Saturday, December 1, 2012


Overall knowledge of the game.  Offensive plays and strategy.  Defensive strategy.  Calling timeouts at the right time.  Press offense.  Organizing practices.  These are all areas in which a basketball coach needs to be knowledgeable to help give their team a chance to be successful.  There is no doubt that knowledge of your X's and O's are extremely important.  If this was all there was to coaching the coaching world would have a lot more coaches in it.  Coaches with any kind of coaching experience who are reading this are probably thinking, "If it was just about X's and O's there would be a lot less stress in the job of a coach."  But those coaches also know this is not, and will never be the case.  If it were that easy, everybody would be doing it, right? 

There are thousands of situations or issues coaches are presented with throughout the season. This article is focusing on dealing with an injured player.  Unfortunately injuries are a part of sport.  Nobody likes it.  Nobody plans for it.  Nobody asks for it.  It happens.  As a coach, how you deal with the injured player and the team can make a big difference in the continued development of your team.

Tips to consider when dealing your team has an injured player
  • Make sure the injured player knows you are genuinely concerned about their injury.  Coaches care for their players, so show it by letting them know you feel bad they have to go through this injury.  A physical injury is tough enough, but the mental toll it takes on that injured player can be a grind.  Empathy from the coach can help ease their mind while they are on track to getting healthy.
  • Learn as much as you can about the player's injury.  Visit with the player and even their parents to get all the information you can.  Most likely the parents are the ones who are in contact with the doctors so you can get a report from a mom or dad about the extent of the injury.  
  • Help the player continue staying active in some manner during their injury.  For example, if the injury is to the hand you can set up a stationary bike in the gym for them to help them stay in shape until they are healthy enough to play again.
  • Keep the injured player informed on all team activities.  Make sure they are still given all the information the healthy players are getting (bus departures, weight lifting sessions, practice times, etc).
  • Make sure the injured player is continuing to be part of all new strategies and adjustments that are being made while they are not able to play.  Keep them in the gym with the team during practice so they can learn right along with their teammates.
  • Let your team know that the season will continue despite losing a player to injury.  Sometimes the rest of the team goes into a funk when they learn that a player is injured and won't be able to participate for a while, or for the rest of the season.  They feel bad because they see their injured teammate not only physically hurting, but also down in the dumps.  The fact of the matter is that you are not going to cancel the season because someone got hurt.  It's important for your team to understand this right away.  
  • Keep your team updated on the progress of the injured player.  Talk to them and let them know the timeline of their return.
  • Keep things as normal as possible.  You have a job to do, and that is to coach your team.  Losing a player to injury is something you don't want to ever happen, but it does.  As the coach you need to keep your same general philosophies on dealing with your team.  Depending on the impact the injured player has on your team you may have to change some X's and O's, but don't give your team a chance to even think for a second that your team can't continue to develop in a positive direction with the injured player.
Injuries are tough to handle both mentally and physically.  But remember coaches that you are the leader of that team.  And how you deal with that injury with your injured player, and your team, will be noticed by all your players.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012


You have to have a passion for coaching if you are going to make a career out of it.  You just can't go through the motions and do just enough to get by.  If you are not "all in" your player will see right through you.  Doing just enough won't be good enough and if this happens you won't be coaching too long.

The second you think you know it all, you will quickly be reminded that you don'tIf you think you know it all, you know nothing.  There are so many resources out there for coaches to continue learning and growing:  coaching clinics, dvds, books, internet, other coaches, etc.  It is important that you remain a student of the game.

Surrounding yourself with good people makes a better environment for everyone involved.  The more you are on the same page with the people you work with or coach, the more organized your program will be.  Find people who believe in the same things you believe in. 

Set expectations for coaches and players.  If your players understand what is expected they will then have a better chance to be successful.  Set expectations for how you want your players to represent our program, set them for each drill you do, and set them for each game.  It is unrealistic to assume that things will go exactly as you want them just because expectations were set ahead of time.  But...Vince Lombardi said it best when he said, "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

Coaching is about dealing with people, so have to know how to handle and deal with people.  You might know everything about basketball but if you don’t know how to deal with people it doesn’t matter what you know

Monday, October 15, 2012


"TALK!!!!!"  How many times have you ever said that to your team?  I'm guessing you have all had your blood pressure rise because a player or players on your team neglected to talk on defense.  Communication on defense is just as important as a team's ability to guard the ball, box out, or getting to proper help position. 

If you want your players to talk then you have to do more than ask them to talk.  You have to put your team in practice situations where they are required to talk to be successful.  The more you do this, the more they do it naturally.  Eventually it will become second nature with your players.

Below are some simple, yet effective, drills to use that will help promote communication with your players on the defensive end of the floor.

Play 3-on-2, 4-on-3, or 5-on-4.  You can do this in half court or full court situations.  These drills put the defense at a tremendous disadvantage because they have one less player than the offense.  Remind your players because of the disadvantage not to be discouraged on defense if the offense has success from time to time.  In these drills you need to require your players to call out "ball!" when they are on the ball, "help!" when they are in help position, and "deny!" if they are in a denial position (or "gap" if you play a gap control defense).

There are several ways to defend ball screens.  No matter what your philosophy is on defending ball screens you will need your players to talk on defense.  You can do simple 2-on-2 drills where the offense must set ball screens while the defense defends them the way you require.  Players must call out the screen and side it is being set on.  Also, if you are trapping the dribbler you will need a buzz word the players will call out to signify the defense on the screen.  Example:  "Hot!"  If your philosophy is to hedge on the dribbler, you may also want a buzz word for that to signify and remind the defenders what they are doing.  Example:  "Bump!"

Another good ball screen defense drill is to play cut throat at one basket.  You can set a rule that when the team is on offense they must set ball screens.  This will give the defense many opportunities to communicate and work on their ball screen defense.

These are just a few ways to help promote communication amongst your team when they are on defense.  The more your players talk, the more aware they are.  And the more aware they are, the tougher it is for your opponent to score.

Good luck!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The purpose of this drill is to put the defense at a big
disadvantage while working on on help rotations away from the ball to protect the basket. Defensive
players will work on their defensive positioning on the floor, effort, and communication. Talking to each other is extremely important on defense, and this drill reveals that importance.

The drill is set up with four offensive players spaced around the three point line.  Each of the three defenders will guard one of the offensive players. One offensive player will remain unguarded to start the drill. 

The offensive players pass the ball around the perimeter, and the defensive players let the passes go.
When the ball is being passed around the defenders will get to their proper defensive position, remain in a good stance, and call out either "Ball" "Help" or "Deny". When the ungaurded offensive player receives a pass the drill becomes live.  The unguarded offensive player in this diagram is 4. When 4 receives the pass they have to try and attack the basket.  4 can shoot, drive, or pass. The defense must rotate to stop the ball, sink and fill on the backside. This requires lots of effort and communication by the defensive players. The rep for this drill ends when the offense scores or the defense gets a turnover or a defensive rebound.  Rotate so players get work on both defense and offense.

