Essential Tips and Drills for Developing the Complete Basketball Player

In this week’s player development feature, De La Salle (CA) HS head coach Frank Allocco reveals his secrets to developing complete high school players and putting together a winning basketball program. Coach Allocco also breaks down a pair of basketball drills that are particularly effective at maximizing development time. The renowned basketball coach has now sent more than 50 players to the collegiate level. Look to apply these exclusive tips and drills with your players as you get ready for the upcoming season.

Developing Complete Players

For Coach Allocco, he credits his main success as a coach from studying the game, getting better at it, getting as much knowledge as possible to become a better coach, and learning new techniques to teach kids today.

In reaching the modern kid, it’s harder to motivate them. You have to stay on top of finding ways to keep them going. At De La Salle, the school doesn’t have great talent. Therefore, the school takes great pride in taking those kids and growing them. It’s astounding to see the differences from freshman year to senior year. The school has had more than 50 athletes play college hoops. That’s why they refer to their workouts as “The Farm.” That’s where the program grows players and gets them to being college level players by the time they are finished.

The most important things you can do to develop a great program:

  1. Create great habits. Do everything perfect and the right way.
  2. Keep your workouts simple. Emphasize technique and execution rather than dazzle them with things you know.
  3. Be a program of reptitions. You can’t get enough reps.
  4. Sell your team on no regrets. The season is a race of repetitions until March. How many reps can you get in from the start of year to the state championship?
  5. Be a program that makes kids better — as people and players.

According to Coach Allocco, the last two years, De La Salle has probably had the least amount of talent that they’ve ever had, yet most recently went to state title and regional title games. Simply, the kids were solid fundamentally on the offensive and defensive ends.

Remember, either you’re a program of players or a program of player development. De La Salle takes a lot of pride on focusing on player development and making kids better.

Two-Ball Dribbling

Player development drills are crucial in developing your high school players. What can you do to adapt these next drills to your style and ensure they work well within your offense?

Start with players standing just behind the three-point circle and holding two basketballs. Put their toes on the line with feet parallel. This two-ball drill is the best way to develop the weak hand. Start by pounding the dribble. Think about maintaining a good stance with your butt out and shoulders over the toes. Get into a good athletic stance.


Begin with shoulder length dribbles. Stress pounding the ball and think of your hand as a suction cup. Next, switch to the waist level and then bring things down to the ankles. Alternate high and low. Get away from your comfort zone and try to make mistakes. Move to the waist level and then down to the bottom. Finish by going one high & one low.

Next, bring your feet together and dribble on the side. Start low and go high and then alternate the dribble. Next up, spread your legs and take the ball and dribble with your left hand and take it around our right leg (making a figure eight). Switch hands. Then do a figure eight with both hands. Finally, dribble with one hand and do a half-spider with the other (where you dribble using the front and back of hand).


Big Man Drills

Try this drill in pairs with two kids and use all baskets in your gym. While one player is working on this big man dribble skills, the other player is doing the Mikan Drill. The Mikan Drill really helps develop your hands around the basket. Meanwhile, the other player is working on dribbling and ball handling to make himself better. He’s not just standing there and waiting.

With the Power Mikan, shoot the ball, grab it high in the air, and go up the other side. Reach up to the rim. Next, do five tips in a row and then tip the ball in. Go with your right and left hands.

Tips: The key here is getting a ton of reps in a two-hour time. Our concept is that we want to catch those teams with seven or eight college players. We can catch them through repetitions.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Frank Allocco: Developing the Complete High School Player.” To check out more videos focusing on player development concepts, click here

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