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In our latest team development feature, Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight guides you through a pair of up-tempo drills that are vital towards building mental toughness. Coach Knight has incorporated these same exact drills with his programs throughout his career, from Indiana through Texas Tech.
This highly-engaging rapid-fire drill starts with two defensive players in the paint, one high and one low. Meanwhile, two more defensive guys will set up on the opposite end of the court in the paint, one high and one low as well. Next, three offensive guys begin at midcourt attacking one end of the floor and the middle player has the ball. Finally, get one guy at each hash mark along the sides of the sideline (on both ends) for a total of four players.
“11-Man Break” begins with the 3-on-2 situation at one end. All five guys should go for the rebound. Whoever gets the rebound then joins up with the two nearest sideline hash mark guys to form a three-person unit. From here, they go 3-on-2 in the other direction. The drill continues like this back and forth for a set period of time.
2 Ball Shooting
“2 Ball Shooting” is a great drill you can implement across the lane, foul line, across the circle, on either side of the hoop, or wherever you’d like really. In other words, you can move the shooter wherever you want them to shoot on that particular day of practice. If you have a gym with six baskets, you can get 12 guys working at one time. When you say, “Change”, the players should switch up and immediately get back into it. 2 Ball Shooting is a tremendous drill for shooting stamina and for getting tougher even if you’re tired.
One player should be the rebounder the entire time while working with the shooter (and two basketballs). Be sure to shoot from different spots on the floor. You can even implement a fake before each shot. The shooter should always be on the move. Look to go for one minute before switching up.
Coaching Tips: Step into each shot. Always get set and don’t shoot out of balance.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Knight: Practice Planning and Drills for Mental Toughness.” To check out more team drills in our Bob Knight catalog, click here.
When it comes to game-like shooting drills, the Penetrate and Kick Series is one of the most effective drills you can run in basketball practice. For former Duke assistant coach Chris Collins, the drill series teaches players about proper spacing, how to instinctively move without the ball, how to drive and dish effectively, and how to get good game shots.
This drill series is something that Duke basketball implements all the time in practice. The drills really work on improving footwork, drive and kick ability, team communication, and getting in game shots. Start with two lines and get three players in each line. The ball should be up top with a coach. Begin by going off the right side.
Start with a V-cut where you must work to get open. Players also must call for the ball. Next, catch the ball in a strong triple threat and imagine you are being guarded by someone. From here, look to hard attack the middle. The goal: You must get into the paint.
Coaches: Get on your players if they take lazy routes or don’t get into the lane. You could also have a coach stand there in front of the passer to drive the point home.
*Tip: Drive to score. If you do this, the defense collapses and now you have options, bailouts, and kicks.
As for the shooter on the opposite wing, they cannot just stand in that spot. Any good defense will have solid helpside pressure. Therefore, you can slide behind the ball OR chase to the corner (if the defense slides up). Your feet should be locked and loaded and ready to shoot.
Meanwhile, after the passer dishes off, the passer can’t just stand there. This player must get to an open area. The coach up top will have a ball and the passer will now play off of the coach. Get to an open area for the pass and shot.
*Make it Competitive: You can run this drill with the entire team working together to reach a goal. Or you can split things up and have teams play against each other.
As you drive baseline, the opposite wing’s responsibility is to give his teammate a bailout in the opposite corner. As he drives, defenses will rotate. From here you can make two passes. The first is a baseline pass. You can actually pass out of bounds (with feet inbounds, of course) to get yourself a lane to get around the defense. The second option is that you can deliver a power skip. Jump up and let go of a powerful skip pass across for any open shot. Eventually, look to add shot fakes to these drives as well.
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.
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.