In this diagram you can see the rotations where players are sinking and filling on the backside so there are no layups given up.

IMPORTANT: It has to be stressed to the players how important it is to talk during this drill. It helps players understand where they need to be during this scramble situation.

Note: This is a scramble situation where the defense is at a disadvantage, so the offense may get score some baskets. Keep encouraging the defense to hustle, talk, and they will get their shrare of stops.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


The Jaguar drill focuses on transition offense and transition defense in a 3-on-2 setting.  Players get one possession per rep, but it also serves as a good drill to keep your players in shape as they get many reps throughout the duration of the drill.

Players 1-2-3-4-5 start on the baseline.  The middle player (3) starts with the ball.  In this drill players 1, 3, and 5 are on offense.  Players 2 and 4 are on defense.

On the coach's command players 1, 3, and 5 will sprint (3 is dribbling) to the opposite baseline.  Once they get to the opposite baseline they immediately sprint back towards the basket they started at to play offense.  Meanwhile players 4 and 5 sprint to the opposite end elblows at the free throw line.  They will immediately sprint back to play defense.

Defenders must communicate in this drill.  Based on your defensive philosophy in a 3-on-2 situation, you will want your players to communicate your philosophy in this situation.  Who has the first pass?  Who has the second pass?  When do you want the top player to pick up the ball?  These are just a few questions to consider.

Coaches can have their teams work on a variety of things or add particular rules, like:
*Offense can only make two passes before a shot must be taken.
*No shots allowed outside the lane area.  Players must attack the basket.
*Defense must force at least two passes before a shot is taken or they run a sprint.
*Offense cannot use the dribble after the first pass is made.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


If you had to list the priorities and main objectives of your basketball program what would they be?  If you were to ask one hundred coaches chances are you would not get two answers that are exactly the same.  It is important for your program to have some specific priorities and objectives that every coach knows from the head coach and down through your youth programs. These priorities and objectives should be kept in mind when you make out every practice plan and prepare for every game.  Having these priorities and objectives are great, but putting them into action is what's needed.

Below is an example of what a program's priorities and objectives might look like.  As stated earlier, there is no one perfect example as every program's list will look different. 

1. Our teams will represent our community the right way.
2. Our players will enjoy being a part of this program.
3. Our players will know that our team/program is bigger than themselves.
4. Our teams will play an aggressive style of basketball.
5. Our team will take pride in playing team defense.
6. Our team will not be out-worked.  We will take pride in winning 50-50 battles.
7. Our coaches will be organized.
8. Our teams will be prepared, know what is to be done, and will understand our gameplans.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Being strong

Divide players into groups of three.  Each group needs one basketball.

The rule for the defense is to foul the offensive player.  Be aggressive with them without the intent to be too over zealous.  But be physical by getting your hands on the offense trying to force them into being off balance.

The drill starts with 1 having the ball.  2 is on defense. 3 is on offense 12 to 15 feet away.  1 starts to pivot while 3 v-cuts and looks for a pass and calling "ball".  1 will continue pivoting until they can get clear to make a pass to 3.

When 1 passes the ball to 3, 2 replaces 1.  1 now sprints to 3 (who now has the ball) and plays physical defense on them.  3 will pivot with the ball while 2 v-cuts and calls for the ball.

3 will now pass to 2.  1 replaces 3.  3 sprints to 2 and defends. 

Repeat this process for 30 seconds.  Blow the whistle to stop the drill.  Give the players a short rest and repeat.  3 thirty second sessions give the players a good workout.

Allow the offensive players one dribble before they pass (if needed) to get a better passing angle.


Thank you Coach B for taking the time to share and honor a coach that influenced you.  Your input helps us all.  We welcome ALL  coaches  to help with the share each week.  Check back next Saturday for our question.

This week's Coaches Share question:  Here is your chance to honor a coach you had during your playing career.  Who influenced you in a positive way? How was that coach able to make that positive impact on you? 

"My high school coach is a guy who taught me many things other than how to play basketball.  Sure, he had a good basketball mind, and he was successful throughout his career.  Coach retired five years ago after 30 years of service to our profession.  When I go back home and see him, I still call him "Coach" even though we are now both adults.  I still respect this man and he will always be 'Coach' to me.  One of the greatest things he taught me was to be a good teammate.  He was always reminding us that a season can survive without any one player, but the season cannot survive without a team.  We knew we were a part of something bigger than ourselves.  I try to do the same with my players every year.  Thanks Coach!"
~Coach B (IL)

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Here is your chance to help other coaches by providing your own ideas, philosophy, and opinions.  Saturday Coaches Share is a way for YOU to help other coaches.  Each Saturday this blog gives you an opportunity to comment on a different basketball related topic so our readers can learn from your opinions, philosophies, and experiences.

If you are interested in commenting on this week's Saturday Coaches Share all you have to do is email your response to before 8:00 AM (CST) Sunday, September 30.  Then look for your response to be posted on Sunday's blog.

Today's Coaches Share question:  Here is your chance to honor a coach you had during your playing career.  Who influenced you in a positive way? How was that coach able to make that positive impact on you?

Remember coaches learn from each other.  Share your thoughts on today's question and see it in Sunday's blog post. 

Friday, September 28, 2012


Think.  Today's blog post will be keeping it simple.  Simple, but potentially powerful if you take action.  The following is a list of random questions that coaches should think about from time to time.  This particular blog post doesn't give answers or suggestions, it's to get you to think,  Enjoy!

*If you are a head coach have you done anything lately for your assistant coaches?
*If you are an assistant coach have you done something lately for another coach on your staff?
*When is the last time you met with your captain(s) to talk leadership?
*When is the last time you let your youth coaches know you appreciate them?
*How often do you sit down and share thoughts and ideas with your A.D.?
*When is the last time your staff got together to talk about your program?
*Do your players know your core coaching beliefs well enough to the point where they could run a practice effectively without you?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


This set play will give you a quick and easy look off of a lob pass.

1 starts with the ball at the top of the key.  4 and 5 are post type players and will start at each elbow.  2 and 3 will start in the corners beyond the three point line.  You will want to have your best three point shooter start on the same side as 1 will initially dribble the ball to make the play look like you are setting that player up for a three point shot.

5 steps out to set a ball screen for 1.  1 dribbles hard off the screen.  At the same time 4 sprints to set a screen for 2.  2 comes off the screen hard and then stops at the free throw line (about a step off the ball side elbow) and sets a back screen for 5.  5 uses the screen and looks for the lob pass over the top from 1. 

3 will have to read the defense to decide where they will go. If there defense is giving too much help in the lane they will want to fill cut up the three point line.  If they are not over helping in the lane 3 will stay in the corner.


The BATTLE DRILL is a three person post player drill that focuses on scoring in the post.  The drill also includes a game-like situation and promotes physical/aggressive play with the ball.

The drill starts with the coach starting on the right wing with a basketball.  The offensive player starts on the left block, which is the opposite side as the ball.  A defender guards the offensive post player.  The third player starts on the baseline underneath the basket.

The offensive player must score twice before they are out.

