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How To Break Basketball: The Grinnell System

Grinnell College, Iowa. Deep in the Cornfields of the Midwest. Since 1989 under the leadership of Coach Dave Arseneault, Grinnell have done there best to break Basketball.


How does it work?

‘The System’ as it has come to be known is a variation on another counter-intuitive playing style developed in the 1980s at Loyola Marymount Men’s College Basketball team. The ‘Run-and-Gun’ approach centred on a fast-tempo approach that involves shooting at the first available opportunity, which is usually a 3-pointer.

Dave Arseneault adapted the original concept when he arrived at Grinnell to take over the Basketball program. The team were terrible. Grinnell no longer offered Basketball scholarship and a lack of playing time for some players. Arseneault, wanted to turn the tide of negativity and adapted the ‘Run-and-Gun’ system to achieve this.

Arseneault’s plan at first was to just lift the negativity in the camp, he didn’t expect it become a winning formula. he adapted the approach to include the rotation of all five players every 30-60 seconds. This gave everyone playing time and kept energy levels up.

The six tenants to ‘The System’ are:

– The first shooting opportunity is the best shooting opportunity. This leads to A LOT of 3-pointer attempts.

– Same vein as the first tenant; take as many 3-pointers as possible

– It’s better to have an uncontested Lay-up from the opposition than a shot clock violation

– Double team the opposition player in possession, without fail.

– Every player bar the actual shooter must contest for an offensive rebound

– If an offensive rebound is won, it should be sent back for a 3-pointer attempt instead of a shorter 2-point attempt

Why do Basketball purists hate it?

The approach has caused some debate in Basketball. The nature of the System causes players to ‘unlearn’ what they know about Basketball strategies and it’s implementation is so methodical that baskets are essentially being ‘manufactured’ on an industrial scale.

Arseneault and the team don’t care though, they have numerous NCAA records and titles.



Sean Curtin, Pundit Arena



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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.