In this week’s team development feature, legendary basketball coach Bob Knight leads you through three drills instrumental in building mental toughness. Coach Knight has used these same drills throughout his esteemed coaching tenure with great success.
The drills focus on ball handling, rebounding, and passing fundamentals – all while under pressure. After picking up each drill, look for ways to incorporate them into your practices this season.
This is a great drill to start off practice with and really get some energy going. While it’s primarily about dribbling the basketball, it also hones defensive footwork and positioning on the ball. Look for the defensive man to see if he can keep his head on the ball at all times without using his hands.
Start at one end of the floor and get into a 1-on-1 scenario. Have the defenders put their hands behind their backs and concentrate on footwork. Make sure that they get their butt down and head up. They key is to keep moving those feet and get quicker. Offensively, have players work with both hands. Once they make it to the other end of the floor, have them come right back.
Use this drill for 3-5 minutes in practice. This is one example of a drill that makes kids work and forces them to pay attention.
It’s important for kids to get after the basketball. Simply, we don’t want them to be afraid of mixing things up when going after a rebound. This is a terrific drill for reinforcing those principles.
Start off with three rebounders. The coach should put the ball up on the backboard and the kids will go after it. After a rebound, you either want a good shot or a pass back to the coach. Keep them going and see how hard they work over a two minute period. This drill is a great way to keep your players active and it forces them to get tough. As for the coaches, don’t call many fouls in the drill, either.
Players often forget important information from a time out to a play. There’s too much game slippage or time out slippage. Therefore, use this drill to force them to be active, quick, and remembering key information in pressure situations.
Use three balls for this drill. Players have three tasks when they have the ball: Pass, return, and hand off (and go to the inside). Using four lines (in a box formation), just keep going right around the square. When you catch the pass, you return the feed and move on. Start with one ball and then work in two more balls for three total at once. Make good passes and good catches and don’t forget to go inside. Also, call out the name of the teammate you are passing to.
Next, to develop a sense of teamwork (or a reliance on each other), if you mess up (let’s say you go to the outside), everyone must do 50 pushups. That’s a way for the coaches to get you to do what you are told to do.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Knight: Practice Planning and Drills for Mental Toughness.” To check out more drills in our Bob Knight catalog, click here.
In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you Williamstown, Massachusetts for a behind-the-scenes look at a Williams College men’s basketball practice. First, watch as head coach Mike Maker starts off practice with a motivating speech about the importance of being a good teammate. Eventually, the squad moves into high intensity warm-up drills, including “40 in 4″ and “Alley Shots.”
After recently wrapping up his fourth season as head men’s basketball coach at Williams, Maker has certainly made his presence felt at the Division III level. A longtime Div. I assistant for programs like West Virginia and Creighton, Maker has already led the program to a pair of Final Four appearances, earning NESCAC Coach of the Year honors in 2010. The Ephs finished 17-8 overall in 2011-12.
We begin practice inside the huddle as Coach Maker stresses the importance of being a good teammate. Says Maker, “It’s easy when everything is going your way. But it’s very difficult to be a good teammate when things don’t go your way. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s important to be supportive of your teammates. Put your team first and the program. Chemistry is everything.”
This is one of Williams’ most important shooting drills and a drill the team performs every day. It’s a combined drill where you must make 20 baskets in two minutes on each side of the floor. If the players don’t make 40 shots in four minutes, there’s a consequence for not hitting their number.
Encourage the players to be good teammates, so it’s not just a shooting drill, it’s also a conditioning drill. Have a rebounder at each basket and make sure they are constantly encouraging teammates and delivering effective passes at the same time.
Switch the shooter after one minute and change the shot depth during the drill. While some players will shoot three-pointers, others will shoot a longer two. The goal is to get warmed up and to create various game-like shots. If they don’t make their number, they have a sprint consequence. At Williams, the players get a lot of shooting in practices. According to Coach Maker, the program hangs its hat on this skill and it’s something they feel really needs to be developed.
Get everyone with a ball. Basically, there are two lines, one at each basket, and with one player behind the other. Players go one at a time and dribble the ball at the top of the key. Players go hard to the rim and absorb contact while knocking down the layup. Williams believes against denile defense to drive the ball and shoot layups. That’s the team’s first option against denile.
