Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I am a TOTG and always a SOTG- Coach Scott Fields

I am a TOTG and always a SOTG
-Coach Scott Fields

This is always an exciting time of the year for me. I am a professional basketball coach. There are no days off, the grind is everyday. The NBA Finals are in the books and the Golden State Warriors are again the NBA Champions. The Draft has passed and the NBA summer leagues are in full swing. July 1, the Orlando Summer league action has taken place. I watch all the games from NBA TV.  The Utah Summer league is also going on and it is basically in my backyard. July 7, the Vegas NBA summer league will be the hub of all things in Professional basketball.
The NBA summer league is many things to many people. Drafted players get their first feel of the NBA and professional basketball. Undrafted players are trying to gain the exposure needed to either get invited into a camp, or GM's from around the globe are looking for the perfect fit for their teams in FIBA leagues around the globe. Fans get up close and personal. Autograph seekers are 1) either obtaining signatures for their collection, or 2)  they try to have anything signed that they can sale on e bay ?
For me, I get excited, as I consider myself a TOTG (Teacher of the Game) Young professionals need to be taught the game. I have said this before, but AAU basketball has ruined the game and the Teaching of the game. AAU is all about games, all about money, all about sponsorship, all about selling shoes and marketing their shoes.  Young players do not learn the proper fundamentals, they do not learn the proper mechanics of shooting. Coaches don't have time to Teach the game. Coaches are to busy recruiting what they feel is the top talent. Why do you think entitlement is an issue?  Coaches chase these players and are constantly telling them how great they are. These AAU coaches have other agenda's. The AAU coaches have ulterior motives, What discipline is being taught? What accountability is being taught? what fundamentals are being taught? oh boy, I could go on and on. I will say this, I feel AAU can gain great exposure for young athletes, AAU can also allow players an opportunity to play against other top talent across the country, and if a player is honest with himself, AAU can be a great measuring stick of their personal talents and skill sets. . but why do you think you see more Individual skill development coaches across the country? why do teams all invest in Player development coaches? because AAU basketball doesn't TEACH the game.
I am a TOTG (Teacher of the Game). I have  a detailed eye. I pay attention to many of the small but important details of the game.  NBA summer league action allows me to be a SOTH, (Student of the game). I get to observe many games, I get to observe many coaches, I watch and steal ATOs, (after time outs) SLOB, (Sideline out of Bounds) BLOB, (Baseline out of Bounds) I watch and steal end of game and end of quarter special situations. I like to watch for how people defend the Pick and Roll , Pick in Roll at top of the key, Pick and Roll from elbow extended. I like to watch how teams and coaches run offensive sets, do they run plays, or do they have a offensive system?
I also like to watch the play of the PG, (Point Guard) I watch for the decision making, I watch how they control the pace, control the space, do they direct the team, do they make their team mates better? are the a score first player? are they a pass first player? Do they defend well? do they pick up for 94 feet? Do they force you out of the comfort zone? Are they out of control? Do they pass to the teammates shooting hand, do they hit them in their offensive rhythm. Do they hit them in the knees? hit them low? hit them in the shooters pocket? do they hit the outside hand off of a curl? These things all need to be taught, Does the PG set good screens? is he a vocal leader? Does he lead by example. these again are all great Teachable moments for a coach. Do the players talk on Defense? are the players versatile? can they read and recognize mismatches? Can players shoot the mid range jump shot? can they finish around the basket? do they have a floater game?
Can a player shoot off of the dribble, can they shoot a 1 dribble pull up? a two dribble pull up? Can a player hand the ball with pressure? Can a player get to his spots? Can the player make a post entre pass? Is the player only comfortable in the open court? can they execute in a half court system? again this is why I am a TOTG. I enjoy all the nuances of the game? How are the players shooting mechanics? Does he use his balance hand correctly?  Does the player have proper balance? what is the player looking at when they shoot? How is the follow through? is the player proper aligned to the target? what is the target? does the player fit a system? Does the player defend well? what does the player look at when he defends? does the player have good footwork on offense? does the player have proper foot work with their lateral movement? where is the off hand on defense? If you are a SOTG(Student of the Game) you will always look to learn how to teach these things properly. You will try to learn new terminology? You will look to steal new offensive sets, you will look for how to defend special situations? you will learn how to manage and control a game as a coach. If you are a head coach, you will need to know how to utilize the talents and skills of the players to empower the Team and help the team to be successful. If you are an assistant coach, you need to be able to assist the head coach with making game adjustments. The NBA summer league is a great opportunity to TEACH and develop the talent. if you are a TOTG you will thrive on this time of the year, as the summer is when players add to their skills sets, the summer is when a player develops his skills, adds to his skills, Players need this time, even though there is no off season for a true player. Summer means adding to your assets, working on a counter move. working on your deficiencies. Coaches can use this time to be a SOTG, learn and steal ideas, philosophies, learn new systems, Pick the brains of the games best TOTG.

I love NBA summer league action as the markets opens. This year 2017 is unique, more front office moves have been made than coaches have moved. More Presidents  have been replaced, more GM's have moved onto other franchises. I am thrilled to see the new teams coming into the former D league, it is now the G league as Gatorade is the new league sponsor. This league is all about player development, but also coaches are being developed, referees are being developed, this is also an opportunity for young front office executives, marketing and sales positions are being filled. to me if you are a TOTG you are more successful and much more marketable. I assure you if you are not a SOTG you will not be successful and the game that is evolving and changing will pass you by.

I am speaking of myself here, but I have always considered myself a TOTG and I will always be a SOTG. My bio and resume speaks for itself. because I am a TOTG I have been blessed to have had much success. My Teams have won, my Players are developed. I am more proud of the number of Players I have placed with their respected National teams. We have developed over 100 players to play and compete in either the Olympic games or the World Championships. I can even be boastful and say, I have been blessed enough to have worked with players who have played not only in the NBA but also won NBA Championships. I was smart enough to be a SOTG when I was around them.

I love this game. I love the NBA Summer league. I get to be in my environment. I am around my former players. I get to see many coaching friends. I see players working on their craft. I see agents from around the globe. I get to see and spend time with my NBA front office friends, I get to see and spend time with my NBA coaching friends. I am in SOTG mode. I watch games, I watch practices, and when asked or if given the opportunity I am in full TOTG mode.

Yes, I am a TOTG (Teacher of the Game). and Yes, I will always take this time to be a SOTG (Student of the Game)- Coach Scott Fields