. This in turn raises the question of the duty of care towards a player, which individuals around a player contribute positively to their health (and which do not!)

WE NEED TO HAVE QUALITY LEADERS IN CLUBS AND LEAGUES

How do you think the basketball community can improve their duty of care? Basketball suffers from many of the same challenges that other team sports do across the globe. Players can be 10 years old or 40 years old, they can be male or female, they can be incredibly wealthy or incredibly poor, they can be fit and strong or injury prone, they can live in a country passionate about sports or one where sports has limited interest, they can play in the NBA or on a dirt court with their friends etc. In every single case a player as well as all other participants such as coaches, referees, administrators, need to have good physical, mental, and social health. Without this they will not be able to perform their role to the highest level possible, nor will they be happy. The support group around the individual is vital. Family, partner, friends, agent, coaches, teammates, administrators, players associations all have a role to play. At the professional level, the contract between the player and their club can cease overnight, therefore the player themselves must be the first person responsible and looking out

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MARKETING MANAGEMENT & DIGITAL } ON COURT RIVALS, OFF COURT PARTNERS for their own duty of care, working with their agent and player associations (for example the EuroLeague Players Association are starting to provide more and more support for current and former EuroLeague players) to ensure that the player is in contact with a qualified psychologist, nutritionist, strength & conditioning coach, personal development coach, sports medicine doctor when needed… Clubs have a duty of care, but the transient nature of the players market makes their support group that much more important. Euroleague Basketball currently co-organise a blended learning Sports Business MBA with the Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania. Can you please explain a little more about the program, and how it fits into the overall Euroleague Basketball philosophy of developing the professionals working inside clubs and the league?

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In European basketball clubs and league, historically we have lacked expertise in key management positions. It is only quite recently that highly qualified individuals are beginning to work in senior management roles in European sports organisations. On this topic we must recognise that in the US both the academic approach of offering specialised sports business undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for decades, as well as the club ownership mentality that professional sports must generate profit create a different scenario than in Europe. We need to have quality leaders in clubs and leagues, who in turn are coaching, mentoring, and educating their respective colleagues. In 2007 Euroleague Basketball launched a blended learning Master in Sports Marketing and Communication, which today has evolved to a Sports Business MBA, with a total of 251 alumni from 39 different countries around the world. 19 of these are working fulltime at the league office, with


44 more employed in basketball clubs, leagues, federations, rights holders, corporate partners, associations, and player agencies across the world. These numbers exclude the many alumni working in sports such as football, handball, volleyball, or swimming as well as those working in the wider sports business sector. The Euroleague Basketball Institute network provides great value for anyone studying the MBA, and I strongly recommend any interested individuals to visit our website for more information. The program is just one example of our philosophy that all people inside Euroleague Basketball should never stop learning. Throughout many of the interviews we have had in previous editions of AdB Hoops, our guests keep coming back to business and marketing topics. In our last edition Adam Silver when talking about the launch of the Basketball Africa League speci-

fied that “Marketing is critically important to operating a successful league.” What do Euroleague Basketball think about this? What the NBA and its clubs have done under the leadership of David Stern and Adam Silver in the past 37 years is amazing. The sport of basketball on the business / marketing side has grown leaps and bounds, with their best practices applicable to other basketball realities around the globe, including of course the EuroLeague and EuroCup. We share Adam’s opinion, continuously applying this at the club and league level. Since 2000 the Euroleague Basketball fulltime staff has grown from 8 to 85, with 60% of all staff working in the Business area (whose departments include: corporate partnerships, marketing and communications, digital marketing, events creation and production). To increase and improve the back office staff inside clubs the league dedicates economic and human resources as

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MARKETING MANAGEMENT & DIGITAL } ON COURT RIVALS, OFF COURT PARTNERS well as training, with the philosophy that in the future all clubs can have a similar ratio between front office and back office staff. We strongly believe in the principle that our clubs are on court rivals but must be off court partners. Many other policies and decision making that has taken place over the years has had marketing as the central element. I love the concept of “On court rivals, off court partners”! From experience this is something that we are certainly lacking in most basketball that takes place outside the US. In what ways can clubs make this a reality instead of only talking about it? Our Business Operations and Club Services (BOCS) programme is perhaps the most practical example of this. The clubs are building business relationships with each other away from the court, helping drive them individual and collectively to new heights. It is an evolution of the Euroleague Basketball Ticketing Programme, inspired by the best practices seen across the North American Major Leagues. It is a year-round knowledge-sharing platform through which clubs receive advice on sponsorship, ticketing, digital, merchandising and licensing, fan engagement and their organisational structure, as well as how to implement and adapt modern business practices for their unique situation. The goal is to help clubs recognise the incredibly high ceiling for growth that they all have, to move toward becoming sustainable business’, as well as to grow the independence of the off-the-court business from the team’s on-the-court performance. How important has technology been for clubs inside the EuroLeague and EuroCup, and what role do you expect it to play in the coming years? Technology deployment allows us to raise the minimum standards across all clubs, maximising efficiencies of a competition wide approach, often providing additional benefits once every club has the solution or service in place. One of the priorities for clubs and the league right now is to better know and understand each fan, who is a customer. Social media giants currently know so much about each of us; however, clubs or competition organisers do not have the same depth of information. Smartly applied technology can help clubs to better know their fan, in turn individually customising the relationship, so that both the club and the fan are happier about their interaction at the end of the day. In collaboration with N3XT Sports we have already begun a Digital Transformation project both at the club and league level. In a world where younger generations are watching and following 60 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

