Has How You Win Games Changed? Food for Thought

For more years than I can count I have always believed in the adage I was taught by Coach Don Meyer early in my career that making free throws and lay-ups is how you win games. Experience has taught me time and gain the truth of the concept. Lay-ups are hard to come by and you have to make everyone you get.

Missing free throws late in a game contributes to a loss, but what about the front ends missed in the first half? Those add up as well. Championship teams often are excellent free throw shooting teams.

Of late I have been watching a lot of small college games via the magic of live streaming. I am still convinced free throws and lay-ups are how you win games. I’m not so convinced there isn’t a third important stat or component of the game that should be included on that short list.

It takes a lot for me to reconsider a strongly held coaching view. But I have seen too many games the last few seasons lost by teams who made their free throws and lay-ups but who failed to….rebound the offensive boards.

One shot and done is a hard way to generate any kind of momentum in a game and it certainly doesn’t punish the opponent’s defense.

It’s not just the second shot attempts that are so important. It’s the psychological lift for the offense and the downer for the opponent when a second chance goal is scored. The offense caught a break. The defense worked so hard and then was scored on with such ease.

Some coaches I track are smarter than I am by far. Doug Porter of Olivet Nazarene Tigerball fame strongly believes in setting a game goal of obtaining 40% of all possible Offensive Rebounds (ORBs). Granted, his teams play fast, score a lot and shoot a lot of threes, but he is adamant those ORBs matter.

The more I watch games, the more I agree.

Something to think about. Five more easy shots a game – what would that do for your offensive production over the course of a season?

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