Hubie Brown's 5 keys to victory

Hubie Brown has coached in the NBA, ABA, College and High School since 1959. Named NBA Coach of Year in 1977, CBS Coach of the Year in 1978 and NBA Coach of the year again in 2004.

Over the course of his career he has developed ideas and philosophies that have become some of the benchmark ideas in basketball coaching today. Over his 30+ years of experience Coach Brown cites 5 key areas that must your team must dominate to ensure success on the court.

1. Take care of the defensive boards

By taking care of the defensive rebounds it prevents the opposition extra shots at the basket and if drilled properly can be the trigger for your fastbreak attack.

Note: It is important to ensure that you and your staff are able to differentiate between pure numbers of rebounds and the percentages of rebounds. To say that a team was able to get 8 defensive rebounds may not sound a lot but if there were only 9 missed shots in that time the perspective of the situation changes.


2. Get more shots than the other team

  • To do this run a tough defence to force turnovers
  • Attack the opposition's basket after a shot to gain offensive rebounds for just the same reason as you want to control the defensive boards you should be getting your team to crash the offensive boards 

Note: The first point is self explanatory however, with the second point, to help enhance your team's attacking mentality scrimmage games during practice sessions can be modified to include a single point for every offensive rebound that a team is able to get.


3. Shooting free throws

If your team has a poor free throw percentage you will loose some games because of this.

Numbers: 9 out of 10 teams who take the most free throws win. The idea is that the more fouls that the other team commit the more likely it is that their main players get into foul trouble.

Therefore, when these players are benched it means the substitutes that replaced the players in foul trouble, are not at the same skill level. This means it will be easier for your players to guard the other team and more difficult for the opposition to prevent your players from scoring. Go to and check any team's results on the Box score section you'll find this fact in full effect. In those cases where this key area is contradicted you will probably find that the winning team dominated in some of the other key areas mentioned here.


4. Get your best shooters high percentage shots

90% of players shoot well from two areas on the floor. Of the all of the players Coach Brown had play for him had had 3 of the NBA or ABA's leading scorers at that time. Even those players could only shoot well from 2 out of the 3 areas on the court.

Coach Brown advises that you regularly chart all of your players and their ability to shoot from these areas. Once you know their abilities you know which areas to can get them the ball.


5. Fast breaks you must make 60% or more of your shots. 

When your team is in a fast break (not a secondary break) what percentage does it shoot?

If your team expects to win then they most convert on 60% of their shots. If they can't then it must be because:

  • The fastbreak is not taught properly
  • Players have poor shot selection
  • Too many turnovers either by bad passes or unable to handle the defensive pressure.

Note: If you want your team to be a fastbreak oriented team it is vital that you keep this statistic and even more importantly your team must be great on transition defence. Why? for two reasons:

  1. Turnovers are a natural part of the game and in fastbreak situations a team turning over the ball is often more vulnerable to counter attack than a half court team as players find it difficult to pick up their assignments and the players are often strung out across the floor.
  2. Having great transition defence ensures that your team can practice against the best defensive strategies to learn how to overcome them and finish with a basket.


In conclusion

The more of these key area's that your team dominates on then the higher the chances of a winning season. Personally when coaching a new team one of my first team talks will be on this subject. Throughout the season I will measure these key targets against results of games when doing video analysis.

During each game I will be constantly reminding the team about points 1 & 3, these will be key points that I touch at the end of each quarter and the information can be easily collected without requiring lots of people keeping stats. During the post game review of the video tape I will examine the fastbreak percentage, shots our team made versus the opposition and the rebounding.

As stated earlier its important to note that when looking at rebounding pay less attention to the actual number of rebounds the team collects but examine the percentage of rebounds the teams control.

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