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In the latest edition of All Access, we take you back to Storrs, Connecticut for an inside glimpse at a UConn men’s basketball practice. Follow along as former head coach Jim Calhoun leads his squad through a variety of team shooting and fast break drills.
The legendary basketball coach announced his retirement on September 13 after 40 seasons. Calhoun has racked up 873 wins and three national titles during his illustrious career. In 2005, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The team starts off by shooting 10 two-shot fouls against a partner and the winners move on. Players shoot two one-handed shots in the middle of lane, two one-handed shots at foul line, and then two foul shots with both hands. Coach Calhoun reminds players to get under the ball and use their legs. Players keep track of their makes. One-handers don’t count, but regular foul shots do.
For this full court fast break drill, offensive players will attack wide (in a 2-on-1 format) down the court while the big guy in the middle is trying to block shots and break up the play.
The team starts with three lines at the baseline. The bigs in the middle line start with the ball and throw it out in front. Meanwhile, the big man sprints down court and looks to stop the 2-on-1 break. One of the two offensive players will pick up the ball, pass ahead to his wing teammate, and look to finish. The bigs should look to defend and block shots.
This next drill starts with a coach shooting and missing. The defense then gets the rebound and sprints down court the opposite direction. Meanwhile, a team of two defenders is already set up and waiting for the offense. The simulation plays out from here. After the play ends, the two defenders now head down court and go up against one defender in 2-on-1 situation.
This final 2-on-2 drill focuses on boxing out and crashing the boards in a half-court setting. The coach begins by passing to one offensive player. This player will immediately shoot it. Next, defenders box out and look to get the rebound. The offensive players work on crashing the boards looking for the offensive rebound. Once you box out, you need to sprint to the ball and beat your man.
Follow along with Richmond head men’s basketball coach Chris Mooney as he breaks down three layup drills that reinforce typical cuts and movements within the Princeton Offense. After leading off with Pass and Cut Layups, Mooney finishes up with Dribble In Layups and Layups Down the Side.
Overview: For Coach Mooney, the Princeton Offense is geared toward players who are able to dribble, pass, shoot, play together, and move via cutting and not screening. There’s a huge emphasis on cuts within this offense.
Therefore, when we pass and cut within the offense, try to focus on the same thing: Pass and then turn the pass into a cut. When finishing, teach your players to shoot righty layups on left side and lefty layups on right side. We do this because we are closer to the rim. It gets the ball to the rim quicker (with your closer hand).
Drill Breakdown: For this drill, two players will work together at a time. The first player starts by passing cross-court to his teammate and then cuts hard toward the basket. He then quickly receives the ball back and goes in for the layup. Don’t slow down when going up for the layup. Go up as quickly as you can.
Tips: Try different layups every time, such as layups at the front of the rim, left, right, reverse layups, etc. Don’t slow down. Fly right on in there. Also, eventually switch sides of the court with the pass and cuts. It’s important to practice this because you never know what kind of layup will show up in the game.
For “Dribble In Layups”, start at half court. Make one hard move at the top of key and go in for a layup. Don’t slow down when going in for the layup. Go as fast as you can to practice shooting layups at top speed. After about three minutes, switch sides of the court.
Finally, with “Layups Down the Side”, look to catch the pass where hash mark is and then drive in from here and make a layup down the side. Emphasize one-foot layups. Also, make this simulation realistic like you must beat the defender. Go fast. After three minutes, switch to the left side.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Chris Mooney: Team & Individual Drills for the Princeton Offense.” To check out more videos highlighting the Princeton Offense and other offensive sets, simply visit our basketball library.
In this week’s Playbook Series, we highlight three highly-effective defensive drills that will give teams a ton of reps in a short period of time. Covering themes such as help-side defense, charging, and low post defense, these proven drills will pay major dividends for your squad this season.
By Len Garner, North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, GA
Easy to run and very efficient, the “3 Plus 1 Drill” improves your players’ knowledge of team defense and rotations and teaches them how to give and receive defensive help.
Set up three defensive players around the perimeter just inside the three-point arc. Place a fourth defender in the middle of the lane. Also, three offensive players are positioned outside the three-point arc and around the perimeter. These players are looking to move the ball side to side and penetrate with the goal of scoring.
Meanwhile, the defensive players must work on containment, help-side defense, and middle post player rotation. The player in the middle (X4) must communicate with his teammates and alert them of picks, slide-throughs, and more. Run a pre-determined number of offensive possessions or run the drill for a set time limit and then switch up the groups.
By Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA
Divide players into four pairs (with four offensive players and four defensive players). Next, a coach will call out a defensive command. The defensive commands are:
Shooter – The offensive player shows the ball as he/she would to shoot. The defender works on close out techniques and sliding to the shooter. The player with ball does not shoot.
Passer – A player must guard the offensive player while he/she waves the ball around looking to make a pass.
Charge – The offensive player dribbles at the defender and the defender takes the charge. To avoid injury, teach proper charge techniques before doing this drill.
Five-Second Count – The offensive player dribbles for a few steps and then picks up the ball. The defender closes hard and swarms him for five seconds, simulating a forced turnover. The defender must guard at game-like intensity and at full speed.
By Jason Graves, Ritenour HS, Saint Louis, MO
Take the same drill set-up as before but now place an offensive player in the low post. Tell your defenders to guard the player with the ball and then drop down and guard against a low post entry pass. Work the defensive technique into whatever your team is specifically working on. The offensive players should look to score.