Tips: Make sure that players are going at full speed. Get into a lean position where your head is in front of your feet and the ball is in front of your head. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Throw the ball out in front of yourself when driving to the hoop.
Next, players work on the left hand dribble with a dominant hand finish. Move to the left side of the court and go hard at the rim while absorbing contact. Next, move to the left slot area. Start with a pivot and full rotation, then dribble hard into the lane, and finish on the right side with your dominant hand.
Note: Coach Maker believes in using the dominant pivot foot. If you are right-handed, your right foot is off the floor and your left foot is on the floor. He also firmly believes in dominant side layups, no matter what side of the rim you are on.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Williams Basketball Practice with Mike Maker.” To check out more videos in our All Access catalog, click here.
Add some exciting new elements to your playbook this season with these proven under-the-basket inbounds plays. The following sets — designed to counter and surprise any defensive scheme — will give your team a crucial edge during pressure situations. Be sure to read through each play description before watching them simulated live on the basketball court.
Submitted by Greg Siesel, Monroeville HS, Monroeville, OH
The Set-up: 3 inbounds the ball. 5 starts on the ballside low block. 4 starts on the weakside low block. 2 begins at the ballside elbow and 1 is in the near corner on the ballside (just beyond the three-point arc).
The Action: 5 sets a cross screen for 4, who breaks towards the ball and posts up on the ballside block. 1 sets a screen for 2, who breaks to the nearside corner behind the three-point arc. 3 passes to 2.
Next, 4 and 1 set a double screen across the lane for 5, who pops up near the top of the key on the ballside and 2 passes to 5. 3 ducks in behind 4’s screen on the ballside lane. 5 then passes to 3. 4 and 1 curl from their screens and roll towards the basket.
The Finish: 3 can take the shot or kick it out to 2 for an open jumper. 4 and 1 should box out for a rebound on any shot.
Submitted by Mike Burris, Olney Central College, Olney, IL
The Set-up: This play works well against a zone defense. 3 is the inbounder. 5 and 4 are on the low blocks with 5 being on the ballside. 1 and 2 are at the elbows, with 1 on the ballside.
The Action: 5 cuts to the ballside corner and 3 hits 5 with a pass. 1 slides across the foulline and sets a cross screen for 2, who cuts across and heads to the ballside wing area. 5 throws a quick pass to 2.
Next, 1 breaks down and sets a down screen on 3’s defender. 3 uses the screen and breaks to the top, hopefully bringing the bottom defender out to the top with him/her. 5 slides across the baseline and sets a cross screen for 1, who curls around the screen and fades into the ballside corner.
The Finish: 2 first looks to hit 3 for a three-pointer at the top of the key, and then looks to 5 slipping to the hoop after setting the screen. He/she can also hit 1 in the corner for a three-point shot.
Submitted by Jimmy Brown, former HC at Georgia Southern, Statesboro, GA
The Set-up: 1 is the inbounder. 2 is at the top of the key. 3 is on the ballside wing area. 4 and 5 are stacked just outside the ballside lane line, between the elbow and low block.
The Action: First, 3 cuts ahead of 2 and breaks for the basket. 4 and 5 set a double screen (towards the middle of the lane) for 2, who comes off the screen and receives the pass from 1 in the near corner for an open jumper. 1 looks for 3 first, and then 2.
The Finish: If 2 gets the ball but doesn’t have a clear shot, 4 and 5 roll towards the basket and set a double screen for 1, who breaks inbounds and heads for the top of the key. 2 quickly swings the ball to 1 for an open shot at the top of the key.
As a counter, line up the ball the same way as before. When the ball is handed to 1, 3 fakes going over top of the double screen and breaks back to the ballside wing. 2 fakes going over top of the screen and V-cuts back towards the basket. The second option remains the same.
As a second counter, from the same original alignment, 4 breaks to the opposite block and 5 breaks to the ballside block. 1 looks for either 4 or 5 down low. If the defense is used to 4 and 5 being screeners from this alignment, it may catch them off guard.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 70 Baseline and Under the Basket Inbounds Plays” produced by Winning Hoops. To check out more plays in the Winning Hoops collection, visit our basketball library.