PASCAL MEURS – BELGIAN PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL COACH – EPISODE 303

Pascal Meurs

Website – pascalmeurs.com

Email – pascal@pascalmeurs.com

Twitter – @pascalmeurs

Pascal Meurs is a professional basketball coach with experience at the highest level in Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Luxembourg & was part of the coaching staff for the NCAA Division 1 Saint Joseph’s Hawks.

Pascal is an expert in advanced basketball analytics with a Phd in mathematics. He is a skilled speaker at coaching clinics, he has been invited to three different continents. He’s an analyst on Belgian TV for Eleven Sports.

Pascal is passionate about sharing his knowledge with coaches throughout the world.  He writes a coaching blog that can be found at pascalmeurs.com and Meurs has completed his prestigious FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate.

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Get your pen and paper ready as you listen to this episode with Pascal Meurs, Belgian Professional Basketball Coach.

What We Discuss with Pascal Meurs

  • Following his brother into basketball
  • The evolution of basketball and why you must evolve as a coach
  • Seeing Michael Jordan play in Chicago in 1998
  • Getting his PhD in Mathematics
  • Why he chose basketball over banking
  • The joy of seeing a player get better at something
  • Why he loves game day
  • Starting out with a girls team and only winning one game…and still having fun
  • Coaching for the joy of it and how professional basketball puts so much pressure to win on players & coaches
  • Balancing the number of domestic and import players on Belgian pro teams
  • Improving players basketball IQ through practice design
  • Emphasizing decision making
  • Making every drill more game-like
  • Using small-sided games
  • Reference drills – those that get used repeatedly throughout the season
  • Keeping drills simple
  • Working with players on game-like finishes and layups against defenders
  • How he uses analytics as a Math PhD and coach
  • The Wall of Dreams
  • His Newsletter at PascalMeurs.com

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THANKS, PASCAL MEURS

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TRANSCRIPT FOR PASCAL MEURS – BELGIAN PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL COACH – EPISODE 303

[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here without my cohost, Jason Sunkle, Unfortunately, this morning, but we are pleased to be joined by Pascal Muers, European professional basketball coach. Pascal. Thank you for joining us here on the hoop heads pod.

Pascal Meurs: [00:00:14] A big pleasure to be here, so thanks for having me.

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:19] Absolutely. We are excited to be able to dig into all the things that you’ve been able to do in the game of basketball internationally. Want to start out by talking to you about how you got into the game of basketball as a young kid and what made you fall in love with the game.

Pascal Meurs: [00:00:33] Well, actually, I think I started out playing basketball at the age of 10 and that was mainly because my older brother was playing and we had in my hometown in Belgi Europe, we have like a basketball club, like five minutes away from our home.

That was my, my home club. It’s also of club where 15 years later I coached my very first. Your team, and [00:01:00] actually it’s quite funny. I’m sitting right now here at a coffee table and actually it is made of the wooden floor of that exact same basketball team. That’s awesome. A couple of years ago, they tore the building down and actually I was, I was happy to be able to recover.

Some of that wouldn’t be says, and with a little help, we turned it into a coffee table.

Mike Klinzing: [00:01:23] That is fantastic. How did you know that? They were tearing it down. Were you in, were you in town? How did you find out about it? And then how’d you go about making sure that you were able to salvage some of the floor?

Cause that’s really a cool thing that you’ll, I’m sure have for the rest of your life.

Pascal Meurs: [00:01:38] Well, yeah, it’s, it’s quite funny. So the timing of tearing it down there wasn’t really a secrets because it’s still, it’s still my hometown. It’s the city where I went to school. It’s a city where it’s still my parents and friends live.

So of course I knew that they would. Tear it down, but X, actually with a couple of friends, we asked up from flack, like the [00:02:00] people who were responsible, can we recover some pieces of the wooden floor? Right? Totally. They told us no, it’s impossible because we sold the whole thing and they will use the floor in a different building for something else.

But then actually when they tear it down, it was, for us, it was like emotional happening because we spent all of our youth there. Well, we went there to to watch it, to see it. Actually, it was a little tear in our eyes and actually we just know what the steps, the wooden pieces, they were just out there and they completely destroyed it.

So actually we, we picked each of us, we picked up some pieces of, afterwards we put them back together and I turned it into a table

Mike Klinzing: [00:02:46] that is very cool. That has, that is very cool. I want you to look at a house that my wife and I were thinking about buying, and it wasn’t a basketball court that. I had played on, but the entire wooden floor of [00:03:00] one of the rooms in the house was an actual wooden floor from a local school here near where I grew up and it was very cool to walk in and have it feel like a basketball court.

Florida was, I almost bought the house just because of the, just because of that, just because of that, a basketball court for the floor. It was very, it was very cool. Back in the day.

Pascal Meurs: [00:03:20] That’s cool. But it’s, it’s one of the nicest memories I have from my childhood just because I know how many hours I spent on that wooden piece.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:30] Absolutely.

Pascal Meurs: [00:03:32] Really liked it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:33] Yeah, I can imagine that it’s something that every time you look at, I’m sure it brings back good memories of when you were a kid and playing basketball on that floor. What was it about the game once you got into it and you kind of were following your brother’s footsteps, what was it about the game that that you really liked once you started getting into it and playing a little bit more.

Pascal Meurs: [00:03:52] It’s everything together. It’s being with your friends. It’s giving it all, it’s the atmosphere of [00:04:00] losing together, winning together. It’s the whole NBA too. That was back in the days when the NBA in Europe was just for free on national TV. And I remember It was 92 it was, the Bulls were chasing their second title. Excellent. What’s making the game winner three against the Phoenix suns? It’s actually the era where I was reporting in the middle of the night. I was recording the radio station, the livestream of the game, and then afterwards they asked her, I would listen to that last string. It tells you something about how crazy I was about to gain when I was, you don’t need

Mike Klinzing: [00:04:45], I think we take for granted here in America that games are on at times that are normal for our, you know, for our time zones. And so when you’re in another part of the country and other borrowers, sorry, another part of the world. And you’re trying to get [00:05:00] access to NBA games. You sometimes forget here in the United States that those games are coming out in the middle of the night or four in the morning or whatever it might be.

When you think back to that time, who was your. Who was your favorite player? Was it the bulls? Was it Jordan? Who was it that you kind of looked up to and said, I got to watch this person whenever I get an opportunity? Or in your case, listening to it on the radio?

Pascal Meurs: [00:05:21] Well, of course it was the bulls at that age or in that time you didn’t have another choice.It was the bulls. And of course, Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever to played the game. But more specifically, actually. I was looking to the small guys, like I wasn’t a small white guy. not too physical. So to be very honest, my example, it was more like a jump pack summit from those type of guys.

Like the shooter Mark Price.  yeah. Dan Majerle, the great shooter of the Phoenix Suns. Actually, I was looking more to those type of guys [00:06:00] than the real physical ones.  dogs and so on. Do you want meal? Actually, maybe I was quite realistic about what I could achieve myself.

Mike Klinzing: [00:06:11] Yeah. I think that for me, I think what you just said rings true for me.

Cause I had guys like I love Jordan,  my favorite player of all time. And yet I love him from a standpoint of I knew from a very young age that he could do things physically that I just never was going to ever be able to be able to accomplish. And so just like you. When I think about the players that I tried to emulate.

 it’s funny that you said Mark Price. We were fortunate enough here in Cleveland that we got to watch Mark play,  when I was a kid.  he was definitely one of my favorite players to watch when he was with the calves. And then we were fortunate enough early on in the podcast,  we are fortunate enough to have Mark on the show.

