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In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to Storrs, Connecticut for a behind-the-scenes look inside a University of Connecticut men’s basketball practice. Watch as legendary head coach Jim Calhoun leads his squad through an early pep talk plus a variety of team drills during one of the first practices of the season.
This All-Access look is a terrific way for coaches, players and parents to see exactly how one of the nation’s most renowned basketball programs conducts practice. In this particular instance, Connecticut runs through several team drills that include three-man weaves and 3-on-3 half-court simulations.
Be sure to pick up some tips, insights and new drills from this exclusive look and look for ways to incorporate them with your own program.
Coach Calhoun emphasizes three areas for these early-season practices: Get out and run, play with intensity, and use tempo to create an advantage. Next, Calhoun sets expectations for his team and gives them a short and long-term game plan. As for the very near term, it’s all about having a positive practice – one in which the team gets stuff done and everyone improves.
Using just one section of the court in a half-court setting, the team moves into a 3-on-3 offense/defense drill. While the post man is looking to establish positioning on the block, the guards are looking to use screens to get open and then get the ball down low (and not far away from the hoop).
Meanwhile, the drill works on offense and defense at the same time in the half-court setting. As soon as the wingman passes to the man in the post, he should immediately set a screen for the opposite guard. If a defender overplays you, reverse the ball. Eventually after a few reps, the players switch to the left side of the court.
First in the 3-on-0 drill, players look to get the ball up the court quickly. It’s a two-pass drill with layups to start. Eventually, the drill moves into quick off-ball screens and splitting the post.
In 5-on-0 action, the goal is to move the ball quickly up the court in an effort to beat the defense. As Coach Calhoun reiterates, 5-on-0 means you run it like there is five guys against you. Use your imagination. Calhoun also talks about positioning frequently, such as where you want to post up exactly, where to play depending on a defender’s positioning, etc. Players should stay wide and go full speed at all times.
The previous clips can be seen on the Championship Productions’ DVD titled “All-Access Basketball Practice with Jim Calhoun.” To check out more exclusive videos featuring Coach Calhoun and the Huskies, click here.
For Villanova head coach Jay Wright, the team’s shooting drills are typically set up in such a way to mimic shots taken in the offense and situations where they get shots in the offense. All the while, the drills are multi-dimensional and cover a number of situations. Remember, if you just run drills where everything goes perfectly every time, you aren’t preparing players for game situations.
In this week’s player development feature, we highlight a pair of effective shooting drills that should pay immediate dividends with your players. The shooting drills are used frequently by Coach Wright and the Villanova men’s basketball program and can also be used across every level of the game.
There are certain situations in a game when you need a three-pointer and your opponent knows it, too. According to Coach Wright, this is one of the tougher game situations to deal with and that’s why Villanova practices this often.
With Slide Threes, we’ll catch the ball, make a fake, and slide dribble in order to get off a three. Watch the players below go through the drill simulation. There’s a catch, rip, one dribble and slide. This drill really works the shooters and gets them working on game-like situations. Many times, Villanova will have shooters doing this drill while the big guys are working on something else.
This drill really simulates shots that Villanova takes in their offense and situations where they get shots in the offense. We’ll start with two players at a basket and separate them by forwards and guards. The forwards are the screeners and the guards are the cutters.
Here, we are simulating screener/cutter situations. Any time that you have these situations, the cutter should set his man up and always come off the screen ready to plant his inside foot and be ready to step and shoot. Players should think shot before they get the shot – and this a perfect drill to practice that.
Meanwhile, the screener should hold the screen until the cutter passes him. The cutter should look to go eyeball-to-eyeball with the screener before going shoulder-to-shoulder at the last second. Once he clears his shoulder, the screener now becomes the cutter. And if the defense takes that away, the cutter looks back to the screener in any screener/cutter situation.
As for player movement/positioning in this drill, start with one player up top and one player on the wing. The player up top makes a screen for the wing player. The cutter then comes around the pick, receives the ball, pivots and makes a bounce pass to the former screener in the corner for a shot. Next, the passer receives a pass and steps into a shot. It’s all about footwork and getting a feel for game situations. Start out with straight cuts and then move to curl cuts and curl & pops.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Jay Wright: 28 Competitive Drills for Shooting and Footwork.” To check out more videos in the Jay Wright/Villanova collection, click here. For more shooting-specific videos, click here.
Look to add these dynamic team rebounding drills to your practice plan this season. The drills work on a number of rebounding concepts and situations, including transition basketball. The drills can be used at any level and will keep your players motivated, working hard, and best of all, improving.
Submitted by Don Hess, Highstown HS, Highstown NJ
Set up 3-on-3 action in a triangle formation with X’s as the defense and O’s as the offense. Get two players on the low blocks and one at the FT line. On the coach’s command, the X’s rotate clockwise or counter clockwise to box out the offensive players. On the coach’s shot, the defensive players locate the offensive players and both teams fight for the rebound.
Play to 10 points. You receive one point for each offensive rebound or defensive rebound. Each player keeps their own score and says his cumulative score out loud after each round. The first player to 10 points wins, with consequences for the losers. Then switch the X’s to offense and O’s to defense.
This drill is perfect for practicing communication on defense, boxing out, and offensive rebounding techniques.
Submitted by Keith Cooper, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA
Divide your team evenly into squads of three players. Three offensive players start out around the perimeter with one at the top of the key and two on the wings. Next, there are three defensive players stacked one in front of the other in the paint. The coach will yell out “Rebound” and then the offensive players will proceed to crash the boards.
