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Read the REVIEW of our ebook, The Complete Book of the Flex Offense.
It was written by Coach Larry Jackson, a 30 year coaching veteran, and was posted on his website.
CLICK HERE to read the review.



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A.R.T.
            (SHOOTING THE FREE THROW)
              A.....aim     R...routine             T....trust

by
GARY COLSON, former Head Coach
UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO/FRESNO STATE

A...AIM  Jerry West (The Logo) told me when he shot free throws in games that he would put a arc on the shot and aim for the back eyelets on the rim that held the net when he was tired and it was late in the game.  He said early in the game when he was rested he would AIM for the front eyelets on the rim that held the net.  With a rainbow arc.

When hitting a golf ball simply pinpoint the back of the ball with your strong eye and let it fly.  Only one thought!!

SHOOTING THE BASKETBALL...

Find a spot on the rim and focus on that spot and trust your Technique (stroke). AIM is one of the biggies!!

 R...ROUTINE

“There is comfort in a Routine” The best free throw shooters on the planet have a ROUTINE that reduces tension and creates a comfort zone that meets their needs to make a big percentage. Look at Ray Allen or Steve Nash they have great routines.  Most all golfers have a routine before hitting any shot.  Baseball hitters have a routine before swinging. Do you have a routine that has been practiced every time you have shot a Free Throw?  If not why not?  If the “best of the best” do it then I think you should at least think about why you don’t.

SITUATION:  If the game is over and there is no time on the clock and your team is one down and YOU have two shots...you need  a routine you are so comfortable with that you cherish the situation and want the ball.

SUGESTIONS: Alignment..where is the nail hole on the floor.  What about the air hole on the ball with the target(index) finger on it? Exact  placement of your right foot very near the nail hole with the left foot staggered.  What about a couple deep breaths.  How about a couple dummy poses shooting “with out the ball”. I would prefer the right arm not to be perfectly straight but a small degree or two turned out. Be creative and choose your own “routine”.  Etc.

T...TRUST

Note you have over 600 muscles and bones in your body.  Having said that let me give you a situation.
SITUATION: Let's say you are a baseball hitter and  you are facing a pitcher that throws at 95 mph.  Question what are you going to think about as you see the pitch coming?  You cannot think about all of your 600 muscles and bones for sure.  What about receiving a tennis ball served at 150 mph?

You can only focus on one thing in both these situations and the answer is THE BALL and TRUST your body to work out your stroke.  Total TRUST is required in all situations like this.  No doubts or nervousness
.
SITUATION:  I repeat the basketball game is over but your team is one point down and you have a one and one situation(WOW) What are you going to think about???   You MUST make the first to be a hero.
You have the Routine,you have the Aim so just must Trust your stroke or your technique.

3 TIPS

1.Keep your head still otherwise it is like shooting at a moving target.

2.Lift your heels as you complete your shot
.
3.Self-Talk..”I love to shoot free throws”...”I love to shot free throws” etc. Whatever...putting,hitting....

SUMMARY..AIM ...ROUTINE....TRUST!!!

Practice THE ART and “Let it be”


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GREATEST, MOST REALISTIC,
PRESSURE FREE THROW SHOOTING DRILL

by

JACK FERTIG
Former Assistant Coach, USC and TENNESSEE

 

There are a multitude of ways this drill can be done. Let’s use, for this example, a team of 12 players, split into two   groups , with six players at one basket and the other six at the basket at the opposite end. One player is at each FT line, the others are placed around the lane as in a game.

For the purpose of explaining the drill, let’s say the goal is 10, i.e. whichever group that gets to +10 is the winner (any number can be used, usually depending on how much time a coach has to allot for the drill). Regarding that point: no one has limitless practice time, so it may be necessary to put a time limit on the game, e.g. get to +10 in 8 minutes or, say, they run. As your players understand and compete at this drill, you’ll usually find the number can be raised. At the   colleges   where I implemented it, we’d usually use +15 and, occasionally, if we were on break or even at a weekend practice, we’d use +25 as our goal. Read on and you’ll see how this can tell you, the coach, which guys to have on the court at the end of a close game (when you have a small lead) and which guys to make sure are sitting next to you.

Here’s the drill:  Each player must shoot two free throws (not one-and-one). The score is kept for the group, not the individual. Each made FT is +1. Each missed FT is -1.

(Note: if a team gets to -3, they automatically have to run windsprint; maybe a windsprint down and back or; or a "wall touch" or whatever the coach wants. It should be short and explosive, however, like in a game where the players are running hard and someone gets fouled. That’s why push ups as a penalty in this game are foolish because when does your team ever do push ups in the middle of a game and then have to shoot FT’s?)

 

After the first player shoots, his group’s score will be +2 (if he makes both); 0 (if one is made, the other missed); or -2 (if both are missed). By the way, the reason the group doesn’t run until -3 is so that one bad FT shooter can’t cause his entire team to run. Plus, after the group gets to -2, it puts the pressure on the next shooter because if that first shot is a miss, their score goes to -3 and everybody in the group runs.

After the first player shoots his two free throws, the players move around the lane (clockwise or counter clockwise doesn’t matter – as long as every player shoots two). This rotation continues until the group gets to the goal, loses to the other team(s) or time runs out.

Next shooter is up. Let’s imagine the first guy made both, so the group’s score, when the second player gets to the line, is +2. Let’s say shooter #2 also makes both. Now the team score is +4.

HERE IS WHERE THE GAME CHANGES.

The third shooter is up. Each make is still +1. HOWEVER, each miss (once they get to +4) is -2. So, if the third shooter makes his first FT, the score is +5. However, if that first FT is missed, the score goes down to +2). For the second FT, a make is +1 (makes are always +1). A miss is -1 since the group score is now down to +2. An initial miss followed by a make would change the score go from +4 to +2 (on the first miss), then to +3 (when the second FT is made).

The game continues like this: every make is always +1. The price of the misses are as follows: -1 if the team score is +3 or less; -2 if the team score is +4, +5 or +6; -3 if the team score is +7 or +8 and, here’s the ultimate beauty of the game, when the team score gets to +9, each miss is . . . -9.
Why so severe? Because it’s like getting fouled with no time left and score’s tied. What’s the situation? Simple. Make the free throw and your team wins (i.e. +10), but miss it, and you go to overtime (i.e. the score goes back to 0).

Benefits of the drill:

Once a player understands the proper mechanics of shooting, his improvement comes with 1) confidence, 2) practice and 3) concentration. He gets confidence through practice. The coach provides the concentration, e.g. punishments, rewards. With this drill concentration is guaranteed. On every FT, each player is shooting for the team. Just like a game.

You, as a coach, never know who is going to be on the line for the big FT. It teaches coaches who can be counted on to make the pressure FT. When I was at Toledo, we had a 6’7″ forward who was academic all-conference and one of the smartest, nicest, most competitive kids I’ve ever been around – and a 75% FT shooter. Yet, during this free throw shooting game (we used to play it to +15) this kid NEVER made a free throw when he was on the line at +14. At first, we kidded about it. Finally, we realized we just couldn’t have this kid in at the end of a close game.