The offensive player must cut across the lane and gain post position.  The coach can dribble to get a better passing angle.  The defensive player must play "live" defense.  When the offensive player is open the coach will pass them the ball and they will attempt to score.

After the offensive player scores or the defensive player gets a rebound, the ball is passed back out to the coach.  The defensive player steps off and the next player steps in to play defense on the same offensive player and the drill is repeated.  The defensive players keep rotating after each possession until offensive player scores twice.

The offensive player is finished with their rep when they score twice.   Having a fresh defensive player defend each possession forces the offensive player to keep a focus while they are getting tired.

Monday, September 24, 2012


The start of the season is still weeks away.  Coaches have all kinds of ideas for their offense, defense, and special teams.  Some of the things that the players will be taught will be a repeat from previous years, but chances are there are some new wrinkles added to the team's X and O inventory.  Regardless if something is new or old to the players TIME will be needed to implement it into your team's arsenal before the first game of the season.

How do you know when to put everything in?  The answer to that is to create an INVENTORY PUT-IN CHART.  This chart is a pacing guide for you as you map out the start of your season.  Coaches must have a plan well in advance to figure out when to put in each of their X's and O's.  You can't fly by the seat of your pants and do things on a whim as you start your season...plan it out!

What is an Inventory Put-In Chart?  What you need to do is create a calendar that starts with your first day of practice through your first game of the season.  On another piece of paper you will need to write down all the of the X's, O's, and special teams you need to have in before the first game of the season.

Prioritize.  You need to decide which is the most important for your team to focus on before the first game.  This will become your top priority and you will want to make sure that is put in first.  Continue from there through each practice leading up to your first game.  You can't do it all early in the season.  Coaches must realize that you don't need to have every single set play, BLOB, SLOB, or defense in prior to your first game.  Start small and work your way up to adding more as the season progresses.

One thing to consider is to add one or two new things a day for the first few weeks.  Doing this will allow you to focus part of your practice in implementing X's and O's, while using the remainder of your practice to review X's and O's already put in and skill work.  If you decide to spend an entire practice implementing a bunch of different X's and O's you are wasting time.  The result of doing this would be too much standing around by the players as they listen to the coach talk, and an overload of information for the players.

Below is an example of a two week "Put-In" chart.  Listed are only the new things being put in.  Obviously you will be reviewing others X's and O's you have already put in throughout the two weeks leading up to the first game.

Nov. 12                Nov. 13                    Nov. 14                   Nov. 15                     Nov. 16
5 Defense            Transition O            Wildcat Zone O       Set Play 4 vs Zone    121 Press
Flex Offense       Press O                     55 Defense                                                BLOB 1
                            Set Play 1 vs Man

Nov. 19                     Nov. 20              Nov. 21                          Nov. 22              Nov. 23

Set Play 2 vs Man    BLOB 3             Set Play 5 vs Zone         Jump Ball          SLOB 1
BLOB 2                   121 Soft Press    Full Court :04 seconds  Free Throw D    Pre-Game
                                                                                                                             BLOB 3

Nov. 26                       Nov. 27
SLOB 2                      GAME #1
Set Play 3 vs Man

Sunday, September 23, 2012


"Thanks" goes out to the coaches who responded to this week's Coaches Share.  Your input helps us all.  All coaches are invited to help with the share each week.

This week's Coaches Share question:  Coaches are always making changes with their teams/programs during the off-season; some big, some small.  Some changes are philosophical, some relate to practice, and some with X's and O's.  Which changes are you most excited about with your team/program for this season?

"I am mostly excited about the new roster we will have this year."
~Coach Roberts

"We made a program-wide decision to make some changes to our man-to-man defense.  We are now going to be more of a pressure team in the passing lanes.  We had been more of a gap control team, and it worked fine for us.  But we are going to take more of an aggressive philosophy in hopes of creating more turnovers.  We need to speed up the game."
~Coach R.T. (TN)

"We are going to be making an effort to shoot more in our practices.  Trying to incorporate as much shooting with drills that have other focuses to it.  Our biggest question mark coming into the season is our ability to score so hopefully this will help."
~Coach Mark T. (TX)

"Our coaching staff added another coach.  I am very excited at the options we will now have with having another coach in the gym."
~Coach Lori

"The biggest changes we are making this year are with our side out of bounds plays.  We have a series of them we are going to use that will give us more quick scoring options."
~Coach B (IL)

Saturday, September 22, 2012


We would enjoy hearing from you.  Saturday Coaches Share is a way for YOU to help other coaches.  Each Saturday this blog gives you an opportunity to comment on a different basketball related topic so our readers can learn from your opinions, philosophies, and experiences.

If you are interested in commenting on this week's Saturday Coaches Share all you have to do is email your response to before 8:00 AM (CST) Sunday, September 23.  Then look for your response to be posted on Sunday's blog.

Today's Coaches Share question:  Coaches are always making changes with their teams/programs during the off-season; some big, some small.  Some changes are philosophical, some relate to practice, and some with X's and O's.  Which changes are you most excited about with your team/program for this season?

Remember coaches learn from each other.  Share your thoughts on today's question and see it in Sunday's blog post. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


Superhero Rip Through Drill is an offensive drill only.  Defense will be asked to do things that you wouldn't normally teach, but it is necessary for them to do it in this drill to teach an aggressive rip through.

1 starts with the ball at the top of the key.  2 starts in the corner.  They are offense.  X is the defense and starts on the wing, just inside the three point line.

2 will cut to the wing where X is located.  1 passes to 2.  On the catch X will attempt to grab and steal the ball from 2.  Be physical, and foul without being too grossly aggressive.  X will NOT stay with the offensive player in the drill.

On the catch 2 will immediately inside pivot as this will keep the ball away from the defense.  They will execute a proper rip through and attack the basket and score.  X does not guard them once the rip through takes place.  Make sure to do this drill from both wings.

Drill Variation
*Have a coach stand at the basket with a football pad and bump the offensive player as they attempt to score.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Have you ever wondered what you have to do to get your players to "want" to play hard for you as a coach?  Here are four easy techniques to use that can help develop a connection with your players that could lead to a stronger desire to play hard.
  1. Use a player's name out loud when they are getting praise.  Use their name in a smaller voice when you are pointing out a mistake.  People naturally give you their attention when they hear their name.  If players hear their name loudly when it is connected to positives it can inspire them to continue to do the right things.  You are at risk of having them go in a shell if you constantly have them them hear their own name with negatives connected to it.  There is a time and place for harsh tones, but pick and choose those times instead of doing it often, and it will have more of an impact.    names + a positive = desire to succeed.
  2. Expectations should be set for players and the entire team.  Letting your players and team know what is expected for each drill helps them understand what is to be done.  Be clear in the expectations you give and you will see your players play quicker and stronger because they know exactly what is to be done.  Spending an extra minute before a drill explaining the expectations might save you more time in correcting during the drill.
  3. Learn from mistakes and losses.  Nobody likes mistakes.  Nobody likes to lose.  Coaches have to realize that there are teaching moments after mistakes have been made or after you have experienced a loss.  Take time to teach so the possibility of it happening again is less than before.  This may require the coach to take a moment, step back, take a breath, and think about why it happened.  Analyze it quickly and then speak.  A loss is only a bad thing if you don't learn from it.  Your players will see that you aren't reacting out of anger and will work hard for you as a result. 
  4. Let your players know you appreciate them.  Take a quick moment to let your team, a player, or a group of players know you appreciate something about them.  Point out something to them that might be something different than their basketball abilities.  Let them know you notice they are a good teammate.  Let them know you saw them try to pick up a teammate that may be having a bad day.  You have to see your players as people too, not just basketball players.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Full Court Catch Up Drill is a 1-on-1 transition defense drill.  The drill puts 
defense at a disadvantage to start and forces them to give maximum effort to
prevent the offense from getting to the other end of the court without having a defender in front of them.  The goal of the defender is to get in between the dribbler and the basket.

