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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.
In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you to Richmond, Virginia for an exclusive look at a University of Richmond men’s basketball practice. Watch as head coach Chris Mooney walks through several team warm-up drills for you and highlights overall strategies, general tips, goals, and player movements.
This behind-the-scenes glimpse comes from the first few days of practice during the 2009-2010 basketball season. Also, watch as the cameras go into the locker room where Mooney and his staff discuss practice plans and player adjustments for the opening days.
This warm-up is exactly how Richmond basketball starts practice every day — a series of fundamental drills that work on all player skills. The team begins with dribbling and five minutes is placed on the clock. Everyone gets a ball and dribbles as if they are a point guard, even if they are 6-9 forwards. Players imagine that a defender is on them and work on making good hard moves.
Coach Mooney and his staff really likes to vary speed and direction in all of their drills. The team emphasizes dribbling with the big guys because they’re out on the perimeter a lot in the offense. Dribbling shows up everywhere, even for post players, and it’s key that everyone is able to dribble.
The coaches also teach the players to dribble nice and high so the ball is in their hands for as long of a period as possible. The squad also talks about using the whole court; make a move and get somewhere. It’s not just beating a guy to a spot, but it’s also about using the whole court and setting up and making sure that the offensive players dictate what they’re going to do.
This warm-up usually sets the tone for practice. You get the chance to work on individual skills, but it also shows the kind of energy you will have during the course of practice.
Notice how quickly the team transitions between drills. There’s no gap. Next, the squad moves from the star drill to multi-option layups. According to Coach Mooney, it’s important to do many types of layups during practice — right handed, left handed, reverse, dunks, etc. The team focuses on not doing the same ones every time.
This first drill is a pass and cut drill. Players should be fast and make quick cuts to the basket. Notice how there are a lot of righty layups being shot on the left side, and reverse. Try and master every kind of layup there is – and do them as fast as possible.
Next, the Spiders move into dribble layups. Players catch the ball and imagine making a move in the open court. It should be a good hard move as players look to finish as close to the rim as possible. Be sure to finish in all kind of ways. Remember, in a game, you never know what kind of layups will be presented, so it’s better to master them all. Don’t slow down, fly in there. It’s key that you don’t have any misses.
Finally, the last set is a drive down the baseline for a layup. Players should lower the shoulder and look to hit all kinds of different layups from this angle.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Basketball Practice with Chris Mooney.” To check out more videos in our All Access lineup, head over to our basketball library.