“The FT missed in the first two minutes cost us just as much as the miss at the end” might be true, but the pressure is different, causing that miss to seem like it costs more. As a game goes on, FT’s seem more and more valuable – just like in this game. As your team gets closer to the goal, the misses tend to carry more weight (and tend to devastate a team more). This game doesn’t let that happen. You must get to the goal or else the game goes on forever. Since each make is only +1, the only way to reach the goal is one make at a time.

Yet, there’s no need to hurry. If time is running out, tell them that each group will be allowed to “run it out,” just like sudden death – next miss loses. No matter where the team is, i.e. between -2 and +9, they can win only if they get to the goal without missing. Same rule if one group wins. The other group (or groups, depending on how the coach wants to split up the team) gets to “run it out.” This means that if one group gets to +10, the other(s) continue to shoot, two shots per player. If they reach to the goal without missing, they’re considered to have “won” as well.

The reason there is no need to hurry is that the only way you can be stopped (after time is out or one of the other groups beat you there), is to miss! Also, if one group is a lot closer to the goal than the other, a couple misses by the team that’s ahead and/or a couple makes by the one that’s behind, and the whole complexion of the game changes.

DEALING WITH ADVERSITY::   When you’re on the line and your group is at +8, if you miss, the score goes to +5. How many times has the first miss affected the second one, so that one is missed as well? In this game, if you get to the line and your team’s score is +8, you’re shooting two. If you miss the first, the score goes to +5. If you make the second, it goes to +6. So, you got there with the team at +8 and when you left, it was at +6 – not good, but not devastating. If you miss the second, though, it goes to +3. So when you got there, the team was at +8 and when you left, it was +3. That is really hurting your team. Moral of the story: Don’t let the first miss affect the second. Each FT is separate unto itself, i.e. whether the first one goes in or not, it has ZERO effect on what the next one will do. Similarly, how many times does bad FT shooting become contagious? One kid misses and the others say, “Wow, he’s our best shooter. How can anybody expect lil’ ol’ me to make one if the star can’t?” If you get to the line after your stud just bricked two (with the team score at, say, +6), it means when he got there it was +6, but when he left it was +2 (-2 at +6 bringing the score to +4, then -2 at +4 bringing it to +2). What are you going to do? Miss both and send your team to zero? After you’ve been so close (if he and you had made both, the game would be over!) OR make yours and put your team at +4 and back in the game.

Groups must yell out their score after each shot and, only when a group gets to +9 (or whatever is “game point”), is trash talking allowed (just like when the player’s taking that big FT on the road – with the game on the line and the home fans not wanting their team to lose).

If you have more time, e.g. a weekend practice, try the game with a goal of +25. The rules are +1 for a make, -1 for a miss if the score’s +5 or under, -2 for a miss when the score’s between +6 and +10, -3 when it’s between +11 and +15, -4 when it’s between +16 and +20, -5 when it’s +21, +22 or +23 and . . . -24 when it’s +24! If you have a kid with the courage to knock down a FT at +24, knowing it’s “make it and end practice or miss and put you team back at 0”, that’s a kid you want in the end of a close game and a kid you want to make sure gets the ball.

Which brings up the main coaching point: There’s no quick fix, no “five point FT.”  The only way to win is to … make one free throw at a time.”

Try it and let me know how it works for you (fertigjack@aol.com).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP TEN TRAITS OF A COLLEGE ASSISTANT COACH

By
Jack Fertig

 


At a clinic I attended about three decades ago, I heard a head coach say that his assistants’ jobs were to “make my life easier.” That’s right only so long as your program exists for and revolves around your head coach. Nearly every (other) coach I know feels that the job of every coach is to make your program as successful as it can possibly be.

1 – Loyalty: if you work for a man, work for him (or her). A head coach has many concerns and responsibilities – worrying about whether he (or she) can trust you shouldn’t be one of them.

2 – Recruit: not just sign players but players who can play for your head coach, e.g.
a) does your guy “break players down to build them back up?” Be careful when recruiting a sensitive, spoiled kid. b) do you use a double low post offense? If so, don’t recruit a high post player.
c) do you run dribble-drive? Make sure you’re recruiting guys who can create their own shot and don’t try to sign a post player who is used to being the focal point of the offense.
d) evaluation is key Forget the rep and the scouting services; no one ought to know whether the kid can play for you better than you.

3 – Don’t be a “yes man.” It might seem as though the head coach wants or needs agreement, but not making suggestions you believe in – even if your head guy feels otherwise just means you can ride with him/her out of town when the pink slip is issued. You can disagree without being disagreeable. Push hard for your beliefs, explain why you feel that way but know when to surrender and be united when a decision is made.

4 – Be as low maintenance as possible. Being self-sufficient frees everyone else to do their jobs. Coaching in college has become such a tenuous position; head coaches are given less time (but more money); ancillary issues only take away from a staff’s effectiveness.

5 – Scouting: on many staffs, the games are split among the assistants. You need to be able to break down opponents’ games to give your team “advance knowledge” of what to expect. The ability to a) understand opponents’ personnel and tendencies and b) be able to pass that information on to your players (or what good is it?) in a short amount of time.

6 – End-of-game situations: thoroughly understanding (quickly) what your team’s philosophy is in the final minutes, depending on the several factors, especially if the game is your scout. It is the one time in a game in which you may have the greatest impact. Most coaches (and many fans) will remember Game 4 of last year’s NBA Finals. Russell Westbrook was having the game of his life with 43 points. He’d scored 17 of the Thunder’s 23 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 in a row. The Thunder were down three with 17 seconds to go but there were only 5 seconds on the Heat’s shot clock so even though the they controlled the tip, just five seconds of good D and the Thunder would have had a chance to tie. Inexplicably, Westbrook intentionally fouled Mario Chalmers. The debate was, “Who’s fault: Westbrook or head coach Scott Brooks?” Sure, Westbrook is an NBA player who ought to know time and score. Yet, he was in that zone players get and, sometimes, that can include a mental lapse. So, was Brooks to blame? As a head coach he was thinking of what three point they needed to run once they got the ball. The mistake was the assistants! At least one of them should have known and relayed the information to Westbrook. If all assistants are going to do is yell and cheer, they may as well have pom-poms.

7 – Be the players’ confidante: with 12-15 players on a team, there’s never enough playing time to go around and it would be a first if every player was satisfied with their minutes. It’s so easy to blame the head coach. The assistant has to be a good listener – to the player, high school coach, parents (or whoever helped with the recruitment process) – but also need to “tell it like it is” – in an empathetic manner. In addition, there are home sick problems, roommate situations, girlfriend/boyfriend issues, whatever. A good assistant solves the problems – gracefully, legally and truthfully – so they seldom, if ever, reach the head coach.

