ImageThis is the first part of the coach Georgis Dikeoulakos answers to your questions. Thanks to all who sent their questions. Read the full article to see what the coach had to say. You can send your question by clicking "Ask the coach" in the menu and filling the form there.

Joseph Jones, USA: What are your thoughts on JP Batista?  Do you think he can have a long and productive career overseas?

Georgis Dikeoulakos: Thanks for the question Joseph, you are the very first one that initiated a question (but sorry, you don't earn anything more than an answer)!!!

My answer is not so diplomatic as you might think, but is what I believe for every player. And always my opinion is that everything, even a carreer, is in the hands of a player. Batista has some things to improve in his game, so if he does that, he is going to have a long and productive career in the top Euroleague teams.

Of course we are not talking about a player who is just a good player, he is more than a very good player, and he can play in many European teams and countries, but I was talking about competing in top Euroleague teams.

Alan, United Kingdom: Hi coach, nice to see you around. Would really appreciate your expertise on a couple of issues. First, on last minute tactics – a team has a two point lead with 16 seconds on the clock. Do you choose to foul and send the other team to the free throw line for two, keeping the last possession for you? Or do you play tight no-foul defense outside the three-point line? Second, on practice drills – do you know a good drill to improve team rebounding? Thanks coach!

Georgis Dikeoulakos: Thank you Alan,  

1) Tough question. There a lot of different opinions. My philosophy is always to have the last offense if we have time, and that must be more than 10 seconds, because I want to control the game, I want to control my karma…BUT…two times in my career I decided to stay on defense.

First time, the game was 58-56 (!!!), and both teams were playing excellent defence, or you can say the opposite about the offense, so we knew that we had perfect defense but very bad offence, what else can I decide?

At the second time the game was 78-76, and I thought like this because almost every dangerous player of both teams were out because of foul troubles. One more reason also played great role in my decision. I knew from the scouting of the game, that the referees wouldn't decide for the game and the winner by giving a call at the last seconds, and that's what exactly happened. We played a very agressive defense, referees let the physical game and we won the game.

If that means anything to you I'll add that both times we were playing home. So you can never say that you always stay on your philosophy and not looking all the parameters. Same thing stays if my team leads by one point, maybe at this purpose I would like more than ever to have the last possesion. If the game is tight, then I'll make a foul for sure.

If you want to have my advice, you have to make all these scenarios a day before the game, and hours before it, repeat everything in your mind. Because if those moments come, they require a lot of experience to decide so fast and having in mind all these parameters that you face, and not losing valuable seconds.

2) Alan I have to know if you are asking drills for youth or pro teams. I don't like to use same drills for kids and seniors. But I'll try to give you some, and you can decide if they fit to your program. I think that in order to improve your team rebounding, first you have to infuse to each one of your players individually, the meaning of the effort on rebounding.

One drill to achieve that is what you see at picture 1. Rebounder is outside the 3 point line with a ball. Shooter is moving outside the 3 point line too. Rebounder passes to the shooter and goes for the rebound BEFORE THE BALL FALLS DOWN. After the shot and the rebound, rebounder passes to the shooter again – who's moving all the time – and then makes two sprints, first to touch the three point line again, and second to go to the rebound before the ball falls down!!! Shooter has to wait one or two seconds before he shoots. Rebounder has to do that 10 times. Sometimes we say to the rebounder that if it's a missed shot, to grab the rebound and make the basket, if it's a made basket from the shooter, to make an outlet pass. Sometimes we put 2 rebounders and we count rebounds, or rebounds and baskets.

At the second drill we put one team on the left elbow, one team at the right elbow, and coach at the middle. Each pair has a ball and when their turn comes, they give it to the coach. Coach throws the ball to the basket and both players have to go first for the box out, and then for the rebound (see picture 2).Another option is after the rebound to shoot the ball (1vs1) but only one shot. After that, from the same positions we go to the next drill (see picture 3)but with only one ball. After the rebounding, next pair comes inside the paint – so when the attacker from the previous pair shot the ball, no matter if it's a basket or a missed shot – they try to grab the rebound and shoot the ball (always next pair comes inside for the rebound). You can use this drill by having the pairs at various positions and not only at the elbows.


But most of the teams that face rebounding problems, they have to check if that comes from bad rotations, and especially if one of the big men is being forced to go somewhere to help or to block, and nobody covers him. One good example (and a drill) is what you see at the picture 4a and 4b. X2 is keeping the ball, let's say that this is the player who lost his man, or got beaten by his man. So X2 starts the drill by passing to 2 and X3 immediatelly covers him. 2 passes to 3. X4 helps. 3 passes to the coach (or instead of him put a player), and big man 5 goes out to challenge the shot. X2 has to go and box out 5. Everybody are boxing their players. That s a good drill because 1) the guy who doesn't guard anybody has to find the open man for the rebound and 2) everybody has to make a bigger effort cause there is a missmatch under the basket.

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I hope I gave you some ideas.