Sunday, December 26, 2010

No Time + No Space = Better Skills

I've started reading "The Talent Code" by Dan Coyle. It's a great book that every single coach should read. It deals with brain research and revolves around the idea that skill is something that you are not born with, it's something that you develop over time, I anticipate that I'll be writing about this book again.

Something that really caught my eye was something written about Brazilian soccer players and their development. In Brazil many young Brazilians in urban settings don't have large grassy areas to play. So they've developed a game called "Futsal". It's played 5 on 5, with a smaller, heavier ball, and on a smaller court. According to research in the book, a big part of Brazil's soccer dominance is this game. It forces players to play in tight spaces, it forces them to play faster, and the gives the players more touches than a normal soccer game would.

How can we do this with basketball? Some obvious ideas are using heavy balls, playing 3 on 3, etc. But what about playing 3 on 3 using 1/2 to 2/3 of the court and having the three point line be out of bounds? That way the players are packed in like sardines. They can't even go outside the three point line. They are forced to play in tight spots, the game will be quick, and in a 3 on 3 setting they get more touches. It's types of games like this that will help players develop skills more quickly.

Give this some thought: In the hay day of the New York City guards - guys like Stephon Marbury, Lloyd Daniels, Rafer Alston, Mark Jackson, Kenny Anderson, and Fly Williams - most of the players played ball on the playgrounds. Most of the playground courts were not regulation size, they were smaller which forced the players to play in traffic and tight spaces. The games were of a run and gun nature, they were fast and required quick decision making. They were also unstructured games that allowed the players to make mistakes and learn on their own- which is important in skill development. The book also talks about "deep practice" where players are correcting themselves.

What are you doing as a coach to create these situations for development? If you have anything please post and share it.


ceasordennis said...

Many of your observations can also be found in Brian McCormick's materials and books. He's an advocate of small sided games like you explain in your post.

todd said...

I love this idea and have been thinking along these lines all year with my junior high team. To develop our "hook and look" offense, which is essentially a pass and cut/ give-n-go free-form structure, I did the following:
5 guys on the floor running the offense, sticking to it's rules of 1-2 men in the key at any given time, filling spots on the perimeter, and passing and cutting. The rule restriction is that to receive the ball you must be in the key or behind the 3-pt line, not in between. Also, shots are ONLY allowed from in the key. This forces you to be IN or OUT, and cutting through the space in between with a purpose. It also forces the offense to more quickly notice if anyone in the key is open and if not to more quickly move the ball around the perimeter. To make up for the offensive restriction, only 3 or 4 guys play defense, designating 2 who must defend the key only (I've been playing with this part). I have a few other games like this for both offense and defense, and would LOVE to hear specific games/drills other coaches have developed based on this idea, which for me boils down to the notion that we have to let kids play with concepts in order to own them.

St. Croix Prep Basketball said...

I thougt this was really helpfull when my basketball team got into games against teams that put on an agressive half court zone, or alot of pressure.