8 – Handle the BS: there are scores of people and groups who “want a piece” of the head coach. Many of them can be dealt with by an assistant but nobody wants to deal with just a #2, 3 or 4. The assistant must be able to take care of such items so the person will be satisfied. The head coach must be able to use the greater majority of the time on the vital items: practice time, recruiting calls or correspondence, media interviews, etc.

9 – Represent your school in a positive, dignified manner: with the invention of the Internet, all bets are off! There’s no such thing as being anonymous. Nowadays, any slip up, be it a confrontation with an obnoxious fan, a humorous but off color email, driving after you’ve had a couple of beers and probably aren’t over the limit (but might be close), trouble in your personal life – anything – makes for a good story or, worse yet, a budding writer’s breakthrough. Your integrity must be above reproach.

10 – Ability to improve players’ performance: many programs have workout guys, strength & conditioning personnel. The game shouldn’t become so specialized that assistants shouldn’t be able to help kids they recruited and have great relationships with get closer to their potential. Make sure they reach their academic potential as well, even if it’s staying in close touch with the academic counselors and tutors.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

JACK FERTIG was an assistant basketball coach at the University of Tennessee, the University of Southern California, Fresno Steate and other colleges. He currently maintains a basketball blog at jackfertig.com His blog is free to subscribe.

 

 

 

 

 


 


At a clinic I attended about three decades ago, I heard a head coach say that his assistants’ jobs were to “make my life easier.” That’s right only so long as your program exists for and revolves around your head coach. Nearly every (other) coach I know feels that the job of every coach is to make your program as successful as it can possibly be.

1 – Loyalty: if you work for a man, work for him (or her). A head coach has many concerns and responsibilities – worrying about whether he (or she) can trust you shouldn’t be one of them.

2 – Recruit: not just sign players but players who can play for your head coach, e.g.
a) does your guy “break players down to build them back up?” Be careful when recruiting a sensitive, spoiled kid. b) do you use a double low post offense? If so, don’t recruit a high post player.
c) do you run dribble-drive? Make sure you’re recruiting guys who can create their own shot and don’t try to sign a post player who is used to being the focal point of the offense.
d) evaluation is key Forget the rep and the scouting services; no one ought to know whether the kid can play for you better than you.

3 – Don’t be a “yes man.” It might seem as though the head coach wants or needs agreement, but not making suggestions you believe in – even if your head guy feels otherwise just means you can ride with him/her out of town when the pink slip is issued. You can disagree without being disagreeable. Push hard for your beliefs, explain why you feel that way but know when to surrender and be united when a decision is made.

4 – Be as low maintenance as possible. Being self-sufficient frees everyone else to do their jobs. Coaching in college has become such a tenuous position; head coaches are given less time (but more money); ancillary issues only take away from a staff’s effectiveness.

5 – Scouting: on many staffs, the games are split among the assistants. You need to be able to break down opponents’ games to give your team “advance knowledge” of what to expect. The ability to a) understand opponents’ personnel and tendencies and b) be able to pass that information on to your players (or what good is it?) in a short amount of time.

6 – End-of-game situations: thoroughly understanding (quickly) what your team’s philosophy is in the final minutes, depending on the several factors, especially if the game is your scout. It is the one time in a game in which you may have the greatest impact. Most coaches (and many fans) will remember Game 4 of last year’s NBA Finals. Russell Westbrook was having the game of his life with 43 points. He’d scored 17 of the Thunder’s 23 points in the fourth quarter, including 13 in a row. The Thunder were down three with 17 seconds to go but there were only 5 seconds on the Heat’s shot clock so even though the they controlled the tip, just five seconds of good D and the Thunder would have had a chance to tie. Inexplicably, Westbrook intentionally fouled Mario Chalmers. The debate was, “Who’s fault: Westbrook or head coach Scott Brooks?” Sure, Westbrook is an NBA player who ought to know time and score. Yet, he was in that zone players get and, sometimes, that can include a mental lapse. So, was Brooks to blame? As a head coach he was thinking of what three point they needed to run once they got the ball. The mistake was the assistants! At least one of them should have known and relayed the information to Westbrook. If all assistants are going to do is yell and cheer, they may as well have pom-poms.

7 – Be the players’ confidante: with 12-15 players on a team, there’s never enough playing time to go around and it would be a first if every player was satisfied with their minutes. It’s so easy to blame the head coach. The assistant has to be a good listener – to the player, high school coach, parents (or whoever helped with the recruitment process) – but also need to “tell it like it is” – in an empathetic manner. In addition, there are home sick problems, roommate situations, girlfriend/boyfriend issues, whatever. A good assistant solves the problems – gracefully, legally and truthfully – so they seldom, if ever, reach the head coach.

8 – Handle the BS: there are scores of people and groups who “want a piece” of the head coach. Many of them can be dealt with by an assistant but nobody wants to deal with just a #2, 3 or 4. The assistant must be able to take care of such items so the person will be satisfied. The head coach must be able to use the greater majority of the time on the vital items: practice time, recruiting calls or correspondence, media interviews, etc.

9 – Represent your school in a positive, dignified manner: with the invention of the Internet, all bets are off! There’s no such thing as being anonymous. Nowadays, any slip up, be it a confrontation with an obnoxious fan, a humorous but off color email, driving after you’ve had a couple of beers and probably aren’t over the limit (but might be close), trouble in your personal life – anything – makes for a good story or, worse yet, a budding writer’s breakthrough. Your integrity must be above reproach.

10 – Ability to improve players’ performance: many programs have workout guys, strength & conditioning personnel. The game shouldn’t become so specialized that assistants shouldn’t be able to help kids they recruited and have great relationships with get closer to their potential. Make sure they reach their academic potential as well, even if it’s staying in close touch with the academic counselors and tutors.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

JACK FERTIG was an assistant basketball coach at the University of Tennessee, the University of Southern California, Fresno Steate and other colleges. He currently maintains a basketball blog at jackfertig.com His blog is free to subscribe.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

THE WILL TO WIN IS NOT NEARLY AS IMPORTANT
AS THE WILL TO PREPARE TO WIN

By

Coach Ronn Wyckoff

The title above comes from an oft' quoted maxim in sports. It holds special meaning for me, though, because it was often used in presentations by Coach John Wooden, when he was Head Basketball Coach at U.C.L.A.

In the mid-70's, at the beginning of each season, I used to take my high school teams down to U.C.L.A. to observe their practice and to absorb the practice ethic Wooden and his staff elicited from the players. Everything about each practice session was well planned, well choreographed and drilled to perfection. Coach had everything on a 3x5 card, with each minute planned. Not one minute was wasted and not one ounce of energy was expended that was not part of Coach's plan for the practice session and the next game. The influence of taking all this in for each of my players was like an epiphany of sorts for some and nearly so for the rest. I took my managers, stats keepers, the players and my young sons to "sit at the feet" of the guru of Division I basketball--the winningest coach of all time.

What we learned was, in a 'nutshell', that they were champions because they were talented, but even more importantly was that they practiced like they wanted to be champions. They exuded the confidence of champions, but worked like they were on a mission to prove themselves. They practiced the "will to prepare to win".

