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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you Williamstown, Massachusetts for a behind-the-scenes look at a Williams College men’s basketball practice. First, watch as head coach Mike Maker starts off practice with a motivating speech about the importance of being a good teammate. Eventually, the squad moves into high intensity warm-up drills, including “40 in 4” and “Alley Shots.”
After recently wrapping up his fourth season as head men’s basketball coach at Williams, Maker has certainly made his presence felt at the Division III level. A longtime Div. I assistant for programs like West Virginia and Creighton, Maker has already led the program to a pair of Final Four appearances, earning NESCAC Coach of the Year honors in 2010. The Ephs finished 17-8 overall in 2011-12.
We begin practice inside the huddle as Coach Maker stresses the importance of being a good teammate. Says Maker, “It’s easy when everything is going your way. But it’s very difficult to be a good teammate when things don’t go your way. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s important to be supportive of your teammates. Put your team first and the program. Chemistry is everything.”
This is one of Williams’ most important shooting drills and a drill the team performs every day. It’s a combined drill where you must make 20 baskets in two minutes on each side of the floor. If the players don’t make 40 shots in four minutes, there’s a consequence for not hitting their number.
Encourage the players to be good teammates, so it’s not just a shooting drill, it’s also a conditioning drill. Have a rebounder at each basket and make sure they are constantly encouraging teammates and delivering effective passes at the same time.
Switch the shooter after one minute and change the shot depth during the drill. While some players will shoot three-pointers, others will shoot a longer two. The goal is to get warmed up and to create various game-like shots. If they don’t make their number, they have a sprint consequence. At Williams, the players get a lot of shooting in practices. According to Coach Maker, the program hangs its hat on this skill and it’s something they feel really needs to be developed.
Get everyone with a ball. Basically, there are two lines, one at each basket, and with one player behind the other. Players go one at a time and dribble the ball at the top of the key. Players go hard to the rim and absorb contact while knocking down the layup. Williams believes against denile defense to drive the ball and shoot layups. That’s the team’s first option against denile.
Tips: Make sure that players are going at full speed. Get into a lean position where your head is in front of your feet and the ball is in front of your head. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Throw the ball out in front of yourself when driving to the hoop.
Next, players work on the left hand dribble with a dominant hand finish. Move to the left side of the court and go hard at the rim while absorbing contact. Next, move to the left slot area. Start with a pivot and full rotation, then dribble hard into the lane, and finish on the right side with your dominant hand.
Note: Coach Maker believes in using the dominant pivot foot. If you are right-handed, your right foot is off the floor and your left foot is on the floor. He also firmly believes in dominant side layups, no matter what side of the rim you are on.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Williams Basketball Practice with Mike Maker.” To check out more videos in our All Access catalog, click here.
The ensuing team transition drills are perfect for practicing typical transition game situations and promoting healthy competition during practice. Read through the details below and then watch the video clips to see exactly how each drill should be implemented out on the floor.
Submitted by Steve Pappas, Deerfield High School, Deerfield, IL
Intro: The Circle Break Drill is an effective all-purpose drill that incorporates all phases of the game. It can be run with restrictions, but is also ideal for building conditioning and team toughness.
The Set-up: Divide your team into four groups for this 3-on-3 transition drill. Make sure that each team is equipped with a different colored shirt. Team A starts on offense and attacks Team B. Both teams stay on the court until one team scores. The team that scores must get back on defense while another team waiting under the scoring basket inbounds the ball and attacks. If Team A scores, Team B will step off the floor. Team A will get back on defense and Team C steps onto the floor and begins offense.
The Finish: C1 gets the ball out of the net and bursts up the floor with a dribble or pass. When a team steps off the court, they must occupy positions under the basket and on the sideline and should be prepared to enter when the ball goes in their basket. Keep track of the score and play with a time limit. Fouls also result in points and the foul team steps off the floor.
Submitted by Bill Savarese, Murry Bergtraum High School, New York, NY
Intro: The object of the Recovery Drill is to get your players to improve their reaction time for getting back on defense and for quicker defensive recovery while in transition. It also incorporates fast break patterns, improves player decision-making abilities, and hones skills for boxing out, rebounding, and shooting.
Set-Up: Line up five offensive players along the baseline and five defensive players facing them and across the court at the foul line extended. Defensive players are numbered 5 through 1 and go from left to right on the court.
The Action: To begin, the coach yells out a defensive player’s number while rolling the ball out to an offensive player of his/her choosing. At the yell, the offensive player secures the ball and heads down court on a fast break. All defenders run back in defensive transition, except for the player whose number was called out by the coach (in this example, X 1). X 1 must run and touch the baseline before transitioning, giving the offense a momentary 5-on-4 break. X 1 must run back as fast as possible to help his teammates while the offense looks to score on transition.
