In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you back to Lawrence, Kansas for an exclusive look at a Kansas men’s basketball practice. Head coach Bill Self leads his squad through a variety of passing and fast break drills during one of the first practices of the 2009-10 season.
First, the team runs through the Pioneer Drill, a fast-paced passing drill, before moving into 2-on-1 Passing. The Jayhawks eventually get into some transition drills like the 4-Man Break and then finish up with the classic Shell Drill.
This is a quick passing drill set within the confines of the paint. There are five lines of players and one minute set on the clock. Players must keep the ball up and in the air, never letting it hit the ground. They can keep the ball up by slight jumps and meeting the ball in the air. Players must count out loud on each pass and move to the end of the line once they have made the pass. This continuous passing drill gets faster and faster until the minute on the clock is up.
This is a keep away-style drill where it’s just two offensive players going against one defender. The offensive players are stationary and must use proper footwork and pass fakes to pass around the defender and across the lane to a teammate. Meanwhile, defenders must work on their defensive positioning, hands, footwork, and getting down nice and low to defend the pass. The passer moves on to become the defender.
A coach initiates the drill by shooting and missing. The players fight for the rebound before transitioning up the court on a 4-man break. Each player touches the ball on the way up the floor. Players mix it up when it comes to shots, from layups to elbow jumpers to lobs down low. The key here is for players to push the ball up the floor fast and finish on the other end. Each group goes up and back.
One at a time, a team of five goes up against a dummy defense for three reps. It starts with a rebound off a miss and a battle amongst teammates for the rebound. Once it’s settled, they immediately push the ball up the floor.
This first time up the floor, players can score anyway they want. After they push it back up the other way, they must step back and set up a quick offensive play against a dummy defense. The particular play here is called Stagger, where a shooter will come off a screen and hit a quick shot at the elbow. Now on the third time down the floor, the unit must attack the elbow, reverse it, and then throw it inside.
Even the top college basketball programs in the country practice this classic drill. It’s 4-on-4 drill that starts with ball movement around the perimeter. When the coach shoots the ball, each player must block off and attack the glass.
Meanwhile, the defense changes its positioning based on passes. After 10-15 seconds of passes, there’s a shot by the coach and everyone crashes the boards. This is where the drill gets physical. The defense finds the nearest player and blocks out. The offense crashes the boards and looks for the offensive rebound.
The Shell Drill is a practical, useful drill that’s been used for decades across all levels. Elements of passing, sound defense, rebounding, and boxing out are all covered here — all within a game-like atmosphere.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Kansas Basketball Practice with Bill Self.” Check out more all access videos by visiting our extensive basketball library.