When Coach Wooden came over to talk with us, whatever he said was no less powerfully received than if Moses himself had brought the word down from the mountain. When he told the players to work hard to be the best they could be, by preparing like winners, and to listen and follow my (Me, Coach Ronn) plan to become the best they could be--well, that cemented my status in the eyes of our team. When my feet came back to the ground and my hat size normalized, I had a lot of work to do to live up to the responsibility and challenge Coach had tossed into my lap. For me, those lessons set the stage for the teaching-coach I was to become. (And, I have used 3x5 cards with my daily practice outlines for the 30+ years since then.)

Nobody knows any more about winning than Coach Wooden. No one coach has amassed the number of NCAA titles than Coach did while at U.C.L.A., nor as many in a row as his teams won.

Few people know that coach wooden spent nearly 2 decades coaching the Bruins before they began winning NCAA titles. So, the adage about 'willing to prepare to win' is underscored by all the years he spent preparing his teams to be winners. The maxim he so often quoted was one he had quoted for many years before his teams hit the big time.

When I came to know him, he was already through most of the winning years, and unbeknownst to all of us, was winding down his tenure with U.C.L.A. basketball. This was when Bill Walton was there finishing his collegiate playing career. In fact, they both finished together--Coach to retire, due to his beloved wife, Nell, being ill, and Bill because he was graduating.

None of my early basketballcoaching “mentors” knew my name or would remember me, but they influenced my early growth in becoming the teacher of the game into which I evolved.

Their influence will be noted on many occasions within my soon to be published book, " Basketball On A Triangle: A Higher Level of Coaching and Playing", but none more than John Wooden, the winningest coach of all time.

Called the Wizard of Westwood, he fashioned U.C.L.A.’s ten NCAA championships over a period of twelve years. His philosophic approach to dealing with the young men he coached, more than anything else, gave me the foundation for later bringing spirituality into my coaching.

In 1974, the summer before Coach Wooden retired from U.C.L.A., I was working at his camp in Southern California and had the opportunity to ask him what other avenues I might pursue to expand my coaching horizon. I told him that good high school coaches were a dime a dozen and I wanted to be more than just a good high school coach. I knew that one pretty much had to have played college ball and/or have very good connections in order to break into the college ranks. Coach Wooden suggested that I look into international coaching opportunities. From that moment, a whole new era began for me.

Now, many years, games, countries and international miles later, I am the coach I always aspired to be. No, I'm not even attempting to be Coach Wooden resurrected; no one probably ever will be. But his example, his teaching, his philosophy gradually seeped into every pore of my coaching body, mind and spirit.

I am a teaching-coach. I strive to bring a spiritual basis to my teaching for each coach and player I work with, to be the best they can be, without having to be better than someone else. I teach that everyone needs to take responsibility for themselves. One has no control over how good another player or coach is, nor how well they prepare. Each individual does, however, have control over how good they are and how well they prepare. Winning is not about beating someone else. It is about preparing well and being the very best you can be, regardless of the score. If that sounds a little like Coach Wooden, well, I took notes from the master.


Article was written by Coach Ronn Wyckoff who has a very good website at:
www.Top-Basketball-Coaching.com


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LATE GAME SITUATIONS

by

CHRIS CROFT
Former Program Specialist, UTEP

A very important part of any basketball program is the execution of late game situations both offensively and defensively. The end of the game in every basketball game is very important. Regardless of the lead, location of the game, or the time of the year, the last five minutes of a basketball game can bring all possibilities of endings. Both teams may be within grasp of a big win, but one team will be headed toward a loss. However, one play can change the momentum of the game and alter the oucome of the game.

A great way for a head coach to improve his team's ability to execute late game situations is to spend time during practice on this segment. It is a great way to end practice each day by spending the last ten minutess on a possible future game ending.

There are several ways that this can be done. First, let the head coach be in charge of one team, and an assistant coach in charge of the second team. Also, you could let the head coach watch the format and let the assistant coaches be divided among teams. It is a great way for the head coach and the assistant coach to stay sharp on game situations and to also experiment with different strategies.

Second, have various formats with time and strategy. For example, one team could be up 70-65 with 2:10 to play in the game. There will need to be one coach or manager that is officiating the action. The process can be complex and have a certain number of timeouts available per team, certain players can have so many fouls, or a star player could have already fouled out. Play can be started in the half-court, full-court, on a free throw, on a baseline out-of-bounds play, on a sideline out-of-bounds play, or many other options. These many situations can expose a basketball team to many situations that could become present during an upcoming pivotal game.

Third, it is a great way to keep excitement at the end of practice. Coaches and players will look forward to the end of practice and the chance to compete in a game-like fashion. Also, there could be token penalties for the losing team to remind them that losing is not fun. This should be kept to a minimum. For example, the losing team may have to run a down and back as a simple reminder that their team lost. (more below)


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Fourth, this will give your team extra confidence in late game situations. Players will embarace late game pressure situations that may come down to one play to win the game. It also will be added confidence if there is a dramatic play at the end of the game that results in overtime. It also will allow the coach to be able to refer back to practice when similar game situations arise. Certain coaching strategies or plays can be performed and taught to players in case the team has no remaining timeouts or desires not to use a timeout.

Fifth, it will culminate what practice is really about, and that is preparing your team to be able to be successful during games. Players are able to see and better understand what the coach is emphasizing in practice and how it can be beneficial to the team in a game. It allows for game action play that does not end in loss or total failure. If a cetain segment is not executed perfectly, then there can be a quick teaching point made on what could have been executed better.

Last but not least, all coaches and players will feel confident during late game situations, which often determine who wins a game. Regarldless of the outcome of the game, the coaches and players will know that they were prepared to execute a late game situation, and they did the very best that they could.

Reprinted by permission of BASKETBALL SENSE (The Magazine for Winning Coaches - www.basketballsense.com).

 


 

 

 

NBA FINISHING:
LEARN THE SHOTS THE PROS USE

BY BRIAN MCCORMICK

One of the most untaught skills, and one skill going by the wayside because in most practices and pregame routines, players practice the perfect shot; they go at a comfortable pace at an optimal angle and make shots unchallenged. However, rarely, if ever, does a player shoot one of these shots in a game. Shooting game shots at game spots at game speeds is a great mantra to preach, but its transfer is never one-hundred percent as games add unpredictability unequaled in even the most game-like drills and practices. Nash did not develop his shots in a gym by himself; he developed his unique shots in one-on-one games against Dirk Nowitski during their early years in Dallas. Mastering such moves and shots requires a live defender, a game-like, competitive atmosphere, and anything short fails to excite the player's imagination and creativity to game-like levels, leaving players unprepared when the perfect, straight-ahead lay-up is eliminated by a help defender.

While learning one's own moves and shots is optimal, here are some moves/shots I use to teach ball handling and finishing with players, and which can be transferred to games if players choose. While Americans occasionally marvel at the shot-making ability of International players, one reason is European players do not do drills without ending with a shot; ball handling, passing, and on-court conditioning drills lead to a shot, not a run from baseline to baseline.

