Post Player Development Basketball Drills

Post First Published On

These two post player drills are among the thousands of resources for both coaches and player available from basketballhq.

They have several more videos as well as basketball coaching resource articles.

The Coach in both of these videos is Sean Hanrahan, Head Men’s Coach at Warner University.

Bulldog Rebounding Drill










1 on 2 Competitive Finishing Drill

The post Post Player Development Basketball Drills appeared first on .

Defending 3 Point Shots

Post First Published On

This article was written by By Stephen Shea, Ph.D and published on his blog: Basketball Analytics. You can find out more about Dr. Shea and his work in the field of Basketball Anayltics at the end of this article.

This is an edited version of the original article. For the entire article, click on: The Defensive 3 Point Revolution.

Even though the data is derived from the NBA, I feel that the implications are similar for high school and college. I know that coaches cannot get the data for your teams, but I feel the NBA results are worth considering as you work on your defense.

The Defensive 3 Point Revolution

NBA offensive and defensive strategies are evolving. They aren’t just changing with the whims of a current coach or executive. They are changing out of necessity. The current NBA talent pool is different from the past. For example, current players are much more accustomed to shooting threes than previous generations that grew up without the shot. There have also been significant defensive rule changes. Hand-checking fouls now make it easier for perimeter players to drive. The abolishment of illegal defense allows teams to collapse into the NBA’s version of a zone (which must respect the current defensive 3-in-the-key).

Current strategies find their roots in past practices. There is value in this model since “survival of the fittest” is at play. The best past strategies have endured the longest (if perhaps with modifications). There are consequences as well. Often elements of past strategies linger beyond their expiration. Ideally, coaches would be able to harvest the wisdom of past experiences without carrying the burden of a bias towards past success when designing strategies that consider the constraints of today’s game. But that isn’t realistic.

Red Auerbach once proclaimed, “Basketball offensive weapons are developed first, and it always takes a while for the defense to catch up.” Recent years agree with Red; NBA offenses are evolving faster than defenses are responding.

The components of the modern offensive evolution can be subtle, such as replacing a few pick-and-rolls with dribble hand offs or encouraging less pursuit of offensive rebounds to better defend transition.

There is no subtlety to the growing importance of the 3-point shot. It’s become the hallmark of today’s game. In 2015-16, NBA teams averaged 24.1 3-point attempts per game. That’s up 33% from 18.0 attempts per game just 5 years earlier, and up nearly 90% of the 12.7 attempts per game in 1997-98 (which was the first season after a 3-year trial of a shorter 3-point line).

The 3-point growth shows no sign of slowing down. Teams shot 1.7 more 3-point attempts per game last season than the prior season (although a faster pace league-wide contributed to that growth).

It’s not that weaker teams are heaving more threes in desperation. The Eastern and Western Conference Champions, the Cavs and Warriors, were in the top three in both 3-point attempts and in % of the team’s FGA from behind the 3-point line. 10 of the top 11 teams in 3-point attempts made the playoffs.

The increased usage of 3-pointers is justified. As the NBA talent pool became increasingly efficient from deep, the shot’s value surpassed almost any FGA besides a wide-open dunk. In 1982-83, NBA teams shot 23.8% on 3-pointers. That’s equivalent to 0.71 points per FGA. By comparison, teams shot 49.2% on twos or generated about 0.98 points per shot. A two-pointer was a much better shot. Today, teams are still generating about 0.98 points per two-pointer, but improved 3-point shooting has teams averaging 1.06 points per 3-point attempt. For the Golden State Warriors, 3-point attempts generate 1.25 points per shot. (That’s why they take 31.6 of them a game.)

When we focus on the “good” 3-point attempts, efficiencies improve significantly. Teams averaged 1.13 points per corner 3 attempt and 1.11 points per catch-and-shoot 3-point attempt last season.

Compared to a “good” 3-pointer, a “bad” two-pointer looks inexcusable. Teams scored just under 0.8 points per mid-range jumper in 2015-16. An average team could pick up 2 points per game just by replacing 6 mid-range jumpers with 6 corner 3s.

The threat of a 3-point shot can be as valuable as the shot itself in that it provides spacing for the rest of the offense—room to drive, cut or post-up. For more on this idea, see our previous post.

n opposite (but not equal) reaction
If offenses have changed so radically, so then must the defense. As the 3-point shot became more efficient and as teams began implementing offenses to specifically generate 3-point attempts, teams needed to devote more defensive resources to paroling the 3-point line, running off shooters and heavily contesting shots. The defensive changes needed to be as extreme as the offensive shift.

Penetration and Kick outs
If an NBA player wants to pull-up for 3 in traffic, there is little that the defense can do about it. Fortunately for the defense, that’s not the type of 3-point attempt that they need to be concerned about. Rather, it’s the catch-and-shoot opportunities that are troubling.