1 and 2 are on offense.  X's are defense.  The X's each start on the block,
right in front of the offensive player, and facing the baseline.  Coach stands in the lane with a ball in each hand.  To start the drill Coach will pass a ball to 1, then wait for a count of 2 and pass the other ball to 2.

As soon as 1 and 2 catch the ball they will start their speed dribble down the court.  The defense starts when they see the person they are defending catches the ball.  When their person catches the ball they will sprint to touch the baseline in front of them (which will only be a step or two away) and then sprint down court to get ahead of the person they are defending.  Once they get in front of the dribbler they will try to force them to change directions with the dribble as many times as they can.  When the offensive player gets to the opposite baseline the rep is over.

*Focus on the plant foot when the defender touches the baseline to turn and sprint back on defense.
*The defender should get their entire body in front of the dribbler and square up on them.

*You can make the drill a contest by seeing which player can get totally in front of the ballhandler furthest in the back court.  Make that the standard for the rest of the team the next time you do the drill.
*Split your team into two groups.  Keep track of how many times each group makes the offense turn throughout the entire drill.  The team that makes the dribblers turn the most, wins.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Thank you to the coaches that took the time to share their thoughts with other coaches.  Check back again next week and your thoughts will be welcomed on our next topic.

Coaches Share question:  Let's say Team X has a reasonably comfortable lead in the second half of a game.  The coach of the team with the lead substitutes players into the game that have not played yet.  Do you feel the team with the lead should hold the ball a little bit before looking to score so it doesn't appear they are running up the score?  Or do these players deserve to play the game like the players in the regular rotation get to play?  SIDE NOTE:  Let's assume the team with the lead is not a full court pressing team for the sake of the discussion.

"Team X is doing the right thing by putting players into the game whom have not yet played, you cant tell players who work just as hard in practice as the starters to just pass the ball around, they deserve to be able to showcase there skills and prove to there coach they deserve more playing time with the regulars and this is a way of doing that."
 ~Coach Ken Lessig/Head Coach Northgate HS/Womens Basketball

"I feel the only thing that should be be held in check is any type of full court pressure or trapping.  Other than that your substitutes should be allowed to play the game the same way as the team's philosophy.  I don't think a team, substitutes or not, should ever have to change their style of play no matter what the size of the lead or the time left in the game (except for full court pressure or trapping)."
~Coach B (High School Boys Coach from IL) 

"All of the coaches I've ever worked with say "do what you do". I think you should out in your backups but if they are running the offense and scoring then there isn't much you can do. We had an example of that this past year. We were up big on a team. And jumped out of our half court trap. A big percentage of our offense comes from that defense. We went back into our match up zone. While the other team picked up offensively, we failed to score in the 4th quarter. I bothered our head coach until our next game. He spent the next few days telling me, "do what you do". And what we did was our half court trap."
~Coach K.T.

"I don't think the leading team should change their game plan at all. The substitutes wouldn't want to be treated any different from the starters. In fact, the players might regard it as a little disrespectful to slow the ball down and 'take it easy on them'. The substitutes need to get use to the real game if they won't to improve to that level."
~Coach Mac.

"You let the subs play - they deserve the opportunity to get out there and show what they can do - lead or not."
~Coach John Carrier (MN)

"The coach of the team ahead has to be careful because I've been at this long enough to know that what goes around, comes around. I do feel every single player on the roster has the right to play the way the coach expects.  Each player deserves that.  But there is a point where you don't want to cross that line and look like you're trying to run up the score."
~Coach B.W.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Saturday Coaches Share is a way for YOU to help other coaches.  Each Saturday this blog gives you an opportunity to comment on a different basketball related topic so our readers can learn from your experiences.

If you are interested in commenting on this week's Saturday Coaches Share all you have to do is email your response to before 8:00 AM Sunday, September 9.  Then look for your response to be posted on Sunday's blog.

Today's Coaches Share question:  Let's say Team X has a reasonably comfortable lead in the second half of a game.  The coach of the team with the lead substitutes players into the game that have not played yet.  Do you feel the team with the lead should hold the ball a little bit before looking to score so it doesn't appear they are running up the score?  Or do these players deserve to play the game like the players in the regular rotation get to play?  SIDE NOTE:  Let's assume the team with the lead is not a full court pressing team for the sake of the discussion.

Remember coaches learn from each other.  Share your thoughts on today's question and see it in Sunday's blog post. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Have you ever coached a player or players that had a competitive spirit you wished every player had?  I'm guessing your answer is "yes."  All players have a sense of competitiveness in them or they wouldn't be involved with your team.  But there are always a few that have a higher level of competitive spirit than the average person.

I was reminded of this during a recent season when I was having a pre-game discussion with one of our players.  I was also reminded how special it is to be able to coach people like this.  I'm sure some of you reading this can connect with this story.

Our opponent that night had been struggling in recent games, and we were in the middle of a winning streak.  On paper were supposed to win, but my way of thinking never allows me to feel too confident going into any game no matter who our opponent is.  

As I watched our team go through warmups I was thinking about the defensive assignments I was going to give our players when we went back into the locker room.  I thought we had an overall advantage, but their star player was going to be a tough matchup for us.  Their star player is a taller and stronger guard that could attack the basket and shoot from the perimeter.  One of our starters usually was assigned the opponent's best perimeter player, and more often than not our player did a great job in containing that player.  For some reason though I didn't like this matchup for us.

So I called our player out of the warmup line and the following conversation occurred:

Coach:  "I'm kind of concerned about our matchup on their #15 tonight."
Player:  "Why?"
Coach:  "You know normally I assign you to the other team's best perimeter player, but the size of this
                player concerns me.  I'm not sure it's a good matchup for you."
Player:  "Ok. What are your saying, Coach?"
Coach:  "I'm thinking we should have someone else guard that player."
Player:  "Why would you want to do that, Coach?  I'll be fine."

Needless to say that is all the convincing I needed to give this player of ours the tough defensive assignment.  Our player went out and played another spectacular defensive game and helped us to a win.  The win was great, but what I will remember the most from that night is how one of my players looked me straight in the eye with total confidence and conviction that they would do what was needed for our team to be successful. 

