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In this behind-the-scenes look, we visit Cincinnati, Ohio for a glimpse inside a recent Xavier University men’s basketball practice. Follow along as head coach Chris Mack leads his squad though a competitive team full-court transition drill called “War Rebounding.”
War Rebounding – Overview
For this drill, we’ll go 4 on 4. All four guys on offense must start beyond the three-point line. Meanwhile, all four defenders must be inside the lane with both feet.
To initiate the drill, the coach shoots the ball. If you’re an offensive rebounder, you can crash the boards. If you get the rebound, play it out at that basket. If the offensive team can convert quickly and easily, do it. Otherwise, set things up, get spacing, and look for a good shot.
However, if the shot goes up and the defense gets the rebound, they are allowed to push the ball down court. From here, play it out until there is a score, turnover, change of possession. If the (new) offense gets the offensive rebound and scores, stay right there.
Scoring: Keep track of scoring throughout for both teams. If you get an offensive rebound, it’s + 2. A three-pointer is + 3, a two-pointer is +2, and if you get fouled, it’s +1.
Overall Drill Goals: The entire goal for the defense is to not allow the offensive guy anywhere near the paint. If you’re an offensive rebounder, do what you have to do to get the offensive rebound.
Now watch as Xavier goes 4 on 4 at full speed. Notice that the team changes up the lineups after each down and back. Try to make your transitions as seamless as possible.
Coaching Tips: You must stay balanced to get the respect of the officials. Also, if you get the ball down low, especially after an offensive rebound, don’t put the ball back on the floor.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”All Access Xavier Basketball Practice with Chris Mack.” To check out the latest videos in our All-Access lineup, click here.
Learn four daily practice drills from one of college basketball’s top coaches. With Stanford women’s head coach Tara Vanderveer leading the way, you’ll pick up effective drills for boxing out, closing out, layups, and jab steps. Before each simulation goes live at full speed, Coach Vanderveer describes and demonstrates how the drill is run and how the team incorporates it into their offensive system.
Close-Out and Box Out Drills
Every practice, Stanford implements a series of partner drills: Passing, closing out, and boxing out. Also, the team will run through these before games as a helpful warmup. You can really get a feeling if repetition, doing things over and over in order to get better.
Close-Out Drill: Players work in pairs and start by standing apart and facing each other. One player will roll out the ball to the other player. The player now with the ball will look to dribble, drive, or shoot. The defender must close out effectively, getting a hand up in their face before getting into proper positioning to cover ground. Players must be aggressive in their first step and move the correct foot.
Box Out Drill: Like before, players will face each other, but now when the coach yells out “Shot”, the defensive players must also yell out “Shot.” After this, they will turn and a get a body on the offensive player and box out. The offensive players must make a move one way or the other to simulate going after their shot for the rebound.
Layups & Jab Sweeps
Layup Drills: This is something that Coach Vanderveer’s team does every day. The squad also tries to partner this series with their pick ‘n roll. Players will go at three baskets and get into groups of (at least) three.
The drill begins with simple layups, one player at a time. Start on the right and then switch to the left side. Players make a crossover dribble before going in for a layup. Next, the drill moves into reverse layups. Players should keep their eyes on the rim when going up to the basket. After this, the drill moves into jump shots from about 10-15 feet out. Look to use the glass to your advantage.
Jab Series: To begin, one at a time, players must work to get open. When they receive the ball, the must make an effective jab step before taking the ball to the rim aggressively. Be sure to use proper footwork and make a strong move.
Next, players move into a jab & cross, incorporating a crossover move and then an aggressive drive to the bucket. After this, it’s on to jab & shoot with no dribble. Essentially, it’s a jab step and then jump shot. Make sure you move to the opposite side of the court and do the same reps. Look to freeze the defender with that jab step every time.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Tara Vanderveer: 30 Practice Drills for Building Champions.” To check out more videos focusing on key practice drills, click here.
Watch as Ohio State head coach Nick Myers breaks down fundamental stickwork skills and drills that coaches can incorporate into practices to help their athletes become complete lacrosse players. Coach Myers starts by discussing some stick pocket basics before moving into the importance of triple threat positioning.
Stick Pocket Basics
When it comes to building a stick pocket for a lot of younger players, they are often building it with the wrong idea. The goal might be to get a harder shot or fancy fake. But when you are building your stick, you need to start with the basics: Throwing, catching, getting the ball in and out of your stick, and being able to build on that. Ultimately, becoming proficient in these areas will make you a better dodger, shooting, and feeder.
So what exactly makes a successful stick pocket? There should be a nice gradual progression. In other words, as you place your hand in your stick and roll it out, you don’t want your lower strings to be too tight. You want your top string to be the tightest and the bottom string to be the loosest. This is crucial towards getting you to be able to do all of the key fundamentals (dodge, shoot and feed).
When you put a ball into your stick for the first time, you should have a nice groove where the ball sits down in your pocket. You should also have a legal stick that enables the ball to settle in nicely for a two-handed cradle and a one-handed cradle.