sport in such a variety of ways, sports that do not become fan centric using technology will lose out, not only to other sports but to the massive amount of entertainment that so many of us have on offer from the comfort of our homes. Our fan activation strategy uses digital platforms as a key area where teams are already delivering well in some areas, but it is on all of us to continue to improve. There are also areas where improvements in Basketball Operations can overlap with revenue generation opportunities. League wide player tracking technology, regardless of whether this is achieved through wearables, smart clothing, microchips, optical/video tracking, or a combination of these can be used to improve players performance via load management, injury prevention, technical and tactical analysis etc. This new layer of generated data in turn has the potential to be commercialised and provide new revenue streams for the clubs and league. It will be very interesting to see how and where technology is deployed across not only the EuroLeague and EuroCup but across the entire sport of basketball in 2030! A note: Interview performed in January 2021

www.euroleague.net Eduard J. Scott

some notes on eduard scott He obtained his undergraduate Electronic Engineering degree from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, followed by a Masters in Spots Marketing & Communication from the University of Ca’ Foscari in Italy, and then a Global Master in Sports Management and Legal Skills from ISDE in Spain. Upon graduation in 2004 he initially worked as Membership Officer at Basketball England designing, and implementing a new computerised membership system. During the 2004-06 seasons he joined Michigan State University as the Women’s Basketball Video Coordinator, responsible primarily for self, opponent & practice scouting. He joined Euroleague Basketball in 2006 where he has held multiple positions: Operations Executive, Sports Programmes Manager, Sports Director, and for the past ten years Chief Operations Officer. His achievements include restructuring the club licensing and competition systems; leading the deployment


TIDBITS He has been married since 2012 to wife Paola and they have two daughters

} He has Scottish, Catalan, and Irish lineage

} In addition to global sport, he has interest in a wide variety of music genres

} He is passionate about equality, justice and human rights

} He greatly enjoys travelling, getting to know new people and new places

}

ONE PRIORITY IS BETTER KNOW EACH FAN

He has previously worked for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, part of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence

of technology in the Basketball Operations area; negotiating European framework agreements with players, head coaches and referees’ associations; designing, creating and executing the Sports Integrity & Monitoring Services; being Program Director of the Sports Business MBA; building relationships with a wide group of stakeholders including competition organisers, governing bodies, venue operators, international organisations, club associations, governments including subsidiary organisations, In the 2009 EuroBasket he worked as a Spanish language colour commentator for GOL; in the 2010 European Athletics Championship he worked as the Deputy Accreditations Manager for B10; in the 2012 London Olympic & Paralympic Games he worked as the Basketball Technical Officials Group Leader for LOCOG.

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ALQUERIA NEWS

VALENCIA BASKET BETS ON INNOVATION TO FILL THE STANDS AGAIN

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS - VALENCIA BC

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his season has been a continuous challenge for many clubs given the global situation that has prevented most of them from having fans in attendance. Many are trying to find new initiatives to keep the fans actively engaged, and Valencia Basket, the first to establish the "bubble" system so that many competitions could take place, did not want to be left behind with respect to their fans. The Taronja entity launched the campaign "Ara la Fonteta eres tú" (You are la Fonteta) several mon62 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

ths ago through which it began to give voice to the stories of its fans and offer them the opportunity to participate in different activities of the Club in new , ways. They’ve added to a visual presence outside through a canvas with images in pen on cardboard, with photos in the traditional Christmas tree, and through social networks and media. The participation has been very active, and the engagement of the published fan stories has been increasing. As the new campaign continues to grow within this initiative, and thanks to the collaboration of one of its


suppliers, Sonovideo SL, another step is being taken by Valencia Basket and it is a pioneering one in Spain: to return the Taronja family to its beloved Fonteta. In the absence of being able to fill the stands as one would like with actual attendance, the fans have returned to fill the seats in a "virtual" way. Through state-of-the-art LED screens and with a graphic animation worthy of any international event of the highest magnitude, the Club has turned the stands into an authentic spectacle with representation of several of the fans who volunteered for the action. This new participation only adds to the thanks due the fans for their unconditional support in a difficult year and in bringing life back to an empty arena that the they have clearly stated they miss filling. Valencia Basket has once again demonstrated its ability to reinvent itself in a year in which initiatives

are a constant so that basketball can be enjoyed in new ways. These efforts will undoubtedly have the consequence of normalizing some of the necessary methods that had to be adopted while generating new opportunities for the fans even at the marketing level.

A WAY TO GIVE VISIBILITY TO A BRAND

Innovation within the arena, filling the stands, has been essential this season, and the Club has managed to take advantage of some audiovisual resources to offer both sponsors and future collaborating companies new spaces in which to include their brands. The initiative is still active in the face of upcoming matches and all companies interested in being included can contact us at comercial@valenciabasket.com

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ALQUERIA NEWS

SUCCESS HAPPENS EACH DAY, HAND IN HAND WITH A CLUB LIKE VALENCIA BASKET INTERVIEW WITH EVA PRIETO, MARKETING DIRECTOR OF PINTURAS ISAVAL

