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Follow along with Richmond head men’s basketball coach Chris Mooney as he breaks down three layup drills that reinforce typical cuts and movements within the Princeton Offense. After leading off with Pass and Cut Layups, Mooney finishes up with Dribble In Layups and Layups Down the Side.
Overview: For Coach Mooney, the Princeton Offense is geared toward players who are able to dribble, pass, shoot, play together, and move via cutting and not screening. There’s a huge emphasis on cuts within this offense.
Therefore, when we pass and cut within the offense, try to focus on the same thing: Pass and then turn the pass into a cut. When finishing, teach your players to shoot righty layups on left side and lefty layups on right side. We do this because we are closer to the rim. It gets the ball to the rim quicker (with your closer hand).
Drill Breakdown: For this drill, two players will work together at a time. The first player starts by passing cross-court to his teammate and then cuts hard toward the basket. He then quickly receives the ball back and goes in for the layup. Don’t slow down when going up for the layup. Go up as quickly as you can.
Tips: Try different layups every time, such as layups at the front of the rim, left, right, reverse layups, etc. Don’t slow down. Fly right on in there. Also, eventually switch sides of the court with the pass and cuts. It’s important to practice this because you never know what kind of layup will show up in the game.
For “Dribble In Layups”, start at half court. Make one hard move at the top of key and go in for a layup. Don’t slow down when going in for the layup. Go as fast as you can to practice shooting layups at top speed. After about three minutes, switch sides of the court.
Finally, with “Layups Down the Side”, look to catch the pass where hash mark is and then drive in from here and make a layup down the side. Emphasize one-foot layups. Also, make this simulation realistic like you must beat the defender. Go fast. After three minutes, switch to the left side.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Chris Mooney: Team & Individual Drills for the Princeton Offense.” To check out more videos highlighting the Princeton Offense and other offensive sets, simply visit our basketball library.
In this week’s Playbook Series, we highlight three highly-effective defensive drills that will give teams a ton of reps in a short period of time. Covering themes such as help-side defense, charging, and low post defense, these proven drills will pay major dividends for your squad this season.
By Len Garner, North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, GA
Easy to run and very efficient, the “3 Plus 1 Drill” improves your players’ knowledge of team defense and rotations and teaches them how to give and receive defensive help.
Set up three defensive players around the perimeter just inside the three-point arc. Place a fourth defender in the middle of the lane. Also, three offensive players are positioned outside the three-point arc and around the perimeter. These players are looking to move the ball side to side and penetrate with the goal of scoring.
Meanwhile, the defensive players must work on containment, help-side defense, and middle post player rotation. The player in the middle (X4) must communicate with his teammates and alert them of picks, slide-throughs, and more. Run a pre-determined number of offensive possessions or run the drill for a set time limit and then switch up the groups.
By Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA
Divide players into four pairs (with four offensive players and four defensive players). Next, a coach will call out a defensive command. The defensive commands are:
Shooter – The offensive player shows the ball as he/she would to shoot. The defender works on close out techniques and sliding to the shooter. The player with ball does not shoot.
Passer – A player must guard the offensive player while he/she waves the ball around looking to make a pass.
Charge – The offensive player dribbles at the defender and the defender takes the charge. To avoid injury, teach proper charge techniques before doing this drill.
Five-Second Count – The offensive player dribbles for a few steps and then picks up the ball. The defender closes hard and swarms him for five seconds, simulating a forced turnover. The defender must guard at game-like intensity and at full speed.
By Jason Graves, Ritenour HS, Saint Louis, MO
Take the same drill set-up as before but now place an offensive player in the low post. Tell your defenders to guard the player with the ball and then drop down and guard against a low post entry pass. Work the defensive technique into whatever your team is specifically working on. The offensive players should look to score.
Follow along as Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight breaks down seven different screening techniques in a 2-on-2 setting. The screening drills are also effective at teaching players how to read defenses and execute proper picks. Look for ways to incorporate these excellent drills into your practices this season.
Coach Knight begins this session by detailing one of his teaching philosophies: The Part-Method Manor of Teaching. Through this philosophy, teams work on the parts or certain skills and get the players to learn the parts of the offense, and then put it all together in the whole of the offense. The same goes with the defense.
For Coach Knight, he’d have a breakdown period with his teams where they’d work on parts of their offense and parts of their defense. For drills that involved individuals, he would run them for five minutes. When it involved the team, he’d go for 10 minutes.
Also, Coach Knight loves to get into something, work hard at it, get out of it, and move on to something else. Players have the tendency to get bored or lack focus if they are doing the same things over and over again. Plus, basketball is a game that changes quicker than any team sport that we have, so look to practice that way.
The following drills are a great example of how Coach Knight breaks down screening and later fits them into the overall offensive scheme.
Set-Up: Get into a 2-on-2 man situation, with the ball carrier at the top of the key. Get an assistant coach on the side. The ball will get passed to the coach. That passer now sets a down screen for his teammate. From here, you now have five options. Coaches won’t say a particular option. Instead, players must read the defense. Below are five options from this set-up.