A coach's job can be a bit easier when we get a chance to coach players with a competitive spirit like this player has.  I can tell you this coach sure is thankful.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WOLF DRILL: Defensive Intensity & Toughness

The WOLF DRILL is a defensive drill that allows you to work on a variety of defensive skills in one rep:  closeouts, on the ball defense, blocking out and taking a charge. 

Three offensive players align around the perimeter, one at the top of the key and 2 and 3 on the wings.  One defender starts with a basketball and under the basket.

X1 rolls the ball out to 1.  X1 will execute a closeout.  They play one-on-one.  1 gets three dribbles to try and score.

 As soon as X1 and 1 complete their part of the drill, the ball is immediately passed out to 2.  X1 will now sprint to 2 and execute a closeout.  2 will immediately catch and shoot.  X1 must box out 2 after the shot.  Both players attempt to get the rebound.

If 2 makes the shot X1 immediately passes the ball to 3.  If 2 misses and 1 gets the rebound they will immediately pass to 3.  If 2 gets and offensive rebound, they play until 2 scores or X1 gets a rebound or turnover.
On the catch 3 will immediately attack the basket off the dribble to attempt to score on a layup.  Meanwhile X1 is sprinting over to set up to take a charge outside the lane (if possible).

Players rotate 1 to 2.  2 to 3.  3 to defender.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



*Three players line up in lane facing rim.  One on each block and one just inside the free throw line
*Remaining players divide evenly into five lines standing on the three point line facing the rim.  One in each corner, one line at each wing, one line at top of key. Lines are numbered
1 through 5 (players must know numbers).

*Coach stands about 15 feet away from the rim, anywhere, with the ball.

*Coach yells three out of the five numbers (for example 2, 4, 5).
*Coach shoots the ball and everyone in the gym yells "shot!"
*Players from the three lines called must crash the basket hard as soon as ball is released.
*The three players in the lane must turn and locate crashers, make body contact, and secure the rebound. Do not just look at the ball and rim.
*Players must get three rebounds before being allowed to leave the lane and get in crashing lines.

*Keep track of how many reps it takes for each group to get their three consecutive rebounds.  The group that takes the least amount of reps, wins the drill.

*Make players get more or less than three rebounds before leaving the lane depending on the skill of your team or rebounders.

Monday, September 10, 2012


1 starts with the ball at the top of the key area.  The rest of the group forms a single line at the half court line.

The drill starts with 2 sprinting to a spot beyond the three point line (wing area) and 1 passes them the ball.  1 must make a good pass to 2's target area so they are able to catch and shoot.  After making the pass 1 becomes the rebounder.

After shooting the ball 2 will replace 1 at the top of the key area.  1 grabs the rebound and passes to 2.  1 then sprints around the outside of the drill to the end of the line.

As soon as 1 grabbed the rebound then 3 sprints to the shooting spot behind the three point line.  2 passes to 3 for a shot.

*Have a group doing the same drill on the other half of the court.
*Do not have more than five players in a group to ensure high amounts of reps.
*Have your shooters call for the ball with their hands and feet ready.
*Switch sides so players get reps on both sides of the court.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Thank you to the coaches who added to this weekend's COACHES SHARE.  Taking the time to share your knowledge with us is appreciated as you are helping us all on our path of continued improvement.

What is your philosophy on 5-on-5 scrimmages (full court or half court) in your practices?  Do you do it every day?  Do you have any special ways of running your 5-on-5 time in practices?

"When we have our team go 5-on-5 live in practice we keep score and every basket counts as 1 point. It is rare for us to have these sessions go past 3 points. Keep them shorter sessions and then every possession counts."

~Coach R.S. (IA)

"We finish our practices with five-on-five scrimmages. We will do at least fifteen minutes."
~Coach B (IL)

"Once we are into our season and the majority of the X's and O's are set I have a larger scrimmage session in practices.  I have one or two focuses (one offense and one defense) for our players to work on each day during these scrimmages."
~Coach Williams

"We will play for a determined time and keep score. To promote effort and hustle we will add a point for an effort play.  This play must stand out and we don't hand them out for a standard basketball play.  It must be a play that signifies what we want out of our players."
~Coach Sean R.

"We don't do a lot of controlled 5-on-5.  We do most of our team stuff in a continuous drill that is run full court.  It fits our style of play and we coach them "on the run" during this drill."
~Coach Ray (CA)

"We do some 5 on 5 scrimmages but we always time it. So we put sometype of situation on the line. For example: 2 minutes left and Blue team is down by 4. We like to do the 5 on 5 game type situations so we can see how our girls react under pressure.  When we do half court 5 on 5, the focus is in bounds plays and defensive close outs. We do not do it everyday, we will do it more often as the season goes on. We usally always conduct the 5 on 5 at the end of practice. We also put some incentive out there, like push ups or sprints"
 ~Drew Lyness/Assistant Girls Basketball Coach/Soddy Daisy High School

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Saturday Coaches Share is a way for YOU to help other coaches.  Each Saturday this blog gives you an opportunity to comment on a different basketball related topic so our readers can learn from your experiences.

If you are interested in commenting on this week's Saturday Coaches Share all you have to do is email your response to before 8:00 AM Sunday, September 9 (tomorrow).  Then look for your response to be posted on Sunday's blog.

Today's Coaches Share question:  What is your philosophy on 5-on-5 scrimmages (full court or half court) in your practices?  Do you do it every day?  Do you have any special ways of running your 5-on-5 time in practices?

Remember coaches learn from each other.  Share your thoughts on today's question and see it in tomorrow's blog post. 

Friday, September 7, 2012


Guiding your youth coaches is important to the future success of teams in your basketball program.  These are extremely valuable people that are giving their time to help your program.  Here are ten things to consider that might help them feel more comfortable with what their doing, and in turn will help them be more successful. 

1. Give them a list of skills that each grade level should be (at a minimum) should be working on.
2. Give them access to drills. One idea is to create a booklet of drills for them to use. It can be used as a reference guide throughout their season.
3. Give them a list of basketball coaching websites that is applicable to them.
4. Host a coaching clinic for your youth coaches.  During the clinic you can show them, and have them practice specific skills you want them to teach.  Another idea is to record the clinic and give each youth coach a copy so they can refer back to it throughout their season.
5. Attend a practice of each youth team.  Let the youth coach know ahead of time that you will be stopping in to watch or help out.
6. Give them a playbook of what you want them to implement at their grade level. It is important that they start to build the foundation of what you are doing offensively and defensively throughout your program.  Allow them some freedom to add some of their own ideas but the core principles of your offense and defense should be taught.
7. Invite the youth coaches to your own practices.
8. Keep in touch with them through email, texts, phone calls, or visit in person.  Let them know you are available to them.
9. Teach them the things that are of value to you as a coach and what you want all the players in your basketball program to value. 
10. Let them know what they do is important - because it is.  The youth coaches in your program are helping build your future teams.  They need to know they are appreciated.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


2 lines (1 and 2) start along the lane line along the baseline.  Two coaches start out on the perimeter, beyond the three point line, and wider than the lane line extended.  One coach starts with a ball.