And so for me, that was a thrill to be able to spend an hour talking basketball with Mark Price, who was [00:07:00] a guy that. Growing up when I was in the middle school, high school that I watched play,  you know, and went to the games and was, was a big fan of him being here at Cleveland where we live. And so he was definitely one of those guys that was on the short list.

And when you think about players to want to be able to emulate their game,  he’s certainly a guy that was, I think, probably ahead of his time. If you put him in today’s game with the spread offenses, the amount of threes that guys are taking, I think he would have been. Even more of a star than he was back in the time that he played.

Just because of how the game has has changed. We’ve spread things out. Have you had a chance to, just curious while everybody’s been in this quarantine situation, have you had a chance to go back and watch any of the older games from. That bull’s era, say the late eighties early nineties magic bird, Jordan, watch any of those games and I’m always struck by, and I’ve done a little bit more checking those games out since I’ve had more time.

Just how different the game was back in that [00:08:00] era compared to how the game is played today.

Pascal Meurs: [00:08:02] Yeah. Actually I did like one, two weeks ago because of the Corona virus. Of course, they were broadcasting those games here too in Belgi and actually I was watching one of those games. It was a bulls against Utah in 98 and actually I was looking at it from different glasses in the sense that right now, actually I was looking at it from a stamp.

You have stamps, you have watching the triangle and action. I have actually, I noticed how different you look to a game compared to 2030 years ago, because back then I would watch as a little kid, as a fam to the game. And then you watch it completely different as being a coach. And of course now you see all those actions, you see the motions of Athens, you see the patterns and a lot of sense.

And you also see this physicality. So of course. The [00:09:00] game has changed a lot. Not to mention how many threes or how few threes they took mentioned the days, and if you looked at it, our it turned into today. Well, that’s just a different world. That’s one of the reasons why I love the game. Like because also as a coach, you have to keep evolving because the game is changing every single year and you cannot just take the time out of a couple of years and come back and teach and pray the same things because just the game has changed.

Mike Klinzing: [00:09:32] Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. I’m struck by when I watch games from that era, the biggest thing that I’m struck by, I think there are two, and you know, you could get into more of the specifics of the X’s and O’s, but what I’m struck by is. The amount of congestion in the lanes, the number of guys who are posting up down on the block, even when you know you have Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippin out on the wing and You’re like, why don’t guys [00:10:00] just get out of the way so they can just go by their vantage score and instead you have bill Cartwright, or will Purdue, you know, posted up, down on the block, kind of in the way. And when somebody drives in, there’s like eight bodies in the lane. So that’s the one thing that strikes me.

And then the other one that you mentioned is just how guys are spotted up and they’re theoretically trying to space the floor. And yet they’re, they’re all just one or two feet inside the three point line. Instead of taking that one or two steps back and be behind the three. And it’s kind of amazing, as you said, that the game evolves and coaches get smarter and people start looking and then something starts to work and coaches copy it, which we know is a big part of.

How the game evolves is somebody comes up with something that they want to try and they start trying it and it starts working. And then before you know it, people copy it and innovate off of that and add things to it. And before you know it, we have a game that. If you watch a game in 2019 2020 versus you watch a [00:11:00] game from 1989 or 1990 it’s just a completely different look and feel to what that game looks like.

And as you said, it’s been very interesting to see how the game has changed. And that’s what makes coaching the game of basketball so fun, is that it’s such a, it’s such a dynamic game and it’s always evolving and changing. So when you think back to when you were younger. Did you always know somewhere in the back of your mind that coaching basketball was something that you might want to do, or when you were a kid where you just kind of focused on loving the game as a player, and then coaching came to you later on in life.

So how would you say you came to the coaching profession.

Pascal Meurs: [00:11:40] Well, actually, I knew very early though that I was completely crazy about the game. Like I told you, like what I would do to record those games in the middle of the night and then the day after watch it. Let me give you one more example. And actually this also about 98 about two periods where I Reese, [00:12:00] so I gained, last week.

Actually in 98 I was one of the few Europeans that were still able to see Michael Jordan play a live game. And this last season with the bulls. And actually the story is a little bit funny too, because I had a, one of my best friends, of course, and he was, he was a little bit,  And he was turning 18 and actually his parents almost begged them like, you have to come with us on holiday one more time, and then afterwards you’re old enough and you can go on holiday.

These sets. Okay, mom, let’s do that. But I have two conditions. First of all, we’re going to see Michael Jordan play, and secondly, I have to take a friend there. Guess she was a friend. There you go. Wow. Actually, around Christmas 98 we traveled. U S for a couple of days, we went to Chicago. We had to go on the black market [00:13:00] to buy the last tickets.

I think at that time we spent like $100 for one tickets, which at that point was pretty expensive, and we were really at the upper role in, in, in the arena in Chicago, but it was just braids. But talking about 98. Actually, there was also the moment that you’re in Belgi I had to start my studies and at 98 I think I can say that I was a decent player.

Like I wasn’t starting five player and we played for the, for the championship in Belton. So that means in, in my generation, I was for sure not a bad player, but on the other hand though, never was,  like a real hope. I didn’t have the physicality or the size. To make it as a professional player.

I’m actually with my parents and salon where you at that point, everybody agreed to and [00:14:00] he should go to my studies and that’s how it happened. It was 98 the moment where I went to a university, I went to study mathematics and actually I tried it for one, two years too, like at the highest possible level in Belgi but it was soul hearts too, to combine it with my studies.

And actually after four years of my master’s degrees in mathematics, I started PhD also in mathematics. And actually it was during the PhD that’s,  in my home. I plop that actually people from the, well, they asked my help, Hey bro. Oh, you were Friday afternoon. We have a group of 20 kids and it would be great if you could help us out just to give breakfast.

Basically, that’s how I started coaching. That’s my very first [00:15:00] experience. First of all, I just liked it. So the year after I took one U team hold on very basic level in Belgi I was like the under 14 team. I approached them, I liked it, and, and that’s the most important thing. So I took my first coaching degree and then actually when I finished my PhD.

I have to apply for some jobs. And I remember that’s with a PhD in mathematics, it’s quite easy to find some jobs. And I, I remember a job interview in, in, in Antwerp, one of the biggest cities in Belgium to work at a bank. At the headquarters of a bank with my background’s in mathematics, I was looking around there.

They had a really good offer for me for the job, but that was looking around and I just saw people in suits and they all so unhappy. And then I was thinking afterwards, so they offered me the [00:16:00] job and the days afterwards I was thinking, no, I don’t want to do that job. Because then I can approach my under 16 in my hometown anymore and I don’t want to move to enter to the big city just for that job in a bank where everybody looks happy.

And actually that’s the reason why I didn’t take the job. And that’s the reason why at that point, I started out teaching in my hometown because then I knew I can combine it with basketball before I started teaching, but at the same time, every single day I would be in that gym. The one of the one in Florida, one of my coffee table, first of all, to just play for myself to have a little bit of fun, but actually next to it, almost every day I was giving practices through teams.

Actually there it was like a virus, like it was so big are really reluctant and I also became very hungry. So year after year I took [00:17:00] another approaching degree. Summer, I would travel to London in the UK to to follow a coaching clinic, or travel, one school holiday to Spain. We’ll watch in one week as many practices as possible from the little kids.

Still the first team, the professional team, just. You learn as a coach and I’m a safe from the period on it has fit me. Like if Iris and it only gets bigger and bigger and I only get hungry to more and more knowledge. I like we swept a couple of minutes ago, the game of basketball. It’s great because you never ever jumped to a point where you say, now I know it all.

