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Archives by Tag 'Coaching Instruction'

All Access Kentucky Basketball: Press Attack and 3-Man Shooting

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Interested in seeing how a championship basketball program typically practices behind closed doors? In the latest edition of All Access, we take you back to Lexington, Kentucky for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a University of Kentucky men’s basketball practice.

Watch as head coach John Calipari walks through several team drills for you and reveals overall strategies, general tips, and specific player guidance. This particular session revolves around press attack schemes, three-man shooting drills, and 5-on-5 blockout simulations.

The exclusive look derives from the first few days of practice during the 2010-2011 basketball campaign.

Press Attack

Drive it up one side and then drive it up the other. The team works on their press attack against the coaching staff defense. Working on driving at defense, going the other way, playing to space. Don’t go through the motions. If you can do something in 2 dribbles, don’t do 3 dribbles. There’s chance for an error. Then the team is going “Hash.”


Three-Man Shooting

The following three-man shooting series involves three different sets: Pistol, Drop 5, and Drop Loop Kick it Back.

Pistol – This particular drill is used in a half-court setting. The action starts with one player driving down the center of the court from the half-court line. He then drives to the right side, hands off to a corner teammate, and then takes the ball into the lane and either makes a lob pass at the rim for his opposite teammate or a shot. Calipari reinforces to his players about getting in the lane and making the pass or having the option to shoot the ball coming out of the corner. Get in that lane!

Drop 5– Next, Drop 5 features a pass to the low block teammate and then a pass right back at the rim for the original passer. Then switch it up and hit the backdoor man who passes a lob pass at the rim for the opposite low block player.

Drop Loop and Kick it back – Here, the point guard dribbles down to the foul line area, stops, and passes to a teammate on the wing. The wing player moves up and the original PG replaces him and moves into the corner. He gets a pass back and then dumps it down low to the low block player for a strong move and layup.


5-on-5 Blockouts

In 5-on-5 blockouts, the action starts out with a shot and 5-on-5 battle for the rebound and block outs. There’s a quick transition the other way down the court and the two teams play things out from there. Says Calipari, still hammering home his point from earlier in the drill, “Get in the lane. I gotta find guys that can get inside the lane.”


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Kentucky Basketball Practice 2010-2011” with John Calipari. To check out more college teams in our All Access lineup, visit our basketball DVD library.

All Access DeMatha Basketball: Transition Defense & Half-Court Shooting Drills

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In the latest edition of All-Access, we take you back to Hyattsville, Maryland for an inside look at a DeMatha Catholic High School boys’ basketball practice. Follow along as head coach Mike Jones leads his team through a number of warm-ups and drills focusing on transition defense.

Hit the Floor

Five players at a time start out facing the baseline. On the coach’s whistle, all five players smack the floor to commence the drill and work on defensive slides all the way down the court. Once the players get down to the mid-court line, they sprint to the opposing baseline. Once at the other end, players close out toward the three-point line shouting, “Ball, Ball, Ball” before sprinting back to the baseline. As soon as each group has finished, the first group starts all over again and heads down the opposite end repeating the movements.


This is DeMatha’s take on the standard “Shell Drill.” The team divides into four white team players and four blue team players. The squad is simply working on perimeter ball movement, defensive adjustments, and overall technique. There is constant ball movement and defensive movement going on in this drill. The coach may yell out “Drive” or Shot” at any time and players must be ready to rebound and box out.


Transition Defense

The squad sets up a line of players at the midway point of the sideline. A coach has a ball in the paint. One at a time, players sprint toward the basket, receive a quick bounce pass, and then finish strong at the rim. That same player then immediately sprints down the court to get ready for defensive responsibilities in a transition setting.

Players finish the rep when they reach the opposite foulline, plant, turn forward (open up), get into a good defensive stance, and then slide toward the sideline and off the court.

After moving through a number of layup reps, there’s a switch to short seven-foot jumpers using the glass. Next, players work on lob plays and finishing up high and in tight. The coaches make some contact as well so players must finish in traffic and with defensive pressure.


Oklahoma Shooting

To wrap things up, DeMatha runs Oklahoma Shooting on both ends of the court at once. Down at each end, players form two lines total, one on each side of the sideline and around the top of the key extended. One player has a ball and passes to his opposite teammate, who is cutting hard to around the free-throw line area (the squad places a chair right in front of the line to mark the exact spot). Next, he catches the ball right on the side of the chair and shoots immediately.

The drill is simply catching the pass, taking two steps to the side, and then letting the shot go with a quick release. Be sure to work on your footwork, elevating, and knocking down your shots.

Next, move the chair towards the wing and have guys shoot off the elbow and in the corner. Use similar passing techniques and movements like before. Then switch the chair to opposite side of the court and continue shooting directly off the pass.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access DeMatha High School Basketball Practice.” To check out more videos in our exclusive All Access collection, simply head over to our basketball library.