The first two players in each line get the first rep.  Because the ball is on 1's side, 1 will sprint out and closeout on the coach with the ball.  2 will sprint out to a help position.  Both players need to be in a good defensive stance.

The coach with the ball will immediately throw a reversal pass to the other coach.  1 will now get to help position while 2 closes out on the ball.

The coaches will make a total of three passes with this group.  Each pass that is made 1 and 2 will either get to a closeout on the ball or to help position.  Immediately after the third pass the first two players are out and the next two sprint in.  The coaches do NOT wait for the next two players to get in to start their passing of the ball.  This forces the next two players to sprint in to the drill.  The drill continues this way until every player has received three reps.

COACHING POINT:  It is important to also teach communication in this drill.  There should be constant chatter by the two defensive players in the drill.  When guarding the ball they should be yelling, "Ball!"  When in help position they should be yelling "Help!"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This free throw shooting drill adds requires a little more focus by players if they are to win the drill.  There are a few different ways to run this drill as you can run it as a team, in small groups, or individually.

Regardless of how you decide to run the drill the scoring will remain the same.
Made free throw that is a swish = +1 point
Made free throw that hits rim and/or backboard = +0 points
Missed free throw = -1 point

Have each player on your team shoot a designated number of free throws using the scoring system listed above.  If you have each player shoot one free throw, the goal should be to achieve half the points per number of players.  For example if you have 14 players on your roster the goal should be to get 7 points.  That means 7 swishes.  You can adjust the scoring however you like.

If you run the drill with small groups you could have each group compete against each other. The group with the highest points, wins.  Doing the drill in smaller groups allows your players to shoot more free throws.

If you do the drill by having your players keep individual scores have a record score for the team to try and beat.  For example, if a player gets a score of 6 when shooting ten free throws and that is the high score then this is the score the players will try to beat next time you do the drill. 

Monday, September 3, 2012


Flat is a BLOB play that is effective mostly against a man-to-man defense.
ALIGNMENT: The most important spot in the alignment is having a post who can attack off the dribble line up at the block in front of the inbounder. The other post player will line up on the opposite block. 1 will line up in the corner
opposite of the inbounder. 2 will line up in the corner beyond the three point line on the same side as the inbounder.

4 must engage their defender as they line up. Do not stand and allow their defender to play anywhere they like. 4 should try to get their defender pinned on their right or left hip, depending which way they like to face.  To start the play 3 lobs the ball over the top of 4 so 4 catches the ball midway
up the lane. 4's back will be to the basket on the catch.

As the ball is being passed to 4, 5 sets a screen for 1. 1 must get to the top of the key area.  3 will cut to the side away from the ball to clear out the entire ball side.  4 must be in an athletic/strong position with the ball because their back is to the basket or baseline.  When 4 catches the ball, 2 will cut hard around 4 to give the impression of a hand off.  4 fakes the hand off to 2, then takes one dribble to the outside and attacks the basket.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Thank you to the coaches who took the time to respond to our Saturday Coaches Share.  Your input inspires us all.

The topic for this Coaches Share is:  What is the routine of your team prior to taking the floor to warmups?  What do you and your team do to prepare?
 "We typically get to the gym and hour before game to stretch and take care of any pre-game business.  If there is no game prior to ours, the team will get some shots up.  35 minutes prior the team goes into locker room or team room and talk scouting report and game plan. I leave and my team has "Team Time", last year they talked about goals and then did an unusual pre game chant.  I had a manager tape it one day and the girls were getting "Ray Lewis" excited prior to game.  Screaming, yelling, and cheering to the captains commands.  It was pretty cool to see how much they enjoyed each other and coming together at the end before hitting the floor. 
The team then comes out for pre game warmup routine and at the 5:00 mark I bring them in for a quick recap of scouting report and a couple words of encouragement.  They go back out and do full speed lay-ups to get a legs and blood flowing and it's game time." 
~Coach Roger DiCarlo
 "We meet as a team as soon as halftime of the JV game is over.  During this meeting we go over our scouting report and game plan.  We then have a different player speak before each game.  This player will give their teammates some type of inspirational message.  In the past some players use a quote and apply that quote to that night's game, or to a situation the team may be experiencing at that time of the season.  Others have spoken about the importance of that night's game and they highlight major points of the game plan.  By that time the team is ready to go through their individual stretching routine where they are allowed to wear headphones and listen to their favorite music.  Then it is time to take the floor."
~Coach Barry (WI)
"We found every player has a different routine and environment that works for them. Some loud music, some quiet reflection, etc.  We would then meet for 5-8 minutes, go over scouting report, matchups, what we need to do,give them their notecard with 3 focus.  Last year we experimented with it and found before the game players did best when getting self mentally ready. We would take the floor and not go back into the locker room."
~Coach Carrier (MN)

"We have found over the years that the time before you take the floor for pre-game warmups needs to be structured.  The more structured it is the more our players appeared to be focused and ready to play.  We go over scouting reports first.  Then we give our team a specific message for the game.  Then we give the players some time to do what they feel they have to do to get ready to play by giving our team five to ten minutes to themselves in the locker room.  At that time they are on their own to get ready to play.  Whatever they do at that time is up to them.  Music is usually a part of this time.  The coaches will then notify the players when it is time to start warmups on the court before the game."
~Coach T.L. (TN)

"We make sure our team is in the locker room by the end of the 3rd quarter of the JV boys game. At this time, We will talk to the girls for about 8-10 minutes about what we were are going to do and our approach for the game. Pre Game warmups are 15 minutes long and we have a routine of stretching and getting loose. Shooting mid range jumpers and free throws and working on Close Outs before it is time for the tip!"
~Drew Lyness/Assistant Girls Basketball Coach/Soddy Daisy High School

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Coaches help coaches by sharing.  Email your response to today's Coaches Share question and have your response added to tomorrow's blog entry.  Your response can be as long or short as you like.  Email your response by 8:00 CST Sunday (September 2 - tomorrow) to

QUESTION:  What is the routine of your team prior to taking the floor to warmups?  What do you and your team do to prepare?

Email your response to and be part of the discussion.  Your response is then posted in tomorrow's blog.

Friday, August 31, 2012


You require your players to do certain things in game situations. These requirements could also be considered expectations. There is one question a coach needs to ask themselves about these expectations:

If you expect it, are you practicing it enough?

One example of an expectation coaches have for their players is to step in and take a charge on defense.  Do you actually practice taking a charge?  Taking a charge is a part of the game that needs to be drilled so players can feel comfortable stepping in and give up their body for their team.

Another example is diving on the floor for a loose ball.  Do you practice this?  If you expect your players to do it in a game then it needs to be practiced so it becomes second nature to your players.

A third example is setting and using a screen.  Do you practice it?  Your players probably know when and where screens are to be set within your offense. Showing your players and drilling your players on how to set and use screens is important for it to carry over into game situations.

