Knight School: Improving Man Offense By Eliminating the Dribble

Watch as Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight reveals how you can improve your man-to-man offense by eliminating the dribble in practices. Incorporate this practice technique today and watch your squad improve its ability to pass, cut, screen, and play with confidence.

Drill Overview

According to Coach Knight, there’s nothing better for developing cutting, screening, and spacing than eliminating the dribble. For this drill, get your team in a 5-on-5 set-up. Have your offense start in a “high” offense to begin. In other words, get your post man down on the block but have everyone else above the foul line extended high.

Once the offense crosses midcourt, there will be no dribbling. Let’s see if we can get a basket on just passing and cutting. After all, that’s what the guts of our offense is.

Every day, you should work without the dribble. The dribble is effective when we want to change position and drive to the bucket. However, you don’t want the dribble used because your team doesn’t have anything else to do. Essentially, you want your team to be able to play offense against man-to-man defense with confidence that they don’t ever have to put the ball on the floor.

Also, if the defense makes a mistake, get that corrected. That’s just as important with our team as the offense. It could be a missed blockout, poor positioning, not setting up a cut, etc. Coaches should simply take the player out and talk about the mistake on the sideline to make sure he/she corrects it. Then the drill can continue seamlessly. This is also a great role for assistant coaches. Head coaches can’t see everything out there, and this strategy is key to getting mistakes corrected.


Man-to-Man Defense

When it comes to defense, the last line of resistance is the three-point line or top of the key. This is as far back as we can go with our defensive pickup. So how far out exactly do we want to go? Well, you can pick up from here to midcourt.

The deciding factor on where exactly to pick up is: How quick are we as opposed to how quick are they? If we are quicker, look to extend your pickup. However, the further you extend the pickup, the more you are opening yourself up to a lot of easy scores against you. Coach Knight is not a fan of full-court pickup, especially if you don’t have the same quickness that the offense has.

For this drill, the defense will play straight man-to-man defense with no switching. When the ball handler crosses midcourt, there should be no more dribbling. From here, it’s the rest of the team’s job to get open, screen, cut, and maintain balance.

Live Simulations

Follow the 5-on-5 action as Coach Knight provides insights and strategies for each simulation. Remember, it’s critical on offense to get good screens and have players cutting to the bucket and cutting to the ball. See what’s there and then react.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Bob Knight: Practice Planning and Drills for Mental Toughness.” To check out more videos focusing on practice planning and organization, visit our DVD library


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