Thursday, July 28, 2011

Great story from The System

What do I enjoy most about The System? Gosh, how much time do you have? Certainly, the high-scoring, fast-paced action featuring participation from every player on the roster is the key to what makes this style so attractive. Few can argue with the empowerment that comes from being the 12th player on a team's bench, yet still being able to make consistent contributions while gaining quality run in every game.

Another wonderful facet of the best way to play basketball that I've ever seen is the bond developed between coaches who run it. I've mentioned on several occasions the message board on Yahoo! that gives any coach who joins the opportunity to ask questions, to post success stories (and non-success stories) and to seek guidance from those that came before them. The answers often come from the college coaches who have used The System so successfully, including the one who started all of us on this amazing voyage, Grinnell coach David Arseneault.

Perhaps other "styles" have similar results. I kind of doubt it, since being so unconventional and "outside-the-box" in and of itself creates a level of camaraderie that is neat to see. And more often than not, the coaches might know each other only through this message board, yet it's enough to pull them together for the common cause.

Another example of this came earlier this summer when coach Bob Belf, longtime System proponent and the moderator of the message board, traveled from his home near Detroit to help fellow System coach Glen Irvin, a regular on the blog who coaches the girls' team at Wabasha-Kellogg High School in Minnesota. Having shared some e-mails and chat sessions with Coach Irvin, I know his passion for this way to play and his desire to get his team doing the best it can.

Enter Coach Belf. I asked each of them to share a bit from the experience this summer, and I'll start with Coach Irvin:

Coach Glen Irvin

"We had a historical summer at Wabasha-Kellogg High School! We have a very, very young group of girls coming back next year, so it was the perfect opportunity to go full boar and develop an identity now through The System. The day after school was over, we had Coach Belf come to Wabasha for four days and hold the our first annual 'Run and Gun Academy.' The girls ran two-a-days and received a crash course in 'The System.'

"Coach Belf went through the made, miss, turnover and ref-handle offenses. We then went through the defense and through some special situations. All the time, Coach Belf installed System drills that kept the girls engaged both physically and mentally. The girls really enjoyed Coach Belf's sense of humor and coaching method. At the end of the camp, the girls were expectedly exhausted. They thanked Coach Belf and we gave him some souvenirs to remember us by.

"The next day we headed out to the Wisconsin dells for a three-day tournament!! The tournament went great and the girls had tons of fun. The best part of the whole experience was when the girls kept asking/telling me things like, 'Are we really going to do this? This is going to be awesome!'

"I highly recommend Coach Belf to any coach wishing to install the system or anyone wanting a refresher course!"

Pretty great stuff there, right? Here are Coach Belf's thoughts:

Coach Bob Belf

"We had a blast with his group. He has a very ambitious, aggressive young team that absorbed the instruction like sponges. Coach Irvin is as enthusiastic about The System as anyone and is now armed to make the style work for his program. I got to meet his assistants and in our 4 days we were as in-depth as possible to be sure they all got a full grasp of the system. I also got a chance on my way home to see the sophomores play in their first summer contest and certainly go through the learning curve.

"It was great to work with Glen and his team and am hoping to get back there during their season to follow up with them."

As I said, what a nice story to show how supportive these coaches are of each other. I wish Coach Irvin and his team the best of luck this season and hope all the effort from this summer pays off.

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