Lessons to Maximize Offensive Training and Concepts
By Bob Brown, Former High School and College Coach
At what point do you spend more time dressing screens, positioning, certain offenses?
Do you wait until high school, do you wait until varsity, do you start introducing it in middle school?
Or do you think it is absolutely specific to the team or the player?
As a head coach, you should have a philosophy and put together a program. At different levels, there’s only so much time that you have. At every level, these fundamental skills should be worked on so that it is a progression. Maybe you didn’t spend as much time on screening or setting screens at their early level because you want to run open offenses, and you want the kids to have more ball handling skills – that’s fine. You have to have a practice plan. Any coach that goes into practice without a practice plan is fooling themselves. It is set for how much time should you spend on different things. Again, this is your philosophy.
In my philosophy, in a two-hour practice, every two-hour practice, 50-55 minutes were spent on fundamental skills: on shooting, on dribbling, on passing, on closing out, on setting screens and so fourth. Because if they don’t have the fundamental skills, at some point of the game, you’re going to get beaten. You have to develop those.
I’ve seen practices that I’m looking out on the floor and I’m watching a team take lay-ups. I’m seeing one line on the left, one line on the right, and the front guy on the right dribbles a ball and takes the lay-up. The other guy comes across, gets the rebound and passes it back out – and I’m looking and I’m saying, all you have to do is figure out the time that the guy in the left lane stands around and does nothing but watch while they go in. That’s not efficient.
I’ve run practices where I said, ”Okay, how can we make this better? Well, let’s put it another ball.” Now they get two, “Well let’s put it another ball,” they get three, “How about everybody having a ball but one person,” and that’s the guy that is rebounding. Everybody else just dribbling the ball and ball handling while they are waiting.’
I went to a practice recently, and I’m watching the team running suicides; running up and down and I’m thinking, “This is not track, this is basketball.” Put a basket ball in their hands so they’re dribbling up and down the court. If you want them to run, let them dribble. Oh, by the way, lets say add some more to it. Lets have them make a move at three-quarter-court mark, at the half-court mark, at the quarter….add to it, don’t let people stand around. You’re putting in practice.
I know I will go to a clinic and I’ll stand in front of a 100-200 coaches, and I’ll say, “Okay, guys, now, how many of you know exactly how many shots your players take during practice? Raise your hand.” Probably two or three raise their hands, and I say, “Well, you are the accidental coach.” You don’t know — I mean you have a philosophy if you told me, “I think it’s best if they take ten shots.” Okay that’s your philosophy. Now live with it and use it. If you say a 100, what drills are you’re going to use.
I was working with a kid the other day and I said, “Okay, now you and I are going to shoot. I’m going to rebound and I’m going to pass the ball out to you and I want you shoot it.” I said, “Okay, now tell me, what is this drill?” He looked at me and he says, “It’s a shooting drill.” I said, “No, it isn’t. It’s a shooting drill for you ,but for me it’s a passing drill.”
Maximize the drill(s). Every pass I’m making has a purpose: the overheard, the bounce pass, the chest-pass. I’m thinking this is a defense man in front of me too, I’m passing around him. This is not a one thing drill, it is a two-thing drill. When coaches start adding a number of different aspects to the game, then they’re starting to run good practices – good solid practices.
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