NBA defenses won’t intentionally leave a capable shooter open enough to catch and shoot a 3 in rhythm. Instead, NBA offenses have to penetrate, draw help defenders and force defensive rotations to create enough space for perimeter shooters.

Understanding how teams defend the 3 means understanding how teams defend penetration and kick outs.

The best defense of a catch-and-shoot 3 is to not allow the shot. In theory, there are two ways this can happen. First, a team can guard the perimeter players so closely that a kick out isn’t attempted, or when it is, the perimeter player is coaxed to drive or pass. The second method would be to position the defense to create turnovers either by occupying passing lanes or by aggressively trapping the ball handler before the pass attempt.

That’s the theory, but are teams practicing either strategy and if so, are they successful? There is a remarkable amount of real estate on the 3-point line, and many teams now play lineups with at least 3 perimeter threats. Can teams consistently and significantly create turnovers or reduce catch and shoot 3-point attempts?

Yes, and the defensive systems that are being employed are remarkably different than those from the past.

The minimal help model
All other variables the same, the closer the shot, the easier it is to make. Prior to the 3-point line and even in the first few years of its existence, the best shots (by far) were those near the hoop. As a result, NBA defenses protected that region at all costs. Teams collapsed with help defense to the best of their ability (under the old illegal defense rules). In those days, forcing a kick out on penetration was a win for the defense.

Today, the best defenses are doing the opposite. They are sending minimal help on the drive. In particular, teams are not leaving the corners open, and they are terrified to leave an elite shooter (e.g. Steph Curry, Kyle Korver or J.J. Redick) alone anywhere behind the arc.

To assess defensive strategy on penetration we’ll use measurements of offensive and defensive stretch, which were introduced in Basketball Analytics: Spatial Tracking.

We looked at every halfcourt possession in the NBA in 2014-15. (In other words, we eliminated transition.) In those halfcourt possessions, we marked the first instance the offense penetrated (moved from possession outside 15 feet to possession inside 10 feet.) This could be a pass to the post or a cutter, or it could be a drive from the perimeter. Using spatial tracking coordinates provided by SportVU, we looked at the position of all players on the court the first instant the offense had possession within 10 feet of the hoop. Then, we calculated the offense’s spacing (CHAO) and the defense’s stretch (CHAD). The teams with the smallest difference in CHAO and CHAD are the ones that help off the perimeter the least. Here are the results

Show entriesSearch:
Rank TeamCode CHAO-CHAD (sq. ft)
1 CHI 273.1
2 POR 275.7
3 CLE 275.7
4 SAS 281.0
5 GSW 282.8
6 WAS 283.8
7 UTA 286.6
8 NOP 286.7
9 BOS 286.8
10 PHO 287.0
11 DAL 288.5
12 IND 289.0
13 MIN 291.0
14 LAL 291.1
15 SAC 291.2
16 LAC 292.4
17 CHO 293.2
18 MEM 294.4
19 DEN 295.4
20 BRK 296.0
21 ORL 296.6
22 HOU 296.8
23 DET 297.1
24 NYK 298.4
25 OKC 299.4
26 TOR 302.9
27 PHI 304.3
28 ATL 305.1
29 MIA 306.0
30 MIL 326.0Showing 1 to 30 of 30 entriesPreviousNext
Chicago, Portland, Cleveland, San Antonio, and Golden State helped the least. These teams were the leaders in the minimal help model, a defensive strategy on penetration that is in direct contrast to traditional defense.

(We don’t mean to suggest that the above 4 teams employ identical defenses. The teams employ defenses strategy that align in their stretch during penetration and in their strategy to reduce 3s on kick outs.)

Does it work? There are costs to not helping as much on defense. It means less obstacles for the penetrating player, and possibly higher opponents’ efficiency around the rim. It can mean less resources around the hoop for rebounds. So, if a team is going to intentionally not help, there must be a benefit. The goal of not helping is to prevent catch-and-shoot threes. Were these teams able to do that?

We looked at how many catch and shoot 3-point attempts (C&S 3PA) each team gave up in 2014-15. We adjusted for opponent tendencies by looking at each game individually and recording how many more or less C&S 3PA a team allowed than their opponent usually attempted. For example, if San Antonio held Golden State to 15 C&S 3PA, which was 6 less than they usually attempted, it was seen as a reduction. In contrast, if San Antonio allowed 15 C&S 3PA from Minnesota, which was about 5 more than they usually got, it was seen as an increase. We adjusted for pace by looking at percentages of typical opponent “shots” (FGA+0.44FTA) instead of totals. For ease of interpretation, know that 1% equates to approximately one shot per game.

