Sacred Hoops

Surrender the “Me” for the “We”

and become more than the individual player quest for glory

Basketball coach Phil Jackson wanted the Chicago Bulls to become more than a Michael Jordan team and looked for an offensive system that would involve more that putting Michael Jordan in a scoring position. He did some research and found Tex Winter who had developed the Triangle Offense system, he took it on board.

I stumbled upon the story when I read Phil’s book “Sacred Hoops” where he told about the systems. More striking to me was the statement that it took the Chicago Bulls to two seasons to master it!

This is an attack system for five professional players and it took them two years to understand, implement and execute it!

What do we expect as rugby coaches when we introduce a 1-3-3-1 for our team that work two-three evenings per week? Instant succes? Remember we have fifteen and not five players on the field of play.

Many years ago Pierre Villepreux and Jean Bidal introduced me to the Family System. The basic idea is that depending on your relative position to the Ball Carrier you belong to one of four Families. Each family has a specific set of tasks. So, when you know where the ball is, you know what Family you are, so you know what to do. Like the Triangle Offense, the family system helps players make decisions on positioning and actions.

We tried to introduce this through our development program, but is was quickly regarded as “stupid”, “does not work”, “too difficult”. Reading Jackson’s observation on the Triangle Offense makes you think…

Phil Jackson on the triangle offensive system

Look for a brief intro from Phil Jackson on this system in this youtube clip:

Youtube has more about Phil and the system.

The Basketball Triangle Offense

For you who are interested in the system itself: there are seven principles: the offense must:

  1. penetrate the defense
  2. involve a full court game
  3. provide proper spacing
  4. ensure player and ball movement with a purpose
  5. provide strong rebounding position and good defensive on all shots
  6. give the player with the ball an opportunity to pass the ball to any of his teammates
  7. utilise each player individual skills

You got to loves this as a rugbycoach too! Reach out to me if you want the details, Elenita was our Laisson during the European Under 18 Championships in 2012 in Madrid and, and being a basketball player, she provided me with a powerpoint presentation detailing the system.

With the mapped triangles on the court players it becomes easier for players to move to the points and keep creating the triangles. This creates the spacing and the off-load / shoot opportunities.

I like the spacing and creating the multiple options for the ball carrier. Also, pick & roll plays sounded like opening the door / pass behind the back of the defender

Additional information:

  • Read Phil Jackson’s book Sacred Hoops to learn more about his gameplan approach and more. Like his story how he went out to “fetch” rebel star Dennis Rodman. Have a look at my review on my bookshelf page.
  • Phil Jackson on Wikipedia;
  • He was very important for the Positive Coaching Alliance, watch his contributions through this link;

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