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Redbank Valley installing up-tempo style

| Monday, Nov. 21, 2011

Almost above all else, first-year Redbank Valley girls basketball coach Robin Martin will ask her Bulldogs to play fast this season.

Martin, 28, enjoys the X's and O's of basketball and is eager to teach her team the secrets to speed-based schemes.

"I'm not going to reveal my offense because I don't want everybody in the (Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference) to know it, but it's going to be different than what (the girls) are used to," said Martin, who filled the void left by Tom McClaine, who stepped down during the offseason. "We're going to be pushing the ball, fast-breaking.

"Our defense is going to be high-pressure, a lot of pressing, a lot of full-court. We're going to change our defenses frequently; we're not going to strictly play man-to-man the whole time."

Martin's passion for up-tempo basketball started when she played at Quakertown High School in Eastern Pennsylvania and when spent two seasons at Division III Wesley College in Delaware.

"When I played in high school, we were a fast-breaking team," Martin said. "And when I got to college, it was even faster because the game itself is faster at that level. ... I've never not played that way."

Martin, a family services case worker, first became involved with high school sports when she accepted an assistant job with the Grove City girls soccer team five seasons ago. That experience opened her eyes to the joys of coaching.

"Even though soccer is a different sport, when I was an assistant coach, I learned fairly quickly that I was comfortable coaching," she said. "I knew I wanted to be a head coach. It was just kind of getting the opportunity to get my foot in the door."

Two years ago, Allegheny-Clarion Valley gave her an opportunity to work as an assistant with the girls basketball team. Her stint with the Falcons was short -- she coached just one season -- but beneficial.

"When I had that opportunity, I absolutely loved it," Martin said. "I only coached one season at A-C Valley, and I just missed it, so I had been looking to get back into coaching basketball.

"I think you're more involved with coaching basketball. It gives you a chance to interact more during the game. Obviously, in soccer, you only have halftime to make an adjustment. With basketball, you have timeouts and quarters and halftime, so you have a lot more interaction and can be more involved."

Martin started working with Redbank Valley soon after her early-August hiring. Ed Wasilowski signed on as an assistant. Together, they ran optional offseason workouts at least once a week up until official practices began Friday.

Under McClain, the Bulldogs ran a full-court, man-to-man defensive scheme and multiple offenses. Martin set out with a different agenda: Install one offense and multiple defenses, a few of which will be zone-based.

"I want to keep the game fun for them," Martin said. "But I also want to change how basketball is being played and step it up a little bit and kind of introduce some different things, to not always just sit back and play man and be comfortable."

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