The Coach's Notebook is proud to review

Steps to Success

by Hal Wissel
220 pages | ISBN: 0-7360-5500-2


It took me a long time to read this book.  Was it boring? No, no at all ... its just there is a lot of information packed into its 220 pages. Its full of the kind of details coaches like to pore over, think about and jot down notes for the coming season. At least, that's what I did. And therein lies the irony. Coach Wissel didn't write this book for coaches. He wrote it for players. Which makes it great for coaches to read. Why is that? Please let me explain!

Hal Wissel has a stellar coaching resume. He is not only highly respected by NBA organizations, but he is also well-recognized for his shooting camps. He has the level of expertise where you just listen (or read) when you have opportunity and learn what you can.

So, in Basketball Steps to Success, Coach Wissel is teaching the player, not lecturing coaches. He carefully explains every skill in detail, provides proven drills to build these skills, and in a very helpful format, offers a self-help critique on what may go wrong  when players begin to develop these skills. There are even quick tests players can take after doing a drill to measure their progress. This is a great idea for kids with non-coaching parents who are willing to help their child learn basketball. The tests and the "mis-steps" Coach Wissel lists are two valuable tools that an observing parent can use to give helpful feedback to the player.

Coaches, there is no better way to learn to teach basketball than to watch a master do the job. With this book, you have a chance to see Coach Wissel help kids learn to play, to see how he explains the crucial fundamental skills. The explanations are nicely enhanced by some fine illustrations (credited to Roberto Sabas). That's why I recommend this book for coaches as well as players. You can use Coach Wissel's insights to get these points across to your own players.

I do have one regret ... where was this book when I was young? It is exactly the kind of resource I was hungry for at that time of my life.

There are no play diagrams for fancy offenses. In fact, the sections on team offense and defense are fairly brief. The intent is to introduce team skills to the player and provide a common sense understanding of what they are for and how the player is supposed to fit in. However, there are many, many diagrams for drills, for both individuals and teams, that can prepare players for any future offensive or defensive scheme.

The list price is $17.95 ($25.95 in Canada), but it is also available at this sampling of web storefronts. You can easily search through Yahoo and Google by the book title. $11.94 $12.21 $17.95

Hal Wissel

About the Author

Dr. Hal Wissel, Memphis Grizzlies Assistant Coach, is well known for his ability to develop the individual player. Coach Wissel founded Basketball World, an instructional venture featuring camps, clinics, books, and videos. Hal Wissel has been an NBA Assistant Coach/Scout with the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets and Dallas Mavericks. As a college head coach, Hal Wissel's teams compiled over 300 victories. Coach Wissel's Florida Southern

team won the 1981 Division II NCAA Championship, and he was named NABC Coach of the Year in 1980.

Note: The "About the Author" text is from the Basketball World website where Coach Wissel's well-known "Shoot It Better Mini Camps" are offered along with many other fine camps, products and services.

Review written by Steve Jordan, Coach's Notebook