Monday, September 1, 2008

Using What You Have....

Everytime I open a coaching publication I can't help but notice all of the advertisements for basketball gear that coaches simply can't live without. The last few years as a frosh coach I've found that there are many ordinary pieces of gym equiptment that can be used to enhance your practices - and suprise they are free! I'm going to list a few and their applications below.

*Football Blocking Pads - I'm sure many of us have used these. There are MANY applications with a blocking pad such as working on post moves, scoring with contact around the rim, working on catching and facing on the perimeter, fighting through screens on defense, etc, etc. These are great for added toughness in your practices.

*Tennis Balls or Floor Hockey Balls - These are great for a variety of applications in practice. You can have your players play catch with them while doing ballhandling drills. Playing catch helps the players not look down when dribbling, they can be done when dribbling stationary or on the move. Also like to start to make it competitive, divide into teams and see which can pass the ball back and fourth the longest without dropping it and while keeping their dribbles.

*Floor Hockey Sticks - These are great aids when teaching shooting. Hold them up when kids are working on shooting and they force your players to shoot the ball with arc. Can use in the lane also to make sure players put the ball high off the glass.

*Thin Mat - Any kind of padded mat is useful to teach players how to properly take charges and dive on the floor. Some kids are timid at first, but if they practice on the pad they can get used to going down. Also good to practice taking charges for the first time so they can work on their head tucks and their heads aren't going to wack the floor.

*Frisbees - Great for markers on the floor during drills or teaching your offense/defense.

*Hula-Hoops - Love these for shooting drills - ex: have to make X number of shots in each hoop. Also like to hold them on dribbling drills - have players come through low and controlled and then explode out. They also can work to mark the floor - I especially like them to teach zone offense early in the season - maybe first practice or two. Put the hoops out in the set up of a zone (ex - 2-3) and then walk your players through your offense. They can see where the zone is (you move them to match up, etc), and what they should be looking for.

*Jump Ropes - Not just for jumping rope. When teaching spacing, especially on defense, I like to bring out the jump ropes. I have them the length of spacing I want (sometimes have to tie them together) and have the players hold onto the ends. Works great for teaching M-M with the shell drill. When the ball moves, EVERYONE must move in unison. At first they pull each other on the ropes, but it's a good reminder to move with the ball.

*Volleyballs - Like to use these to teach proper form in shooting close to the basket - especially with young kids. You can really work on the form without having to worry about a heavy ball to start. Easier to get to the hoop and see results right away for kids that might lack strength.

*Big Dodge Balls (Rubber Ball) - Can't affoard to buy those "Big Balls" for your post players? Some phy ed classes have oversided kick balls that can work almost as well - true it isn't a basketball, but I think it can help your post players with scoring down low. Also, if you can find a REALLY big ball that just barely fits in the rim and gets caught in the net, that would be a very cheap subsitute for a rebound rim for rebounding drills. All you would need is a broom handle to get it out.

*Medicine Balls - Don't have those nice, weighted basketballs? Well, just use a medicine ball for those passing drills and you won't know the difference. Also, I LOVE to use them for catch and square drills on the perimeter - when they get a basketball in their hands ripping through is nothhing!

In closing, I think there are some GREAT products out there now, and some that I would LOVE to have. I wish I could have a Dr. Dish or Gun for every basket, a Dominator Complete Post Station for by bigs, and a Rip-Thru for my perimeter players to work on perimeter work, but I just don't think I'll ever be at a school with a budget for all that so you have to make due with what you've got at hand. So I may not have a Dominator Station for my posts, but I do have a body and a football blocking pad - and I feel they can get just as much out of that!

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