I’m from here. I can stop learning and I know how it works. Now, one of the reasons is, of course, that’s the game of basketball, that it keeps on evolving, but also, yeah, it’s just too complex to know at all and we’ll never get up. Okay, [00:18:00] fine. And that’s quite challenging me.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:01] I love that story. I have a similar story about how I became a teacher and I went to school and got a degree in business and growing up as a kid, my father was a university professor.

My mother was an elementary school teacher, so I had two parents who both were in education and therefore they were both home. All the time in the summer. And so when I got done with my college playing career and graduated from school, it was time for me to go out and just like you and get a job. And I went out on a couple interviews and had a couple of different job offers and had a few days to kind of mull over those job offers.

And I started thinking about what the jobs would entail and I came to the realization that. They wanted me to put on a suit [00:19:00] and be working in July, and I had never seen anybody put on a suit and go to work in July because both my parents were teachers and basketball had always been such a huge part of my life.

But I was a kid who, when I went to college, I was confused about what I wanted to do. Never really wanted to do anything, honestly except play basketball. That was pretty much the focus of my life when I was a young kid. And. When I started thinking about, boy, do I want to do, I want to work all summer in some job that has nothing to do with basketball.

And I came to the realization that I did. And from there just like you, I decided, Hey, I’m going to go back to school. I’m going to get a teaching certificate and I’m going to get into teaching and coaching. And from there, and ended up being a great decision and my life went a completely different direction, so I can completely relate as you were telling that story.

In my mind, I’m just laughing in my head because it’s very, very similar to my own, you know, to my own [00:20:00] story. And then like you, I think that once that coaching bug grabs you, I think then you want to continue to pursue it and you want to continue to be able to, to learn about the game. And then for me, over the course of time, I think it became about being able to use the game to have an impact on people.

So when you think about your first experiences coaching those youth teams. What was it about coaching that really grabbed you? What part of coaching was the first thing that you really felt like, man, this is what, this is what I want to do. What? What aspect of coaching was important to you?

Pascal Meurs: [00:20:36] I think it is the moment you see the first progressions that you can really help somebody to get better at something.

Because you work with, with kids and you see them try things, and your job as approach is to  show them tricks that will help them. [00:21:00] And it’s, you’re see the smallest results and it’s, you see them being happy because now they can do something, which before they couldn’t do. That’s one thing. And the second thing is also to, to, I have them on the same page.

You start out with a bunch of kids like 10 or 15 and then you start in summer and they’re completely on a different page. They don’t think the same about basketball. And actually what you try to do is you try to  Dean, you try to find the common bond on which you want to work. And about of course, once you get into a rhythm of practices, one big thing that for me is their game day at Rhode Island.

That’s something over summer. It’s one of the things I miss first. Right now during the Corona virus, I missed the adrenaline of the game and then for me it doesn’t matter at all. At which level you’re approaching, are you [00:22:00] approaching at the pro level or are you approaching it? Kids steam on Saturday game day as game date, all it doesn’t matter.

If you’re really passionate about it’s game day is the best day of the week.

Mike Klinzing: [00:22:13] I think that, I think that is, I think that is so true. I mean, I think that, you know, you talk to different coaches, and I’ve talked to some people who,  talk about how much they enjoy the practices and they don’t necessarily enjoy the games as much as a coach.

And I think I was probably not the complete opposite, but I definitely am like you. Like I. Enjoy getting out there for a game. As a coach, I enjoy that adrenaline rush, as you said, and to me, the opportunity to play a game is the opportunity then to measure yourself and all the things that you’ve done in preparation for that game.

To me, that’s fun. That’s exciting. And that’s something that I think. Any coach is going to enjoy, and it sounds like that’s what you were able to find, that you were able to [00:23:00] find your joy in that and being able to, to have that excitement. And as you said, it doesn’t matter what level. I think that we all, whether you’re coaching a bunch of ten-year-olds or you’re coaching a professional team, I think ultimately coaching.

Is coaching, and that’s one of the things that I found Pascal with the podcast is we’ve talked to coaches that are youth coaches, and we’ve talked to coaches who coach players at the professional level, and regardless of which level they’re coaching at, you can see their passion for the game. You can see their preparation, you can see the things that they do.

To use the game to have an impact on kids. And that’s really something that I think is, is very, very important is how do you use the game to improve the lives of your players? And so if you go back to the beginning of your career and you started thinking about, okay, I’m, I’m coaching this youth team, what did you eventually see?

What were your [00:24:00] goals early on in the game in terms of coaching? Did you have in your mind that someday you’d like to. Move up and work with older, more experienced players. What was kind of your career path that you saw early on?

Pascal Meurs: [00:24:12] Well, very early on I didn’t have a career. That’s because you have to know that that’s home time club.

I’m talking about, well, it must be, I left, I live in a very small town in a corner of Belgi and actually it was very basic and low level, a basketball club. So at that point when they asked me to help out with your team and didn’t have a career path at all, I’ve actually, I just, I took a team and  the next year I took a team and everything was going so well and I was doing the coaching degrees when actually the committee of the club, they came up to me an extra late.

They wanted to play. They had one generation of, of girls. And the year after they would, [00:25:00] they would like to take the challenge zone who play on a national level with that team. And actually that would have been the very first time in the history of the club. It’s a club with a tradition of Beck Bennett, what’s like, yup, 30 40 years.

And it would be the, for every first time in big history that they would play on the national level. But they asked me to do it.  without thinking twice, I immediately said yes, but to be honest, we had our we’d lost by 100 to 40. But we have such a great group, cool girls. And week after week, we just saw that loss as an extra motivation.  I remember it’s like near the end of the season, there was one game which you were able to win by one point. A couple of weeks or months [00:26:00] before that we would lose the same game with, with 40 50 points.

And at that point, we were able to win one single game that season with the buzzer beater in the last second. And I remembered that they, as it was yesterday, all the girls there were crying. Everybody was celebrating all the cords. And actually with that generation of girls, whenever I meet them right now in summer in my hometown, very often we start talking again about that seasoned, because all those girls, they have such great memories too that season where they lost every single game big time, but actually, so people also saw the progression progression with the team we’ve made back then.

But actually in my region, we had like a first division, a female club, the highest level in Belgi And actually they asked me to run one of [00:27:00] their youth teams, well, when grades, and they asked me to assist on that higher H and actually two, two years later, I was assisting in the first division in Belgi but it was also with the female team.

And that actually narrowed the end of the season. I was able to take over because we have bath results and the head coach was fired. Well, actually I took over and at the end of the season we unexpectedly, we made it to the playoffs and ended up playoffs. Actually, it funny to you, you might know her. We were beaten by HIPA in belching with a girl named Emma Misa.

Mom. And me as a mom right now, she’s the biggest Belgium star in basketball. She won the MVP of the Euro league, and also last season she was called MVP of the finals of the w NBA, but when we were playing hers, she must have been 17 or 18 years old, but [00:28:00] already then in Belgi she was one of the best players of the league.

So we got kicked out by her, which for us still was a think the success that season. And actually that season for me, that was the intro because at that point I was, by then, I must step in around 31 years old. Then I got my first professional offer in coaching basketball, and I was coming from France and it was also a female club, but actually they were competing in the Euro league women at that point, and they asked me to be the assistant coach of the first team, and at the same time also be like the director of the youth teams.

Right. Actually, that’s for me, that was the start of my approaching career. Actually in two years time are really ducts. A perspective from being [00:29:00] a poaching my local clubs to really think a, maybe I do have a future into basketball and actually the choice of female basketball. That was actually just an excellent, it’s, I just roll in, rolled in there because I started out with a girls team.