In my "Pro Moves Series," which I use when training high school players, I combine double and triple moves with these finishes to incorporate ball-handling practice with the finishing work. My Pro Moves Series utilizes shots popularized by Tony Parker and Steve Nash, smallish players who are able to finish in the key. Other players use these shots, but using a player's name helps players identify the shot, motivates players to try something that otherwise may seem unorthodox, and gives players an opportunity to watch for the shots when watching games on television.

STEVE NASH RUNNER

The "Runner" is easier than most believe. Essentially it is a jump shot off one foot rather than two. When an offensive player has a defender on his back hip, he does not always have time to pull-up and shoot. Therefore, he may utilize the runner to shoot successfully. As with any shot, the shooter must get balanced before he shoots and must square to the basket; run into the shot by jumping off one foot, in stride, and floating into the shot. Shoot the ball high, as most player miss short because they fail to shoot up, pushing the ball at the basket instead.

STEVE NASH NO JUMP EXTENSION LAY-UP

Nash is masterful at shielding the ball from the defender. Because most opponents have strength and leaping advantage against Nash, he eliminates his disadvantage by shooting quickly, often without jumping. This quick shot catches the defender off-guard and eliminates Nash's perceived disadvantage. With the "no jump" lay-up, Nash shoots immediately off the dribble, with an underhand extension, using his body to shield the ball from the trailing defender.

TONY PARKER FLOATER

The floater is a "feel" shot; it is difficult to teach a floater to a player; the player needs to get a feel for the shot, the arch needed to push the ball quickly over the defender's reach. Shoot the floater off two-feet; in a perfect floater, the player comes to a quick stride stop on balance and floats the ball over the out-stretched arms of the defense. The key is the quickness of the shot; by shooting the floater, as opposed to a regular jump shot, the offensive player lifts the ball over the defender before he has proper time to react and jump to block the shot; in this way, it is not the height of the shot, but the quickness which determines its success. Shooting off two feet is important because the offensive player has the option of extending with his last step for a lay-up, or stopping short with a quick stride stop and pushing the ball over the defender; this option prevents the defender from playing the floater, as the offensive player then steps past the defender for a lay-up.

TONY PARKER INSIDE-HAND LAY-UP

While growing up, my coaches drilled the phrase "left hand on the left side" repeatedly into our heads, demanding we shoot the ball with our outside hand every time, seeing anything else as a weakness, a deficiency to be corrected. While the ability to use both hands is essential to finishing around the basket, circumstances dictate which hand to use. The Inside-Hand Lay-up is used by Parker to get a bigger defender on his back and then extend to the basket, protecting the ball with his back. Imagine Parker using a high on-ball screen on the left wing, driving to the middle of the floor, from left-to-right with his right hand. He turns the corner into the lane and as he approaches the basket, sees Shaq in his way. Parker glides by Shaq to the left side of the basket, turning his back to Shaq and finishes with his right hand, extending the ball away from Shaq, providing enough space and protection for him to get the ball on the glass and draw the foul.

TONY PARKER UP AND UNDER

Another shot frequently used by Parker is the up-and-under, which is the same shot used by post players and typically referred to as the Kevin McHale Move. As Parker drives from right to left, he stops with a quick stride stop (right-left) and shows the ball. Once the defense elevates, he steps through with his left foot, putting the defender on his back, and shoots.

STEVE NASH HOOK

Another way to finish close to the basket is a hook shot. Against a bigger player, the up and under move may not work, as a smart defender will not jump when he has a significant height advantage. Therefore, the offensive player must create space for his shot and a hook is one way. As Nash drives from right to left, he stops with a stride stop (right-left). As he does, he shows the ball high to freeze the defense; he makes a quarter-turn reverse pivot on his right foot, steps to his left foot and shoots the hook, using the width of his body to protect the ball. By stepping away from the defense and shooting the hook, the offensive player actually creates the space of two and a half times the width of his body for the shot, enabling a player like Steve Nash to shoot over a seven-footer like Dirk Nowitski.

These are just a few shots small NBA players use to finish in amongst the seven-footers. These moves give young players a starting point and a reference as they build their own repertoire of indefensible shots through the use of their own imagination.

Reprinted by permission of BASKETBALL SENSE (The Magazine for Winning Coaches - www.basketballsense.com) McCormick is a basketball trainer in California: highfivehoopschool@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOUR KEYS TO BECOMING A GREAT POINT GUARD

by

Chris Capko
Assistant Basketball Coach
Stetson University

You will often hear coaches refer to their point guard as a “coach on the floor” or the “quarterback” of the team. You will also hear coaches refer to their guard play as being the reason their team was so successful. Point guards have more responsibility than any other player on the floor. A good point guard should account for many jobs that statistics just do not cover.

Away from the obligatory physical basketball skills that point guards must perfect, there are a number of other mental skills that are required for this position.

1. Pace and recognition of time and score.

These compliment each other and are two of the most important mental qualities a good point guard should have.

A good point guard plays at a steady pace, never getting out-of-control. They know when to turn up the pace and run as well as slow things down. The pace is generally dictated by the time and score of the game as well as that particular coach’s basketball philosophy. As simple as this sounds, too many times you will see a guy push the basketball and run when it is simply not needed or get out of control and make a bad decision because they don’t have a proper feel for the pace of the game.

It is as equally important for a point guard to always know the time and score of the game. There’s two minutes left in the game and your team is down ten, the point guard must recognize this and push the pace looking to get quicker scores. What if your team is up 4 with two minutes to go? The point guard must recognize this and set up a play to burn some clock and get the shot your team needs. Too many times young point guards lose track of this.

2. On offense a point guard should know every spot of every play within the team’s offense.

A play cannot be initiated or run correctly if every player is not in the correct spot. Point guards must recognize this and get their teammates in the correct spots. They should also know where their teammates are, who the play is run for, and how he prefers to receive the ball. Does my center feel more comfortable from the left or right block? Does my shooting guard shoot the ball better coming off screens going right or going left?

The point should also have a feel for the opposing players foul trouble or where there are defensive mismatches and be able to exploit them without the coach having to say that.

3. Leadership

Leadership is another quality that is a must for a good point guard. Between plays are you huddling your teammates up to let them know what defense you’re in or what play your coach wants to run? Are you encouraging your teammates or reprimanding them? If your big guy has been running the floor, but yet to receive the ball in the post, keep encouraging him and let him know you will be getting him the ball. Are you telling guys who they need to be matched up with or are you confused yourself? Through scouting do you know tendencies for all the opposing players or just the guys you are guarding? To truly be a “coach on the floor” you must know the intricacies of your team and the opponent.

4. Decision making

Decision making is another component that a point guard cannot overlook. Turnovers can be a detriment to a team’s success. The point guard has the ball in his hands more than anyone and is looked upon to make sound decisions.

A good point guard must value the ball and each possession for their team to succeed. It goes deeper than turnovers, but into shot selection and knowing personnel. Know the difference between a good shot and bad shot. Not knowing the difference can essentially be the same as a turnover as can not knowing your own personnel.