Letting your players know they have to do something is one thing, but practicing it and making it part of "what you do" is another.  Coaches are always looking to improve their X's and O's.  Coaches are always working on helping players with their technique.  But are coaches having their players practice the expectations of the coach (like taking a charge or diving on the floor for a loose ball)?  Telling your team it is important is one thing, but practicing it and drilling it is going to help your players meet these expectations.

Figure out what is important to you as a coach for your players to do well.  Expect that they do it well, but don't forget to give them a chance to practice or drill it in practices so it becomes second nature to them.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


The Hawk Rebounding Drill not only works on blocking out, rebounding, and promoting an aggressive mentality in your players, but it also works on communication and court awareness.

Four offensive players line up around the three point line.  Space the players out equally apart and as far apart as they can get.  This will force the defenders to work even harder to get to their blockout.  These four players have their backs to the baseline.

The drill starts when the coach (with ball) yells out one of the defensive players names. At the same time the coach will pass the ball to one of the four offensive players.

The name of the defender that the coach called out is also the player that will execute a closeout on the player who received the pass from the coach. At the same time the other three defenders must scramble and communicate as to which of the other three offensive players they are going to guard.  They all must yell out, "I have _______!"

The offensive player that caught the pass from the coach will immediately make one pass and that player will take a shot.  Defenders will allow the shot to be taken for the purpose of the drill.  All four defenders must blockout the offensive players as they all go for the rebound.

Scoring System
+1 for a defensive rebound
+2 for an offensive rebound

The team with the most points at the end of the drill, wins.  Give each team an equal number of opportunities to be on offense and defense.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Do you have a philosophy when it comes to rebounding?  There are so many things to consider when it comes to developing a philosophy when teaching rebounding to your players.  Below are 10 questions to answer that will help develop your rebounding philosophy.

1. When on defense do you want your players to make contact with their player when a shot is taken?  Or do you want them to just go get the ball?

2. If you want your players to make contact, how do you want them to do it?

3. How do you want your players to grab for the ball?  Two hands?

4. Will you teach your players where most rebounds are attained when the ball is shot from a specific spot on the floor?  How will you teach them to anticipate the spot the ball will be for the rebound?

5. Will you use specific rebounding drills in practice?  Or will you have rebounding be something you work on during team play in practice?

6. In games how many players will you send to the offensive boards?  Do the players know who is supposed to go for offensive rebounds?

7. Are you going to teach rebounding as an attitude?  How will you teach your players to be aggressive with rebounding?

8. How will you teach rebounding during free throw situations, on offense and defense?

9. When on defense, how will you teach your players to get in rebounding position (to blockout) if the offensive players is in between them and the basket?

10. Where do you want your players arms and hands to be during a blockout?

Monday, August 27, 2012


The purpose of this transition offense drill is to have all five players
understanding their roles in the numbered break. It is also a VERY good drill to do for conditioning purposes. Instead of just lining up and running, the team will get a chance to work on their basketball skills while running the floor.  The drill is continuous with 1 shooting first, then 2, then 3, then 4, and finally 5.  Note: All 5 players must sprint downt the court each time even if they are not the player shooting the ball. Running for your teammates will get others open.

Alignment All 5 players start in the lane area. Coach (C) shoots the ball. On a make 5 will take the ball out of bounds like they would in a game. If C misses then 5 will secure the rebound and outlet like they would in a game. This diagram shows the first trip down the floor with 1 getting a shot. 5 outlets to 1, and 1 continues with a speed dribble down the court for a layup or a short jumper.

After 1 shot the ball the drill continues with 5 securing the rebound and throwing an outlet to 1. All five players continue down the court to their respective spots. This diagram shows the next part of the drill when 2 gets their shot. 1 makes the pass ahead to 2, and 2 will attack the basket with a layup.

The next player to get a shot in this continuous drill is the 3. After the 2 shot their layup, 5 secured the ball and outlets the ball to 1. 1 then makes a dribble and passes ahead to 3 down the left side of the court. 3 then attacks the basket for a layup. Again, all 5 players are sprinting downt he court, not just the person getting the shot.

4 is the next player to get their shot in this continuous drill. After 3 completed their layup, 5 will secure the ball and outlet to 1. All five players sprint down the court to their spots. RUN FOR YOUR TEAMMATES! 1 catches the outlet pass, takes a dribble or two, and then passes ahead to 4. 4 then attacks the basket for a layup.

5 is the last player to get their shot during this continous full court drill. After 4 shot the ball, 5 secures the ball and outlets to 1. All five players sprint down the floor to their spots. Instead of 1 making a pass ahead they will speed dribble down the floor to one side of the free throw lane extended. 1 will jumpstop at the three point line area, make a ball fake, and then pass to 5 as they come down to the three point line as the trailer. When 5 catches the ball they will make a shot or pass fake and then attack the basket for a layup.

*Include a manager at each end to provide some sort of distraction for the offense as they attempt to score or on the outlet pass.
*Designate which players can shoot 3 point shots instead of layups.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Thank you to the coaches who took the time to submit a response to the Coaches Share.  Every comment submitted has the potential to give other coaches a new idea that could help their team.

This week's Coaches Share question:  What is your philosophy as to how many minutes of shooting you do in one of your practices?  Do you have a set amount of time for each practice?  Do you try to get your players a certain number of shots?  Does it vary from day to day?
"I make sure to dedicate at least 20 minutes of formal shooting drills for practices.  I always have one drill that is specific by position."
~Coach Michael

"We play a style of basketball that gives us a lot of three point opportunities so we shoot plenty of 3's each day in practice.  I don't set a certain number of minutes each practice that is dedicated to shooting.  I would estimate that each of our players shoot at least one hundred 3's a day though."
~Coach B

"Our first fifteen minutes of practice are dedicated to shooting during and loosening up.  Some days we do more at the end of practice as well."
~Coach T.R. (MA)

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Coaches help coaches by sharing.  Email your response to today's Coaches Share question and have your response added to Sunday's blog entry.  Your response can be as long or short as you like.  Email your response to

QUESTION:  What is your philosophy as to how many minutes of shooting you do in one of your practices?  Do you have a set amount of time for each practice?  Do you try to get a certain number of shots?  Does it vary from day to day?

Email your response to and be part of the discussion.  Your response is then posted in tomorrow's blog.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Does this sound like your gym?  Practice starts at 3:30.  The first of your players start entering the gym at about 3:00.  Little by little your entire roster is in the gym getting ready for practice.  There might be a group of three over in one corner talking about school.  Another pair of players are off by themselves talking about what they are going to do after practice.  Maybe a handful will shoot the ball, lightly jog after it, and then take their time to shoot again.  Is this time being used wisely?  Quite honestly the answer is, no.

Developing a pre-practice routine for your players can be extremely beneficial in the skill development of your players.  A pre-practice routine is a quick series of activities of skill work. Having a pre-practice routine has it's benefits
1. Gets your players in the gym earlier.
2. Helps develop the skill development of your players.
3. Promotes accountability with your players.
4. Eliminates wasted time in the gym.

Coaches can create any type of pre-practice routine they feel fits their team.  You can make them position specific or develop one that will help develop the overall skills of your players.