Mike Klinzing: [00:29:21] All  right. I want to ask you two things. So one, I want to go back to that very first team that you talked about, that one, one game on the buzzer beater and the fact that you still see the girls from that team and that they all have such fond memories of being a part of that. And so to me, that’s something that speaks to what you were able to do as a coach because we all know, let’s face it, that we can talk about some of these other things.

But. Wins and losses to coaches who are competitive are important. And we know that if you have a choice between winning and losing, it’s a lot more fun to win games than it is to lose. So what did you do during the course of that season [00:30:00] to keep those girls engaged and having fun so that even though by the measure of the scoreboard, they weren’t successful, it wasn’t a successful season from a one loss standpoint, but yet really, when we think about what.

Basketball coaching is all about the fact that those girls still have fond memories and that you still have a relationship with them. Tells me that you are doing something right during that season to be able to keep all those players engaged and enjoying being a part of that team. So what do you remember about that in terms of what you did or what that team was like?

Cause I think there’s a lesson there to be learned for coaches of how do you keep your players engaged when things aren’t going perfectly in terms of the scoreboard.

Pascal Meurs: [00:30:42] Well, there are a couple of things, and one of the things is make it a bunch of friends.  you have to realize at that point, you, like I told you every game, we would lose it big time.

So sometimes in gyms, [00:31:00]  in a way games we would be laughed at because we were losing a big time. So first of all, in some way, you create something like us against the rest of the world. Everybody is against us. Some people will laugh at us, some people will say, Hey, they can’t play basketball. They didn’t win a single game this season yet.

And actually when you do create is you have to focus on the common grounds. And you have something with that theme, the connection that nobody else has, and you’ll have something unique within your team. Well, this is also very important, of course, is just make them focus not on the final result of that game, because even before the season started, we realized that that would be very hard to win a single game during that season.

So that also means that practice after practice, game after game, we would [00:32:00] not only focus on the final result of the game because otherwise, let’s be honest, then it would be a very sad season with a lot of crying or what so on. But that also means that every week we would focus on some of the things we did way better than before.

And it was also the periods where I would, I would bring my camera to practice. I would film some things, which at that point would be way more difficult than right now where you just think you’re Mark farm, you film something and you show it to the girls. The bed. Ben really made an effort to do it,  to, to film some things and then that talk it through with some of the grills.

But I think those are a couple of ingredients you for sure has to do,  That you can create something unique and like that’s like I tell you what, like sometimes when I meet those girls, [00:33:00] they, we just bring up memories and it’s, everybody agrees it’s one of the best season they have in their whole playing career.

Well, never ever been paid loose more games or that they lose them as bad as you’re in that season.

Mike Klinzing: [00:33:16] That’s so much fun. I think that that’s a great, great, great story. If we could share that story with every young coach out there who’s just getting started or thinking about getting started in coaching, to me that is the epitome is really what a good coach is all about because the fact that you were able to create, especially when we’re talking about.

A youth level team that you were able to create a situation where they weren’t successful on the scoreboard by sort of the traditional measurement. And yet if you talk to those girls, they’re going to tell you that their experience with the game of basketball was. A good one from that season and I’m sure that [00:34:00] inspired them to want to keep on playing.

And obviously, as you said, they develop friendships amongst themselves, the team, and clearly there was a relationship between you as their coach and them as players. And to me, that’s something that you can’t, you can’t replace. And. We could all talk about coaching at the highest level and wins and losses.

And we know that in a lot of cases that that’s how coaches are judged by how many games they win and lose. But I think there’s this whole other piece of it that that story touches on, which is, unless you’re coaching at the very, very highest levels, so much of what basketball coaching is, is yes, teaching the kids how to play basketball, but it’s also teaching them about life.

It’s teaching about how to be a good teammate. It’s teaching about how to. Interact with people. It’s teaching them about things from the game that can impact them later on in their life with whatever it is that they decide to do. And to me, that’s a perfect story to share that with people. And then the second thing I wanted to ask, go [00:35:00] ahead.

Pascal Meurs: [00:35:00] Go ahead if I can interrupt you. Sure, absolutely. It’s one of the saddest thing about professional basketball, because sometimes I do have some regrets to that periods of,  Just playing and coaching for fun because like we are discussing right now, having such a season with such a team and getting that team to win one single game probably there we did a better job than the team that’s finished first.

And at that point it all does a better. It’s, it wasn’t my, of course, it wasn’t my professional job and my job wasn’t on the line. We were just all doing that because we loved it. And because we’re so passionate about it, and I’m sure that it’s the story I tell you right now. That’s one example. I hope. And I think that you have some listeners that actually are thinking that they’re exactly in the same [00:36:00] situation, which is probably true.

And you, you should really be proud about what you have accomplished. But then at one moment, when you enter professional basketball, like you say, then it’s all about how many wins you have. And I can imagine that you have so many championships on so many different leagues. Where the coach of the team, which is last in the standings or which is somewhere halfway to standings, is doing a way better job.

And the coach who puts on the rim after the season, and actually that’s, that’s pretty sad about our job because we have so much influence on the team and on the players. If you look at all over to the sports. I cannot think of once. For us, we’re actually, the influence of the coach is as big as in basketball for sure.

Also during the games, like with the timeouts with no limits on the number of [00:37:00] subs with, with the plate hauling, you’re so close to the chords and so on, but there’s no direct results. It’s neat. I mean. If the difference between two teams is, is 20 points, maybe you do a miraculous job. If you only lose that game by one instead of 20 then you did almost a miracle butts.

A loss is a loss, and at one point the committee, they will look, or the president, they will look at your ranking, your a standing. That’s the number of losses. That’s the number of wins and maybe at that point your job is on the line and you risk getting fired. Even if you did. The most miraculous job on there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:37:44] That’s so true. I think it, it’s interesting when you have that conversation because ultimately, as you said, if I think about the professional level, whether that’s here in the United States or in Europe, or you think about the [00:38:00] university college level here in the United States, and those coaches at those levels are clearly, ultimately judged by.

There one lap loss record, and that’s, I don’t want to say it’s completely the only thing that matters, but the bottom line is it’s very, very close to being the only thing that matters. And yet we know that as coaches, that there are so many other things that we try to do day to day to help our team improve, to help our players improve as players, but also as people.

And to be able to build relationships with our players, but also help the players build relationships with one another. And all those things are so critically important. And yet what it comes down to is we’re ultimately judged by one wins and losses. And so I think that’s something that I’m guessing, and I’ve never coached at either one of those levels, but I was able to play at the university level.

But I know that those coaches have to feel a tremendous amount of strain and [00:39:00] pressure. And what’s oftentimes. I’m guessing it can lead them to make decisions that, as you said, if you could go back and just be coaching that team where everybody’s just playing for fun, they would probably make different decisions maybe about the type of people that they bring into the team, and sometimes coaches sacrifice their standards in order to.

In order to win games, and I think that’s a danger that we run into at the highest levels of basketball. Have you seen that in some of those situations in, in some of the places that you’ve

Pascal Meurs: [00:39:30] been absolutely. Like,  I see college basketball in the U S as something completely different there. You see coaches with a long career at the same university.

But here in Europe, you have so many leaks on so many clubs where there’s really a hire and fire policy, and that’s concerning the import players, but it’s also concerning the coaches, and actually that’s ruining the game of basketball. Because I’ll give you one [00:40:00] concrete example. For instance, here in Belgi my home country, we have a professional league.

