Year in and year out, University of Kentucky head coach, John Calipari, recruits some of the best prospects in the country to come play for the Wildcats. In this clip, you’ll learn how he makes sure all of his players remain happy throughout the season, even if some of them aren’t getting much playing time.
Concept Summary: Coach Calipari believes you have to be “on the player’s side of the table.” He believes kids are unsure of themselves and that they need to block out the clutter of their lives. Efficiencies are what Coach Calipari tracks to make sure his players are performing well. He wants them to play with a swagger, but not arrogance.
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Year in and year out, University of Kentucky head coach, John Calipari, fields some of the best teams in the NCAA. In practice, Coach Cal likes to use the “Skip 21” drill to train players to make better decisions in transition, in addition to teaching them how and when to throw a pass to a teammate.
Drill Summary: Set up in the half court with one line of players on each side of the court just past the half court line. Make sure to alternate jersey colors in both lines (starting with the same color in both lines). One player of the opposite jersey color starts halfway between both lines. Meanwhile, a single player stands in each corner of where the baseline meets the sidelines. To start the drill, the player at the front of one of the lines throws a cross-court overhead pass to the player at the front of the other line. The defender between them either tries to steal the pass, or gets back on defense. If the offensive player receives the pass, they take off on a 2-on-1 fast break with the player that passed to them attacking the hoop. Try to get a layup without passing or lob the ball to your teammate for an easy bucket. After the rep, the player who shot the ball or turned it over turns into the defender and the next two players attack them.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Take off on a dead sprint toward the hoop.
2) Toss the ball up so your teammate can lay it in easily.
3) Don’t be afraid to throw it off the backboard.
4) Layup or lob!
After a perfect 31-0 regular season, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats are gunning for another national championship. All season long, UK’s defense has been the class of the NCAA. In this drill, you can check out how Coach Calipari prepares his players for individual defensive success.
Drill Summary: An offensive player starts at the top of the key with a ball, guarded by a player on defense. A coach stands at each wing. On the whistle, the offensive player passes to one of the coaches. On the pass, the defensive player jumps toward the ball and opens up to both the man and the ball. Next, the coach passes back to the player, who then passes to the coach on the other wing. The defensive player again jumps to the ball and stays in good defensive position. Once the second coach passes back to the offensive player, the drill is live. The only exception is that the offensive player must attempt a drive to the hoop. Play through a defensive rebound or made shot. Rotate offense to defense and defense out.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Keep your hands up on the drive.
2) Force the offense to take a wide angle.
3) Jump to the ball on a pass.
4) Rebound misses.
In this defensive drill, University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari teaches his players how to effectively defend in transition when at a numbers disadvantage. The key in this drill is to take away the ball, elbow and block on the side of the court that the offense chooses to attack so the defense can regroup. The tactics used in this drill have helped the Wildcats become one of the top defensive teams in the country so far in the 2014-15 season.
Drill Summary: Five defenders line up on the foul line and five offensive players line up on the baseline. The coach assigns numbers (1-5) to each of the defensive players and rolls the ball to an offensive player on the baseline. As the coach rolls the ball, they shout out two random numbers. The players with the corresponding numbers must touch the baseline before getting back on defense. As the five offensive players attack, the other three defenders focus on taking away the ball, elbow and block on the ball-side of the court. The two remaining defenders pick up the offensive players on the weak side and live play continues until a made basket or coach’s whistle.
Keys to the Drill:
1) If there’s a player on the block during the initial breakaway, they must be covered up by the defense.
2) If no player occupies the block, the defender splits the rims.
3) Players attempt to switch back to their original man throughout the drill, if possible.
In the latest edition of All-Access, we return to Lexington, Kentucky for an exclusive look inside a University of Kentucky men’s basketball practice. Follow along as head coach John Calipari walks through a number of team defensive drills focusing on charges, stunts, and lunges.
Charges and Loose Balls
First, we’re going to teach players how to dive and take charges. According to Coach Calipari, if players think that if they dive they will get hurt, they will never dive for a ball. Therefore at Kentucky, the coaching staff teaches players to grab the ball like a football player and roll to your back. They now understand that it doesn’t hurt to dive. Plus, the fans go crazy when you do this in games.
It’s essential that players know how to dive and take a charge. In terms of stance, you need to get down and get back. You should be landing on your back and butt with your hands up. If you put your hands down, it’s easier to injure your wrists.
The drill starts with a coach driving to the basket and a player stepping up and taking a charge in the lane. Then this player gets up and dives for a loose ball on his back. You should not hit any elbows. Also, don’t get your hands underneath you. There’s where you can get injured. That’s also why it’s important to practice this stuff.
With this drill, players head down to the corner and are guarding an offensive guy. A coach will drive and as he drives, the defensive player must time his stunt. As the player stunts, the coach throws that pass and the player will look to intercept it. It’s important for players to time this. Also, you need to have an act and let the opponent think you are coming. Stab at him and then go. Do this drill on both sides of the court.
Coach Calipari’s teams will do this lunge drill from the beginning of practice until March or April. It’s vital to teach our players how to guard the basketball. The other stuff is easy because it’s team-oriented. But guarding the ball is about you. When a player drives, look to lunge out whichever way he goes. Follow along below as Kentucky works through sets of single, double, and triple lunges.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Kentucky Basketball Practice 2010-2011” with John Calipari. To check out more college teams in our All Access lineup, visit our basketball DVD library.