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In the latest edition of All Access, we return to Palo Alto, California for an exclusive look at a Stanford University women’s basketball practice. Head coach Tara VanDerveer leads her squad through a number of ball handling drills during one of the first practices of the 2010-11 campaign.
VanDerveer’s squad initially warms up with some basic ball handling exercises before getting into the half-court drill “Squeeze.” The team finishes up with Zigzags, a full-court drill that emphasizes key offensive and defensive techniques.
The Cardinal reached its fifth consecutive NCAA Final Four last year before falling to Baylor in the national semifinal.
The team’s ball handling warm-up begins with all players standing in a circle, each with a ball. There’s also one leader in the middle of the circle leading the drill.
Standing in place, players begin with basic ball movement exercises such as circles around the head, waist, and legs. Next, players start dribbling low before getting into pound dribbles. Additional dribbling drills include figure eights, back and forths, opposite hands, and around the legs.
Finally, players get with a partner and make “hot potato” passes. Utilizing a bounce pass, players use one hand to pass the ball quickly back and forth with a partner. The exercises get progressively harder as eventually players must make one dribble and then finish with a behind-the-back pass to their partner.
In “Squeeze”, ball handlers get into one line at half court. Also, two more offensive players set up in the paint area, one on the low block and the other on the wing. There will be one defender on each offensive player.
The goal is to deliver a squeeze pass to the post in a 3-on-3 format. In other words, have the point guard dribble up against pressure and deliver a pass to a flashing low block player around the free throw line area. Meanwhile, the wing player slips backdoor and then the flashing player hits them with a bounce pass for a layup.
Players can also work on different options as well, such as a fake pass to the backdoor and a handoff to the original point guard for a drive and shot. Also, right after the backdoor dish is made, have a coach or manager make a feed to the passer at the free throw line for a turnaround shot to finish the drill.
In “Zigzag”, players go two minutes on each side of the floor. In a 1-on-1 format, players will dribble down the length of the floor at 100 percent trying to beat the defense and score via layup. Keep in mind that defenders can only guard people as tight as they can keep them in front. Use the cones as a guide as you dribble down the floor. Do not give up a layup. Keep the offensive players in front of you. Make them use their weak hand. If you get a steal, it’s your ball.
In this week’s team concepts feature, we take offensive principles learned in previous zone features and put them all together to successfully attack the 2-1-2 defense. With his Duke men’s basketball team on hand to simulate key coaching points, coach Mike Krzyzewski emphasizes perimeter techniques, options for bigs, and much more.
Meanwhile, check out our previous articles featuring Coach K talking about how to beat zone defenses, including “Five Essential Principles for Attacking the Zone” and “Dynamic Drills to Beat Zone Defense: Box Drill and Bigs Shooting.”
The action begins 5-on-5, with the offense going against a 2-1-2 defense in a half-court setting. First, it’s key for perimeter players to remember to use pass fakes and misdirection against the zone. Don’t be predictable. Perimeter guys must be ready to shoot at all times as well.
Meanwhile, a shot against the zone is also like a pass inside, so when you take those shots, the opposite wing should crash the boards. The goal is that you want three guys on the boards against the zone.
Next, look to put in a restriction about shooting. The reason is that against a zone you often don’t pass into the post unless you think there’s a chance for a shot. Therefore, don’t take a shot unless the post player touches the ball. As a result, instead of the zone just going out, it had to go in and out. That creates more stress on the defense. That’s why you must hit the middle as well. The result: Pass to the post to move the zone and create opportunities.
Zone Tip: Work the zone to create overloads and then exploit the defense.
Next, put a man on the foul line and then look for angle penetration. Also, take advantage of a fourth perimeter guy and an overloaded defense.
Remember, every time we hit the post, something good happens, so look to hit the post as much as you can. Call for the ball so your teammates know that you are flashing.
The previous clips can all be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball – Attacking the Zone.” To check out more videos featuring zone principles, click here.
Follow along as Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo reveals three of his program’s top under-the-basket inbounds plays. The plays are designed to give teams many different options in tight situations. They can also be adjusted to go up against both man and zone defenses. Look to add these proven special situation plays to your playbook today!
The Set-up: Get your best shooter to take the ball out under the basket. Get your best screener to start on the ballside low block. Get your next best screener to set up on the opposite lowside block. Meanwhile, the remaining two players are stacked at the free throw line with the point guard in the back. It’s a triangle-like look. You can run this effectively against a man or zone defense.
The Action: Look to enter the ball to your big popping out to the side. Next, the first free throw line guy comes down and sets up a double screen with the opposite low block guy. The point guard pops out up top. The big can now pass to the point guard up top. Next, the big now comes down and sets a screen on the low block.
The Finish: The best shooter can now go either way. If the defense goes over the top on the big, he can step through to the ball and look for the ball down low. If the shooter goes around the double screen, the top screener can do the same thing and flash down low. If he goes off the double screen, you can also have the two screeners screen across for the big, who comes across underneath where you can hit him down low for a layup.
This is a terrific play when you want a three-pointer, especially with time winding down at the end of a quarter or half. Everything is basically the same as before except now we put our two bigs on the same side. In other words, put one big as the bottom player in the free throw line stack. This play is also ideal against man and zone defenses.
Next, the (down low) big pops out and gets the ball. Now the big in the stack pops out to the same side wing as the big with the ball. He passes to the point guard up top. Next, the two bigs screen the nearest players on that same side as the inbounder comes around and sets up beyond the three-point arc for a shot on the wing.
The Set-up: Set up two big men facing the sideline inbounder at just about the free throw line. Get another player behind them on the opposite wing. Also, get another player set up on the nearside low block.
The Action: Start by having the low block guy flash and receive the ball. The passer now sprints either over or under (he can go either way) the flasher with the ball. The two big guys at the free throw line make a double screen away for the wing player. Next there’s a pass to the wing player who curls around the screens and gets to the top of the key for a quick shot.
Note: You can screen a number of ways for that double screen (staggered, etc.). The first guy can also slip to the basket while the other one spaces out to the wing to give the ball handler two more options. This spacing really gives you some outside and inside options.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Tom Izzo’s Basketball Smorgasbord.” To check out more videos featuring out of bounds plays and other special situations, visit our basketball library.