But actually whenever we have Belgian Coach gets the chance to take over a team from day one. The pressure to win is so high, so it means that here you can have a Belgium coach that proved themselves over a years in, in either abrupt eater, in second division, and then finally he gets this chance.

But whatever, he loses three games in a row, he should be worried about his job. What are the consequences? Not only is it ridiculous because wins and losses, it depends on so many factors than just coaching, but it’s also, it’s Holtz coaches from bringing Belgium and local talent into the team because there are blamed for playing with six import players and [00:41:00] they played mainly with the import players, and they don’t bring you Belgian talent.

But why, of course, because their job is on the line. If my job was on the line for one play and I have to pick the player that will take that last shot, well, very likely. I will also go look to the professional player that took that shot several times in his career, and that’s the Belgian rookie of 17 years old who’s a bit shaking shaky.

But then of course, if you look to the longer term for the health of the 12 and and so on, also for the progression for devolve with the local fans and so on. Of course it would be way better if that Belgium plucked and launch some domestic players on the highest level, but never does the coach get the opportunity.

And I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but that’s one of the examples where where the pressure on the coach is, it’s that higher.

[00:42:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:42:00] That makes a lot of sense. How would you, if you could redesign the Belgian system, so if you could redesign it from top to bottom, what would that look like? How would you change things so that.

It would offer the opportunity for more homegrown players to be able to come up through the system and eventually be able to play and play an integral role on their team at the highest levels. How would you change things in Belgi

Pascal Meurs: [00:42:28] I think there was a big lack of basketball, no knowledge with the decision makers in European clubs on Belgium is a good example of that.

 What would I change? Well, for instance, right mound in Belgium for us for several years already, it is like a close championship. So it’s a bit the NBA style, the last team of the ranking, they don’t rub down to a second division, basically because no second [00:43:00] division teams are financially capable to make it to the next level because there was a huge gap between the professional level and the second division.

Well, actually, that’s not a reason not to put everything of the domestic players. Right? Well, in Belgium we have a rule where on the game sheet you have to have six domestic players, which also means that for some clubs they opt for having six input players. But right here in Belgi you have a leak and professional teams, or we have teams that are competing for the six or seven spots in the ranking without any risk to drop down to second division and still they gamble on having six import players, which for me is something ridiculous.

What would I change? I would, I would change the vision of the club. I really think that being a professional team in Belgi you will [00:44:00] have to make your own way. You jumped. You just don’t have to run behind some of the other teams that do the same thing. You have to declare your efficient and your ambitions over the mint term, and I’m sure that if you can profile of yourself as being the Belgian club where young talent gets this chance and will get confidence, we’ll go by that.

Well. Also, you will be able to attract some of the best Belgium talants and young players because they know what they’ll get in their team. I have, right now, you have so many teams in Belgium that promise everything to their belts and players until they signed the contract, signed there were at the end of the bench, because then they play with six players.

I bet you you have a situation where the coach is under a huge pressure to win next Saturday’s game. Otherwise, this game good be on the line. So I’m, I’m not sure if concerning the [00:45:00] rules something big should change. Of course, you can debate about it. Do you have the rule of having six Belgium players on the game seats right now?

Well, you could of course extended. If you look. To the other countries here, like second division Germany a couple of years ago, they had like a, a rule where they would have like a German flags on their game shirts to show that they’re domestic and they would, they would have to have two German players on the court at all times.

Which of course has an implication to the way you’re approaching too, because in your rotation, in your subs, that’s something you have to do. Yep. In mind. So, but of course that’s an option to put the biggest problem is just the mindset of the decision makers, the mindset of the general manager, the mindset of the president of the bar.

Mike Klinzing: [00:45:56] Does that something that you see. Can change. Is there a [00:46:00] way that that can be that the, the problems and the issues that are there right now, is there a way that that can be overcome in the future? Are you hopeful that changes can be made so that it can at least come more towards the direction that you’re hoping that it can go to in terms of getting more Belgium players and opportunities?

That’s something that you think can happen? Or do you think that the system is such that it’s going to be really difficult to change.

Pascal Meurs: [00:46:25] No, I really think it can and it will happen for two reasons. The first one is probably decide this one. It’s the coronavirus. I really think that once this whole thing is over, but a lot of clubs, they will feel the impact and they will feel that they have a smaller budgets and by definition or because there were just no other solution that will turn more to domestic players.

I think that’s one of the heart’s roots,  or the sports in Europe,  if the grownup hours, [00:47:00] but I also see something else and that’s a way more positive story. Like you see that over the last couple of years that the number of fans and the belts and the reason or rightness, it stopped going up. It’s even worse.

It’s going down. And. You have to ask yourself how the, what’s the reason behind all this? And they’re a team. There’s a, there’s a big difference because if you play with domestic players and you really give them a future on the mid long term and the longer term. And they see year after year the same players that are fighting on the courts for a good result of the club.

It’s way more easier for fans to create a bond to identify themselves with such a team made us such players. Compared to other teams where you have six, you win four players, and during the season, two of them, they’re being replaced by other [00:48:00] players, which after the season eater, they were in good enough.

So they will be replaced eater. They showed what they can do, they have potential, and they move on to a bigger Lake and France and Germany or in Spain. That’s okay. In any case, the next year you have six new import players and for France, it’s so hard to create a fan base because they just having, they’re having so much trouble to identify themselves what such a team, and I think that’s one of the reasons, or one of the things that Belgium right now, slowly they get them to the process of understanding it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:48:40] I think that’s almost what happened. To some degree with college basketball here in the United States. I think back to 20 years ago with college basketball here in the U S and you had players that stayed in college for probably a minimum of three years, and fans got to know those [00:49:00] players and you got to know teams.

And I feel like today when the best players come into college basketball here in the U S they stay for one year and then they go on to the NBA. And you don’t really build that connection with them. And I think it’s what you’re saying there in Belgi it sounds like it’s a similar situation where you have all these players from outside of the country that are coming back in and, and that they’re constantly rotating so the fans don’t get an opportunity to be able to connect with them.

And then as a result, that causes attendance to go down. And I think here in the United States, I think there’s, at least to some degree.  college basketball is not as, I don’t know, it’s not as popular. I don’t think the product is as good as it was. 20 or 30 years ago when all the best players who eventually ended up in the NBA played for multiple years and fans got to know them.

It’s just a different game than it used to be. And it sounds like [00:50:00] the Belgian system has some of those same, you know, some of those same problems, but I’m glad you’re optimistic that it can change because I think that that’s something that we all have to keep in mind as we’re going through. And we talked about it off the beginning of the podcast, that, you know, the game is evolving and systems can evolve and hopefully they’re going to evolve, evolve for the better.

So that we can all have a better,  experience within the game. I want to talk to you a little bit about,  about practice design and getting into some more specific things. So talk to me a little bit about,  when you’re putting together a practice plan for one of your teams, talk to me about how you incorporate drills that help your players to become smarter, increase their basketball IQ, for lack of a better way of saying it.

Make them into. Better basketball players individually within the confines of your team practice.

Pascal Meurs: [00:50:54] Well, that’s a very big thing for me.  when I design a [00:51:00] practice, then every single Bay, I tried to design it in a way. That’s where I know that after the practice, my players are a little bit smarter than before practice because I think you have to keep in mind that basketball, it’s one of the most complex sports we have.

And it is impossible to repair each layers for every single situation they will ever meet in their basketball career. That’s just impossible because you have too many situations and it’s impossible to mimic all of them. Of being sets. The only conclusion that I get from that statement is I have to make my players smarter.

I have to prepare them to hate sparked decisions on the courts. It also means that if I look to my,  Texas design. I tried to skip. What are some things that I have done? Being a player, like the tree [00:52:00] man weave for me, it doesn’t add anything at all to the game of basketball. I want to play because what’s the tree man?

