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In this behind-the-scenes session, we visit Williamstown, Massachusetts for a Williams College men’s basketball practice. Watch as head coach Mike Maker leads his squad through a series of game-like ball handling and shooting drills, including “Fast Stop Fast” and “Alleys.” Take this opportunity to pick up some new offensive drills for your upcoming basketball practices this season.
Fast Stop Fast
According to Coach Maker, it’s critical to work on this opening drill in order to be a good ball handling team — especially since (at the time of filming) the team has three guards out of the lineup with injuries. The team picked up this drill from Chris Mooney at the University of Richmond.
For each player in the drill, the key is to change speeds in the backcourt, going fast, stopping, and then going fast again. Look to make a simple move when you crossover/slow down. Down the length of the court, players (one at a time) will make a series of three moves before making one final move against a coach waiting at the opposite foul line. After that final move, players will then take it in strong for a layup. The next player in line goes when the first player gets to half court.
Tip: Remember to land on two feet on the layups. Also, while waiting in line, work on your stationary ball handling. It can be a combination of anything really. Just keep active and working on your skills.
*Note early on that players are not going hard enough or fast enough through the drill. It’s essential that you go at game speed at all times. Meanwhile, don’t get yourself into trap areas (e.g. the sideline). Use your imagination and make this drill as game-like as possible.
Players start at the top of the key and will go one at a time. Players will dribble drive and make a strong move to the basket for a layup with a coach/defender in the paint initiating some contact. It’s a very realistic drill that simulates players driving to the hoop and making contact along the way. The series begins with straight line drives going to the right side of the rim.
Tip: Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, make sure players are not “banana-ing” when driving to the hoop.
Players should then switch to left-side layups now. Notice that they are using a dominant hand finish though. Coach Maker firmly believes in shooting layups with the dominant hand unless someone proves they are very proficient using their off hand. It may be a new concept, but it’s works well for the program and the players learn to adapt.
Finally, the series wraps up with drives from the wing area or slot. Players start on the left wing, drive into the lane, and then finish on the right side with a layup.
Tip: Coach Maker believes the three most important shots in basketball are the layup, free throw, and making 6 out of 10 baskets unguarded. Maker’s squad has adopted this philosophy. For the program, this third shot would be an open three-pointer.
By becoming proficient at help-side defense, your team will be well on its way towards playing dominant man-to-man defense. In this week’s team concepts feature, follow along with legendary basketball coach Bob Knight as he breaks down help-side defense in a half-court setting.
When it comes to help-side defense, it’s important to remember that there’s a line right up the middle of the floor that separates help-side and ball-side. For help-side defenders, you want to stay one step on your man’s side of the basket. Up top, players should be slightly open to the ball and with hands out in the passing lane and down. Meanwhile, in the post, play your man one step slightly open to the ball and one step on the man side of the bucket with the ball above the foul line extended.
When the ball is moved to from the top to a wing area (let’s say the left wing for this simulation), all players should be focused on the ball. Watch the clip below to see the players move now when the ball goes from ballside to helpside.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Bob Knight: Advanced Tactics & Techniques for Man to Man Defense.” To check out more videos featuring Coach Knight, click here.
Full-court pressure begins with tenacious 1-on-1 defense. Follow along as University of Georgia head women’s coach Andy Landers breaks down the first building block of his highly-effective full-court press. Coach Landers initially walks through a 1-on-1 pressure drill before players demonstrate at half-speed and game-speed.
Three Levels of Full-Court Pressure
According to Coach Landers, full-court pressure is all about putting pressure on the ball and creating space everywhere else. It features three levels: The backcourt (where we pick you up and start the press), the half-line area (called the “ready” area – where we play you different than say in the other area of the court), and then half-court defense.
1-on-1 Pressure Drill
This opening drill is something Coach Landers has always used with his teams during the first practices few of the season. Players will buddy up with someone with similar speed and size. Start by getting an offensive person with the ball and then a defensive person ready to guard that person.
Defensively, it’s essential that you keep your nose on the basketball up until mid-court. Also, keep in mind the sidelines of the court. You NEVER want to get beat down the lines. Far too often in a 1-on-1 situation defenders will open when the ball goes by and end up getting beat on the baseline or sideline. When pressing, you can’t afford for this to happen.
