Measure Your Success By Your Effort

Footwork Makes You Smarter

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Drilling Down

Any drill can be a good drill, as long as you are teaching skills inside the drill. Conversely if you are not teaching skills inside the drills, every drill is a bad drill.

Be sure you are teaching, and explaining what you are looking for, and why it is important. Let your players know how perfecting a technique will make them a better player. Let your players know why you are asking them to do each step.

One of the mistakes we coaches make is trying to incorporate every new thing we see in a clinic into our practices. Don’t blindly accept drills. When you find something new that you think will fit with your team, look at refining it. I think it’s imperative to take every drill you do and give it a renovation. Look at it with critical eyes and try to make improvements. Invite another coach to come out and evaluate your team and your drills. They may have a twist on what you are doing that will make your drill better.

Are your drills game-like? Can you make them more game like? Most coaches run 3 on 2/ 2 on 1. How many of you set this up, with defense at one end in an I formation waiting for the 3 players on offense. When does this happen in a game? Have your defenders off court at the sideline, and have them come into the drill after the offense crosses half court (you pick the markers depending on the talent, I’m just suggesting here). Now you can also work on your defensive transition concepts, and you have created a situation that requires defensive talk to get the stop.

I have been forced to do this in the past. When my practice times were cut from 2 hours to 1.5 hours, I initially thought, how am I going to get all that I need to teach in that time frame. Most recently relocation to a facility that only has 2 baskets forces me once again to look at how I can get my players reps with only two rims. My style of coaching is very active. I like to be on the floor with my players, teaching skills by example. Matter of fact if I can’t demonstrate the footwork perfectly, or the shooting technique, then I won’t teach it till I have mastered it, in at least demo mode. I am not saying this is the best way; it’s just the way I operate. In the past I have had two assistants, and sometimes team managers. My practices are always open to parents or other coaches. But if you are in the gym, you might find yourself holding a blocking pad, swinging a pool noodle or passing a ball in a drill. This allows me to monitor the drill and give out sound-bites of information; ”athletic stance” “Run lanes wide” “catch two handed” “cut back to the ball on good angles” “post up on first marker”.

Now that I’m assisting on a team, once again necessity becomes the mother of invention. If I want to monitor drills and shout out the sound-bites, I have to retool the drills so the players fill in the spots where coaches once had a duty. If you have to do this, make sure your players filling in these spots, don’t become pylons. Make sure the role they are filling now, becomes a way of working on a skill. If they are passing, make sure they are using all the skills you teach when they are in a passing drill. Make sure they are athletic in their stance, make sure they are passing with their out-side hand, make sure they are creating space, make sure they are stepping through, make sure they are being deceptive with their passes. Insists that ever drill is a passing drill! It’s probably the most under taught skill.

Be proactive in this endeavour. Don’t wait until your gym time gets cut, or you have less help, or you have fewer rims. Scrutinize your drills and make them better before your are forced to do it.

Coach Paul

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