We’ve, we give her past me, followed by us, and we ended up being at the bowl. How many times do you see during a game where. Approaching that under 10 team where a player gives a pass and he follows the ball and he’s going to ask the ball their back. Then I see coaches at the sideline going trouble lately.

Crazy because it’s so that spacing and space, whatever, go away. Yeah, but it’s what they have done all week long. Another example is the classic of mandrill where you have 302 full courts. Well, actually the way we did it here in Europe, and I think you will recognize it, it’s not yes. To tell me, and the classic 11 man’s role, you have three players of offense.

Well through defenders, which are just stationary. There are parts [00:53:00] in the, in the paint, in the buckets, we would call it like a pen them defense. And that’s the way we would rubs Fastbreak on practice 30 years ago, every single practice. But then if you ask coaches, how many times in your playing career, if it’s happened to you that you have a three man break and two defenders were waiting for you, like that never ever happens.

And then I always wonder, why do we do as coaches the same drills. And the only logic explanation is, yeah, we put them in our practices because he did them as players. Yeah, that’s of course, that’s a very bad reason. So I tried to throw out all those things and it’s, it’s one of the things I have done over the last couple of years.

Every single drill, aye. Right. To put into a practice. I asked myself, is it useful? Will my players get smarter? [00:54:00] And also is it game like? Is it the decision that I want my players to, to have? We’ll give one example. In my fast break into secondary break, I always have the ball on the side of the court.

That also means that in my warmups, in my fast break drills. I want to sign drills where I bring the ball to the middle of the court because it’s just not game like for my basketball philosophy. My ball will always be on the sides of the court. I’m talking about that. For example, that’s 11 men break.

Three of them too. I try to have some drills which are more game like, so I would do something similar, but the two players, they’re just running back in defense. And it will create a drill which has game lights and also every single time it will give me a different situation because sometimes those [00:55:00] two players running back in defense, they will be ahead of the ball.

Sometimes one of them was sleeping on practice and he will be there at the same level. Yeah, details. It is a bro I can use often. And by design, it gives me every single time a different situation, which is her regain lights. And that’s, that’s for me, the ultimate goal.  What is very huge to me is I want to have a very good intensity on practice.

Some of the things that I used to learn at the college level in the U S I once I have the chance to go for two months through st Joe’s with with coach Ellie. Watch his practices, and one of the big things I picked up from college basketball in the U S it is the intensity and it is the speeds going from one drill to the other one.

[00:56:00] And of course in the U S it’s a little bit easier if you have that many managers and assistants and so on over here in Europe, you should be very thankful, thankful if you have one assistant coach, but still. I do everything to to mimic the same intensity and by having a couple of rough bronze drills I’m able to do to keep that intensity up.

Of course, sometimes you have to teach and you have to hold that. You have to talk a little bit, but sometimes I grabbed back to reference drill like. The one I described just now, the trail, two full courts and everybody knows what to do. And still every single time it’s a new situation by design and for me that’s, that’s the ultimate goal.

And that’s for me, a perfect fast break drill.

Mike Klinzing: [00:56:52] So in your mind, when you’re organizing a practice, it sounds like one of the things that’s very, very important to you that you think helps to [00:57:00] build in. These decision making skills on the intensity is the pace of your practice, meaning that you’re in one drill and there’s a lot of decision making involved in it, and then in order to keep up that intensity, you’re immediately on to the next rail, which I’m assuming.Requires you to have this understanding with your players of, okay, we know the name of this drill, we know what this drill is. So after you teach it the first time, your players learn the name of what that drill is, and you use the same terminology that then they can very quickly move from one activity to the next.

There’s not a lot of, okay, this drill is over. Now we take. Five or 10 minutes to explain the next drill. It’s once the drill has been taught, the players are expected to jump right into it. Is that an accurate description of kind of how your practice would Braun from a pacing standpoint?

Pascal Meurs: [00:57:50] Yes. More or less.

 actually for half of it, let’s say that for half of practice, I have some predesigned drills. Some I would [00:58:00] call them reference drills because I like to repeat them a lot. For the rest. Actually it’s a little bit different. That’d be different from practice to practice, but there was a very big box here, an important one.

Actually, while we do a new drill, I want everybody to start moving within 30 seconds or at least one minutes, not longer. And it also has some counts, prompts, sequences. It also means that your drill, it has to be very, very simplistic by design. And it’s one of the things I picked up in Spain because pain for me has the best youth program in basketball from all over the world.

And one of the things I picked up in Spain is that they don’t have. Complicated drills. They don’t have a lot of thrills where you have four lines and in line one you have to give a prize and set a screen and then you have to run behind the problem and then you have to go to line [00:59:00] two. All those things.

No. What they do in Spain is they want to work well. One aspect of the game, well, the coach is showing it. That’s, let’s take it again. Apple say teaching, patching in a bowl screen. That sheet. Mostly what the coach would do is he would have a player at offense with the ball. He would have a screener and he would show how would the defense of the screeners should hatch.

He just explains it. 30 seconds, one minute max. Then he says, spread out every two players, take a ball, go to a basket and do it and pass as many repetitions as we can. Have in a couple of minutes of time. Can start off for mating, designing a drill with three complicated blinds where we have to pass and go, and then he sets a screen and has to go to line two.

No. Yes. So it’s all on the court through the repetitions afterwards [01:00:00] and trail trace situations and five Oh five situations, we’re going to apply the taints we learned in real games. Whether that’s small sided games stream three or whether that’s more game situations. Five on five right away. Yeah. Yeah, go ahead.

Go ahead.

Mike Klinzing: [01:00:20] I love, I love what you said about being able to maximize repetitions, and I think that’s something that is critically important at all levels of basketball. I think it’s especially important at the youth level where kids are just learning the game and they need to be put into. Opportunities where they can improve their skills and work on their decision making.

Too often, what I’ve seen at youth practices is you’ll have four kids out on the court and the coach is talking and talking and talking, and those four kids are standing and there’s a bunch of kids on the sideline, and then eventually they get set up the lines like you described, and it ends up being that explaining the [01:01:00] drill and the complexity of it takes more time and the kids ends up standing.

A lot in the line instead of out there getting repetitions of getting better. And we all know that the way you get better is you have to keep doing things. You have to be able to make mistakes. You have to try things and see what works. And I love just what you’re talking about there in terms of getting kids with the ball in their hands, executing the skill, doing it with a defense where there’s decision making involved.

And I think if you do that, you’re going to end up with a lot better results than you are if it’s. The coach given a five or 10 minute lecture about what’s going to happen and then only a few kids being involved at a time. The rest of the kids standing around. I think the more kids you can get involved when you’re coaching, the better off you’re going to be.

The more reps are going to get in, the more quickly they’re going to be able to improve.

Pascal Meurs: [01:01:52] Absolutely. And, okay, awesome. I get, I get the questions by coaches and then actually this week [01:02:00] it’s, it’s coincidence.  I got a question from a coach that says, I coach, I have a problem. I let,  I like it. I’m with my, with my team on the core.

Do you have any tricks or something where I can maximize my time with the team? . Actually for a moment I thought about it and there is one single thing and I would propose if all of your listeners that they would reflect on it for 10 minutes. Actually, there is a thing, yes. Through. You have to think about how much time you spend on one on zero layups.

The regular layups. So then, I mean, the right left would finish with the right hand on the right side, left right’s finished with the less time the left side. You have to think for one moment on how much time you spent doing that. I know coaches that do that every single practice with our team as the warmup, and they do it in the game warmup [01:03:00] saying, yeah, we can’t do anything else because we’re not warmed up yet.

