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Archives by Tag 'Bob Knight'

Bob Knight: 3 High-Intensity Drills Perfect for Opening Practices

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Follow along as Bob Knight leads you through three high-intensity drills that are ideal for opening practices with. Coach Knight has used these same drills throughout his esteemed coaching tenure. The drills work on ball handling, pair shooting, and passing fundamentals while under pressure. See if you can incorporate these effective drills from the Coach Knight playbook into your practices this season.

According to Coach Knight, it’s important to conduct drills and have practice organization that leads to your offensive and defensive play – peripheral things key to you being able to develop your team into a good team. With that said, it’s vital to start practice with exciting drills in which players are forced to pay attention to what’s going on. Here are three that do just that….

Ball Handling

Every player starts with a ball in place. When the coach is ready he yells “go” and the players start by dribbling up court and continuing until they hear a new direction. The directions may be anything from “change hands” to “go left” or “go right.” The key is for the players to pay attention to what they are doing out there. Start practice with the very basic fundamentals, such as keeping your head up, seeing where the floor is, and dribbling with both bands.

Next, have the players dribble with both hands, going up and back according to the coach’s instructions. You don’t need to do this very long, maybe 2-3 minutes. But the goal is to get the players thinking and working on the fundamentals.


Pair Shooting

Start with eight players. They will be working in pairs and each group has a ball. Start out above the foul line right on the edge of the key. According to Coach Knight, the more you can do that puts pressure on the kids in practice, the better you are going to do. Knight likes this drill as a daily shooting drill. It doesn’t necessarily have to go very long, either. It’s an effective, quick drill, and you can go about 3 or 4 reps with it.

When the coach yells to start, the shooter shoots and he rebounds his own shot. Then throw it back to your partner. Play to 10 and call out the numbers as you make the shots. The winner is the team that gets to 10 first. The drill should move quickly. Players should turn and pass back to the partner with authority. Get the entire team doing this drill, incorporating the main and side buckets of your gym.

The team that wins selects the next spot that they want to shoot from. The other teams must run a sprint.

Overall, it’s a drill that goes quickly and a good way to shoot the ball in practice. It’s an effective way to get the kids active and involved at the very beginning of practice.


Keep Away

This is a 2-on-1 drill basically carried out in place. It involves two offensive guys and one defender. The offensive players stay in place and use their footwork to pass around a defender. The defender goes back and forth between the two looking to intercept the pass. When the coach shouts out “Change”, players should rotate out.

Defensively, the goal here is to become quicker players. Look to get a hand on the ball and pick it off.

Keep the spacing between players at 12 feet. Don’t expand the spacing during the drill. Rotate through players and start again. Meanwhile, this is a great drill for practicing feeds into the post player. Remember, we are working on simulating game conditions, but making them tougher than in the game.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Knight: Essential Drills for Building a Championship Program.” To check out the entire Bob Knight catalog, click here.

Fundamentals of the Motion Offense: Proper Spacing & Cutting

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, June 29, 2011

For decades now, Bob Knight has been an influential figure in the development of the motion offense. Used at all levels of basketball, the motion offense utilizes frequent player movement and doesn’t follow a specific pattern. Rather, this offensive scheme is free-flowing and focuses on players making screens to get open. With Knight as your guide, learn about proper spacing and cutting within the offense, two crucial elements that are important to master in order for the offense to be effective.

Motion Offense Overview

The motion offense frequently uses reverse action, which is basically taking the ball back one way and then bringing it back another way. The offense also uses cuts that the defense will have a tough time playing and often forces the opponent to switch.

Meanwhile, the motion offense involves three key things: passing, cutting, and screening. As a coach, it’s important to teach your players how to get open, how to get their teammates open, and to also show them the possibilities as a screener and as a cutter.

Within the offense, we also use the screener a lot, including slip screens, where if a defensive player starts to help out on a cut, then the offensive player slips to the basket. This is an effective way to counter switching defenders. While the offense can be utilized against any zone or man defense, we’ll focus on man offense for this feature.

Proper Spacing

Spacing against the defense enables the offense to score points. When we talk about spacing, that means players should be 15 to 18 feet apart. It’s also important to remember that the baseline is as good of a defensive player as there is in the game.

Proper spacing also allows for the cutting and screening needed in order to get good shots off. Without this spacing, we’ll have too many guys too close to each other and playing in the same part of the floor. In other words, we won’t get anything out of it. The key is to maintain the 15-18 foot spacing, regardless of what the defense is doing.

