Teaching Your Players to Attack The Basket
Shelby Turcotte, Head Coach – Basketball Coaching Academy
Aggressiveness on offense comes down to two things:
These two feed off of each other in a cycle. Now, depending on which direction you choose, this cycle can be negative or positive.
If a player lacks confidence they won’t believe that they have the ability to do whatever the task is at hand (in this case attacking the basket).
If a player doesn’t possess the ability to do the task at hand, they will subsequently lose confidence.
The challenge in this “chicken or egg” story is that you must try to lift, enhance, and improve both confidence and abilities at the same time.
Case in point (with regards to attacking the basket), ask yourself the question at hand with regards to your player(s) and then address the issue(s):
- Does the player lack ball handling skills?
- Does the player lack strength?
- Does the player lack basketball IQ?
- Does the player lack recognition?
All of these questions are regarding a skill.
If the player needs to improve their ball handling skills, get them on a ball handling program to improve the actual skill.
If the player isn’t strong enough (still a skill), get them on a proper basketball strength training program and get them stronger.
If the player needs to improve their IQ, get them in front of game footage and teach/show them patterns of how the game is actually played and provide examples of what to do and when.
If the player has trouble recognizing situations at game speed, get them practice reps where they can learn to apply their skills (keep in mind that this is different than IQ).
At the same time, as a coach you MUST consider that while many players have 1,2,3 or even all 4 of these skills, they may not have the confidence in using them.
When faced with this situation, it’s important to do two things: 1) continue to applaud the player and encourage their abilities to build the confidence in themselves that they already possess enough ability to succeed. and 2) Have them start doing what I call the “10 Positives” daily.
The 10 Positives daily can be a game changer for many athletes (in particular those who are critical of themselves regardless of talent or abilities). Have that athlete take a notebook; write the date; put all numbers 1-10 down the side of the page; and literally write 10 positive things. It can be anything at first. I mean anything! Things from “I tied my shoes” to “My shoes are sick!”
Most athletes who struggle with confidence will find that simply finding 10 things that they have done well an incredible challenge – especially during an hour or two of practice.
Start wherever you need to as a coach. Allow them to use their entire day at first. As they improve and start to recognize the “good” things in life, it becomes much easier to find 10 things during a practice. From that point you’ll star to notice a funny thing – the kid will all of a sudden start to look for the “good things in life.” Magically they star to notice that “success” and “positivity” is all around them. It’s just that they haven’t been looking for it….
It’s important to remember as a coach, that developing skills like the ability to attack the basket isn’t something as simple as using drill X. It’s a compilation of a variety of factors which ultimately lead a successful play!
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