Measure Your Success By Your Effort

Footwork Makes You Smarter

Saturday, January 28, 2012

No Time For Skills

The complaint I hear most often from coaches is that I would love to work on skills but I don’t have time. They offer a host of reasons; short season, need to get in my offensive sets in, need to establish my defensive philosophies, I need to get in my slobs and blobs in, it would be nice to teach kids how to play, but there is just not time.

I guess I would have to ask, what is your objective?
Consider this, less than 6% of high school players will play college basketball, and less than 2% of college basketball players will turn pro.
As a coach you probably will not turn out that many players going to the next level. I’ve been fortunate to be able to get some there. Some of them were a surprise, some I felt were more than capable but were over looked, and some did not last once they got there.

It has to be about more than teaching some X’s and O’s. Getting players to do the dance of what you have decided is this years flavour of offense and defense. There is always time to teach skills.

Take these suggestions into consideration.

Transition Versus Half Court Offense
Although true you must be able to execute in the half court during tight games, if you fold a piece of paper down the middle and do a lumber jack tally on each side, one for scores in transition and broken plays, and the other side points scored in the half court offense, you might be surprised that the majority of points will be in the transition and broken plays section. Teaching your players to run lanes wide, approach the rim at a 45 degree angle above the block, run and catch, give targets, communicate, run and pass and finishing at the rim are all teachable skills. You can incorporate these into your drills. Design your drills to be jam packed with skills and habits you want your team to have.

Warm Up Pre-practice
This is an excellent time to bring your teams core temperature up by using skills. Teach footwork drills. If they ain’t sweatin, they ain’t workin hard enough. Try getting players to work in pairs, and have them go through a series of skills that you want to emphasise. If you need help or would like some specific instructions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

You probably like most of us accumulated a stack of Slobs and Blobs over the years. They probably all look very different from your offense continuity or sets. If you want to save time, use your offense and break it down into chunks that can be used as a Slob or Blob. This will trim down on the amount of time you need to teach, this part of the game. Let’s face it, when it’s time to teach Slobs and Blobs the energy level of the practice drops. It’s difficult to keep the verve of the practice going during this section. You can make it more competitive by timing them, as long as they are executing it correctly and they make the time, they have no consequences.

Push Pull Rotations
It’s far more effective if you players understand how to rotate to a new position depending on the ball movement. If there is penetration, which way should you players move in a push pull theory of basketball? When you teach sets, make sure you modify them so players are not standing around, but fill in new spots so there is always the following passes available; a baseline drift, and 90 degree pass, a 45 degree pass, and a player filling in from behind.

Designer Drills
Any drill can be good, if you are teaching skills. Those skills can be specific to what you are trying to achieve in your offense or defense. If you screen in a certain area of the floor, then design a drill that teaches how to get over a screen, how to burry your defender in a screen, how to pick and roll, how to pick and pop, how to make the read on the defender, so your players know how to reject a screen, shoot over a screen, bounce off a screen, turn a corner on a screen, how to attack outside shoulders and split a screen, and how to keep your head up during all of this so you can read the floor.

Help Your Players Become Better Athletes

If for no other reason, make your players better athletes because the tangible improvement players can see will make them more confident. A better athlete will be a better player. If you increase your quickness you will be a better player. If you increase your strength you will be a better player. If you increase your vertical you will be a better player. If you develop healthy habits of exercise and eating right, these are skills you can take forward in your lives, when you are not longer playing the game you love.

If I can help you with any of these suggestions, do not hesitate to contact me.


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