Keep in mind that Coach Knight isn’t a big fan of having a post player way down low in the post. Rather, this player should go higher up in the lane.

Conversion (AKA Transition Play)

A good way to work on spacing is to implement a spacing conversion drill. This drill works on the transition area from defense to offense and setting up proper spacing on offense at the other end of the court.

Start out with all five of your players around the free throw line on the opposite end of the court. Then on “Go”, have the players sprint down the floor and get into position – all while maintaining proper spacing to get set up. Getting proper spacing in conversion is the first thing needed in order to set up the motion offense.


Post Position Tips

Post players shouldn’t be real deep in the paint. Instead, they should be in the middle of the lane. For instance, if a wing player gets the ball on the side and has the opportunity to drive baseline, but there’s a post guy down there clogging things up and he can’t go anywhere. But if the post guy is in the middle, then the wing guy can make a fake and then head down toward the baseline. Now he’s got a chance to get to the bucket or hit the post guy as he slides down the lane.

Also, if the post guy starts on the low block, gets the ball there and tries to go baseline, he’s practically under the hoop and has a harder shot. However, in the mid-post position with the ball and with a defender on his backside, the post guy can fake hard one way and then step back and head the opposite direction. He’s got options. It’s key to read the defensive man and use the pivot to your advantage.


Tips for Guards

Try to read the defensive man all the time. Remember, he can’t cover you in two different directions. Always pay attention to what the defensive guy is doing. This is an important part of cutting as well.

The drive to the basket is a result of good spacing. No matter where we are on the floor, we have to set up the defensive player. Meanwhile, seeing what’s available to the offensive player makes the offense go.


As we mentioned before, cutting is one of the most important ingredients in order to be effective against a man-to-man defense. When making a cut, you want to take your man one way and then you go the other way. If the defender is above you, then take him higher before cutting low (without a screen being involved). If the player is below you, then come down a bit before going up above him.


Stay tuned for future features covering the nuances of the motion offense and more tips from Coach Knight. The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Knight: The Complete Guide to the Motion Offense.” To see more offensive videos, check out our extensive basketball library by clicking here.

3 Helpful Coaching Tips from Basketball Legend Bob Knight

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Four-time National Coach of the Year Bob Knight is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time. Now in this week’s coaching feature of the week, get advice from Knight on three different coaching topics, including ways to set goals for your team, general philosophy regarding team drills, plus understanding team roles. Look to improve your own program by taking some concepts and wisdom from the three-time NCAA championship coach.

Setting Goals

Coach Knight has always tried to set goals for his players. Knight would use a grade card after every game that included the following criteria:


-Hold opponent to 65 points per game.

-Limit opponent to shooting 42% or less from the field.

-Have 12 more shots per game than opponent.

-Never give up 16 personal fouls in a game.


-Field goal percentage should be at 52% or higher.

-Free throw percentage should be at least 75%.

– Have 10 turnovers or fewer.

-Score first in each half.

-Get 58% of all rebounds.

Coach Knight determined that if his team hit everything on the scorecard, then it was impossible for them to lose. Meanwhile, after each game, he would run through each area and make assessments with the team and determine which areas needed work for the days ahead.

Individual Drills vs. Team Drills

When it comes to practice drills, Knight believes in the Pete Newell philosophy called the “Part-Whole Method” where you break practices down into parts and then put the whole thing together. For instance with offense, you had to work on passing, cutting, screening, driving, posting, driving with shot, faking and driving, three-point attempts, and so on. Knight’s teams tried to work on each area in different ways in practice, sometimes combining multiple areas together as well, liking cuts and screens. His teams built their whole from their parts, areas like help and recover, blocking out and pressuring passing lanes.


Understanding Team Roles

When it comes to understanding team roles, Knight believes that everyone on the team has different roles, yet collectively there are a few things the entire squad must follow.

For instance, the entire squad must play defense and everyone must block out. However, the shooters are going to shoot the ball. This area is not an equal opportunity proposition. If there are better shooters than everyone else, then the goal is to try and get the ball in their hands as much as possible. These players won’t screen as much as they cut, as they’ll look to get into positions where they can get open, turn and shoot.

Overall, you try to take the individual skills of the players and utilize them, and that especially comes into play during the season with match-ups and opponent strengths/weaknesses where you hope to gain an advantage.


The following clips can be found on the Championship Productions DVD “Knight School: Teaching Coaches How to Coach.” Look for more exclusive videos featuring Coach Knight in our extensive catalog.


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