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BY MERCHE ANON* & MAYTE CANILLAS*

va Prieto of the paint company Pinturas Isaval analyzes what sponsorship means for a company like hers and the reasons that led her to invest in the club. In addition, we review the most important milestones of their relationship with the club during the eight years they have been with us. How did you start with sports sponsorship? Isaval had very good brand positioning within our audiences, but after conducting a market study we realized that we needed to improve our brand through positioning within the DIY public, the end customer. That's when we decided that the best way to do so was to invest in sponsorship that would create greater visibility for our brand, and we turned to sports because the values that sports offer are ones with which we can identify, such as commitment, teamwork and self-improvement. Above all, we liked the effort that comes with sports achievement, and Valencia Basket shows their commitment to it through their motto, Culture of Effort. At Isaval, we are a family like the Taronja family, and we live that effort every game. What makes sports sponsorship different? Sports sponsorship has allowed us, for example, to paint Taronja’s La Fonteta and this has had a very positive visual and media impact that has led to synergies with other collaborators and sponsors. At Isaval we always seek to create special actions, with a lot of hook, that make you live unique experiences. Do you remember any action with special affection? There are many actions we have carried out: Pam's corner, clapping hands (applauders) with faces of the squad, but if I have to choose one, it is the Open Day Taronja, when Valencia Basket got four Valencian brands to come together to hold a great basketball party, and present a women's league. The Isaval family feels 100% integrated as one of those sponsors. 64 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

,


ISAVAL

In addition, we were lucky enough to activate the sponsorship of what has been generally regarded as the most important game in the history of Valencia Basket, when in June 2017 against Real Madrid, the team was proclaimed ACB league champion before its fans. How have you approached sports sponsorship with the health crisis? It has been the social networks that have allowed us to activate the sponsorship, be close to the different audiences and the fans. The scenario is different, we have to be creative and innovative, and here, I must say, Valencia Basket is doing very well.

Full interview at

A dream to fulfill with Valencia Basket? Right now, it is to see the Fonteta arena full again. For those of us who have had the pleasure of experiencing it, it is an indescribable sensation. But, as for a dream? I dream of a league championship for the women's team, sharing every moment of this victory between the Isaval family and the Taronja family, day by day and match by match. In the end, they say success does not merely lie in victory alone. Success happens each day of the journey, being together and going hand in hand with this fantastic club, Valencia Basket. * Merche Añón, Business Director & Sponsorship * Mayte Canillas, Marketing Department - Valencia BC

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ALQUERIA NEWS

INELCOM: INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY FOR SPORTS SIX SEASONS WITH VALENCIA BASKET INELCOM is a Spanish technology company committed to sports, the environment and society that offers solutions of its own design that allow its clients to optimize and reduce resources. It is committed to quality both in the design and in the national manufacture of all its products, obtaining a range of solutions that allows customers the peace of mind

of having the backing and technical support of one of the leading manufacturing companies in the sector. In its more than 40 years of experience, INELCOM has offered innovative solutions developed to measure and has positioned itself, in addition to being a reference manufacturer, as a technological consultant advising large teams in their facilities and allowing them to anticipate the future requirements of the sports sector. Among the different solutions offered, INELCOM has

,

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www.inelcom.com

created a specific lighting line for sports facilities. On many occasions the client seeks spaces that are multipurpose and for this, INELCOM has developed quality products that adapt to the lighting needs of each sporting discipline and time of play. INELCOM SPORTS LIGHTING: FONTETA DE SAN LLUÍS AND L’ALQUERIA DEL BASKET One of INELCOM’S most representative projects is the one developed for Valencia Basket. In 2015, INELCOM carried out the project that designed the LED lighting necessary to adapt the Fonteta de San Lluís to the lighting needs set by Basketball’s EuroLeague, turning the Valencia Basket headquarters into one of the first pavilions in Europe illuminated with LED technology. In 2017, INELCOM collaborated again with the Taron-

ja club, lighting the facilities of l’Alqueria del Basket, the largest indoor basketball facility in the world, with LED technology. For this task, after carrying out the project and the lighting simulations that would guarantee the best possible results, 230 high-power projectors were designed and installed. INELCOM COMMITTED TO VALENCIA BASKET INELCOM's commitment to the club's projects has grown over the years. This is the sixth season in which INELCOM supports the Taronja team with its sponsorship. It was in 2015 when the first agreement with Valencia Basket was signed and it was extended two years later to the women's team. On the occasion of the men's EuroLeague and women's Eurocup, INELCOM extended its sponsorship in 2019.

ABOUT INELCOM

INELCOM is an international Spanish technology company with sustainable solutions for the electronic equipment and systems sector. With more than 40 years of experience and established in eight countries, it employs more than 2,200 professionals. Its activity offers high-quality innovative solutions that cover the entire value chain, from engineering, manufacturing and installation, to operation, maintenance and consulting. The sectors served are diverse such as networks and communications, security, energy efficiency and the environment. INELCOM's business commitment is to improve the competitiveness, efficiency and quality of its clients' services. ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 67


ALQUERIA NEWS } events BASKETBALL ACTIVITIES WITH YOUNGSTERS AROUND FALLAS AND EASTER Valencia Basket continues to expand its basketball offerings for the holiday periods of children and young people and launches its first ever Fallas School at L’Alqueria del Basket, to be conducted during the regional Fallas festivities in Valencia. This is one more opportunity during the year for them to enjoy their favorite sport and to create memorable Fallas days. Registration is now open for the XVI Valencia Basket Easter Camp and the V Easter School, which will be held from April 6 to 9. The camp will take place at the Iale Sports Center in L’Eliana and the school at the facilities of L’Alqueria del Basket. The best way to take advantage of the Easter holidays for some young people is enjoying what they like most and developing the values of the Culture of Effort. Specific training sessions, shooting contests, night league, and many other activities are included in both programs. The camp at Iale Sports Center will also include a visit to L’Alqueria del Basket to carry out a training session at the home of European basketball training. For further information please consult these links: Campus Valencia Basket y Escuela Valencia Basket

