Late-game coaching starts in offseason

Updated: July 20, 2011, 4:06 PM ET
By Fran Fraschilla

Make as many late-game, pressure decisions during the non-pressurized time of the offseason as possible. That was my philosophy as a college basketball coach.

The idea that most college coaches have a magical clipboard and pen and draw up game-winning plays at the end of a game is wrong, although being able to think quickly, improvise and adjust on the fly to an opponent's strategy is important.

Instead, the art of being a successful decision-maker in the final minutes or seconds of a close game should start, for a coach and his staff, way before the arena lights come on. So when faced with the pressure of the final moments of a game, I wanted to rely on well-thought-out ideas that had been analyzed from every angle months before in the quiet of a coaches' meeting room.