Offensively, take the ball all the way to the sideline. When there, the defender should get one foot inbounds and one foot out of bounds. In other words, play through the lines. From there, the defender can slide or turn and sprint, as long as they get their nose back on the basketball.
Coaching Point: It’s key to teach players to sprint until they get their nose out in front of the ball on a change of direction by the offense.
Drill at Half-Speed and Full-Speed
When building the foundation of a tremendous full-court pressure team, everything begins with how defenders approach 1-on-1 situations. Watch as players run through the 1-on-1 pressure drill at half-speed while focusing on keeping their nose on the ball and foot outside the lines. Eventually, players run through the drill at game-speed with commentary by Coach Landers.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Andy Landers: Building a Tenacious Full-Court Pressure Defense.” To check out more videos featuring pressure defense, click here.
In this week’s edition of All Access, we take a trip to Dallas, Texas for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at an SMU men’s basketball practice. Follow along as Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown leads his team through the ‘Iverson Drill’ before moving into various sideline out-of-bounds plays.
The Iverson Drill
In this individual shooting/scoring drill, players will start along the wing and then, one at a time, sprint hard across the top of the key and just beyond a cone set up on the floor. At this point, players will use proper footwork to turn and face the passer (at the top of the key) and then receive the pass. From here, players will crossover or rip it across, make a strong move at the basket, and then finish with a layup. After working both sides of the floor with layups, players will eventually get into a series of pull-up jumpers.
Coaching Points: Players must make a strong crossover. Put the ball down quick and make two bounces only before exploding to the rim. Get the weight on your pivot foot.
Sideline Out of Bounds into Offensive Sets
In this next segment, players work on various sideline out of bounds plays that transition right into the team’s offensive sets.
The blue team has possession. Player 3 takes it out of bounds. Player 1 is on the nearside low block while player 5 is on the near elbow. Player 4 is on the farside elbow and player 2 is in the farside corner.
Watch as Coach Brown ensures that the players know their roles in the set (even taking one player aside to go over specifics). Meanwhile, this particular out of bounds play involves backdoors, post ups, and many other options. Once the offense takes control of the ball in the half-court set, the unit goes into a “Fist” set play directly from there.
As far as the defense, all five players are in a three-quarters denial mode and staying on their man tough. Once the offense gets possession and runs through a first play, the action going 5-on-5 from there (whether a miss or make).
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Basketball Practice with Larry Brown.” To check out more All Access videos, including new releases from Scott Drew and Greg McDermott, click here.
In this week’s team concepts feature, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich reveals one of his all-time favorite defensive drills. Extremely competitive and fast-paced, this particular team drill helps establish defense as the foundation of your squad. Coach Popovich will first walk through the drill and hit on key coaching points before letting the players go full speed for multiple reps.
4-on-4-on-4 – How it Works
This is a competitive defensive drill that helps establish defense as your core. According to Coach Popovich, it’s also a drill that tells you how minutes will be determined. In other words, if you can’t play defense, you’re not going to play as much.
This half-court drill is more basketball oriented than other defensive drills, which is a big reason why Coach Popovich uses it so often with his own team. At the end of the day, you win by playing defense.
Start the drill off by eliminating pick & rolls and post ups. Now this is real basketball. You can pass and go through or pass and screen away. You can dribble all you want. You score by making stops. The first team to 7 stops is the winner.
As soon as the ball goes through the net or the play is over, the next team is ready and waiting at half court. The reward for the defense making a stop? Staying on DEFENSE. Meanwhile, the previous offense moves off the court and a new team comes on and attacks. If you score, your reward is to go on defense. There are no points rewarded for scoring. You only accumulate points for stopping. If the defense doesn’t get possession, it’s not a stop.
Drill at Full Speed
On the heels of walking through the drill, the three teams of four are now ready to play at full speed. Since we are eliminating pick & rolls and post ups, it’s crucial that players are moving well out on the basketball floor.
Coaching Points: The new defense must pick up the new offense instantly during transitions. There’s simply no room for a slow response. If you are slow reacting, you’re going to get burned. Also, be careful not to shoot too quickly or put up bad shots. You can get into a hole real quick and have agitated teammates at the same time.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Gregg Popovich: My Favorite Drills and the Motion Offense.” To check out more videos featuring defensive concepts, click here.