Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Disconnect Between "Skills" and "Skill Development"

I haven't written for a while, being a head high school coach eats up quite a bit of time! But I want to
get back into writing, I enjoy it.

Something we've been seeing a lot on Twitter lately is the ridicule of trainers because they are having their clients doing 19 dribble moves with 19 cones, and so on. The issue, in my opinion, is that there is a disconnect between what we think of when we think "fundamentals" and what fundamental play looks like. When we think "fundamentals" we think too much about dribbling, dribble moves, and And-1 Mix-Taping someone.

I think we could all agree that fundamental basketball looks like the classic video below. Now obviously what happens in this video, and what we consider "fundamental", isn't anywhere near what you see in a lot of the videos that trainers post with their clients. Frankly it's not what a lot of coaches everywhere do with their teams for skill development. It's not what I did for skill development for the better part of the last decade.

What we need to do as trainers and coaches is define what fundamental offensive skills look like. When you see "skill work" with coaches and trainers there is too much of am emphasis on dribbling and dribble moves. Those need to be cut out and replaced with things that actually happen in games.

Below are some things that I think are fundamental offensive skills. Now I'm not going to go into HOW to teach or what to teach, but rather address some areas that I think need to be covered by players as they develop their skills.

Plays Off the Catch

  • Catch and shoot jump shots
  • Catch, attack in a straight line, variety of finishes. 
    • Regular
    • Reverse
    • Reach (defender chasing you)
    • Scoop 
    • Power (off 2)
    • Close Off and Finish Off 2
    • Pull Up-Bank (5' and in)
    • Floater (6' and in)
  • Catch drive, make a direction change and attack the rim
  • Catch, one dribble (beat defender), pull up. 

Passing and Catching
  • Right and left handed push passes
  • Pass to a cutter - moving player
  • Pass on the perimeter to a filling teammate
  • Pass away from the defense
  • Pass off the dribble (one hand)
  • Pass off the stride stop
  • Bounce pass to a cutter
  • Post entry passes
    • Up top (Defender behind)
    • Bounce low to a side
    • Lob vs. front

There are a lot of ways to go in footwork - depending on what you believe and teach. Here are some AREAS I think should be taught. 
  • Catching on the move
  • Catching stationary
  • Stopping going right and left
  • Pivoting when you've catch the ball

Teach players how to shoot! 

Post Offense
  • How to score with your back to the basket. 
    • Move and counter. 
  • How to pass out 
Decision Making
As much as possible, we need to incorporate game like situations where players must make decisions. But you could write an entire series of blogs in incorporating decision making so I'm going to leave this one short. 

These are things that we are going to work on more extensively in our program as opposed to the over dribbling. I think doing these will help your players become more "skilled" within the context of a game. I'd love to hear any thoughts or feedback on this? Any skills I'm missing or any other thoughts? 


Girls Coach said...

I agree with your assessment of focus on dribbling skills vs passing/footwork/shooting etc. Now if you are a PG I understand putting in more time in the dribbling skills but I found that me personally being a 2 or 3 player my whole life that especially as I got older and learned to play the game better I had to sharpen my passing and decision making (reading screens, PNR etc) skills more than my ball handling, in fact very rarely did I have to dribble more than 3-4 dribbles and did not need any fancy dribble combinations. Even today as a coach at the HS level I found that if kids can dribble with both hands and can see the floor with some basic change of direction and stop and go moves they will be successful. As a coach that runs some Dribble Drive offense too I think its a misconception that you need 5 ball handlers on the floor to make it work, really if a kid can drive it hard for 2-3 dribbles that's all I need to make the defense collapse and make the offense work. Give me 5 shooters anyday!

Larry Hughes said...

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Sadly, there is a huge difference between proper development and what is being used as training methods for the majority of our youth players as compared to ncaa basketball in the United States.

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This post is very impressive to me! I have a question. How can I practice these fundamental moves alone?

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