The Finish: On the shot attempt, the defense secures the rebound and heads back into transition going the other way. Rotate in a new group of players (if you have 15 on the roster) and repeat the drill for a predetermined time limit. Be sure to mix up the players that touch the baseline.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “25 Aggressive Transition & Conditioning Drills” produced by Winning Hoops. To check out more drills in the Winning Hoops collection, simply visit our basketball library.
In this week’s team concepts feature, Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley reveals his favorite and most effective fast break and press break drills. The drills – used frequently by the St. Anthony’s (NJ) basketball program – can be adapted for any level of basketball and focus on recreating competitive, game-like fast break scenarios.
This continuous fast break drill starts with a simple full court 2-on-1 break. You can start things off the backboard or via free throw, but for today’s example, we start the 2-on-1 on the break.
It’s a one shot drill (unless there’s a steal or turnover). After the play is over, the two offensive players immediately go back on defense and now go up against three offensive players and it becomes a 3-on-2. We keep adding from here and it eventually builds up to a 5-on-5 drill.
After the 3-on-2, the three offensive players run back on defense and now two more guys join the previous two defenders to make it a 4-on-3. Next up, it’s 5-on-4, and then the drill comes back 5-on-5 to finish.
Consider doing this drill for two straight minutes at practice. For instance, the white team starts off and every time they score, put points up on the scoreboard. After two minutes, the blue team goes, and after four total minutes, you have a validation.
The 2-on-1 to 5-on-5 drill is a great way to get fast break reps in at the beginning of practice. It’s also a way to get in running that’s related to basketball.
This drill is a great way to prepare for the press. Offensively, start by getting two big guys at half court and on opposite ends and two guards at the elbows.
Note: We are not going to make the short pass against the diamond press because it’s too easy to trap. We want the first receiver to catch the ball near the three-point line so he has some room to operate. The inbounder can then trail behind the pass, the opposite half-court player can flash, and the opposite elbow guy can cut towards the ball.
From here, we play 7-on-5. Psychologically, we want to believe we can get shots off in a 7-on-5 format and eventually develop an attitude facing a press team.
“Flood” basically means regular press offense. When the inbounder yells Flood, the two elbow guys turn and run down the court deep. Both go wide and keep running deep. The point guard gets to half court and flashes back right into the middle of the floor. Meanwhile, the other deep player is on the fly and you may throw it over the top to him if it’s available.
Both bigs come charging up the floor and running hard on opposite sides toward the inbounder looking to receive the ball near the three-point line. Look to hit either one. Then the flashing guard comes into the picture and we can hit him in the middle. Hit him in the middle and then let him go from there. According to Coach Hurley, his team runs a Flood often at the end of games when the opposition applies the full-court pressure.
We run it with seven guys and it works well psychologically. The defense runs a 1-3-2-1 press, which takes a lot of passes away.
Know of another fast break drill that’s been particularly effective for your own team? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us all about it. Then stay tuned as we’ll feature it in an upcoming basketball newsletter.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Hurley’s Practice Planning & Program Development.” To check out more videos featuring Bob Hurley, head over to our basketball library.
Back in October and November, we ran through the basics of the Princeton Offense, highlighted a common formation called “Chin“, and then detailed the 5 Out formation. This week, with coach Lee DeForest as your guide, we’re going to build off of those previous concepts and focus on low post options and other keys to success. After putting all of these effective sets together, you’ll be equipped with many different plays in order to give your opponents fits all season long.
While Low is a high post offense, it’s dedicated towards getting the ball into the low post. That’s its strength. After you’ve made your initial cuts for a while (such as chest and chin), look to throw it to the forward (but no dribble weave) with a guard to forward pass on the same side as the pivot.
After the pass, the guard will cut through to the elbow under the rim and to the opposite weakside corner. You end up with the ball on the wing and will now try to post up as hard as you can and get the ball inside. If the ball doesn’t get inside, you can dribble up, the guard makes a backdoor cut, and he fills the dribbling forward’s spot. From there, the forward dribbles up to the slot area. The key with the offense is to flow from one set to the next without calling out a new set every time.
Note: You must pay attention and read the basketball. This tells you where to go and what to do. Eventually, you can get back into the Chin series.
First, you can make a good entry pass into the low post. As soon as that happens, look to dive the top guard down the middle of the floor.
Next, you can have the post player dribble up a bit towards the elbow and the high guard can go backdoor.
Meanwhile, if you have shooters, the passer can come up and screen the elbow and you can get a high post split. Also, the passer can screen in at the elbow and you can look for the top guard to come around to the wing for a shot. Another option is that after the screen, the forward can cut straight to the basket.
Finally, if the pivot is posting way up the lane, pass it in and make a Laker cut. With this, the forward cuts hard baseline looking for a return pass. If he doesn’t have a play, you can then just fill spots.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Winning with the Princeton Style Offense.” Check out more videos focusing on effective basketball offensive systems by visiting our extensive library.