PAULA GARCÍA EXPANDS THE MUR DELS SOMNIS Since the inauguration of L’Alqueria del Basket, the Mur dels Somnis (Wall of Dreams) has been a very special part of it. Located in the main access to the center court, it is a list of all the players who have made their debut with the Valencia Basket first team in the highest national category or in an international match, after having played in the Club's training categories in the two years prior to their debut with the First Team. This has now happened for Paula García, who will join those names. The player from Castellón made her debut in the Endesa Women's League against Campus Promete playing 1:14 minutes and connecting with Celeste Trahan-Davis for the American to add two more points to the taronja victory. In this way, Paula García will be the seventh player to be part of the Mur dels Somnis de L’Alqueria since its creation, the third woman to do so. The Club will celebrate her, along with Millán Jiménez and Claudia Contell, at a celebration of their inclusion when the health situation allows it, following the recommendations of the health authorities. 68 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM


THE NEW INTERNATIONAL SERVICES ARE ALREADY A REALITY L’Alqueria del Basket continues to expand its model and is committed to sharing it by launching its new International Services in collaboration with R&O Eventos, which will offer varied products that respond to different training needs around the globe. ŁKS Szkoła Gortata was the last club to want to implement such a model.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poTDyoHuzRA

International Valencia Basket

to increase the level of their training teams with the best national players. The selected players will be able to continue with their sports and academic development abroad, favoring their personal growth. The tryouts have recently won the first prize of Emprén Esport from the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation in the category of L’Alqueria del Basket.

INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS

Taking advantage of the experience of L’Alqueria del Basket in training high-level players, the experts at the installation will act as consultants for the clubs, academies or training/technical schools that contract this service.

A complete sporting and cultural experience in L’Alqueria del Basket and the city of Valencia awaits all teams interested in the possibility of participating in a tournament in which they will compete against the best national and international clubs, in the best facilities in Europe and in one of the most referenced cities for international tourism.

VALENCIA BASKET TRAINING STAGES

L’ALQUERIA ACADEMY

CONSULTING AND TRAINING MANAGEMENT

Organized training concentrations in L'Alqueria del Basket that include personalized stays, Valencia Basket methodology, 90-minute training sessions, friendly matches, training kit, tickets for official matches, 24/7 supervision, diploma and group photo, social networks, comprehensive management of accommodations, transfers and activities and training courses.

INTERNATIONAL CAMPS

Valencia Basket expands and organizes camps around the world with the aim of offering players the opportunity to train and grow in sports through the Club's methodology and values. These camps offer activity and instruction for children and young people between the ages of 6 and 18 where the Culture of Effort will be instilled, along with education, sportsmanship and fun.

The best academic-sports education program comes with L’Alqueria Academy: An international academic year with tailor-made studies at the Mas Camarena Educational Complex, accommodations at Mas Camarena Resort, and individual and team training at L’Alqueria del Basket. A program aimed at students between the ages of 13 and 18, it allows young people to be part of the Valencia Basket teams, play in official competitions, receive studies supervised by the Mas Camarena educational center and enjoy many complementary activities in the City of Turia. More information at academy@alqueriadelbasket.com

TRAINING OF COACHES

Thanks to Valencia Basket's extensive experience in organizing training sessions for coaches, certificate courses are available, ranging from a weekend to a full week to introduce participants to the Club’s methodology, structure and operations, including the viewing of matches. It is aimed at clubs, academies or training / technical schools, associations and groups of coaches.

TRYOUTS

This new service from L’Alqueria del Basket offers the possibility for clubs and academies around the world ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 69


ALQUERIA NEWS } services LAST SEASON AT A GLANCE L'Alqueria del Basket is a driving force for basketball. It provides the largest facilities in Europe, at the service of its users. Tournaments, events, training sessions and much more, are held in what is already considered the home of European youth basketball. It stands as a reference for NBA teams and institutions around the world. L'Alqueria is also the headquarters of Valencia Basket youth teams, with more than 550 boys and girls working on their basketball skills and the values of the “Culture of Endeavour”, both on and off the court. This is the video of the third year!

https://youtu.be/Pds9JXSfMQg

COURT RENTALS / GUIDED TOURS / COMPANIES Eight of the facility’s courts are open to all audiences. The L’Alqueria del Basket website has a rental service so that any team, group, school or organization can make arrangements to use them. You can also visit the facility to learn all its secrets in detail or hold an event with your company in a single space. Be in touch!

CAMPS AND SCHOOLS Some of the most popular and recurring activities at the facility are the basketball camps, especially during vacation periods. Children and young people have the opportunity to use their free time to improve their skills individually and collectively in a relaxed environment with their peers. The

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Valencia Basket Camps are for summer, Easter and Christmas; the Women's Technification School, the Shooting Academy or the Skills Camp are some of the already consolidated camps. The little ones also have their space in the Schools of L’Alqueria del Basket. Choose yours!


INTERNATIONAL SERVICES Valencia Basket puts its experience and its working model at the disposition of other clubs. Services include: ➤ Training of coaches ➤ International camps ➤ Advice, consulting and training management ➤ L’Alqueria Academy, one year academic-sports program in Valencia ➤ Tryouts with the best international universities ➤ The best international tournaments ➤ Valencia Basket Training stages Always with the possibility of adapting the service to your needs, ask for more information at internacional@alqueriadelbasket.com

CONCENTRATIONS, PRESEASON AND INDIVIDUAL WORK National and regional teams or sports clubs can choose L’Alqueria del Basket as the venue for their concentrations prior to tournaments and official championships. The best service is also offered to all those players who want to prepare for the start of the season or recover for the return to the courts. Get informed!