1 – Make a down screen and have your teammate come over the top.
2 – Start with a screen up high and alter your screening position to try and get behind the picked player. Now your teammate makes a back cut off of that screen.
3 – Start in a bit tighter this time. Make your screen a little bit further down towards the paint. Have your teammate pop back off the pick.
4 – Come down and set your screen. This time your teammate comes underneath and the original screener now pops out.
5 – This is perhaps the most effective option. Set the screen. Your teammate comes up. Meanwhile, the screener slips to the basket.
Align one player on the wing and the other just outside the low block. Start by reversing the ball to the coach. Step out with a back screen and set up the cut. Read it and look to go.
Start with the ball on top and in the middle of the floor. Pass to your coach and then have your teammate make a flare screen. The coach can bring the ball to the cutter or the screener (who is coming off of pick and heading to the bucket).
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.
Northern Iowa head men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson is a big believer in constantly working on fundamental drills throughout the year. This 3-on-3 Defensive Shell Drill is one of Coach Jacobson’s favorite and most effective overall drills, a tool he uses every day to help build his team’s defense.
The Set-Up: Get a player guarding the ball. The other two defensive players are just off the opposite elbows and playing in a help position. Meanwhile, the two other offensive players are on the wings to begin. Start things off by passing the ball to the wing. Next, as the ball is moved to the wing, the guy at the point will set up just off that elbow. The opposite defender will set up just below that midline in the paint with his ballside foot slightly forward.
Start the drill with all three defenders inside the lane line and facing a coach with the ball under the basket. The coach will throw the ball out to any of the three offensive players. Make sure that players yell out BALL as they approach their opponent. Other players should get into their help positions. Next, make 4 or 5 passes and then rotate. Be sure to move fast between reps. Also, there should be no dribbling for the offense to start.
Angle of Approach: When the ball gets thrown from the top to the wing, it’s important to maintain a proper angle of approach to get to the basketball. In other words, we must get underneath the ball and approach head on. Therefore, players should first step down the floor. Now, they will be able to approach so they go head on with their weight back and both hands high and yelling “Ball.” The angle is something players must really work at. Also, don’t approach on the high side or else you can easily get beat baseline.
When it comes to guarding the dribble, the goal for the offense is to look to drive and get two feet in the paint with the basketball. As for wing players, their job is to beat defenders baseline or turn to the middle and get into the paint. If you do drive it, you must return to where you started and stay there. There should be no screening or moving.
Look to go 12 seconds and have the defense keep the ball out of the paint and guard the baseline. Rotate after the 12 seconds. The overall amount of seconds that the offense gets into the paint determines how many sprints the defense must do after the drill.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Ben Jacobson: Fundamental Drills for Basketball Practice.” To check out more basketball DVDs featuring drills for both offense and defense, head over to our basketball library.
With Rutgers head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice as your guide, pick up two helpful passing drills to prepare for zone defenses this season. The following drills can improve overall decision-making, passing technique, player confidence, and moving without the ball. Also, Coach Rice details an effective baseline out-of-bounds play designed to beat zone defenses under the basket.
Zone defenses rely heavily on trapping and double teams in order to be effective. This first passing drill will teach your offensive players to be strong with the ball and make accurate passes when double teamed.
Start with a ball handler up top. Have them dribble as hard as they can inside the arc. Meanwhile, two defenders will set up on the elbows and then close in for the double team. Now the offensive player has three options (three players to pass to), two on wings and one down low. This player must pass out of the double team without turning it over. Don’t let the defenders deflect the ball.
Drill Tips: Remember, players can ball fake, fake high throw low, and step through to get out of the trap. Remind them of all of their options. Be strong with the ball. Don’t pass until the coach tells you to.
Also, you can practice this in a 1-3-1 zone defense set up where the wing and top players meet to double the ball.
This is a terrific drill to run with your bigs. It’s great for improving footwork and making passing instinctive out there.
Start with an outside pivot. When players get the ball, have them pivot, and then pass to a teammate. Get players to chase the ball. Players will receive it right back, pivot properly, and then pass to another teammate. Repeat. Be sure that players are really moving around the lane. Start in the high post, move to mid-post, and flash.
Now go with an inside pivot. Have players look down the floor. Give a pass fake to practice this concept. Then pass opposite.
Coach Rice is a big fan of this baseline out of bounds, especially against a 2-3 zone. This play really teaches your players how to read the defense. It also gives you four or five options out of one set.
Get players 2 through 5 in a stack, but have the first two separated a little bit from the back two. Have all players lined up on the ballside laneline. The first player in the stack breaks hard to the ballside corner. The second player breaks to the opposite low block and screens that nearest defender. The back two players will now attack the middle man in the defense, creating a 2-on-1 scenario.
Have the unit play things out from here, read the defense, and find ways to create mismatches in order to get high-percentage looks at the basket.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Drills and Concepts for Zone Offense Attacks” with Mike Rice. To check out our entire catalog of DVDs focusing on zone concepts, click here.