Many of these traits come with experience through playing the game, but many can also come through film and studying. A good point guard or basketball player in general can never study too much. You can never know all of your plays too much or find enough instances through film where you did not lead like you should. Invest in being the best point guard you can be both mentally and physically and your team will benefit greatly because of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DICTATE ACTION WITH STRATEGY

by

MAURO PANAGGIO
3-TIME CBA COACH OF THE YEAR

 

The primary purpose of many strategic maneuvers used during the course of a game is to force your opponent to: (1) play a style to which they are not accustomed and do not wish to play, (2) use the element of surprise at a time when your opponent does not have an opportunity to make the necessary adjustments. The best time for surprise strategies is during the second half of play, thus denying the opponent’s coaching staff from using the half-time to prepare the adjustments needed.

 Strategy

While game strategy may differ from game to game depending on the opponent and what they like to do offensively and defensively, a team should be prepared to dictate action through strategic maneuvers. This should be part of the regular drill process in practice. Special hypothetical situations should be created and the appropriate strategy exercised in practice.

Do not expect strategy to overcome a lack of good execution or good fundamental skills and to be the where-with-all to enable you to win games. However, good strategic maneuvers can tip the scale in your favor if execution and fundamental skill are near equal. It is possible to defeat stronger opponents by use of imaginative and well-prepared strategies.

After thorough analysis of the scouting report and preparation of a general game plan, special strategic maneuvers should be planned and practiced. Some of the strategic moves the coach should be prepared to use are:

SUBSTITUTIONS:--- Most coaches agree that a team without a good bench is limited in how far they can go. With the pace and quality of today’s game, it is unlikely a player can go a full game at a high degree of efficiency without some rest periods. Therefore, substitutions become strategic by the fact the coach must have some preconceived plan as to when and whom to substitute for players on the floor.

Many teams have given added prestige to the commonly designated sixth man. He often is a player who comes into the game at a point when an emotional lift may be needed, or to provide an offensive or defensive spark to the team.

Another strategic use of substitutions may occur at the end of a game when the coach may try to alternately have his best offensive unit on the floor when in possession of the ball and his strongest rebounding or defensive unit when the opponent has the ball. This can only be accomplished when the ball is dead. The ball becomes dead at different times depending on the level of competition, thus substitutions may or may not be permitted in varying situations. An example of this difference is at the professional level no defensive substitution may be made after a score while at the high school and college level it is permitted. Another strategic substitution in situations where the opponent must foul to stop the clock or attempt to create a one-possession deficit, is to replace poor free throw shooters with the best free throw shooters

TIME OUT:t--- A time out should not be called merely to give players a rest period. It must be used as a strategic maneuver. Uses such as: (1) to break the opponents momentum during a scoring outburst and to review the defensive adjustments necessary, (2) to make a necessary change of strategy from the game plan, something that no verbal communication can accomplish, (3) to maintain possession of the ball when pressed or tied up during an attempt to protect a lead late in the game, (4) to set up a last minute play, (5) to attempt to freeze an opposing player ready to shoot a free throw at a crucial time.  

GAME TEMPO:--- If a coach was to have his druthers he would like to be able to control the tempo of every game. Game tempo control can be established and/or changed by a variety of strategic maneuvers: (1) pressing defense can cause an up beat game tempo. If an opponent likes to play a slow half court game a variety of pressure defenses ranging from full court to half court trapping can cause the opponent, unless they have exceptional ball handling skills and discipline, to hurry passes, and take hurried and poor shots. (2) A fast break attack will also cause an up beat tempo, forcing the slower deliberate team to commit more of their defense and rebounding strength to protect back court and play the full length of the court. (3) The delay game is a strategy that can slow down the tempo of the game when desirable. There many reasons why the delay game strategy should be a part of every teams basic strategic maneuvers. In addition to slowing the tempo of play, the delay game is effective at the end of a period or game when playing for the last shot, protecting a lead late in the game, playing for a high percentage shot such as a lay up or 6-8 foot jump shot, protecting an outstanding player or players who are in foul trouble, to spread a zone defense or eventually force them out of the zone and into a man on man defense,

CREATE SPECIAL SITUATIONS--- A favorite strategic maneuver of many coaches is to create a situation that enables his team to exploit certain weaknesses of the opponent. Some of these situations are: (1) Isolating a player with exceptional one on one skills to break down his defensive opponent, causing others to help, weakening their team defense. (2) Isolating against a particularly weak defender on the opposing team. (3) Fouling a poor free throw shooter to gain possession when the one and one free throw rule is in effect.

Basic strategic planning would call for the use of the following:

  • Pressure defense against an inexperienced, poor ball handling team.
  • Slow down and reduce to a half court game against a quick, fast breaking team who likes to play the up tempo game.
  • Fast break and press a big, slow, deliberate, disciplined offensive team who prefers the half court game.
  • If you have a John Wooden type team, play any way you like and make the opposition adjust to you. Of course you realize it was because his teams were prepared to execute the first three above that Wooden was able to utilize number four.

 

COACH MAURO PANAGGIO HAS RELEASED A GREAT NEW EBOOK ON BASKETBALL DEFENSE. The book is titled, DeeeFense Wins Basketeball ChampionshipS and covers virtually every phase of basketball defense....individual, man for man, and zone. Coach Panaggfio is a 3 time CBA Coach of the Year and really knows basketball defense.

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Tips for Coaching Shooters

By Dr. Hal Wissel

1. Familiarize yourself with the player you are coaching. Learn to listen more than you talk. A player wants to feel comfortable with you and have confidence in you before they work with you. At times you will coach a player that will feel that you think he cannot shoot. Always start with what the player is doing well.

2. Coach each player individually. You do not want a player to learn everything that you know about shooting. You want each player to learn what he wants to know in terms of improving his shot. However, you should be able to answer every question the player will ask.

3. Encourage the player to talk to you and say what he likes and doesn’t like. Tell the player, “I want to get you to shoot with confidence and rhythm. I want to work on that mechanic that helps your shot the most. The point is, it’s your shot and you adjust what you want to adjust. I’m here to coach you and help you, but you’re going to learn to coach yourself.”

4. Find out what a player is looking for by asking questions. You can learn a lot about a player from his answers. When you really listen to the answers, you can gear your responses to suit the player’s particular needs. Ask the player, “When you are shooting well, what are you doing? There is no wrong answer to this question. It simply gives an indication of a player’s confidence level and what he knows about his own shot. If a player responds with the answer, “I just shoot!” It may indicate that he has confidence, or that he is not over thinking when he shoots. When a player answers, “When I’m shooting well my shoulders are going toward the basket.” Then you have an idea that he has an understanding of what he wants to do when shooting. When a player answers, “The ball is going in!” It probably means that he does not know much about his shot.

5. Keep it simple. Keep your instruction brief, simple, yet inspiring. Players lose interest if your coaching is long, too detailed, or boring. For the most part, a player is not progressing while you are talking. Get the player shooting.

