The Basketball Bucket List

by Larry Dean Jackson

What is “The Basketball Bucket List?” I believe that a player can only understand so much of what we attempt to teach them. Remember, it isn’t what you know it is what your players know. The same is true concerning the team. A team can only understand so much of what we attempt to teach them.

It is different for each player and it is different for each team. This year’s team may be able to understand and master twice as much as last year’s team. Or this year’s team may be able to understand and master only half as much as last year’s team.

Teams can be successful in understanding a lot and executing it properly. Likewise a team can be successful by only understanding a little but executing it properly.

What does this have to do with “The Basketball Bucket List?”

Each player has a BUCKET and we as coaches are constantly putting things in their bucket; zone offense, man offense, out of bounds plays, press offense, special situations, zone defense, full court press defense, man to man defense, etc.

If we attempt to put too much into their BUCKET then some of it spills over the side and is wasted and the player becomes confused. I know what you are saying, “I’ll fill the bucket till it starts overflowing then I will stop. The player will have what we worked on first up to the point his/her bucket starts to overflow.”

But it doesn’t work that way. This is what causes confusion on the player’s part. You start putting things in the players bucket. You put in man to man offense and then you put in press offense, etc. This is not like putting in sand. If you put in blue sand, then on top of that place green sand, then on top of that place red sand, the blue sand will always be there. Rather it is like placing a LIQUID in their bucket. You place in man to man offense and then press offense. They are both there and the player knows them but they are mixed together like a liquid.

What happens when you overflow that player’s bucket since it is a liquid and has been mixed together, you lose some of the first thing you placed in the bucket. So in this example you lose some of the man to man offense even though you put it in first and you are sure the player knows it completely. This is why you say, “How could you forget the offense it is the very first thing we learned?” It is because you overflowed that player’s bucket and remember everything in the bucket is a liquid. When you overflow that bucket the coach can’t control what spills over the side.

Now we know not to overflow the player’s bucket. But what about the team’s BUCKET? The team’s bucket is larger than the players because it is like dumping all the player’s buckets into one big bucket. But you have the same principle of not being able to control what overflows if you as the coach put too much into their bucket.

The same principle holds true no matter if it be the player’s individual BUCKET or the team’s BUCKET.

Don’t overflow their BUCKET because bad things happen for your team.