In this behind-the-scenes session, we visit Williamstown, Massachusetts for a Williams College men’s basketball practice. Watch as head coach Mike Maker leads his squad through a series of game-like ball handling and shooting drills, including “Fast Stop Fast” and “Alleys.” Take this opportunity to pick up some new offensive drills for your upcoming basketball practices this season.
Fast Stop Fast
According to Coach Maker, it’s critical to work on this opening drill in order to be a good ball handling team — especially since (at the time of filming) the team has three guards out of the lineup with injuries. The team picked up this drill from Chris Mooney at the University of Richmond.
For each player in the drill, the key is to change speeds in the backcourt, going fast, stopping, and then going fast again. Look to make a simple move when you crossover/slow down. Down the length of the court, players (one at a time) will make a series of three moves before making one final move against a coach waiting at the opposite foul line. After that final move, players will then take it in strong for a layup. The next player in line goes when the first player gets to half court.
Tip: Remember to land on two feet on the layups. Also, while waiting in line, work on your stationary ball handling. It can be a combination of anything really. Just keep active and working on your skills.
*Note early on that players are not going hard enough or fast enough through the drill. It’s essential that you go at game speed at all times. Meanwhile, don’t get yourself into trap areas (e.g. the sideline). Use your imagination and make this drill as game-like as possible.
Players start at the top of the key and will go one at a time. Players will dribble drive and make a strong move to the basket for a layup with a coach/defender in the paint initiating some contact. It’s a very realistic drill that simulates players driving to the hoop and making contact along the way. The series begins with straight line drives going to the right side of the rim.
Tip: Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, make sure players are not “banana-ing” when driving to the hoop.
Players should then switch to left-side layups now. Notice that they are using a dominant hand finish though. Coach Maker firmly believes in shooting layups with the dominant hand unless someone proves they are very proficient using their off hand. It may be a new concept, but it’s works well for the program and the players learn to adapt.
Finally, the series wraps up with drives from the wing area or slot. Players start on the left wing, drive into the lane, and then finish on the right side with a layup.
Tip: Coach Maker believes the three most important shots in basketball are the layup, free throw, and making 6 out of 10 baskets unguarded. Maker’s squad has adopted this philosophy. For the program, this third shot would be an open three-pointer.
In the latest edition of All Access, we head back to Williamstown, Massachusetts for a behind-the-scenes look at a Williams College men’s basketball practice. Go behind closed doors as head coach Mike Maker sits down with his assistants to devise a practice plan for the day. Later, Maker and company hit the hardwood with “Popeyes” and their popular “Moneyball” shooting drill.
The Ephs continually rank as one of the national top basketball programs at the Division III level. In addition to Final Four appearance in 2010 and 2011, Williams most recently finished 17-8 overall last season.
Assistants Kevin Snyder and Kyle Koncz join Coach Maker as they nail down a practice plan for that day’s particular session. Listen in as the coaches discuss different drills they want to implement, points of emphasis, and strategies for getting the most out of each drill.
Popeyes is a drill that Coach Maker adopted from Coach John Beilein that really helps with shooting form and overall accuracy.
Two players work together at a basket. One at a time, players start out on the right block before eventually moving over to the left block. Simply, get the players shooting bank shots one after another. Make sure players are moving at a rapid pace. In other words, be quick without being in a hurry. Pay attention so that players don’t get lazy here. This is a drill where you want to be on move and going quick at all times.
According to Coach Maker, the Moneyball is the best shooting drill that the team practices. Get players working in pairs and have them going all at once at different baskets around the gym. The drill features one rebounder and one shooter. Players will drive into the paint and then kick it out to their teammate for a shot. Shooters must look to change their depths at a 2 to 1 ratio. After about 90 seconds, move players to the left side of the court.
Rules: A regular shot = 1 point. A moneyball shot = 3 points. The first team to 50 points that touches the center court line is named the winner. As a consequence, every other team must run sprints.
Recap: This drill not only serves as a conditioning drill, but also focuses on getting players to deliver accurate passes, maintain good teamwork, and keep an emphasis on overall shooting. Meanwhile, it’s also very realistic and will pay dividends come game time.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Williams College” featuring Mike Maker. To check out our entire All Access lineup, head over to our basketball library today.
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.
This is one of our new Basketball DVDs which features Mike Maker. He is the Williams College Head Men’s Basketball Coach and led the team to two consecutive NCAA D-III Final Four appearances (2009-10, 2010-11). The title of this Basketball DVD is:
If you liked this product, take a look at our other All Access Basketball DVDs:
All Access Kentucky Basketball Practice with John Calipari
All Access Duke Basketball Practice (2010-11)
All Access Michigan State Basketball with Tom Izzo
All Access Kansas Basketball Practice with Bill Self
All Access Notre Dame Practice with Mike Brey
All-Access Skill Development & Conditioning Drills with Billy Donovan
All Access Practice with Geno Auriemma
All Access Stanford Women’s Basketball Practice with Tara VanDerveer
All Access USA Basketball Practice
Now in the midst of his fourth season as head men’s basketball coach at Williams College (MA), Mike 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 produced an overall record of 90-17 in his short tenure at Williams, leading the program to a pair of Final Four appearances, and earning NESCAC Coach of the Year honors in 2010.