6. Strive to keep a player’s confidence level high. Be positive and keep encouraging the player to know that he can and will achieve his goals. Motivate the player to consistently do what it takes to reach his goals and never let him think for one moment that he will have anything less than success. Constantly tell the player, “You’re a shooter!”

7. When a player does not want your help do not take it as a personal attack on you.  In fact, only one player or a few players may be interested in receiving your coaching. Once you have success with one or more players, others will become interested in how you can help them.

8. Never stop coaching. When a player sees that you care about him, are positive, enthusiastic, energized and tenacious, it will inspire him to reach new heights. Above all, make it enjoyable! You become a better coach to a player when he sees that you have high spirits, a bright smile and a sense of humor.

From:  Wissel, Hal. (2005). Basketball Shooting: Confidence, Rhythm and Mechanics. Basketball World, Suffield , CT.  
Wissel, Hal. (2005). Basketball Shooting: Off the Pass, Off the Dribble and In the Post. Basketball World, Suffield , CT.  

Available at: http://www.basketballworld.com

Dr. Hal Wissel conducts SHOOT IT BETTER Mini Camps worldwide and year round for players ranging from youth level to NBA and WNBA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for Coaching Shooters

By Dr. Hal Wissel

1. Familiarize yourself with the player you are coaching. Learn to listen more than you talk. A player wants to feel comfortable with you and have confidence in you before they work with you. At times you will coach a player that will feel that you think he cannot shoot. Always start with what the player is doing well.

2. Coach each player individually. You do not want a player to learn everything that you know about shooting. You want each player to learn what he wants to know in terms of improving his shot. However, you should be able to answer every question the player will ask.

3. Encourage the player to talk to you and say what he likes and doesn’t like. Tell the player, “I want to get you to shoot with confidence and rhythm. I want to work on that mechanic that helps your shot the most. The point is, it’s your shot and you adjust what you want to adjust. I’m here to coach you and help you, but you’re going to learn to coach yourself.”

4. Find out what a player is looking for by asking questions. You can learn a lot about a player from his answers. When you really listen to the answers, you can gear your responses to suit the player’s particular needs. Ask the player, “When you are shooting well, what are you doing? There is no wrong answer to this question. It simply gives an indication of a player’s confidence level and what he knows about his own shot. If a player responds with the answer, “I just shoot!” It may indicate that he has confidence, or that he is not over thinking when he shoots. When a player answers, “When I’m shooting well my shoulders are going toward the basket.” Then you have an idea that he has an understanding of what he wants to do when shooting. When a player answers, “The ball is going in!” It probably means that he does not know much about his shot.

5. Keep it simple. Keep your instruction brief, simple, yet inspiring. Players lose interest if your coaching is long, too detailed, or boring. For the most part, a player is not progressing while you are talking. Get the player shooting.

6. Strive to keep a player’s confidence level high. Be positive and keep encouraging the player to know that he can and will achieve his goals. Motivate the player to consistently do what it takes to reach his goals and never let him think for one moment that he will have anything less than success. Constantly tell the player, “You’re a shooter!”

7. When a player does not want your help do not take it as a personal attack on you.  In fact, only one player or a few players may be interested in receiving your coaching. Once you have success with one or more players, others will become interested in how you can help them.

8. Never stop coaching. When a player sees that you care about him, are positive, enthusiastic, energized and tenacious, it will inspire him to reach new heights. Above all, make it enjoyable! You become a better coach to a player when he sees that you have high spirits, a bright smile and a sense of humor.

From:  Wissel, Hal. (2005). Basketball Shooting: Confidence, Rhythm and Mechanics. Basketball World, Suffield , CT.  
Wissel, Hal. (2005). Basketball Shooting: Off the Pass, Off the Dribble and In the Post. Basketball World, Suffield , CT.  

Available at: http://www.basketballworld.com

Dr. Hal Wissel conducts SHOOT IT BETTER Mini Camps worldwide and year round for players ranging from youth level to NBA and WNBA.

Visit: http://www.basketballworld.com  or call BASKETBALL WORLD at 1-860-668-7162

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO TRANSFORM YOUR GAME AND MAXIMIZE YOUR SKILLS
WITH PRE-PRACTICE SUCCESS PROGRAMMING

by

MIKE MAHON
Professional Basketball Performance Consultant

Do you ever wonder why you go to the gym and sometimes feel lethargic, while other times you are pumped up to set a personal best in your workout?

Do you wish that you could consistently practice at high levels of intensity and continually improve your performance with every set and rep of each drill every single time you decide to workout?

If I could show you a step-by-step blueprint to guarantee your success, and allow you to determine the exact outcome of your basketball practice session would you use it?

If you said yes to any of the following questions, then you will absolutely love what I am about to share with you.

It’s a fact that the majority of players who practice their individual skills, do not improve and exceed their level of competency every practice session. But why….

Well for starters these players do not have a focused plan of action that they systematically implement to guarantee their success. Success is something that is pre-determined, not purely chance.

What I am about to share with you is a modified version of some of the mental preparation strategies that I learned from one of my personal success coaches Mr. Pete Siegal of www.incrediblechange.com Upon learning this information, I have integrated my own variation of the system into the training programs of my elite athletes, private clientele as well as myself.

If you choose to integrate this method that I am about to share with you, then you will watch your physical performance and skill level sky-rocket to new heights that were previously unattainable to you before. You will become instantly focused and prepared for each practice session, and there will be no more guesswork when it comes to your performance on the court, only results. So if you are still with me, and you are ready for the results then let’s unleash my Pre-Practice Success Blueprint.

 

45-MINUTE--HOUR PRE-PRACTICE

Step # 1 Have your pre/post-workout meals, and supplements ready to go.

Step # 2 Consume your pre-workout meal and supplements.

Step # 3 Have your workout log (Chart your shots, passes, dribbles, sprints etc.. and make sure to keep yourself accountable), with your scheduled workout, pen and stop watch packed and ready to go.

Step # 4 Clearly and vividly write and define for yourself the type of practice session you wish to experience that day. ( Ex: Visualize from the time you enter the gym to the time you leave. What type of warm-up will you be doing? What skill sets and drills will you be performing that day? What type of intensity will you bring to each drill? What is your personal goal for that practice session?) To train at a high level for peak performance, the following steps are crucial and must be strictly adhered to in order to unleash your full workout potential!

Step # 5 Clearly and vividly write and define for yourself exactly why you will experience this type of workout. (Visualize why you will experience it Ex: I will achieve my personal best today during my workout because I am mentally prepared, I am free of distractions, I know what drills I am going to perform, I know how to perform them competently, and because of my preparation I will achieve and exceed my goals that I have set for this practice session!)

Step # 6 Clearly and vividly write and define for yourself exactly what type of result you wish to achieve that day. ( Ex: From my the first second of my warm-up , to the last second of my final drill I will be completely focused. Every single rep, of every single drill I practice, I will execute the skills with excellent fluidity, precision at my greatest intensity. I will not be bothered by anyone. This is my workout, and I will achieve my desired results and goal for today’s workout!

