On Saturday, October 9, St. Andrew's hosted the first annual First State Basketball Coaches Clinic. Proceeds from this event will directly benefit hurricane relief. The clinic was designed to provide professional development for basketball coaches in the tri-state area, and coaches from all levels of the sport were in attendance to listen and learn from the great lineup of speakers. The following five Division 1 coaches joined us for the clinic to spread their knowledge of the game: Martin Ingelsby, Head Coach, University of Delaware; Mitch Henderson, Head Coach, Princeton University; King Rice, Head Coach, Monmouth University; Ashley Howard, Assistant Coach, Villanova University; and the legendary Phil Martelli, Head Coach, St. Joseph's University.
University of Delaware Head Coach Martin Ingelsby lead off the clinic with great energy and wisdom, breaking down the different elements of UD's motion offense and spacing. Coach Inglesby carefully explained in detail the different options of their motion offense, which he first learned from working closely under Mike Bre, a former UD head coach and now head coach of University Notre Dame. "Listening to Ingelsby is like listening to your friendly neighbor explain their secret recipe," said St. Andrew's boys varsity basketball Head Coach Terrell Myers. "He was personable and honest, and with this approach, UD will definitely be on the rise this season."
University of Princeton Head Coach Mitch Henderson followed Inglesby with his version of the motion offense. Henderson had the pleasure of playing for the legendary Pete Carroll at Princeton and played on the Princeton team that beat UCLA in the first round of the 1996 NCAA tournament. Coach Henderson's version of the motion offense emphasized the importance of passing and utilizing your best player at the high post to make plays. "The importance of the basics and the detail in which they were explained was refreshing," Myers noted.
Two-time MACC Coach of the Year King Rice of Monmouth began his session with his philosophy on coaching, which stresses the importance of playing fast and having fun. King explained, "We didn't start winning until we started having fun." While winning on the court, Coach Rice helps his players in the classroom. All 21 of his senior players have graduated on time, and the team's GPA rose from 2.4 to 3.1 in his first three years. Coach Rice also stressed the importance of reaching players, rather than stressing X's and O's. Once Rice began his basketball portion of the clinic, which covered the fast break offense and "playing fast", King explained that committing to playing fast means that you are agreeing to relinquish control to your players and that you are okay with letting them get busy. King ended his session by explaining that a good coach tries to reach all players, not just the top guys.
Villanova Assistant Coach Ashley Howard explained Villanova's switching defense. "Coach Ashley's defensive talk brought an energy to the clinic that captivated the coaches in attendance and had everyone in the building ready to dive for loose balls," Myers said. Coach Howard's energy was infectious, and the volunteer players from Goldey Beacom College connected with Coach Howard. Toughness and communication were the key speaking points in every drill. Coach Howard finished with a 1-on-1 drill that brought his talk full circle. The players were forced to communicate, compete, and play tough. At the end of the session, Coach Ashley and the players were drenched in sweat from 40 minutes of Villanova-style defense.
The legendary 2004 National Coach of the Year Phil Martelli finished the clinic by covering "How to Run a Practice." Coach Martelli introduced ten strategies for an effective practice. He asked the group, "How many coaches here use a whistle to run practice?" Martelli explained that the players need to learn to respond to the coach's voice. "During a game you can't blow a whistle. We're not playing an outside sport." Over the course of his talk Martelli emphasized the importance of appropriate consequences, rather than punishing your players, as the best way to build a team.
"Each of these coaches has a tremendous amount of experience coaching at the highest level of basketball, and we are thankful to have had them take part in our first annual Coaches Clinic," said Myers, who organized the event. "You're never too old or too wise to learn, and if you attended the clinic, you are sure to have left with an abundance of knowledge.