The following chart plots CHAO-CHAD to the above-described percentage. There is a strong correlation. The teams that help the least (have the smallest CHAO-CHAD) are able to reduce opponents’ C&S 3PA. The leaders in this category (San Antonio) are holding opponents to 3-4 less C&S opportunities per game than they typically get. That’s a sizable chunk when teams are averaging 16.5 of these shots a game.


Preventing opponent C&S 3-point attempts has lessened opponents’ shooting efficiency. The top three defenses in opponent points per shot in 2014-15 were Golden State (0.940), Chicago (0.946) and Portland (0.952). San Antonio was a healthy 6th at 0.968. Those were the top 4 in terms of lowering opponent C&S 3PA.

The swarming defense
With 4:20 left in the 1st quarter of a January 31st, 2015 matchup between Portland and Milwaukee, Nicolas Batum feeds Lamarcus Aldridge on the block. Upon the penetration, all five Bucks sag into or around the paint. (This wouldn’t have been allowed before the NBA replaced it’s illegal defense with the defensive 3-in-the-key.) This leaves two Portland players (including Damian Lillard) open above the break. Portland is helping Milwaukee by having no players available in the corners.

Aldridge turns towards the paint, but is immediately met by Lillard’s man, Brandon Knight. Knight knocks the ball loose for a turnover.

Knight had to leave Lillard open for a C&S 3 when he trapped Aldridge. It was a risk. Most times, Knight isn’t going to get the steal. NBA players tend to see traps coming, and are poised and strong with the ball. A full court press might work well against high school players, but would be fruitless against he ball-handling and passing ability of the professionals.

Knight’s gamble wasn’t a full court press and it doesn’t have to work every time. Milwaukee’s swarming defense understood that it would give up a good amount of C&S threes, but believed that they would get enough turnovers to be an efficient defense overall. They were correct; Milwaukee had the 3rd best defensive rating that season (per

When the minimal help model prevents a 3, it’s usually exchanging that 3-point attempt for a different (and hopefully less efficient shot). When the swarming defense prevents a 3, it’s through a turnover. If the swarming defense can keep its turnover % high enough, it can offset the increased efficiency realized by the opposing offense through more C&S threes.

In 2014-15, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Philadelphia all saw at least some degree of defensive success with a version of this swarming defense. Their success is reflected in the percent of turnovers they induced. All three teams forced opponents to turnover the ball on at least 14.9% of possessions. They were the top 3 teams in this category.

Miami also employed a swarming defense. After being 1st in the league in opponent turnover % in 2013-14 (at 15.8%), Miami dropped to 8th in 2014-15 (with 14.2%). The inability to turn the swarming gamble into a turnover often enough meant the team slid to 21st in defensive rating.

If swarming defenses are consistently collapsing on penetration, we should see that in the spatial tracking data. The table of CHAO-CHAD data is reproduced below. The four teams that collapsed the most were Milwaukee, Miami, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

Show entriesSearch:
Rank TeamCode CHAO-CHAD (sq. ft)
30 MIL 326.0
29 MIA 306.0
28 ATL 305.1
27 PHI 304.3
26 TOR 302.9
25 OKC 299.4
24 NYK 298.4
23 DET 297.1
22 HOU 296.8
21 ORL 296.6Showing 1 to 10 of 30 entriesPreviousNext
We suggested that swarming defenses will give up more C&S opportunities. Recall the scatter plot that mapped defensive stretch on penetration to percent influence on opponent C&S 3PA. The teams that collapsed the most (produced the highest CHAO-CHAD) also gave up more C&S 3PA.


Many of the C&S opportunities that swarming defenses give up come from the very efficient corner. 31.5% of Bucks’ opponents’ 3PA came from the corner. It was 28.8% from Atlanta’s opponents. Those were the two highest percentages on the season. In contrast, only 20.1% of Chicago’s opponents’ 3PA came from the corner. That was the lowest % in the league.

Be extreme
We discussed earlier how we still see great variation in perimeter shooting ability and usage among NBA offenses. The swarming defense would appear to be ideal against a team with minimal perimeter shooting since when the kick out to the open shooter is successful, the shooter will be less efficient on the shot. In contrast, it would seem that a swarming defense would struggle against a great passing and perimeter shooting team like Golden State.

The ideal defense might be one that can employ both defensive strategies. However, the 82-game regular season provides little opportunity for teams to prepare for specific opponents. Often teams won’t have a real practice between games.

Since the analysis averages CHAO-CHAD across the season, a team that alternated styles could appear as central and non-distinct. We did study the game-by-game numbers, and as the difficulty of this strategy would suggest, no team altered strategies in a way that correlated with the 3-point shooting of the opponent. Yes, teams do scheme for particular 3-point threats, such as Curry or Korver, but otherwise swarming defenses swarm. Any adjustments for individual players were not significant enough to alter team stretch totals.