But actually if you think about it, I went back and I went to see the Euro league semifinal of last season, and I was watching and counting the number of layups from that game. Do you know how many regular layups you have during that game? It was one single layout and all the rest was screwed. Layup Euro, step of hand, one step layup, floaters, runners, the whole thing with decision making and depending on where the defense was on that point.

But if then you would go back to,  let’s say on the 14 team in Belgi which has. Two practices a week and one game on Saturday, so that means that they have three hours of practice and one half an hour of game [01:04:00] warmup. I think a lot of teams would do 30 minutes of just one on zero layoffs, which is actually one sixth of their practice time.

And why? Because it doesn’t happen during the game. So when I think about it, I have in my practice map, I have like 10 steam drills, which also involves defense. I would call them advantage girls. It’s, it’s one Oh one but actually you give a huge advantage to the, for the offense and the, I mean, how much of an advantage, it depends on the skill level of the age of the players.

And so on. But actually I would do those kinds of drills because those kinds of drills state at decisionmaking and they worked out different styles of layups instead of the less finished with the right hand. And it’s, if you think about it, it’s quite old school. I’m old school coaches. They would say, nah, I’m not starting [01:05:00] with my team with a one step step.

If they cannot finish 100 layups in a row when they can hit 100 no bro. Which actually this may be a little bit stupid. No, because we have to prepare them for game situations. Yeah. It’s one of the times I’m actually, it’s an invitation to all of your listeners too, the reflect for a couple of minutes on how you design your practices on how much time do you spend,  why don’t zero lapse and please look back to your last game and count the number of regular layups.

Mike Klinzing: [01:05:38] I think that’s a great point. I love what you just said there in terms of trying to make it as game like as you possibly can when you’re working on finishing around the basket. Give me water, maybe two,  examples of advantage, disadvantage drills that you use to help your players finish layups around the basket using different kinds of [01:06:00] finishes.

So just give me, maybe give us one or two. Specific drills that you can explain quickly and easily that coaches can grab and start using in their practices.

Pascal Meurs: [01:06:09] Okay.  let’s take my favorite one. So me as a coach, I will be standing on the 45 degrees on the left side behind the three point line, and I’m having a ball in my hands.

And there’ll be other side on the 45 degrees behind the three point line. You have a player in offense and a player in defense standing next to each other facing the baskets. And what? I blow my whistle, the player and offense, he has to cut towards the baskets. Oh, we’ll throw some kind of pass to him and he has to grab my pass and finish the layout.

But he can not make a jump stop. He’d come up dribble, he has to finish that layup on his way to the baskets. And depending a little bit on the [01:07:00] skill level and the age of the players, I would do this with, or. Let’s say a better, I already did this with a hundred Hm. It’s, but I also do it with professional teams and professional players.

Depending on the skill level. I believe in, try to give good passes, pass into the pain. Sometimes it’s a bounce pass. Sometimes I are rolled over the floor pass, whatever, one hand left hand, I just throw it in there. But if you think about it. Isn’t that just a little bit Jane lives having a player with the defender chopping to the basket, trying to catch a bat.

Yes. I’d still try to finish that layup. We can do one on zero layup lines for four hours with a perfect pass, but we’re, in the beginning, there was a defender involved, and on top of that, during the game, because of the ball pressure, it might happen that the past isn’t as [01:08:00] ideal as in one on zero. And that’s my favorite drill.

Mike Klinzing: [01:08:08] I love that. Simple. I’m going to share one. I’m going to share one too that I don’t think I’ve shared it on the podcast, but I’m curious if it’s one that you’ve ever seen or heard. One of the ones that I like to do is I’ll put two players at, could be at the three point line, could be at the free throw line.

Again, depending upon the age of the player and the players are lined up, both of them, one behind the other, so one player is facing the basket, the other players directly behind them, and the player who was on offense. Has the ball there, the second person in the line facing the basket, and they put the basketball, they touch it to the players back in front of them, so they’re holding it against that player’s back.

And then when that player removes the ball and starts to make their move, the defender is facing the same direction. So the defender [01:09:00] has to then try to turn. And stop the offensive player from scoring and essentially essentially becomes one-on-one. But the advantage for the offense is that the defense is facing the wrong way and doesn’t know when the player’s going to remove that basketball from touching their back.

And so it’s a great way, again, to have the kids practice finishing layups, finishing moves to the basket with a defense, but yet gives them. A slight advantage so that you can be sure that they’re going to get a shot off as they’re doing it. So I love that one. It’s just, again, a simple, I

Pascal Meurs: [01:09:34] love it too. I know the drill.

I use it often and I just love, it’s because of all the reasons you give by herself, and this is way more useful than just doing another layup line one on zero and it’s, you can, you can experiment with it instead of having the ball in the back of the other player. You can start,  boats behind the three point line, both of [01:10:00] them next to each other, but facing the basket.

And for instance, they have to touch the inside hand, one with the other. At the moment, the player on offense, he has the ball, of course, in his other hand, the moment he releases the hand to hand, it starts playing an offense. And the other one, he can play live defense. And it’s also the type of grills that players, they love it because it’s a competition.

They want a score, and the other one, he wants to stop them. And I also encourage my players in defense to take a gamble to try at least something we know that they all start with a disadvantage. Well, just. Don’t take the loss, please try something. That’s a surprise. I tried to do something. It’s technically in defense and it helps our offense because if those players are really trying something, then it involves more and better decision [01:11:00] maker for them.

Thank you. All right.

Mike Klinzing: [01:11:04] I would be remiss if I didn’t ask a mathematician at least one question about some analytics. Before we, before we wrap things up, so just give me an idea of how you use analytics in your coaching. What are some of the most important advanced metrics that you look at when you’re coaching your team?

What are some of the most important things that you think coaches should be looking at from an analytic standpoint? If they have. Access to the kind of statistics that you might have, let’s say, at the,  you know, at the university level.

Pascal Meurs: [01:11:42] I love analytics. It’s one, surprisingly, of course, I do have a PhD in mathematics, and I’m a professional approach.

That’s the ideal combination to be completely unlocked with analytics. But then of course, we also all have to realize that we don’t have the same [01:12:00] resources as we have in the MBA with the player tracking and the sports for you, all the cameras and so on. So neither do we have it here in Europe. So we’re a little bit limited.

But actually, if you just have like the box score of a game, another leak, you can already do so many things. And you can go over the four factors of Dean Oliver’s book. You can look at the pace of the game. You can, I mean, no, I’m, I’m probably jumping from one thing to the other. There are so many things you can do.

How do I use it as being the coach with my team week to week? I try not to overdo it. Because believe me players, they’re not waiting in the evening once a week for another mathematics class. That’s what they’re waiting for it. Believe me, I’ve tried it. I’ve been there. It doesn’t [01:13:00] work. What does work? Yes.

Every single game I prepare, I tried to get one number. How are those analytics. And actually, so that means if we go into a game plan, we have three or four key points in going into the game. One of those points is made up out of analytics and awesome. I do give them a number and for instance, it’s, it really depends what I did in the past because my team, sometimes they call me crazy, but.

What I did once is count the number of dribbles in a game from our team. And I compared it to another team because we all have the feeling that we were sheriff all us March and so on. So actually what I did is I watched two games and I counted the number of ripples. And when did you start? I like that through your [01:14:00] team.

