In basketball, much attention is paid to the players, and rightfully so. But watching a good coaching duel develop can be like watching a work of art being created in front of you.
TheDribbleDrop has always appreciated all facets of the game and will be linking with a distinguished high school basketball coaches every week to discuss the ins and outs of the game and what happens in-between the lines.
This week, Newark Tech Girls basketball head coach Keith Jefferson discusses the importance of details in basketball, skill development, “trusting the process,” and more.
By Christian Mordi / @thedribbledrop on IG and Twitter
TheDribbleDrop: Coach for those who don’t know, tell us a little bit about your coaching background.
Coach Keith Jefferson: I have been coaching for 17 years total. I have coached numerous levels thus far. On the AAU circuit, I coached for the New Jersey Sparks. On the collegiate level, I coached at Kean University. Currently, I am coaching my 5th year at Newark Tech.
TheDribbleDrop: If you were use one word to describe your coaching style, what would it be and why?
Coach Jefferson: Detailed. I pride myself on making sure the details are right and everything is in place in regards to my team. I spend a lot of time watching film on my team and our opponents. I spend a lot of time on my players in regards to building their foundation and how to play the game the right way. I not only focus on the physical side of the game, but the mental.
TheDribbleDrop: Over the past couple of years you have built a highly successful program at Newark Tech. Please give us some insight into how you get your players to play at a high level.
Coach Jefferson: I make sure my players are building their skills all year long. Making sure they get the right skill development and playing AAU. When we get started for our season, we do a lot of conditioning. We also do work in the weight room and a lot of skill development drills.
We build the program from the ground up on all levels. It’s important that the younger players in the program understand what it takes to be a high level player on the varsity level. The older players know what it takes from playing at that speed and observation. We make sure that the younger players get caught up to speed and understand the expectations we have with our program.
TheDribbleDrop: Tell us a bit about the environment in practice and some things you highlight every day. Do you focus heavily on the plays once the official season starts or skill development?
Coach Jefferson: A little bit of both. We did a lot of skill development in the off-season but we still keep things going during the year. It’s important for your players to get better as the season progresses. It’s also important to make time for your sets and defensive game plan everyday. It’s important that the players know how you want to play and for them to be at the right spots on the floor at the right time.
At the end of the day your skills will only get you so far. I show them early how we do things.
TheDribbleDrop: Offensively, what is your ideal style of play? Do you prefer a free flowing, fast paced transition game, or a more detailed and structured offensive approach.
Coach Jefferson: We like to get up and down the floor. We look to advance the ball and make plays in space. We are fortunate enough to have quick guards and front court players that are agile. We try to use both to our advantage and it starts with pushing the ball.
TheDribbleDrop: What piece of advice would you give a new coach?
Coach Jefferson: I would tell them to focus on the process, not the outcome. That’s our mantra. It’s very important to coach in the moment. I had to learn that you cannot control things that are not happening at the moment. The energy you put into the process speaks a lot to your desired outcome.
TheDribbleDrop: How do you gauge success at Newark Tech?
Coach Jefferson: When I first came in at Newark Tech, I had a list of set goals. During the first year my goal was to be one of the best teams in the city. During my second year, my new goal was to be one of the top teams in the county. My third year, I was I’m focused on being one of the best teams in the state. My current goal is to have a nationally recognized programs. I think over the years we have done a good job of taking things one step at a time and achieving those goals. Everything starts with hard work.