In the latest edition of Coaches Corner, Championship Productions editor Adam Warner sits down with the Ephs’ head coach. Maker details some of his all-time favorite drills, reveals why he made the switch to Div. III hoops, and also dishes out advice for players and fellow coaches around the country.
AW: Your squad is currently 13-3 and about to enter into the bulk of its conference schedule. Talk about the current campaign so far. How would you assess the season right now?
MM: “It’s been an interesting year. We’ve had a lot of hurdles placed in front of us in regards to injuries, but I think our men have handled it well. We’ve had three setbacks and each time the next game we have bounced back. They are resilient. I’m confident in the guys and hopefully we are as close to being healthy as we have been all season and ready to make a run late in the season.”
Who do you see as your toughest foes to beat in order to capture that elusive national championship?
“For us it’s about getting better each day. It’s not about what team we play. That’s been our theme for the last few weeks. We value each day and see it as an opportunity to compete in practice and get better. We have one of the most challenging schedules in the country. In my opinion, we play in the best conference in all of Division III — one with deep talent — and we need to be at our best.”
Can you take readers through a typical week of practice? How does the format change from the preseason or early season?
“Each year is different. We accumulate a lot of information from previous seasons. It’s my fourth year here and we haven’t done the same thing this year as previous years. This week, it’s about us. We play Skidmore tonight at home. This week, we’ve done a lot of film work, making lots of corrections, and working on getting better quality shots. Our three-point shooting isn’t close to what we are accustomed to, so we are working hard offensively to get better.”
How would you describe a typical Mike Maker practice?
“I’ve had a lot of mentors and I’ve learned a lot from each of them. My practices are similar to Coach (John) Beilein’s at West Virginia or Michigan. We try to learn a lot from him and have adopted a lot of his concepts. Our team tries to be very skilled-oriented and we work hard on the offensive end of the floor — concepts like dribbling, passing, five guys playing as one, and shooting a high percentage from the field.
We want to be aggressive offensively and score in the 80s, shoot 50 percent from the field, and make more free throws than our opponents attempt. We’ve been doing that except for the last few weeks and we hope to get that confidence and rhythm back. Defensively, we’ve been good by the numbers. It’s been solid this year. We don’t try to steal, rather, we try to keep people in front of us, protect the basket, and keep teams off the foul line.”
What’s the key to motivating players throughout a long season – especially during tough stretches?
“My job is easy. I have highly motivated players and great assistants. I think I’ve surrounding myself with quality people who are motivated – -especially when it comes to community, the classroom, and basketball. We have a rich basketball tradition here. It doesn’t supersede the academic experience, but it’s important. We have 15 players that don’t put themselves above the team agenda. Our assistants add so much to the team and are great role models for our players. We try to embrace each day and try to get better.”
Talk about some of your favorite all-time drills. Why are they so effective?
“I learned a number of them under Coach Beilein at West Virginia. Our drills reflect our offensive schemes. For instance, we do a lot of layups, driving layups, and backdoor layups from various angles. We use our dominant hand around the rim, no matter which side of the rim we are at. We take a lot of shots in practice from behind the arc in various ways. It could be two guys and one ball, team shooting, and a lot of shooting off the catch.”
Can you recall a favorite drill of your players?
“It’s the Moneyball shooting drill. It’s highly competitive and game-like and involves shot fakes, drives, starting and stopping your dribble without traveling, and passing to teammates. Each player takes four shots. One shot is worth three points, and the rest are worth one point. It really simulates late-game situations, too.”
After roughly 17 years as a coach at the Division I level, why did you decide to make the switch to Division III?
“I didn’t look at it as a Division III job, but as a premier job at any level. With its academic reputation and rich basketball tradition, Williams is like Duke of Division III. I grew up an hour south of Stanford in California, so if I can’t be the coach there or at Duke, I can’t imagine a better place to coach than Williams. I believe I’m surrounded by highly-motivated student athletes who use basketball as a vehicle to get the best education in the world. I think I learn as much from my players as they learn from me.”
What’s unique about coaching at the Division III level?
“Well, coming from Division I, you can’t start practice until November 1 in the NESCAC, and you’re not allowed to do individual fall or spring workouts – and I love to teach. Yet, the model is a healthy one in regards to fostering a positive overall experience for individual student athletes. There’s not an overemphasis on athletics.”
What do you look for in the ultimate basketball player?
“I want someone who is highly passionate about basketball, has a high basketball IQ, a good teammate, and has a certain toughness about them. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack with the parameters we have here academically, but I enjoy the challenge of finding young men that fit the cores values of our institution, can thrive here, and fit into what we’re trying to do as a basketball program. I look for skilled players that put the team first; young men with good vision that share the ball.”
What’s some of the best advice you can give to an aspiring coach or new coach in basketball?
“Put the kids first. I’ve learned from my coaches that you’re teachers first. It’s a wonderful profession to mold young people and learn life lessons through sport. Basketball is a great vehicle for that. Also, learn how to handle success with humility and how to handle adversity when life throws you a curveball. This is a great venue to do that as an educator.”
What do you consider your greatest achievement as coach to date?
“I’ve been really lucky. I have one of the best jobs in the country and I feel blessed. I’ve had some high and low moments personally, but I think the best one in basketball was actually as a sibling and watching my brother (Wyatt) cut down the nets on the 1985 Villanova championship team.”