The defenses on the extreme in CHAO-CHAD outperformed those in the middle. The bottom 8 teams in defensive rating were ranked between 13 and 26 in CHAO-CHAD (where the minimal difference was ranked 1st). The skew here suggests that not collapsing is generally better than swarming. The minimal help model also wins when we look at the top of the defensive rating board.

For the sake of this argument, suppose that a CHAO-CHAD 300, we have 5 swarming models. This model is effective only if the team is able to induce a high amount of turnovers. Let’s make that cutoff 14.5%. We then have 3 effective swarming models. Two of them (Milwaukee and Atlanta) were in the top 6 in defensive rating, while the third (Philadelphia) was 13th.

The bottom 17 teams in defensive rating qualified as neither an effective swarming nor an effective minimal help model. In other words, all 8 effective modern defensive models were in the top 13 in defensive rating.


Team Takeaways
What actions should a team take now with the above information in hand?

On Offense
This article is about defensive strategy, but we can’t help but again suggest that modern offenses need to be a threat both inside and out. Lineups need at least one player that is dangerous around the hoop. With modern hand-checking fouls and the typically superior free-throw shooting of perimeter players, this is often a guard that can drive (perhaps off a screen).

During penetration, offenses need to force defenses to make tough decisions. A player that is efficient attacking the hoop begs help defenders to collapse. Spacing the floor with 3-point threats (and we recommend at least 3) makes it dangerous to leave the corner unmanned.

We suspect that as offenses get better at shooting 3s, teams will help less on penetration. In other words, the minimal help model will be become the most popular. Thinking ahead, what does this mean for offenses? It’s possible that this opens the door for the return of the dominant post center (in the mold of Olajuwon or Shaq). More likely, NBA offenses will be able to counter with stronger and more athletic driving ball handlers that won’t be as affected by one defender on their shoulder. LeBron is the ideal, but this might also be Ben Simmons in Philadelphia or Giannis in Milwaukee (as examples).

On Defense
Teams need to decide on a defensive strategy. Ideally, teams would have the flexibility to play both modern models described above. However, it’s not realistic to expect young players to be able to switch from one helping extreme to the other on the fly. The middle ground defensively, which can happen through indecision, hesitation and confusion, is the worst. Thus, it probably makes sense for teams (and especially younger teams) to commit to predominantly one style for the regular season.

As teams trend towards better perimeter shooting, we suspect that the minimal help model will surpass the swarming defense in effectiveness. The swarm will have it’s role, but in small doses like a blitz in football.

Length and athleticism in defenders is remarkably helpful regardless of system. A perimeter shot contested by Kawhi Leonard is different than a perimeter shot contested by Jason Terry. And if the perimeter defender is left with little help when his player penetrates, a paint shot contested by Leonard is different than a paint shot contested by Terry.

In addition, length and athleticism translates to positional versatility. It allows players to switch screens without creating major mismatches in speed or size. Switching screens cuts off the space that offensive players use to get a step to the hoop or launch a 3.

Final Thoughts
We scan the NBA landscape and see elite offenses with 3-point shooting at their core. The natural reaction is to expect NBA defenses to be designed with preventing the 3 as a core principle.

Certainly some teams have adapted quickly. San Antonio and Golden State both employ effective minimal help models (and not surprisingly, are very successful franchises). Coach Tom Thibodeau pioneered the model as an assistant coach for the 2008 Champion Celtics. He then employed his defensive model with great success for years in Chicago.

Milwaukee and Atlanta have found defensive success with a modern swarming model. Their success is in part due to a focus on bringing in long and positionally-versatile wings that can switch screens and occupy passing lanes.

Yet, we still see a number of teams seemingly unsure of what to do in response to the 3-point revolution. To understand why teams appear so stubborn, we have to understand where today’s coaches and managers came from.

Many of the executives and coaches in today’s NBA have been involved in high-level basketball for 30 years or more. The first 25 of these years, these individuals never encountered a team like Golden State. Furthermore, these coaches and managers are where they are because they were so successful in the past. We have individuals that have seen decades of success with certain systems and philosophies. Why would we expect them to change so quickly?

We can’t ignore the practical challenges of finding the right personnel for a modern defensive system. When the 3-point shooting giants first presented, it was also new for NBA players. A minimal help model might be nice in theory, but how successful would a team be at implementing it if all of its players have no experience in anything similar?

Changing defensive systems can also require a significant revision to the roster. Teams might have players under contract for several years whose value would diminish tremendously if the team changed defensive strategy.

While we sympathize with the challenges NBA decision makers face when trying to counter the 3-point revolution, the challenges do not negate the reality that teams must adapt.

The post Defending 3 Point Shots appeared first on .

Coaching Basketball Defensive Concepts

Post First Published On

These defensive concepts from 3 highly successful college basketball coaches were posted on Bob Starkey’s Basketball Coaching Blog,

Jim Boone

Here’s a few concepts and teaching points from Jim Boone in regard to the way he plays Pack Line defense.