CONTINUOUS TRAINING The philosophy of continuous training at L’Alqueria del Basket is not only for the players, but also for the coaches. The facility hosts activities from open training days to professional courses such as Pro Coach, which has brought in world-class coaches to pass on their knowledge and experience. Now in addition, activity goes beyond the court for those seeking training in all areas of sport with the introduction of transversal days. These include a cross section of disciplines conducted under the aegis of the Club's Co-Innovation Department, L’Alqueria LAB, and the first National Basketball Chair at the University of Valencia. ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 71


HOOPS FOR ALL - BASKIN } FRANCESCO LONGHI } COACH

ROLE 3: THE CONNECTING LINK A PLAYER WITH A LIMITED OR PARTIAL FUNCTIONALITY WHO IS ROLE 3?

In the game rules, Role 3 is defined for the first time as "able-bodied or disabled player who has the total or partial use of his hands, therefore shooting even in the traditional basket, walking, running even with an uninterrupted or interrupted dribble. He does not have the smooth running but slow, awkward, poorly coordinated and/or with poor balance.” This definition was based, as for the other roles, on the observation of praxis (the use of hands, walking, running, balance) which were evaluated by the coach to decide the role to be assigned to his player. Over time, we tried to limit the subjectivity linked to the observer by creating the "Classification Test", a system of functional analysis and paths with relative score that could provide a classification as objective and uniform as possible of the characteristics indicated in the definition of roles. This method worked, but it became apparent that it was not complete as it evaluated the player from motor and technical points of view, but it did not say anything about the tactical sphere aspects. These comprise that set of attentional, analytical and decision-making skills used to deal with the situations encountered during a game phase, and which in most cases are more decisive than the motor and technical aspects for Roles 3, 4 and 5. Thus, an additional evaluation tool was created, the "Match Skill Evaluation Grid", which during the course of the match evaluated some characteristics defined as independent, that is, which do not vary depending on the team being faced or other variables but are repeatable regardless of the context and provide as objective data as possible. The key to interpreting the tactical sphere is that of functionality, which leaves out the physical and technical characteristics of a player and evaluates their functioning in the field, that is the ability to understand a situation, develop a solution and execute it. The lower the functionality, the lower the ability to find a

solution to a problem; the higher the functionality and the higher the ability to find excellent solutions until you get to "create game." By creating play, we mean the ability to find a solution from a starting situation that creates an advantage for oneself but above all for one's teammates. Role 3 is tactically defined as a player who has limited or partial functionality that involves little or no ability to “create game”. This digression is necessary to get to understand how in Baskin the definition of a role cannot be limited to a simple defined description but is a multidimensional process that aims to evaluate players in all their entirety of expression by testing it to determine real abilities.

It is the tactical weapon par excellence

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WHAT CAN ROLE 3 DO?

Now that we understand how Role 3 is defined, let's describe what a Role 3 can do on the court and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Following the principle of retaliation, which is a cornerstone of the regulation, a low level of functionality corresponds to rules that benefit those with greater functionality by recreating balance in the impact of players on the game. It follows that Role 3 is the one that benefits most from the principle of retaliation, enjoying more freedom of action, more offensive weapons in one's arsenal, and more defensive potential among the roles present outside the pivot area, which we remind you are Roles 3, 4 and 5. Summarizing the most important characteristics, Role 3 can shoot both in high side baskets from outside the area or in non-side high baskets, in the first case it is worth two points, in the second it is worth three points regardless of the distance from which you shoot. The Role 3 player can only be countered by someone

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HOOPS FOR ALL } ROLE 3: THE CONNECTING LINK of the same role, otherwise, if other higher roles tried to defend on them they would commit an illegal defense. Conversely Role 3 can defend against all the other roles, thus becoming a tactical weapon par excellence, able to help teammates in defensive difficulty. Role 3 can make a basket from all sides with a very favorable distance-points ratio, and if well positioned, can be unstoppable to the opposing defenses, while on defense they have the possibility of defending or at least limiting supernumerary opponents regardless of role. For Role 3, the infractions of steps and doubles do not count, but they are obliged to perform at least two dribbles every time they embark on a run, even if they are not continued, and they cannot take more than four steps without dribbling. If a Role 3 receives the ball in the area he can move and run without having to dribble.

to adapt to their own line-up under penalty of the impossibility of simultaneously defending on two players with the consequence that one of the two forwards always remains free and unstoppable. The same situation does not happen to reversed roles because a supernumerary of Roles 4 or 5 can be canceled or at least limited even without mating as these players can also be marked by lower roles, which cannot happen with Role 3. There are also negative sides that are inherent in the very definition of the role itself: we have said that Role 3 has a low level of functionality and this entails difficulties in carrying out tactical indications, in making good offensive and defensive decisions for oneself and for one's own teammates, and sometimes gaps in tutoring at the pivot. Summing up, the Role 3 is the classic sporting example of the short blanket, tactically speaking: it allows Let's take the example of a formation that deploys two some great advantages but it also involves some piroles on the field 3, this forces the opponents to have tfalls. It is the task of the coach and the team itself

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The next step: differentiate non-pivot players

to work to mask and minimize the limits to reap as many benefits as possible.