Meanwhile, the defenders box out outside the paint and hold their blockouts. After holding their blockouts for 2-3 seconds, the coach intentionally misses a shot and players fight for the loose ball. If the defense secures the rebound, they’ll immediately outlet and go 3-on-0 in transition. If the offense scores on transition with either a jumper or layup, they are awarded one point. If they miss the shot, they do not get a point. The offense also gets a point for an offensive board and one point for a putback. On any putback, the offensive player may dribble but cannot pass.
After the 3-on-0 transition break, offense goes to defense and a new team goes to offense. The first team to 10 points wins.
Submitted by Bobby Lutz, UNC Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
This is a 5-on-5 team transition rebounding drill. You can use different offensive alignments, pass the ball around, and make adjustments defensively until a coach shoots the ball. On the shot, two of the X’s box out and two of the defenders run into transition.
After the ball is thrown to an outlet player, the coach passes full-court to the other coach stationed on the other end of the floor. The offensive players must now get back on defense as the coach shoots. The defenders then get to simulate boxing out on the three-pointer while in transition. This forces both teams to concentrate on rebounding in both full and half-court situations. You can also work on your man-to-man double teams in the post. Plus, it’s a controlled 5-on-5 and very similar to game situations.
The drills above – any dozens more – can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 30 Team Rebounding Drills” produced by Winning Hoops. Check out more rebounding videos by visiting our extensive DVD library.
In this week’s player development feature, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo demonstrates a few of his favorite team rebounding drills. The drills have become a cornerstone of his Michigan State basketball practices and have proven to be effective for years. Coach Izzo first breaks down each drill step-by-step before letting players demonstrate them in live action. See what pointers and tips you can take away from this coaching session and then implement with your own squad this season.
Start with one player under the basket and then another player out on the wing area. One coach should stand with the ball on the opposite elbow area. He will shoot the ball and purposely miss, allowing the players to battle each another for the rebound.
This rebounding drill exemplifies the “hit, find, and get” technique. The job of the players is to hit each other. The minute that the player under the basket hits the other player, he will turn, find the ball, and then go get it.
Meanwhile, one of the biggest keys for a team is to get rebounds above the rim – as long as they aren’t on the ground. Get all rebounds above the shoulders. This means we are aggressively pursuing the ball instead of letting the ball come to us.
Defenders must hit their man and then immediately release to find the ball. Don’t hold. If the player is doing the drill right, the ball shouldn’t ever hit the floor. In terms of sequence, go from offense to defense and then to the end of the line.
Tips for good rebounding: The ball is caught above the head, the ball is caught with two hands, and the ball is pulled down to chin level.
Also, be sure to remember offensive rebounding techniques. Try to avoid contact as an offensive rebounder. But at the same time, you need to read the rebounder. Too many times guys will take the path of least resistance. Coach Izzo prefers players who hit and like to be hit.
The 1 on 1 and 2 on 2 drills are both conducted at Michigan State every day. This time, we’ll get two players down low in the paint and tow players at the top of the key. It’s one team against the other as the offense faces the defense in live action.
Make sure the players go after the ball and pull it down with two hands. The offense should be trying to avoid contact and the defense should be trying to make contact. Meanwhile, the job of the offensive rebounder is to get even (AKA even footing with defenders). Once even, they have done half their job already. Also, don’t just lean on the guys’ back. According to Coach Izzo, that’s lazy and a poor tactic.
The above clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Tom Izzo’s Basketball Smorgasboard of Drills and Basketball Wisdom.” Check out our entire Tom Izzo/Michigan State DVD catalog by clicking here.
In the latest edition of All-Access, we take you back to Storrs, Connecticut for a behind-the-scenes look inside a University of Connecticut women’s basketball practice. Watch as head coach Geno Auriemma leads his players through a number of team drills and details specific strategies, general tips and advice for players.
The all-access session concentrates on fast break drills, including the 2-Man Fast Break, 3-Man Drill, and Drag & Step Out Drill. Make sure you pick up some new ideas from Auriemma and his national championship program and look for ways to incorporate the drills and concepts with your own team.
Players get into four lines and will have three balls going at once. Players will pass the ball to the next player in the opposite line, run to the ball, catch the ball again, and then pass back again (a shorter pass). Players will move to the line that they passed to. Players should work on catching passes from a number of distances, moving without the ball, keeping their heads up, and maintaining constant communication throughout.
One player pushes the ball up the floor (full-court) with the other player moving along the wing. Then around the three-point line, the ball handler will dish a bounce pass to the wing player in stride for a layup. Get a coach to be a scarecrow defender at the far three-point line. Players should then switch sides once they go through one. Then, switch to the left side and run the drill from here. Meanwhile, the player who passes should also follow the pass and block out under the basket.
Run with a half-court three-man weave. The last player to pass should block out the remaining player and work hard under the basket in an effort to get the rebound.
Three players will sprint out on the break to just beyond half-court before turning around the other way. The middle player should make a pass to both wing players before turning around. Next, the middle player has options the other way. For instance, he/she can jump stop and dish or take it strong to the rim on their own.
This drill involves two players. The first player will in-bound the ball to a wing player. The wing player will then take the ball to the middle of the court and push it up the floor and to the opposite wing area. Next, that same player will dribble and hesitate a bit while the other player sets a ball screen. The player with the ball then dribbles around the screen a bit and hits the screener down the backside for a layup. Meanwhile, the player with the ball can also choose to hit the jumper or cut hard to the rim for a layup. The options are certainly there to change things up a bit.
The clips above can be found on Championship Productions’ DVD “All-Access Basketball Practice with Geno Auriemma.” Check out our entire All-Access collection, which includes exclusive sessions with Kentucky, Michigan State, Duke, Kansas, West Virginia, plus many more.