Keys in Teaching:
1. Position players in such a way to already be in help.
2. Build a wall to stop the ball.
3. Five players working together.
4. Communication

Coach Boone: “We are zoning the ball.”

Five Things to Work on Daily:
1. Conversion defense
2. Low post defense
3. Pressure on the ball
4. Help/recover
5. Blockout

Coach Boone: “You can’t play transition defense while you’re in transition.”

Coach Boone: “Low post defense dictates how you set your entire defense up.”

Five Defensive Goals:
1. Pressure the ball
2. Contest all shots
3. Keep the ball out of the lane
4. No second shots
5. Do not foul

Coach Boone: “We want to determine what shots you get.”

Conversion Defense:
1. No fast break lay-ups
2. Out number the offense
3. Build from the lane out

The post Coaching Basketball Defensive Concepts appeared first on .

Beware of Great Plays

Post First Published On

Beware of great plays.

Common sense might seem to tell you that great plays are what make the difference between a good player and a mediocre player. But most coaches would disagree. More often, they would say, great plays—or the attempts to make great plays—are what make good players mediocre. Since this seems to defy common sense, a few definitions might be useful.


Both are in many ways the same. Both could have about the same speed and quickness, the same strength, the same height and weight, about the same shooting and dribbling ability. Often, the only difference comes with regard to great plays.

Many players are mediocre because they try to make great plays. They want to score a fancy layup, and they miss it. Or they try to throw a lightning-quick pass to a cutter six inches ahead of his man, and it goes out of bounds. They try to hit a fade-away jumper, and it goes off the rim. Or they go for the game-winning steal, but they miss it and the other team puts the game out of reach.

Mediocre is sometimes just another name for at erratic or inconsistent or “always striving to make great plays.”

It may surprise you to learn that good players don’t strive for great plays. Great plays come to them occasionally, but only when they are in the process of concentrating on their job, trying to do all the little things right.

Take Michael Jordan for example. He made a lot of great plays, but his value, even more important to his team than all those spectacular dunks, was that he didn’t miss many dunks. He was consistent. On the plays where a spectacular dunk had a good chance of missing, Jordan “happened” not to try it at all. “Ah,” said the fans, “he should’ve dunked that one.” But he didn’t dunk every chance he got. He dunked the ones he could dunk, and he didn’t attempt the ones he could not. If it was 50-50, he didn’t try it.


Good players don’t like those odds. Good players are not gamblers— they are performers. That is why great plays are not what make an outstanding player. It is knowing limitations.

A good player knows that he doesn’t need a slam dunk in the final seconds to be credited with winning the big game. If he can stop his man from scoring and go down to the other end and get a good shot, he can win the game just as well. And more often. He isn’t running around searching for a way to look spectacular; he is out there trying to get a job done, doing “whatever it takes.”

If somewhere along the line he gets a chance to do something spectacular, fine, that’s icing on the cake, a bonus. But he doesn’t seek it out. His concentration is on the little things, playing the game right, getting good defensive position, being there for rebounds and always taking high-percentage opportunities, whether shooting, passing, stealing or penetrating.

A lot of players are potentially good. They try hard to show everyone how good they are, how many great plays they can make. Along the way they make some great plays, but they also make a lot of mistakes.

They go quickly from good to mediocre, and many of them spend their entire basketball careers hearing coaches say, “You could be good.” But they aren’t.

Good players get the job done. They do the little things and are always looking to do just a little…
Click To Tweet

Good players are those guys who get the job done, who do the little things and who are always looking to do just a little more. They have the habit of usually making things appear quite easy. Often, they can be pretty boring since their pride is in playing intelligently. They don’t like looking stupid or missing dunks that should have been easy layups. They would rather have fans go away disappointed that they didn’t do anything spectacular than to hear someone saying their stupid play lost the game.

Good players have a pride about things like that. It’s not just that they don’t want to be labeled “erratic.” They really don’t want to make any mistakes at all.

To learn more about PGC Basketball, including additional training tips and videos, you can visit their YouTube Channel

The post Beware of Great Plays appeared first on .

Wildcat 3 on 3 Basketball Drill

Post First Published On

This 3 on 3 basketball drill was diagrammed and contributed by John Leonzo of Cedarville University to the FastModel Sports Basketball Plays and Drills Library.

You can also find out more about FastModel Play Diagramming software by clicking this link: FastDraw

Editors’ Note from Brian: I like the idea of establishing special scoring rules in your drills and in your 5 on 5 play that reinforce the things you will need to do to be successful.

I hope this drill gets you thinking about rules that you can incorporate into all drills and scrimmages your practices to emphasize your coaching points.

These rules force your players to not waste dribbles and to space behind the arc.

