Sunday, August 29, 2010

Offense for "Dumb Players"

Time after time in talking to coaches and reading message boards I hear the theme of - you can only run that offense if you have smart players. I hear this said about the princeton, motion, read and react, dribble drive motion, etc. But really, is there a good offense for "dumb players"??

Lets think about this critically - if you players are not smart it's going to be hard to run a set play offense. They have to remember where to go and know what to do when things break down. The flex offense is useless of you can't react to being denied on the reversals and you can't properly read the screens. The Swing offense works, but again, if it doesn't go perfectly dumb players don't know how to fix it. So what offense works if you have players that are not smart?? What do you do?

In my opinion you can run any offense, if your players are smart it will look like a million bucks, if they are not then it's going to be more of a struggle. I think motion based offenses are harder to run without the IQ, but I think they help build IQ and they get better as the year goes. I am the first to admit I am bias however. On the other hand I do think that using a continuity offense can help the players that are not as savvy, but at the same time a player with poor IQ will still struggle when the offense breaks down or the defense starts to cheat the continuity, what are your thoughts?

Watching the WNBA

I'm sitting here watching the New York and Indiana play in the WNBA playoffs tonight and I think more boys high school coaches, especially those at small schools should be watching the WNBA for ideas on the Xs and Os of the game.

Most high school guys coaches would scoff at the notion of watching the WNBA, but think about it for a second. Most high school coaches, especially those at the small high schools don't have athletes that are any better than the ones in the WNBA. We don't have guys who can run a backdoor lob for a dunk or hit a three coming off a screen over a defender. The WNBA coaches have some great plays that can be utilized when you don't have these kinds of athletic players.

Most high school coaches can't wait to get their hands on the latest college and NBA play books but you couldn't give them a WNBA one for free. Why?? What is so different about the WNBA? Watch a game once, I mean really watch. They have some GREAT SETS to get backdoor plays, get shooters wide open off screens, etc. They are plays and ideas that frankly most high school coaches, who's players play below the rim, could use and do well with. So when you are flipping through the channels next time and come upon a game, take the time to watch and really study what these teams do - us as high school coaches are really missing out on some good Xs and Os by passing up WNBA play - further more, what other live basketball are you going to watch on TV this summer?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Drill of the Week: De La Salle 2 Chair Series

Coach Dave Thorson from De La Salle high school in Minneapolis is one of the better teachers of the game of basketball that I've seen. This is a drill that is standard in a lot of the development workouts that I do with players. It's a great way to build quick hands and ballhandling skills. I also like the fact that it's game like, it has a finishing element to it, and players seem to like it.

The drill is very simple, all you need is a ball, basket, and two chairs - garbage cans - boxes -etc. You can run this drill from the point or the wings. I would mix it up for fun. I will explain how it works from the top of the key to keep things simple.

Set one chair up at the top of they key, the other one just inside the free throw line. As players get better at the drill move the second chair farther out and closer to the top of the key. The closer the chairs are, the quicker and better your players have to be.

The gist of the drill is that a player dribbles up to the first chair, makes a move, dribbles to the second, makes a second move and finishes at the rim. I like players to come up with their own finished and to mix them up - regular lay ups, reverse lay ups, middle floaters, middle power lay ups, two foot jump stops, etc. After a certain amount of time (1-3 minutes, I like 2 min) you change the drill so they come to the first chair, make a double move, make a single move on the second and finish. After another 1-3 minutes, it's one move on the first chair, two moves on the second. After another 1-3 minutes it's double moves on both chairs. Again, have the players mix up their finishes. It's also important to mix up their moves on the chairs. If they come up and do the same move over and over it doesn't give the same benefit of being spontaneous and coming up with different combinations and moves.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Dialing In" Your Game

Just wanted to share a quick mental imagery thought I used with a player the other day. As a player you need to be able to "dial in your focus" to whatever task is at hand. I explained it to the player that your focus is like dialing in your favorite radio station - not the easy digital type, but the old school type where you had to line up the line with the station. Many times you can hear the station, but it's not clear it's fuzzy and sometimes you can also hear another station. In order to really hear your station you need to be tuned exactly in - it needs to be perfect. This is how I explained mental concentration to the player - you might be concentrating on what you are doing but in your head you are thinking of other things as well - your girl, your friends, your life, your favorite song, etc. If you are doing this you really are not perfectly tuned in. You are getting static and other stations as well. So when you are playing basketball, before you play, you need to "tune yourself in" and put the dial squarely on basketball and the task you are performing. Great players have the ability to tune themselves in, average and poor players play with static and other stations playing in their head. It's really a simple analogy, but one that I think will resonate with players to help them imagine the level of focus they need to succeed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Drill of the Week: Oak Hill Shooting Races

I want to start putting up a drill of the week. If you have one you like, shoot me an e-mail ( and I will try to get it on here. This weeks drill comes from Coach Steve Smith of Oak Hill Academy, his shooting drill DVD is excellent. I like the drill because it's a hustle drill, it has some dribbling aspects, and works on shooting. This is a fun shooting drill to get your guys competing. It's the perfect drill to end a practice with on a hard day to lift the team's spirits.

The drill starts with two teams. Each team starts under the basket where the laneline and the baseline intersect. One player has a ball and starts on the block (each team has a side). The rest of the team lines up behind them.

On the coaches signal, the first two players dribble down to the opposite end and take a pull up jump shot from the elbow. If they make it, their team gets two points. If they miss, they get their rebound and make a layup for one point. The layup must be taken from the same side as the elbow shot (ensures both right and left hand layups). After the shot (layup or jumper) is made, the players dribble back down to the side they started on and repeat. When their second shot is made, they pass the ball to the next person in line who then goes.

You can do the scoring one of two ways. You can play to a set number of points (I like 15 or so), or you can play for a set number of time. As always, the losers have some type of motivation.