In the film room. They look at you as you’re coming from a different planet. They really think that you don’t have any social life at all, but by counting the number of dribbles in a game, but believe me, you have to sell it in a way to make your points and those things. It can have your team on the same page and it also gets, or it also creates a gig.

And I remember doing that, and it wasn’t the beginning of the week and all week long we were referring to, Oh yeah, the coaches counting the number of dribbles, but I can tell you by the end of the week, we had a great flow into going into that game and it’s helped us for a couple of weeks at for a couple of weeks, I only had to remind them of, Oh yeah, the number of dribbles coach is going to count them.

[01:15:00] And now of course, I do have the feeling that I’m disappointing you because you are asking me about analytics of what our bring up is the number of dribbles.

Mike Klinzing: [01:15:10] No, that’s not it. This one, I love what you said because here’s why. Because I think that what you said makes so much sense to me from a standpoint of you have to keep it simple, especially with what you’re going to use with players.

Now, you may as a coach. Go far more in depth and look at different statistics and analytics that can help you with your design of your offensive sets, your defensive sets, the things that you’re trying to accomplish in your practices. But I think in terms of what you would share with players, I love the idea of picking out one single simple metric that.

You can use with your team to try to influence their behavior out on the floor. And I think that story that you just shared is a great [01:16:00] easy way for coaches to be able to think about how do I use analytics? Cause we all can get into and dive into the numbers as deeply as we want to as coaches. And as you said, depending on what level you’re coaching at, you may have access to different numbers or not have access to different numbers.

But there are simple things froma statistical standpoint that you can share with your team that can have a clear impact. Things that players can simply and easily understand. And then you’re making a point of how you want them to change their behavior out on the floor. And I think that story that you gave is a perfect one because it’s one, again, that I think is actionable for coaches out there.

And if you just, and it doesn’t even have to be number of dribbles, you just take one. Metric, whatever that is. And you use that with your team in a particular week of practice over the course of a month or something that you’re working on. And to me, that’s great advice because I think sometimes we can get overly complex and then what we really need to do gets lost in that. So I really did appreciate the simplicity of your story, right?

Pascal Meurs: [01:17:04] right? It’s exactly your rights. There’s a very big difference. Between what we as coaches have to know what to understand, whether that’s basketball knowledge or analytics stuff. And what we share with the team, because it’s not the same analytics wise.

You cannot share everything with your team because first of all, you will drive them crazy. They want to understand it. And second, and most importantly, it won’t help them. And of course, analytics goes way further than, than just counting a dribble for. Maybe for the listeners, if I may,  I do have like a whole page.

Pascalmeurs.com and actually for the listeners, that leaves their email address over there, I will share a, like a coaching [01:18:00] newsletter with them and also I promise them to, to send them a copy of my free eBooks. And it’s concerning,  basketball and the Olympics. So for those who are interested, I will be able to share it.

Mike Klinzing: [01:18:14] Pascal’s newsletter is great for those people who are out there. If you haven’t subscribed, I would highly recommend it. And I think actually this will be a perfect way to kind of wrap up our episode as we’re heading towards an hour and a half Pascal. And that’s a story that you recently shared just about,  a club in Spain and their wall of dreams that you put onto your blog and as part of your newsletter, if you could just quickly share that story and then we’ll let you,  reshare your Contact information before we wrap things up, but if you would just share that wallet dream story. I think that’s one that kind of touches a nerve with some of the things that have been themes of, of our show over the course of the time that we’ve been doing the podcast. Just I think it does a really great job of showing [01:19:00] what coaching basketball should be all about and just share that story with us.

Pascal Meurs: [01:19:03]

Yes, absolutely.  I just called Spain already the best you’d program all over the world. And of course, because there’s great basketball knowledge, but also because there was a great basketball culture and tradition. And sometimes when we discuss it here in Europe, people very quickly, they say, yeah, but it’s Spain and they have a different culture.

And so on. Well, actually there’s, I have one that one story, and that’s a great example of how you can create and build such a tradition and culture as being a club without that as depressed a lot of money. Of course, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. It won’t be the magical solution well to, to create that same culture.

It’s not that easy either. But it’s one piece. And the story is, [01:20:00] it’s the club of Valencia in Spain where I was happy to, to spend half of a year where I could work.  excellent. What they do have in their main gym, they created a wall of dreams, and actually they, of course, they have a great facility and they did it in a very nice way.

So it also looks very great, but what they do is. Every kids, all that 12 that plates, let’s say at least it is three years for the youth program of that club. And if Ben one day, he makes it to the first team and he plays his first minutes on the court with the first team, they add officially the main of the player on that dream of walls.

If you go to Valencia and you go to that club and you go to the dream of walls, you see, every single year they have one or two players that made it through the dream of walls. And if you go to my homepage, you will see some very [01:21:00] nice pictures of the event because actually. Yeah. Event. It shows everything.

The adding the main most steps where DM on the wall of dreams, they made a complete happening about it. The whole gym was packed. They have all the youth kits of the team that were shaking hands, high fives as he was the new star of Valencia. They made the team picture with all the youth coaches that ever worked with GM during his youth program for the club.

I like those youth coaches in, in Spain, they’re the best in the world. They don’t earn a love of money by doing it. They just do it because they want to be part of Valencia basketball and they are so passionate about it. Why do they do it? What’s the return they get? It’s not the little money they get, but it’s right.

It’s being on the team picture. They have. They’re part of the success of BM and they [01:22:00] helped turning him into an ACB clearer at that. For me, that sums it all up. That’s the reason why each one of us is coaching basketball. It’s not about the money because then we took the wrong business. Dennis should have accepted that, that basketball, it’s, it’s about passion.

Then that’s three sums up exactly why we are coaches.

Mike Klinzing: [01:22:24] That is a fantastic story. It’s a fantastic way to end our episode together. I think you did a great job of. Of sharing that and sharing just again your why of what coaching basketball means to you and why it’s been so important to you in such an important part of your life.

Before I wrap things up, I want to give you one more opportunity share where people can go to find out more about you, share how they can reach out to you, how they can subscribe to your newsletter, and then once you share all that contact information, I’ll jump back in and wrap things up.

Pascal Meurs: [01:22:56] Yes. So,  since a couple of years, I have my own [01:23:00] coaching website and actually it is my full name.com.

So it is PascalMeurs.com. If you leave your email address there, I will every two weeks, I send out a free approaching newsletter.  With some great content. Sometimes it’s analytics, sometimes it’s a video breakdown. Sometimes it’s an amount of list analysis, or sometimes it’s a great story from Spain.

Okay. Yup. And actually also,  Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. And I share a video of breakdowns, so don’t hesitate to hit me up there. Also, if you have a question of something, of the podcast or something else, basically if you want to talk basketball, you can always find me online on social media and some hesitates.

So contact me. And also Mike, I want to thank you. We’re doing such a great job with your pup tests and also for having me, it has been a blast.  [01:24:00] surprise. The time flew by so fast, but we had a great talk and I do want to thank you sincerely for it.

Mike Klinzing: [01:24:07] Absolutely. The time always goes super fast. I tell people all the time, as we’re talking, I’ll frequently be in the middle of the conversation, and by the time I look up, we’re already at the one hour mark and it just, as you said, it goes very, very quickly. And I can’t thank you enough for taking time out of your schedule to spend some time with us. I would highly encourage everybody to go and subscribe to Pascal’s newsletter.

 he does a great job with that and we’ll link up all the things and contacts that he put. We’ll link those all up in the show notes. And again, Pascal can’t thank you enough for spending time with us this morning, this afternoon where you are there and Belgium and stay safe and healthy and to everyone out there.

Thanks for listening and we will catch you on our next episode.

Thanks.

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