Catching & Throwing Tips
When catching and throwing with your stick, it’s critical to avoid wasted motion. This is when your stick is down at the hip and when every catch and throw looks completely different. Instead, you want to build consistency with your catching and throwing.
Look to implement a skill cue called “11 to 1 Passing”. If you were a clock, you’d want to go from 11 to 1 with your stick. Therefore, shorten your release and get off a quicker and snappier pass.
Another key is getting into your triple threat positioning. This is when you catch the ball and you’re in a position to dodge, shoot, or feed. As you catch the ball, the stick should be going back towards the 11 o’ clock position and then snapping it out to the 1 o’ clock position. Even if you get a bad pass, you still want to bring the stick to 11 o’ clock. When following through, crack your top wrist right at your target, and that top hand will force the ball to really snap out of your stick.
When throwing back and forth, focus on catching the ball deep back by the ear. As the ball comes to you, receive it back by the ear and right into your 11 o’ clock position. You can even pretend the ball is an egg, and if you have soft hands, the egg will not break.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Explosive Skills & Drills for Offensive Lacrosse” featuring Nick Myers. You can check out dozens of other shooting videos by visiting our extensive lacrosse library.
Follow along with Johns Hopkins offensive coordinator Bobby Benson as he reveals three effective individual lacrosse drills focusing on shooting on the run. Coach Benson will first walk through each drill before having his team run through live simulations at game speed.
On the Move
This drill is a great way to practice shooting on the run while getting in some conditioning. Start with a pile of balls up top and have just one player go at a time. To begin, have the player dodge down one alley and shoot and then dodge down the other alley and shoot. If you’re on a football field, stay inside the football hash marks when sprinting and shooting the ball. If you don’t or have trouble getting your hips to the goal, you can always put cones down to run within.
The player should start each rep by splitting to the right before shooting the ball. After the shot, he/she should come back to the top and get the next ball. From here, the player will go down the left side alley, shoot it, come back, and then go to the right side. Go for 60 or 90 seconds for each player and look to implement this at least a few times a week in practice.
Shooting with Two Players
Now let’s add two people to the drill to really increase the speed. This time, we will have one player go down the left side as the opposite player goes down the right side. Players go alternate back and forth for the duration of the drill. Meanwhile, it really forces players to pick up their speed of play and to get off hard shots on goal. Remember: This drill does you no good if you don’t practice it at full speed!
Up the Hash
Finally, here’s another great individual drill that simulates coming around the goal from behind. It also simulates those situations when a base defender comes sliding up the field in any kind of adjacent slide package.
A coach will stand with a pile of balls up at the top of the box. One at a time, players will sprint toward the coach from behind the goal (start at GLE on one side of the net). As the sprint toward the coach, they will catch a pass, turn the corner, and then finish the ball going towards the front of the cage. Coaches: Remind your players to catch it first, then turn the corner and get off an accurate shot. Also, it’s critical to practice this on both the right and left sides.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “35 Championship Shooting Drills for Lacrosse” with Bobby Benson. To check out more shooting-oriented videos, head over to our lacrosse library.
In the latest edition of All Access, we head south to sunny Florida for a practice session with Montverde Academy head coach Kevin Boyle. Follow along as the former Naismith National Coach of the Year leads his squad through a variety of breakdown drills focused on man-to-man defense.
Zigzags & Catch up
Last month, we watched UConn women’s head coach Geno Auriemma take his team through a similar zigzag drill. This time, Coach Boyle puts a little wrinkle on the drill as players go with no basketball.
In this example, players must work on getting their head on the ball so they can turn the ball handler. It’s imperative that defenders get in front of the offensive player. It’s really the key to slowing down a team’s fast break.
So why no ball? Well, according to Coach Boyle, you find out that at this level, most players don’t handle the ball well enough yet to make this drill valuable for the defense.
Next, with “Catch Up”, the drill plays out similar to before, except this time defenders must run to a spot about three feet ahead and then beat the offensive guy to that spot.
Getting Under or Over the Screen
Next, get two players on each side of the full court to act as screeners. Defenders must be away of the screen coming their way and get either under or over it. Be sure to make this game speed. Don’t just go through the motions. As for the offensive player, really try to run the defender into the screen. This is good practice for realistic situations in games.
Tracing a Dead Ball
Finally, get two lines set up. Players will go 1-on-1. The offensive player will dribble and then get stuck somewhere on the court. The defender must play up their face and tough defense. The offensive player works on being strong with the ball.
Next, make the drill 2-on-2 and have the new defender deny a second offensive player. The dribbler will run into trouble on the fast break while his teammate works to get open. The deny defender will do everything he can to prevent the pass from happening. Offensive players should look to go backdoor in these situations.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”All Access Basketball Practice with Kevin Boyle.” To browse more videos in our extensive All Access lineup, simply head over to our basketball library.