Scoring the drill by 2s and 1s puts an even greater premium on 3 point shooting.

If you would rather not do that, you can go to 15 by 2s and 3s.

I have included some thoughts on utilizing special rules in your practices below the diagrams of the Wildcat 3 on 3 drill.

I do not recommend using too many rules, it disrupts the flow of the scrimmage when you award points. Pick 3 at most each day that fit the way you play. It could be a different group of 3 the next day.

Play live 3v3 but with the following rules.



Rule 1: Any dribble that does not attack or break the plane of the 3 point line is a turnover.








Rule 2: The only place the ball can be caught is on a cut to the rim or behind the 3pt line.

Play make it take it to 10 by 1s and 2s.


It is often very challenging to create competitive drills and scrimmages between your first and second teams. There is a way to allow the players in your rotation to play together and in their roles and still force the first team to compete like they would have to in a game.

To produce the needed challenges for your first team, make special rules in practice that cause the them to be challenged by you as their coach and the scoreboard when the second group is not physically able to provide that challenge necessary for improvement.

Some years your starters will need more challenges to push them than others. So each year, revisit what you are doing with your special rules and make adjustments and adaptations that fit your current team. The rules should make the scrimmages competitive so that with their implementation, the second team has the opportunity to score more points and win the scrimmage, which forces the starters to compete. This serves to make your practice much more competitive which is crucial to the improvement of your team.

Make the rules fit your offensive and defensive systems and goals for each game. For example making a rule that every time the second team makes a pass in a scrimmage counts as a point for them is great if you are working on playing a pressure man to man defense that denies all passes. But, makes no sense if you are a team that plays a zone or a packing man to man where you don’t pressure the non penetrating passes. A better rule for a defense designed to keep the ball out of the middle is that each time the second team gets the ball in the paint; it is a point for them.

Your players must understand the purpose of the rules. It must make sense to the players as to how your rules will develop practice habits that will carry over to games. Players don’t have to agree with everything, but if they see a method to your madness, there is a much higher likelihood that your system will produce the intended results.

Make the rules should be simple to implement and easy to track. They should not interfere with the flow of the scrimmage by causing the players and the coaches to have to slow down to figure out what just happened and how that affects the score.

Run the clock and the scoreboard like a game when you scrimmage in practice. Make every special rules violation either result in a turnover, adding points to the score of the second team, or both. It is too difficult for the individual who is keeping score to take points away from a team. If you just yell, “Two points for the red team because the white team did not chin the defensive rebound,” the players know why the points were lost and the manager can just add them to the score of the second team. The point differential is the same regardless of whether you add to the second team’s score or subtract from the first team, so it makes sense to make it easier on your scorekeeper. If you have enough managers or assistant coaches, keep a possession chart and record what violation resulted in the points so that you can analyze what rules you are violating the most frequently and then work to improve those areas. If you don’t have access to a scoreboard, you can still designate a coach or manager to keep a possession chart on a clipboard and call out the score.

Here are some suggestions for special rules. The key is to keep them pertinent to how your team plays and to make practice scrimmages competitive.

• 2 points to second unit for a shot that isn’t contested by the first team, regardless of whether it goes in or not.
• Regular rotation players cannot dribble.
• Any foul by first team is automatic 2 points for second team.
• Every turnover by 1st team is 2 points for the 2nd group.
• Anyone on the first team not chinning a rebound is a turnover—loss of possession and the two points that are the result of every turnover.
• If a player takes an unacceptable shot, for us that is anything except an open jumper or power shot inside, award two points to the defense.

The purpose of the rules—to make practices competitive–must be understood by all of your players. Most second units can’t match the first team in size, skill, and experience the way that the other schools you play will. It keeps them from getting away with mistakes that will cost them on game night and allows your reserves some hope of winning your practice scrimmages.

The post Wildcat 3 on 3 Basketball Drill appeared first on .

Point Huskies Free Throw Game

Post First Published On

This free throw shooting drill was designed by Mike Neighbors, Women’s Basketball Coach at Washington.

We are always looking for new ways to incorporate free throw shooting into our full team practices.  This is one we came up with to compete as a team and also have the element of individual competition.

We have six goals in our gym.  We split off to shooters and rebounders at each goal.  10:00 goes
onto the game clock.

Each shooter shoots until they miss.

The shooters must make at least 5 in a row to get a POINT HUSKIES (this is a reference to what our PA
announcer says at our volleyball games)

5 makes in a row equals 1 point.
10 makes in a row = 3 points.    
15 in a row = 5 points.  
20 = 9 points.
25 = 12 points.
30 = 15 points
35 = 20 points.
40 = 25
45 – 32
50 = 40

from 50 on the team gets one point extra per make

The team total is added for each shooter.  So at the end of ten minutes we have a team score.  

We also chart individual scores to keep record boards for individuals.