THE CONNECTING LINK

Role 3 is exactly in the middle of the five roles, and what at first glance appears to be a coincidence offers us the opportunity to deepen the importance that it has had and still has in acting as the glue of the game, and to understand it better we have to go back to the beginnings of Baskin. As already detailed in the last article Pivot - The Power of Fragility, the first fundamental subdivision in the path of construction of the Baskin's roles was the creation of the Pivots with their respective side areas, solving the need to make all the players coexist in the same field but at the same time safeguard the safety of all, especially the most fragile. And the discriminatory element chosen to decide who was Pivot and who was not was the race. Those who could not run or owned a non-exploitable race were classified as a Pivot, while those who had an exploitable race were placed outside the pivot areas. The next step was to differentiate the non-Pivot players, dividing those players who showed an incomplete use of the great praxis from those who had full use

of them, creating a "motor" separation between the group that will take the name of Role 3, from a mixed group comprising Roles 4 and 5. The further subdivision to diversify Roles 4 from Roles 5 is purely technical, and is based on the quality with which Baskin's fundamentals are expressed. This classification implies that among the roles external to the Pivot the vast majority of athletes with disabilities are concentrated in the Roles 3, and being the Pivots physically separated from the body comparison with other roles we can arrive to affirm that the Role 3 is the first role that brings the disability to literally mix with the classic sports world usually designed for able-bodied people. It is the first case in the history of sports of an athlete with a disability who plays together and against athletes without disabilities in a context devoid of welfare and devoid of pietism, where everyone plays 100% because the regulation takes care of protecting the fairness of the comparison. From a sporting point of view, and not only, it is a revolution, something never seen in the panorama of inclusion, and Role 3 is the symbol of this novelty; it is the link between athletes of all abilities.

baskin.it ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 75


HOOPS FOR ALL - WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL } HAJ BHANIA } GREAT BRITAIN MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM COA

SYSTEMS OF PLAY: HALF COURT OFFENSE THE SECOND PHASE OF OFFENSE

P

revious articles referred to transition offense, scoring off mismatches created by forwards or centers getting to the basket and by team members back picking/screening the recovering defensive forward or center in the back court. Defensive “safety” is becoming more effective with teams scoring fewer baskets on breaks or off turnovers. The defensive transition game means teams will deny the initial threat of the forward or center getting to basket and scoring against a mismatch off a long pass and may slow the ball with pressure. Teams have developed their half court game as the second phase of offense where there could still be a numerical advantage or a size or ability mismatch (see previous articles on classification). Team would then enter a third phase where it becomes 5 v 5 either as a result of defensive recover or pressure or compose the offense to create balance. Some teams will play a deliberate offense that suits their system or structure, playing personnel, balance the floor or reliance on the point guard or ball handler to make the calls and the decisions. Spacing and balance remain essential factors in the half-court game. The three point threat and multiple players in the on court line-up able to make the three, the defense has to extend which creates picking space and angles, space to cut and space for off ball shooters. In the professional leagues, high level averages can be 60% two points at around 24points per game, 40% three points, 13 assists per game and average team score of 80 points per game. A small amount of this will be influenced by one-sided games where a team may win by a 30-40 points margin. Games between the top teams

,

Team would enter on the 5 on 5 phase

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ACH

ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 77


HOOPS FOR ALL} SYSTEMS OF PLAY: HALF COURT PLAY 2 PLAYER PICK & ROLL GAME – BALL HANDLER CAN GO HIGH OR LOW

Wing players pick & roll Point defender may not be able to help or is slow/late Wing player creates & shoots

Wing players pick & roll Point defender may not be able to help or is slow/late Wing player passes in to picker

Wing players pick & roll Point defender is slow/late Wing player uses space created by picker to drive to basket

Wing players pick & roll Point defender is slow/late Picker cuts to space for pass & shot

2 PLAYER PICK & ROLL GAME AND POINT PLAYER OPTIONS

Wing players pick & roll Point defender drops down to help Point offence holds for reverse pass for shot

Wing players pick & roll Point defender drops down to help Point offence drives/cuts for pass for lay-up

can have similar margins due to offensive or defensive game planning and efficiency of execution. Based on the above statistics, it is apparent how vital and effective the half-court game needs to be. Below are examples of half court, 5v5 offense options based on floor balance, spacing and ball movement and using the pick and roll and/ or screening game – see previous articles for these aspects, in particular the offense picker’s option to stay with and deny the defensive picked player’s recovery to defense. These are not all set plays, more standard pick and roll and screening offense options. They

There is also a typical “Horns” set

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Wing players pick & roll Point defender helps Point offence down screens across for opposite wing to cut for pass & shot

Wing players pick & roll Point defender helps Point offence cross with opposite wing to create motion


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HOOPS FOR ALL} SYSTEMS OF PLAY: HALF COURT PLAY 5 PLAYER GAME WITH SKIP PASS OPTIONS

Wing players pick & roll Defence switches & recovers Ball handler skip pass to off side, wing player use screen for shot

Wing players pick & roll Defence switches & recovers Ball handler skip pass to off side, wing player pick & roll as above

can be applied against most defenses, whether half court pressing, zone or sagging. Most defenses are half court zone match ups with pressure against main threats and a jump & recover or jump and switch type system. Applying a player-to-player defense is possible and requires a lot of detailed practice as it can be exploited by the offense. An offensive post player will work with a guard and look to create a shooting mismatch using exchanges and curls. The technical and tactical use of the chair and cylinder, use of the screen and lean away/ back, can give the post player the advantage of a non/ semi contested shot. Teams will not usually play player80 ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM

Wing players pick & roll Defence switches & recovers Ball handler skip pass to off side, wing player reverse skips as defence recovers for shot

Wing players pick & roll Defence switches & recovers Ball handler skip pass to off side, wing player reverse to point player for shot

to-player defense off ball due to the effectiveness of the off ball pick and roll, leading to a 2v1, an open cutter or curl and lack of help away from the ball. The systems or sets can be applied either side of the floor/key. There is also a typical “Horns” set below which is very effective as it has multiple actions and options, 3-point shot, pick, curl, cut, open shooter, mismatch. The systems of play have continuity options but set plays, although may have multiple options, have limited continuity unless the offense is reset.