Flex Offense Essentials: Basic Continuity and Counters to Net Easy Baskets

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Flex Offense has been a popular offensive system at the high school and college levels of basketball for many decades. By using efficient spacing, lots of flaring action, and flex screens, plus constant movement on the offensive end, the Flex can be extremely effective, especially if executed properly.

In this week’s team concepts feature, Elizabethtown men’s basketball coach Bob Schlosser reveals his twist on the Flex, which eliminates the downscreen to create some high-percentage shots. Follow along as Coach Schlosser runs through the basic continuity before getting into counter plays to net easy baskets.

Basic Continuity

We start things off with a 2-out and 3-in alignment and make five passes before shooting a layup while running the flex pattern.

Keys: Whenever catching the ball, get into triple threat position. When the cutter is coming off the flex screen, he must show his hands and set his man up. When the screener is setting the screen, he must step out a bit. Players must also ball fake and shot fake constantly. Also, but quick, but don’t hurry.

In Schlosser’s Flex Offense, the team doesn’t down screen. Instead, when a player up top catches the ball on the cross pass, the squad feels he has room to pull through before the flex cut comes or he can pass to the corner and make that jumper where it’s not clogged.



First, we’ll run a backdoor play to end the first counter. Without the down screen, we have opened up an entire side of the floor. If this post/low block player is denied, he can run backdoor.

Let’s take a look at the action involved to set this up. Initially, a pass is made from guard to guard up top, then there’s a flex cut by the opposite corner player along the baseline using a low block screen provided by the low block player. After setting the screen, the screener cuts up to the elbow and then cuts backdoor immediately. He can also step out and to the near corner, replacing the former corner player (who steps up top to receive the pass across). We can then get right back into our flex continuity from here.

Meanwhile, the option is also there for a pass off the elbow. When we pass off the elbow, look to stagger screen away. If we pass the ball to the corner, we are going to stagger screen and then get right back into our flex spots if we aren’t able to enter the ball into the post.



With “Go”, when the guard makes a pass across for the other guard, we have the options for a shot, pull through/rip through, or entry to the inside. We run the “Go” if a defender cheats on the cut as the pass is made. This frees up a player to catch the ball up top, hit an open jumper, or rip through if his man closes out.

Duck In

Finally, in “Duck In”, as the ball is passed from the top right to top left, the right side corner player sprints baseline, comes off a low block screen from his low block teammate, then cuts right off the shoulder of his low block screener and sprints to the opposite low block and faces the ball looking for the pass.

Meanwhile, after setting the screen, the screener ducks into the paint, with both hands reaching out, looking for the pass down low and a quick layup. This can be beneficial if the defense switches. The low block screener can now receive an inside pass off the duck in and layup. It’s key that guys here read the defense in switching or non-switching situations.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Comprehensive Guide to the Flex Offense” featuring Bob Schlosser. To check out more videos featuring offensive systems, simply head over to our basketball library.

The House Offense: Essential Strategies and Drills for a Potent Attack

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Legendary women’s lacrosse coach Cindy Timchal has produced eight national titles and more than 400 career wins during her illustrious career. So what’s been a major key to her success over the years? The current Navy head coach credits the “House Offense” for producing some potent attacks and getting the most out of players.

Through whiteboard diagrams and on-field demonstrations, Timchal breaks down some of the core elements of the offense before showcasing key drills that support this offensive approach. Look to incorporate this highly effective offense with your squad and take away a few competitive practice drills as well.

The House Offense: A Brief Overview

It’s key to be organized on the offensive end. This takes some time at practice and there’s a number of drills to help break this down. Basically, this is a 7-on-7 offense or “House” because it’s in the shape of a house, with a box in front, a player behind, and players working inside. A major goal here is to establish great balance.

Meanwhile, stickwork skills are extremely valuable. Players should keep their sticks close to the body, tuck them in, and work on snapping moves in order to get more effective with their scoring abilities. It’s also key that they are constantly working in tight quarters and under great defensive pressure, just like in a game situation.

Spacing is also very important with this offense. Players can’t be too tight. This allows the defense to mark them more effectively. Too often the offense is spread out, making the passing lanes too far away. Proper spacing is critical to success here. Depending on the defense, the set-up is going to line up between the eight-meter and 12-meter lines.


Offensive Breakdown & Player Roles

The House Offense allows coaches to put players in positions to excel and utilize their strengths and role-playing abilities. If you have a lot of great players on your squad, you can really mix it up in order for them to respond.

Also, always challenge the defense by attacking both sides of the cage. If you bring the ball down the right side, you should also want to be able to get it behind and to the opposite side, as well. This puts the pressure on the defense and forces them to play on both sides of the field. At the same time, it helps you find openings all over the field, hopefully leading to easy goals.

Start with two dodgers at the top and just inside the 12-meter line. They are looking to go hard at the net and dodge. Drive aggressively and find that angle to the cage. A lot of teams will crash and double right away as a dodger goes to the net. If this happens, look to get the ball behind. This behind-the-net player (let’s call them A3) will really want to take off strong and attack the other side of the cage.

