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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 this week’s edition of All Access, we take a trip to Dallas, Texas for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at an SMU men’s basketball practice. Follow along as Hall of Fame basketball coach Larry Brown leads his team through the ‘Iverson Drill’ before moving into various sideline out-of-bounds plays.
The Iverson Drill
In this individual shooting/scoring drill, players will start along the wing and then, one at a time, sprint hard across the top of the key and just beyond a cone set up on the floor. At this point, players will use proper footwork to turn and face the passer (at the top of the key) and then receive the pass. From here, players will crossover or rip it across, make a strong move at the basket, and then finish with a layup. After working both sides of the floor with layups, players will eventually get into a series of pull-up jumpers.
Coaching Points: Players must make a strong crossover. Put the ball down quick and make two bounces only before exploding to the rim. Get the weight on your pivot foot.
Sideline Out of Bounds into Offensive Sets
In this next segment, players work on various sideline out of bounds plays that transition right into the team’s offensive sets.
The blue team has possession. Player 3 takes it out of bounds. Player 1 is on the nearside low block while player 5 is on the near elbow. Player 4 is on the farside elbow and player 2 is in the farside corner.
Watch as Coach Brown ensures that the players know their roles in the set (even taking one player aside to go over specifics). Meanwhile, this particular out of bounds play involves backdoors, post ups, and many other options. Once the offense takes control of the ball in the half-court set, the unit goes into a “Fist” set play directly from there.
As far as the defense, all five players are in a three-quarters denial mode and staying on their man tough. Once the offense gets possession and runs through a first play, the action going 5-on-5 from there (whether a miss or make).
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Basketball Practice with Larry Brown.” To check out more All Access videos, including new releases from Scott Drew and Greg McDermott, click here.
Current UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma is a huge advocate of drill work that translates from practice to the game. In the latest team development feature, learn how to be a force offensively via transition while playing to create more possessions. The following drills and concepts are frequently used by Auriemma and the Huskies, who are fresh off winning the 2013 NCAA National Championship.
Transition Offense Mentality
The overall idea with this transition offense is to move fast. For instance, as soon as ball comes out of the net, your squad should be off and running. Coach Auriemma wishes that more offenses ran this way and carried this mentality. It really makes the kids play where all five players are involved. The bigs are involved and the guards are creating. This is real basketball.
Fast Break Drill
In terms of implementing this strategy/mentality, we can begin by putting our offense together. Start with a point guard, two wing players, and two bigs down low. The drill starts with a coach throwing the ball off the glass. Next, one big guy will rebound it and the other guy will run the floor. As for the player who doesn’t get it, it’s their job to beat the guy who’s guarding them down the floor. If they do, his teammates will pass it to them and they’ll get a basket.
After the rebound, there’s an immediate outlet pass to the wing. Kick it ahead again and then throw the ball down low to the sprinting big man for a layup. This is exactly how Coach Auriemma teaches all of his team’s options off the fast break.
There are a number of things you can do out of the transition break. First, look to pass to the wing player as you are coming down the floor. Once within the half-court area, look inside while the original passer cuts to the corner.
Now, the trailer comes into play. You can hit him with a pass up top, look inside, reverse the ball, and then the original trailer and farside wing player can set a double screen in the corner. The corner player comes off of it to the top. So now you are looking for a quick post up and a jump shot up top right out of transition.
From here, you can go with a ‘High/Low‘ scenario where one big man screens across for the other, he flashes to the ball, receives it, and then passes high to low to the other big for a layup or lob play.
In the latest edition of All Access, we take you to Stanford, California for a behind-the-scenes look at a Stanford University women’s lacrosse practice. Follow along as head coach Amy Bokker leads her squad through a 3 v 3 v 3 drill before getting into a favorite half field dodging drill.
3 v 3 v 3 Draw
For this first drill, three separate teams of three face off in a fight for possession. The drill begins with a face-off and then immediately transitions into three-team battle. It’s really an ideal drill for working on fundamentals and improving confidence against a wide range of pressure.
Look to really work on possession of the draw and then maintain possession with your team for 40 seconds. Also, look to move to space and always keep your feet moving. Don’t get stuck in one corner. After 40 seconds, the team with the ball at the end of possession gets a point. Play to five points.
Coaching Tips: It’s key to get high pressure on the ball and the feeling that’s there always going to be a double team on the ball (so it makes it harder to possess).
In “52 Dodging”, you’ll start with a dodger across the top, a receiver sweeping across middle, and a feeder down low. Start on the left side of the field before moving over to the right side.
The drill begins with one dodger making a move against a first defender. As she is dodging, the sweeping player will slot through, and then pass to the feeder. The feeder will curl as if coming up. Meanwhile, the middle player will flash up, catch the pass, and then shoot on net.
Coaching Tips: Work both sides of the field and look to get off a ton of shots. Also, start by dodging to the outside at the onset. Eventually, switch to dodging to the inside.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Stanford Lacrosse Practice with Amy Bokker.” To check out the entire All Access lacrosse lineup (featuring the likes of Kelly Amonte Hiller and Bill Tierney), click here.
According to Duke associate head coach Chris Collins, it’s critical that basketball players can score in the paint with proficiency — and that goes for guards just as much as centers and forwards.
To work on your offensive efficiency down low, add this highly effective “Scoring in the Paint” drill to your practice plan. Coach Collins first walks through the drill for you before having his players run through it at full speed.
Scoring in the Paint – Overview
All basketball players need to be able to score in the paint. This is a huge skill to be able to do this, especially for guards. While it’s easy to make an uncontested layup, it’s far more difficult to make layups from different angles with defensive pressure or floaters in the lane over helping defenders. These are the kinds of shots that players need to work on consistently.
Drill Set-up: Start out with groups of three players and two balls at each basket. The first player up starts in the paint. Everything in this drill will be in the paint. The lane player should start by shooting any kind of different shot, like a running hook, spin shot, floater, shot with the left hand, a reverse layup, etc. Use your imagination. After one player shoots, the next player is under the basket to get to rebound. From here, a third player will go immediately into his shot. The flow continues like this. As a group, look to make 20 finishes.
Drill in Action
By implementing this drill consistently, players get a feel for where the basket is. You also learn how to make layups and other shots form a variety of different angles. In short, it’s a very realistic, practical drill.
Finally, look to make a competition out of it. This will help with getting your players to work at game speed/game intensity. Remember, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.