Chris Passmore on Conditioning and Situational Basketball

I sat down with former Rhode Island and Northeastern assistant coach Chris Passmore. Chris was extremely generous with his time, knowledge and resources in the game. He shared with me some resources which I will uncover very slowly in time. Here are some anecdotes that Chris gave me in his experiences with those resources.

What Passmore Took from Alan Stein on Conditioning

  1. Lifting weights during the season is hard. Players do not want to be sore before games. The schedule particularly at the high school level can be unpredictable with snowstorms causing games to be bunched together at the end of the season.
  2. Core and plyometric exercises are more important than lifting. Lateral movement is highly correlated to a strong core conditioning program.
  3. Long distance running creates late-game toughness. Bill Belichick has his team runs hills for the exact same reason. When an NCAA game is in the 38th minute, players that are used to pushing their stamina will thrive mentally.

Mike Neighbor’s Deck of 52 Cards

  1. Drawing up different situational scenarios at random.
  2. Initially the staff would coach it at practice, but eventually the power got transferred over to the players. In the games the players became less intimidated by big moments because of practice experiences. In the rare event that timeouts were unavailable, players had higher awareness to make the smart play.
  3. Do not give too many rules – let players find them. Chris Passmore would call a back-court violation as soon as the ball transferred over half-court. He would foul out a player who did not know she had four fouls. They become more curious and more aware. They asked questions and learned to think independently. It works a little differently than what Steve Boudreau argued when I met with him over the summer. Depending on what your program believes, give rules accordingly.
  4. Debrief after a scenario is complete. The reflection from both the player and coaching standpoint is valuable. Debriefing as the situation unfolds at practice will mean that players do not live with consequences of their errors.

Coaches Will Usually Help Coaches

Gary Blair and Vic Shaefer were willing to have dinner with him a few years ago when they were rising in the coaching profession. Chris Passmore told me you’d be amazed if you show interest in growing what other coaches will do.

As a coach that has met with several other coaches over the past six months, I have found nothing but truth in that statement. Coach Passmore was doing exactly what he was saying other coaches did for him in this meeting. I had initially spoken with him on the phone and said it would be easier to meet in person. In his busy world with two young kids, what did he do but invite me to his house at 8:00 on a Tuesday night.

Coach Passmore let me borrow videos on Geno Auriemma’s practices, Pat Summit’s defensive scouting reports, and Vance Wahlberg’s Dribble Drive offense among others. He also lent books by Tex Winter and John Wooden on offense. In the end a coach is only as good as what he or she steals from other coaches. Coach Passmore was giving me a view of all he has stolen through his years in coaching.

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