Couple of things to have provisions for:

1) As the time is geƫting close to zero… any streak that was begun before the 1:00 minute mark can be completed until there is a miss.

2) Any streak that begins within the last :30 seconds can only go to the next increment of five.

3)  How long will you go before you allow “distractions”

Our total team record is 270 so far.  Individual highs are 145 ( yes, 145),  57, 48, 33, 32 and several in the
high 20’s.

Love the competition this breeds.  It is also NO FUN to not have your name called out for long streaks…
We hope this drill will conƟnue to keep us in the Top 10 naƟonally for FT Percentage.

The post Point Huskies Free Throw Game appeared first on .

Leadership Personas

Post First Published On

Cory Dobbs, Ed.D.

Founder, The Academy for Sport Leadership

Leadership Personas: The Power of Identity to Get Student-Athletes to Think and Act Like a Leader

When Steven Brown was asked if he could be a team leader he wasn’t quite sure how to respond. You see, Steven wasn’t sure he was a leader. Most of his life revolved around simply following the dictates of his coaches (teachers and parents too). He certainly aspired to be a leader, but wasn’t quite sure how to think or act like a leader. Oh sure, over the year’s he’d observed players called team captains pretend to be leaders. For the most part these individuals carried out requests from the coaches. In his mind Steven never really thought of these teammates as leaders, just figureheads.

Like most student‐athletes Steven had a very narrow definition of what leadership entailed. And, like most young athletes, he’d never really considered the importance of peer leadership. Rather, he simply did what his coaches told him to do. This made life simple.

However, it neglects the fostering of a broad‐based progression of desired competencies. Education has as its mission, after all, the development of a person’s talents and potentials as well as a role in helping one construct his or her own unique identity. At the Academy for Sport Leadership our basic proposition is that human development should be the organizing purpose for education. In earlier eras, the primary role of education was “socialization.” Today, we need more sophisticated workers for a very complex world. In A Leader in Every Locker I argue that leadership is a competency that has largely been ignored in student‐athletics. This proposition, that student‐athlete are by‐and‐large not formally taught how to lead self, others, and with others, is based on a decade of research and practice. This is not to say that student-athletes haven’t been or aren’t exposed to or observe leadership behavior on a regular basis, simply that for most student‐athletes formal leadership development is not a part of the actual practice of sports participation.

Of course, if someone is careful enough to make such a bold assertion, I hope they respond in kind with a way to solve the, in this case, obscure problem. I have. During the past decade of intense research I have been able to develop a very deliberate leadership development process. Seeking to fill the vacuum between what is and what
can be, the assertion of A Leader in Every Locker answers the question of whether leaders are born or made. I’m all for making and developing leaders.

You see, leadership development is found in this simple formula:

Mindset + Skill Set + Actions ( situational) = output (quantitative results) and outcomes (qualitative results)

The mindset is the cognitive and emotional center of every student‐athlete. The mindset contains stories, concepts, theories, beliefs, and attitudes that are used to perceive the world and to guide one’s sense‐making process. It is generally accepted that thoughts drive actions. The conclusion is that a leadership mindset can and must be learned. This makes it accessible to all student‐athletes.

The skill set in The Academy for Sport Leadership’s framework is best thought of as sets of skills. The five forces of building right relationships, guiding with influence, accelerating change, shaping common purpose, and focusing intentional behavior comprise the skill set necessary to lead effectively in student‐athletics. Each of these sets of skills requires the willingness and ability to speak, listen, learn, relate, reason,make judgments, observations and draw conclusions. These too can be learned. And like the leadership mindset, the skill sets are accessible to all student‐athletes.

Leadership is about taking action—physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially. Actions are generally the result of the mindset—that is a student‐athlete “sees” something in a particular situation that requires action and therefore takes action. Leadership for student‐athletes, peer leadership, is episodic. This means that, for the
most part, daily life is to a large degree managed. But when a leadership moment emerges, it becomes an episode in which the prepared leader might make a reasoned observation and draw a conclusion on what actions to take. The conclusion is that all student‐athletes can be prepared to take actions, and like the world of work the actions
can be exercised by those in the best position to act. For example, a nurse takes leadership action to ensure a safe operating environment while the surgeon takes leadership action regarding certain specifics of the surgical procedure.

The Academy for Sport Leadership’s leadership development formula demonstrates the reality that leadership is a talent involving cognitive, affective, and behavioral qualities. These qualities are accessible to all student‐athletes.


All this isn’t to suggest that “teaching” or learning leadership is easy. Rather, it is a very challenging. Recognizing the need to provide assistance in the leader development process I developed The 8 Roles of Team Leadership. In social psychology it is well established that social identity is a primary force in behavior. How one sees one’s self matters. Tremendously.