All the while, two post players on the inside (A5 and A6) can post up for each other, go with the left hand or the right hand, among many other options. These players can also come off picks and look for the feed inside from teammates behind or down the alley.

If A3 curls around the left side, A4 (the player on the top left side of the offense) can look for the backdoor. Players can also reposition from here as well. A key here is for players to demonstrate patience and poise instead of being hurried, rushed, and forcing passes.

Look to work in triangle formations as well. This way, there is always support on both the right and left sides of the field. Players can also work in triangles together up top and down low.


Key Drills for the House Offense

Driving Practice

Begin with a three-on-three formation. Start with two offensive players up top and one behind the cage. The first player will look to drive and force the double team. Eventually, the ball gets behind and then back up top on the opposite side. Now this up-top offensive player looks to drive. If she gets doubled, the ball goes back behind again. And the drill continues like this. Work quickly and make constant movement. Players with possession should always be moving aggressively.

1 vs. 1 Four Corners

Get four corners of players set up in a one-one-one format. Two offensive players will be behind the goal and two others start out up top. The goal here is to develop one-on-one moves. Start the ball behind the cage and look for the first player to go one-on-one to the cage and get a shot off. Then move to the top and have the next offensive player drive to the net. Keep moving around the horn until all players have taken reps. Look to work on inside moves in tight and get off quality shots.

Box Drill

Finally, this effective box drill is a 4-on-3 drill that works on offensive ball movement and defensive rotations.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “How to Run the House Offense” with Cindy Timchal. Check out more videos featuring effective lacrosse systems at our video library.

Shutdown Defense: Key Techniques for Effective Individual Play

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In this week’s player development feature, we’ll focus on individual defensive technique, a crucial area that defenders must be proficient at in order to stop the opposition. Duke assistant coach Chris Gabrielli breaks down key defensive concepts like trailing, angles, and footwork before revealing a key defensive drill to help your defenders take that next step.

The Complete Defender: Individual Technique

A complete defender has terrific individual technique on the ball. You must be able to deter an opponent and stop them from accomplishing what they are trying to do, all while playing within your own team system. The better we can defend the ball, the easier it will be for our off-ball teammates and goalie. Focus on being aware on the field, take a great approach, and put yourself in a good spot to be successful.


Trailing is a term used to describe areas where the ball carrier is going that aren’t threatening to us. For instance, if he’s running toward X, this isn’t threatening to us and we have accomplished something. So the goal is to trail our opponent and keep him over there.



Once a ball carrier decides he wants to become a threat and tries to get to an area that we may be vulnerable, we need to take a proper angle to deter him from getting to that spot. If we beat him to that spot, we then want to hold him. This is where it becomes a strength competition between two opponents. If you are in the proper spot and use the proper technique of holding, you should be in good shape.

We also believe there is a certain progression in defending one-on-one. It all begins with your feet. A good defenseman in our sport is similar to a basketball player. He wants to move his feet and get himself in front of that ball carrier. Our advantage is that we can foul and use our hands and stick to push and hold people.

Next, we emphasize the hands. If we get to the spot with our feet, we can put ourselves in a good position where our hands will be there. Now we can apply some pressure and get our hands on the ball carrier and push them around.

Finally, it’s key to use the stick effectively, sometimes a last resort to throw a check or get the stick in there and lift to force a turnover.

Behind the Cage

Behind the cage, the goal for the ball carrier is to get to 5 & 5, an area five yards off the pipe and five yards off the GLE. If he gets to this area of the field, he’s a threat. The offensive player could inside roll his man and get to the front of the cage easily, he can also step away and shoot, step away and feed, or come up with many other options in this area. Being an aware defender, we don’t want our man getting to that area of the field at all.

So how do we force a player out of this area? It starts with footwork. If the defender can beat his man to his spot with great footwork, he’s thinking of turning him back and not getting to 5 and 5, plus he’s putting himself in a great position to be successful through great footwork. The goal is to turn the defender at a 45-degree point behind the cage. If he doesn’t do that, and say cuts him at the GLE, by the time he stops the goal carrier’s momentum, very often the offensive player will still end up at 5 and 5.

Therefore, we want to beat our man topside by the time he gets to that 45-degree mark behind the net and apply our hands. Play with your feet first, and then with the hands. Do not lunge with the hands. Instead, bring your hands to the correct spot through proper footwork and team speed.

Behind the Cage Drill

For this drill, get the guys to drop the sticks, grab an 8-lb. med ball, and focus on moving their feet quickly, all while having their hands away from their body to apply hands and push opponents out. Once a ball carrier gets into your chest, you will get pushed back and moved around. Defensively, we want to do the pushing and move people around.

This drill gets players to squat with their hands away from the body and moving the feet. Simply, we set out two cones at the 45-degree marks behind the cage. Defenders one at a time go back and forth between the cones moving their feet quickly and holding out the med balls with proper technique. Pretend you are cutting angles as if going against an offensive player.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Defender.” To check out more defensive oriented videos, head over to our lacrosse library.


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