The following pre-practice routine can be easily completed in 8 minutes.
*Make 20 Mikan shots
*10 Form shooting shots from three feet (hold follow through)
*Four different 2-ball ballhandling drills (30 seconds per drill)
*1 2-ball partner passing/catching drill (1 minute)
*Take 20 game shots (position specific)

If you were to use this pre-practice routine then it would be important for the coaching staff to first teach the players how to do each one of the parts in the routine. Once the players understand what is expected they will then know that the routine must be completed before the official start of practice.

Changing the pre-practice routine throughout the season could be valuable to keep your players from becoming bored with the same thing day after day.  An idea would be to change the routine periodically:  weekly, monthly, or at half point of the season.

Have fun creating the routine for your players.  It can be extremely beneficial for their skill development as it eliminates wasted time in your gym.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Full Court Blazer shooting combines a variety of skills into one drill as it emphasizes shooting, passing and catching, conditioning, and communication. 

The drill starts with three lines at each baseline (there are only two lines shown in this diagram).  At one end the first player in each line has a basketball.  At the other end of the court the second person in each line has a basketball.

The drill begins with at the three players (4, 5, and 6) sprinting in their lane to the other end of the court.  As 4, 5, and 6 are approaching the three point line area 1, 2, and 3 will make a pass to them.  4, 5, and 6 will catch, get their feet set, and shoot.  Shooters will get their own rebound.  After they get their rebound they will pass their ball to the next 1, 2, and 3 in line.

The 1, 2, and 3 that made the pass will now sprint to the other end of the court in their their lanes.  They will receive a pass from 4, 5, and 6 as they approach the 3 point line and take a shot.  They will get their own rebound and pass the ball to the next players in each line, and then go to the end of that line.

After 4, 5, and 6 made the pass they will then sprint to the other end of the court to be the shooters, and the drill continuously repeats itself.

The coach can determine the general area where the shots should come from.  You can work on three point shots, mid-range jump shots, or even layups.  A drill variation would be to have the players use a shot fake and one hard dribble right or left then pull up for a jump shot.

To add even more focus or competitiveness to your team put time on the clock and count their made baskets.  Keep track of the number of makes and use that as a number to surpass the next time you do the drill. 

Monday, August 20, 2012


One of the best ways to promote your team is to send out a team newsletter.  It is also a great way to communicate with parents, fans, your administration, and alumni.  People like to read about what is happening with the team.  A simple newsletter can create some excitement for your team or overall program.  With today's technology you have the capability to reach people all over the globe, and can do it so it doesn't cost you a penny.

Creating a newsletter might seem intimidating to someone who hasn't done it.  My response to that is it will be as intimidating as you want it to be.  Your newsletter can be very basic and easy to create, or it can be as fancy as you can make it.  Either way the goal of promoting your basketball team and communicating with the fans of your team is being accomplished.

You will want to be careful as to what kind of information you include in your newsletter.  Obviously you would never want to write about information that could cause any type of turmoil.  Keep the information positive.  Remember you are promoting your team, program, and the wonderful that are a part of it.

Listed below are some things to remember when creating a team newsletter:
  1. You can save yourself a lot of money by sending your newsletter via email only.  You will need to compile a list of email addresses to start.  In each newsletter you might need to add a blurb to your readers for them to forward the email (newsletter) to anyone who they think might be interested in receiving it (former players, school alumni, relatives, community members, etc).  In the newsletter you will also want to include a message on how someone could get on the email list to receive future newsletters.  Your email list will grow as a result.
  2. The newsletter can be as plain as a simple email or you can create something more appealing with different tools, one being in Word.
  3. When sending out your newsletter list it would be advised to use the bcc to include the email addresses.  This will hide all the recipient's email addresses.  Why could this be important?  One reason is that there might be a reader that would rather not have their email address known by someone else.  Another is that there could be a disgruntled parent/fan that could type up an email by hitting "Reply All" and it would be sent to all your newsletter readers.  This is just to protect yourself.
  4. Create and send out the newsletter on a regular basis. Weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly are times to consider.
  5. Information to consider putting in your newsletter:
  • A message from you, the coach.
  • Upcoming game schedule.
  • Information on any upcoming fundraising events, promotions, or special events that are associated with your team/program.
  • Action photo(s) of your team.
  • A description and diagram of a drill you do in practice.
  • News about other teams in your basketball program (youth teams).
  • Spotlight on one of the coaches in your program.
  • Spotlight on one of the players in your program.
  • Spotlight on someone who does behind the scenes work for your team (custodian, administrator, booster club member, etc).
  • A motivational quote that you use with your team.
  • Highlight recent accomplishments of your team or players.
If you would like to see a sample of a newsletter that I have sent out I would be happy to send you one.  Email me at to request an actual newsletter I sent out.

A newsletter is a tool to use that can keep basketball in the minds of your players, fans, parents, and alumni no matter what time of the year it is.  That alone is worth the time you would invest creating your newsletter.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Thank you to the coaches who took the time to submit a response to the Coaches Share.  It is incredible to think about how much we, as coaches, can learn from each other.

This week's Coaches Share question: How much time do you spend on free throw shooting during practice?  Do you have any good free throw shooting drills to share?

"I make sure to incorporate free throw shooting drills immediately after drills that make my players tire out. This way the free throws are executed when the players are puffing and it's more like a game situation.  Usually I get them to shoot 10 free throws each. After they've completed them, they must report to an assistant to get their makes out of 10 jotted down. This holds the players accountable to improve on their current free throw percentage as they can see their progress (or lack of progress)."
 ~ Coach Mac

"We have our players shoot 5 free throws three different times throughout practice.  We try our best to have them shoot those free throws after a tough drill so their legs are tired."
~Coach T.L.

"I have my team do a variety of things with free throws during practice as I don't have any one philosophy on when to shoot them, or how many to shoot.  At the end of at least one practice per week the players have to make 20 free throws before they can leave the gym.  Seems to be a lot of focus with them at that time because the reward is that their practice is over when they make their 20th free throw.  The one downside to this is that players are leaving the gym at different times, which I don't always like but free throw are important so I feel the trade is ok."
~Coach Davis

"At some point during practice, usually after a drill that tired out the players, we shoot ten free throws.  One drill we do (probably once a week) is we shoot pressure free throws.  Each player shoots ten free throws.  I set a number of free throws made as a goal - which is usually 75%.  For each free throw under 75% they run what we call a Tiger (our nickname) which is a sprinting drill.  So making four less free throws would equal four Tigers.  If the team meets the goal we do not run."
~Coach B (IL)

"We chart our players free throws each day in practice.  At the end of the week we have an award for the best free throw percentage for the week.  Usually the award is a Gatorade, nothing big, but it is something that motivates the players."
~Coach Marty

"Our players have to make 15 free throw a day in practice.  They make some of them during our free throw shooting period which is usually seven minutes.  If they don't make 15 during that time then they make the rest of them after practice."
~Coach Scott (NY)

"Keep it simple.  Shoot them when they are tired."
~Coach A.R. (FL)