Dobbs’ 8 Roles of Team Leadership takes as its starting point the idea that leadership identity is a process of “becoming” rather than solely as a mode of “being.” The 8 Roles can be thought of as persona’s, each providing a conceptual lens from which the student‐athlete is able to act from a sense of competence and familiarity—“I see myself in this persona.” Creating a personal pathway for each student‐athlete is critical. The 8 personas provide a framework for leadership development, thus going from the “being” a student‐athlete to “becoming” a team leader. The personas describe major highways for journeying toward individuation—the discovery and refinement of one’s unique way of becoming a leader—and also toward participation and action with teammates.

The 8 personas are found in the two, complementary but vastly different, roles embedded within each leadership domain. One student‐athlete might find she is a connector, always active in finding ways to help her teammates build better relationships. Another team member might see more of herself in the persona of an
enforcer, enjoying the role of enforcing the team’s norms.


No one’s personality can be completely described in 8 role‐based personas—we’re all extraordinary complex beings. But the personas’ do provide an accurate indicator of where a player might have potential leadership strengths, as well as highlighting areas of weakness too. Given the choice, most student‐athletes are willing to devote great amounts of social energy to interacting with teammates and will, if the environment encourages it, experiment with leadership actions; actions that align with their perceived persona. One’s identity is a powerful force for thinking and acting like a leader.

To find out more about and order Sport Leadership Books authored by Dr. Dobbs including a Leader in Every Locker that this post was taken from, Click this link: The Academy for Sport Leadership Books

About the Author

A former basketball coach, Cory’s coaching background includes experience at the NCAA DII, NJCAA, and high school levels of competition. While coaching, he researched and developed the transformative Becoming a Team Leader program for student-athletes. Cory has worked with professional athletes, collegiate athletic programs and high schools teaching leadership as a part of the sports experience and education process. Cory cut his teeth as a corporate leader with Fortune 500 member, The Dial Corp. As a consultant and trainer Dr. Dobbs has worked with such organizations as American Express, Honeywell, and Avnet.

Cory has taught a variety of courses on leadership and change for the following universities:

Northern Arizona University (Graduate Schools of Business and Education)

Ohio University (Graduate School of Education / Management and Leadership in Sport)

Grand Canyon University (Sports Marketing and Sports Management in the Colangelo School of Sports Business)

Visit to read Cory’s leadership blog.

The post Leadership Personas appeared first on .

Ball Screen Wave Drills

Post First Published On

These drills were put together by Nate Hill.

He is the Assistant Boys Coach at Colonel Crawford High School in North Robinson, Ohio.

Coach Hill has provided several drills and has been generous enough to allow me to post them on the site.

He has also started a basketball coaching newsletter.

You can see his first edition as well as subscribe to the Newsletter at this link: Next Level 419 Coaching Newsletter

He provide a post where he outlined what he believes to be the strengths and weaknesses of five different methods of defending ball screens. Here is the link to that article on 5 options for defending pick and roll.

Since the drills uses both sides of the floor, you could use it as either a practice drill or a pre-game warm up drill if you run a ball screen offense.



4 Player Wave Drills Guards and Posts


Combo drills: 4 balls, 2 posts, 2 guards, 1-2 coaches.

1 dribble entry into a side ball screen with 5.

The 5 uses a “1” cut and rolls to basket.

1 hits 5, then gets pass from coach for a jumper.

4 starts with ball, and passes to 2 lifting, then sets a ball screen.

4 uses a “2” cut and pops to space. Switch sides and cuts.




Combo drills: 4 balls, 2 posts, 2 guards, 1-2 coaches.

1 dribble entry into a side ball screen with 5.

4 starts with ball, and passes to 2 lifting, then sets a ball screen.

Change up the cuts – 1. Roll, 2. Pop, 3. Slips, 4. Dribble hand off.

Alternate passes and angles.

The post Ball Screen Wave Drills appeared first on .

Shooting Drills: Brad Underwood OKlahoma State

Post First Published On

These four shooting drills are with Brad U, Head Men’s Coach at Oklahoma State after engineering a very successful run at Stephen F. Austin.

There is sound with these videos, so please make sure that your sound is on.

The videos are You Tube videos, so you will need to be able to access that site.

Press the play arrow for each of the videos to start.

There should be some bits and pieces of the drills that you can modify to fit your needs.

Some of his teaching points for his shooting drills and offensive system are:

1) He emphasizes making 3 shots in a row.
2) They want the receiver of the extra pass to be 12 feet from the passer.

You can see more information about the Gun at



Baseline Drive and Drift with Extra Pass Shooting Drill


5-Out Ball Screen Lift/Spot-Up Shooting Drill

Baseline Drift with Shot Fake Shooting Drill

Read the Driver and React Shooting Drill

The post Shooting Drills: Brad Underwood OKlahoma State appeared first on .