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In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you back to Storrs, Connecticut for an exclusive look at a University of Connecticut women’s basketball practice. Watch as head coach Geno Auriemma walks through several team drills for you and details specific roles, player movements, overall strategies, and general tips.
This first layup drill starts with three lines on the baseline and the ball in the middle. Initially, there’s a full-speed dribble to the opposite foulline. Then, the players immediately turn around and come back and get a layup. The ball handler should push the ball out in front each time. Players should also keep their heads up. When coming back, the middle player hits a wing player for the layup in stride.
With fast breaks, the players focus on different 3-Man Weaves starting at half court. The drill — which incorporates layups, pull-up jumpers, and five-footers using the glass — serves as a terrific warm-up drill.
For this passing drill, two players at a time will get down in a defensive stance, both on opposite sides of the paint starting at the baseline. Each pair will stay in their defensive stance all the way down the floor while catching and passing continuously. Players should stay in their defensive stance the entire time until the end. Once the first team hits the foul line, the next group starts.
Next, the team moves to a popular shooting drill. Two players will work with each other at one basket. Players should get their own rebound and make good passes to their teammate. The first team to make 10 shots at five baskets wins. Players count their made shots out loud. Shots are taken from the foul line, elbows, and just inside the key.
Finally, in this particular ball handling session, UConn guards are working on dribbling down at one end of the floor. It’s a half-court drill where each player has a ball and goes up and back in a 1-on-0 situation. Players work on hesitation dribbling, stop and go’s, crossovers, and more — with both hands. Eventually, the guards move into drills against stationary defenders while incorporating layups.
Meanwhile, post players are on the other end of the floor working on low post positioning, entry passes, and moves in the paint with a defender on their back.
According to Auriemma, there’s only so much time during the middle of the season that you can devote to ball handling, but hopefully everything you do leads into it and incorporates it. The preseason and postseason are the optimal times to really work on your team ball handling.