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AROUND THE COURT } Michele Roberts } NBA Player Association Executive Director

AT

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www.nbpa.com

T THE HELM OF THE NBA PLAYERS ASSOCIATION FIRST WOMAN TO LEAD A PROFESSIONAL SPORTS UNION IN THE USA INTERVIEW BY GIORGIO GANDOLFI

M

ichele Roberts, born and raised in New York City, became the Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) in July of 2014, the first woman ever at the helm of a USA pro sports union, garnering 32 votes out of 36. She was facing a critical time, both because of the dismissal of the previous Executive Director, and the prospect of regaining players’ trust in the collective bargaining process. Very soon, however, she earned the respect of the union’s 450 members, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, as well of the NBA franchises owners, and she produced outstanding results.

Let me kindly ask about your career as a trial lawyer. I understand that your mother, Elsie, loved to watch criminal trials and that you followed her in doing the same. Is that how you started to be attracted by the law? And why did you choose this profession? Yes, that’s correct. I still do not know why, but my mother loved to go to the courts to watch the trials, even though she was not a lawyer, and because I hung out with her, I went with her several times, and it was more exciting than a movie. From my early childhood I decided to become a lawyer, specifically, a trial lawyer [A trial, or litigation, lawyer is an attorney, who represents clients in civil, not criminal, cases, in several areas of law, editor’s note]. I always liked to argue anyway, so I decided to become a trial lawyer as a profession. For me it is an exciting profession; I love it and kind of miss it, but now I love what I am doing with the NBPA. Why did you apply for the position at the NBPA? You were a woman with no experience in professional ALQUERIADELBASKET.COM 83


AROUND THE COURT } at the helm of the NBA Players Association not among the candidates at the beginning. How did you convince the teams’ player representatives to hire you? It was less heavy than people might have assumed. One thing that I understood, and I understand even more now, is that the NBA players, not only the African-Americans, had the good luck to have strong women in their lives and on their sides. Many, for example, had moms, sisters and aunties, who, on several occasions, raised them and, literally, saved their lives. They know and acknowledge this, so the notion of a woman who could have an impact on a player’s life is not a stretch. Frankly, I didn’t think that people thought: “Wow, what a huge risk in hiring her.” And, I don’t think the players thought that either. The current generation of players is different from the ones of 20-30 years ago, who would not likely have wanted someone like me as the new hire, but these players identify women as people who can do well, and, The two original candidates selected as potential thank goodness, I came NBPA Executive Director were both men, a tech Com- along at the right time. pany CEO and a Dallas Mavericks CEO, and you were Which problems did you sports, in a world of male agents, male players, and male owners, except for Jeanie Buss of the Lakers. It must have been like swimming in a pool with sharks. You opened a pathway that was more like an impossible mission for a woman. I learned a long time ago that being a woman could not keep me from trying to do something that I wanted to do, like being a trial lawyer. Now, as a trial lawyer, I know that not many women do my job. I also know that many women are stopped from pursuing the realization of their dreams. At some point every woman has to face the so-called challenges in her path, for our own diversity and for not being stopped in the pursuit of something that she wants. Personally, I gave up worrying about those concerns a long time ago, and, clearly, there may well be some people who have issues with my being a woman. So, I started out believing that getting the [NBPA] job was a long shot, but, after a while, I convinced myself that I could do the job better than anyone else.

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SINCE CHILDHOOD I DECIDED TO BE A LAWYER


face at the beginning of your tenure as Executive Director of the NBPA? What was your first strong impact on the union? The biggest problem that I faced was that less than a year and a half after I arrived, the Collective Bargaining Agreement [This is the contract, called CBA, between the NBA, the Commissioner and the teams’ owners, and the Players Union, that rules several aspects, such as players’ contracts, the revenues distribution, the trades and the draft, among others, editor’s note] was to expire. I needed to get ready very quickly and know exactly what that complex agreement was. Then, I needed to know what the players wanted to pursue, and how to reach that aim, to study all the documents, and the compensation that they were looking to have. It has been a huge amount of work, but it was also fun for me. The other thing that I could not ignore, was that I had to gain the players’ trust and confidence. As you know they fired the person, who was the Executive Director before me, and they were not in the mood to face another potential problem in me. So, it was clear that earning their respect was essential. They hired me because they probably believed that I could do what they expected and get the job done, but still I had to

THE NBPA THE STRUCTURE

The National Basketball Players' Association (NBPA) consists of the Player Representatives, an Executive Committee and the Executive Director. It is a union made up of active professional basketball players on the rosters of NBA teams.

PLAYER REPRESENTATIVES

Each season, every team elects a player and an alternate to serve on the NBPA's Board of Player Representatives. These Player Representatives attend and speak on behalf of their teams. Being on the board, they nominate and elect the NBPA's Executive Committee, while also playing a role in selecting the Executive Director.

THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

These members are elected by their peers at the Board of Player Representatives’ meetings, and the committee consists of: A President (Chris Paul), a First Vice President (Andre Iguodala), Secretary - Treasurer (Harrison Barnes ), six Vice - Presidents (Bismack Biyombo, Malcolm Brogdon, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, CJ McCollum and Garrett Temple), and one Executive Director (Michele Roberts).

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AROUND THE COURT } at the helm of the NBA Players Association do the work. Winning their confidence and having them trust my loyalty to them was, aside from the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations, the other biggest challenge I faced at the beginning. Before your arrival and also with the past NBPA Executive Directors, no top NBA players, from Magic to Jordan, from Bird to Doc. J, as some examples, have been supportively and actively involved in the NBPA. Now, in addition to Chris Paul, who is in his second term as NBPA President, you also have LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Carmelo Anthony on board. How did it happen and has this helped with the other players, and above all, with the owners? I was still living in Washington. D.C. and two weeks after I got the job, Dikembe Mutombo [The Congolese-American former NBA player and All Star, editor’s note] who was in the city for a meeting at the White House, contacted me for a meeting over coffee. He gave me a

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lot of background on the union, having been a member of the Executive Committee. One thing that he told me was that I needed to be sure that the so-called NBA “elite” players were engaged in the union. This for two reasons, he said. The first was to attract the league’s and owners’ attention. If you get LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Chris Paul (as the President of the Executive Board), if you get all these players involved in the union, it makes the league and the owners take notice. In other words, they think, “Oh, these guys have influence, so we need to make sure that we not try any funny business, or we ‘ll get caught.” Number two, and this is the reality in every profession, if you are capable in your profession you have a lot of respect from the rest of

I HAD TO GAIN THE PLAYERS’ TRUST AND CONFIDENCE


the people within your profession. For example, when the rookies arrive [in the NBA] and take a look at the union, and are learning about it, they see the caliber of the players involved and on the boards. When they see players like Chris Paul or Andre Iguodala, we immediately get their attention and respect. If players who make tons of money and are at the top of their game are involved in the union, this is a message to the rest of our members: we need you, and your participation is important for all the other [union] members. Dikembe was right: keep the key people involved, and everybody else will respect you and the union. How is your relationship with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver? And what about with the owners, with only one woman, Jeanie Buss of the Lakers, among them? People talk about how Adam and I get along and we do. I think at the end of the day we sometimes disagree,

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AROUND THE COURT } at the helm of the NBA Players Association and yet, also agree. Above all, we are honest with each other and simply try to demonstrate that to the media. I wish there were more women [involved] and it’s unfortunate that when we do have our meetings, which include bargaining, there are usually no women present as part of the discussion - Jeanie is there, but only sometimes. Yet dealing with all those men is not too unusual for me; being a lawyer, I spent most of my time in conference rooms with men only. It is unfortunate, however, because I think that we miss an opportunity to have greater diversity of thought when women are present, which, in my view, makes for a better all-around product. The other aim that you attained in these six years at the helm of the union is to show that the NBPA and its members are also taking care of people’s problems off the basketball court. Would you kindly describe the top civil and social initiatives that the NBPA runs on its own, and those in partnership with the NBA?

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Obviously, we do a great number of things in collaboration with the NBA or by our players on their own, above all in the USA, but also outside of the USA. We try to identify ways that we, as a union, either together with our players or independently, can do something for our community, either for the NBA or not NBA fans, and this is something that was going on well before the virus, and it will continue after the virus. Here are some examples: The NBPA Foundation, created more than 20 years ago, sees the NBA players actively involved. They dedicate their time, thoughts and resources to communities worldwide, running programs in youth sports, the player’s justice fund, programmatic grants, and community outreach. Last year the NBA players and the NBPA Foundation dona-

WE TRY TO HELP THEIR TRANSITION TO RETIREMENT


not play basketball, because it is something they love, something they have always done, but retirement comes for everybody and Her big hobby when they retire, the ball stops is gardening bouncing. What we try to do is to She also loves help them transition from being an watching active player to a retired one, and basketball and we back them in this transition. We spending time remind them that they will continue with her cats to make a living for a long time after retirement. The Off the Court proShe loves wine gram wants to be proactive and intentional in empowering active and recently retired players to create a culture of achievement off the court. It is focused on five pillars: } Mental Health and Wellness/Relationship Management } Financial Literacy/Wealth Management } Brotherhood } Nutrition/Physical Health } Career/Professional Development. To give you an example of what we do, we created a program so that those players who had not finished their schooling could complete their education. Everything is done with the help of former players and experts in the various fields that impact our players. What legacy would you like to leave the next NBPA Executive Director? I think we returned to the standard of our model: Players first. And, we never deviated from that. That is the standard that I tried to set, and I hope it will be the same with the next NBPA Executive Director.

TIDBITS } }

ted 5.5 million dollars for Covid relief, while, recently, 160,000 dollars was donated to three organizations in Houston for relief efforts in the community which was devastated in 2017 by Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane. Last year, in partnership with the NBA and the NBA Board of Governors, which represents the 30 teams, we founded the NBA Foundation Board of Directors. Over the next 10 years, the 30 NBA team owners will collectively contribute $30 million annually to establish a new, league-wide charitable foundation to support Black communities in several ways and to drive generational change. Then, again, last year the NBA and NBPA created the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, an organization that will lead the NBA family’s collective efforts to advance equality and social justice. Which programs does the NBPA run for their players after retirement, such as the Off the Court program? Our players do not want to ever think that they will

https://www.facebook.com/TheNBPA/ @MRobertsNBPA

Some notes on Michele Roberts She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University a and then the Juris Doctor degree from the Boalt Hall school at the University of California at Berkeley. She served for eight years as Public Defender for the District of Columbia, reaching the chief of the trial division. He built his reputation as a trial lawyer, and then she was hired first by the law firm Akin Gump, and then by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and after on top law firms as a trial lawyer. In July 2014 she was hired by the National Basketball Players Association as Executive Director. In 2014 the ESPN elected her among the top women’s impact in sport for that year. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Harvard Law School, and a fellow of the American College Trial Lawyers.

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Agatha 21 BY

AGATHA 21 19,8x22,8 cm

CARNIVAL 7,5x26,5 cm

CIRCUS

19,8x22,8 cm 7,5x26,5 cm

CONFETTI 19,8x22,8 cm 22,3x22,3 cm

MAGIC

22,3x22,3 cm

FESTA

19,8x22,8 cm

CARROUSEL 19,8x22,8 cm


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