Step # 7 Actually drive to the gym you will be practicing at and perform your workout the way you envisioned it. From the time you warm up, to the time you are finished with your practice session, you are in complete control of your workout and are executing your maximum performance that you pre-determined and are experiencing it completely the way you envisioned it through the workout.

Step # 8 Cool down and consume your pre-workout meal replacement and supplements.

Step # 9 Participate in some relaxation exercises and feel like a true champion knowing you have performed your very best workout exactly according to plan!

Closing:

I hope that you have enjoyed my article on pre-practice success programming that I have shared with you today. I am extremely honored that you took the time out of your day to share it with me. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me at highoctanefitness@yahoo.com , and I will be more then happy to assist you and help you to be the best you can be.

Until next time …….

Practice Smart

Stay Focused

And dominate the hardwood 24/7

 

Sincerely,

Mike Mahon, CSCS, Board Certified Gym Therapist, Professional Basketball Performance Consultant

If you enjoyed this information stay tuned for my new product with 12 of the world’s top basketball experts, and sign up for my free basketball mini-course at:

http://www.basketballexperts.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 ONLINE TECHNIQUES TO INCREASE BASKETBALL GAME ATTENDANCE AT YOUR SCHOOL

By Lance Trebesch and Colt Lapham


1. Develop Email Marketing Campaign

Developing a great email marketing campaign will drive people to your basketball games by
keeping them continually informed and interested in the program. Here are a few tips for a
successful basketball newsletter campaign.
 Provide Relevant Links: Incorporate relevant links into the newsletter.
Provide some links within the basketball page of your school site. Newly
posted blogs, articles, interesting forum discussions, schedules, podcasts, are
some examples. Also, incorporate some interesting 3rd party resources. For
example parents may be interested in injury prevention, injury care, summer
training, or hydration.
 Catchy Titles: Make sure the titles of your newsletters are memorable and
exiting. Game headlines work great. A distinct look and personality should
be portrayed in each title. Doing this will help recipients easily identify your
email.
 Establish a Schedule for Writing and Distributing: Establish a set frequency
based on resources and the ability to produce relevant information. This
makes budgeting and planning easier, and is required to hold people’s
attention and keep them looking forward to receiving your emails. For more
info on email distribution frequency read my article, “Email Marketing for
Schools: Why and How.”

2. Host Blogs/Forums

Hosting a blog is a very effective way to promote your program by keeping people
continually informed and interested. It is important to reach a distinct audience with a blog,
so create a separate blog on the basketball page rather than posting basketball blogs on the
school’s main blog page. Remember to include pictures in your blogs for visual reference.
Also, for a good resource for creating great blog content, visit
http://www.buildabetterblog.com.

3. Integrate Wiki Pages

A Wiki page is a webpage given the capability to be edited by website visitors. Not many
schools have wiki pages, which presents you with a great opportunity. Create a wiki page
that is linked from the basketball homepage. Coaches, parents, students, or anyone
involved can post pictures, stories, and comments. This creates a sense of involvement
that sparks interest and participation. The insightful content will also spark the interest of
visitors not contributing to the wiki pages. Wiki pages communicate real, personal
experiences and interaction, and invoke excitement. JotSpot provides a fully integrated wiki
application that makes creating wiki pages a breeze. While most wiki pages are mostly
text based, JotSpot allows you to create rich web-based spreadsheets, calendars,
documents and photo galleries with ease. For more information on general wiki page
creation, visit www.intersci.ss.uci.edu.

4. Post Regular Video and Podcasts

The excitement of your basketball games can be captured and communicated through rich
media content. Collect audio and video files during exiting game moments and post them
on the main page. Anyone can download the files and share them via ipod, email, or
MySpace post. Rich media goes a long way toward creating buzz. Be sure to provide links
to good media content in your email newsletters. Also, remember to post new content
regularly, otherwise the appeal is lost. In order to preserve talk and excitement, people
must have something new to talk about.

5. Incorporate a Web Calendar

It’s essential to integrate a web calendar into your basketball homepage. A web calendar
allows visitors to quickly view upcoming games or other events. The real advantage of a
web calendar is the ability to integrate an RSS feed (described below.) There are many web
calendar applications out there. Trumba event calendars (www.trumba.com) are easy to
use and boast a number of features. Google and Yahoo also offer free event calendars.

6. Establish RSS Feeds

An RSS feed is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of the above components. RSS
stands for “really simple syndication.” By subscribing to your school’s RSS feed, visitors can
receive automatic updates on new website content. Upcoming games, new podcasts or
video content, newsletter releases, blog posts, or relevant news should be put on your RSS
feed homepage. An RSS feed can also be integrated with your web calendar or published
on other web sites. In a time constrained world, people cannot regularly check your
website for news and upcoming events. An RSS feed will keep your school at top of mind
for potential event attendees. For more info on creating RSS feeds visit
http://www.wilsonweb.com.

7. Consider Social Networking

You might not want to get too entrenched with social networking sites, but you don’t want
to get left behind either. Place someone in charge of keeping track of changes in
technology so you can react strategically
Posting some of your better videos on YouTube and MySpace will allow for easy sharing.
Post any good pictures on Flickr, a picture sharing social networking site. Doing these
things might not directly affect event attendance, but will go toward creating a better web
presence. By making this content easily accessible, there is a better chance it will become
widely distributed.

By Lance Trebesch and Colt Lapham
lance@TicketPrinting.com
www.TicketPrinting.com

 

 

EMPHASIS ON REBOUNDING IS THE KEY TO REBOUND SUCCESS

by

Rob Wilkes
Assistant Coach
Old Dominion University

We put a strong emphasis on rebounding at Old Dominion. We believe our team will be very good at whatever skills the head coach constantly emphasizes. We also believe that you can emphasize too many fundamentals. If you’re going to be elite at particular ones, you must pick 2 or 3 fundamentals you feel are most important as a coach and be elite at them. You still can be solid at all other fundamentals. However, if you pick a few that are most important, put constant emphasis on them; you can be elite at those particular ones.

Rebounding allows you to fastbreak more often. Rebounding can make up for a poor shooting game, and limit the number of shots a good shooting team takes. If you’re an elite rebounding team it can demoralize an opponent and change their game preparation. If you are exceptional on the offensive glass, it can put your opponents in foul trouble and help you get to the bonus much faster.

Part of being good on the offensive glass is taking care of the basketball which allows us to get the shot we want with board coverage

Rebounding is certainly on the top of the list for our program. We were ranked 7 th nationally in rebound margin in 08-09 and 17 th in points allowed.

Many people have asked why ODU is always a good rebounding team. Some of the reasons are:

  • Constant emphasis by head coach!
  • Assistant assigned to rebounding & defensive transition
  • Emphasis through statistical and personal coverage during games and practices
  • When we recruit a particular player we determine if he is capable of rebounding and defending his position at an elite level.
  • Percentage oriented defensive philosophy.
  • Attempt to recruit size so we can defend 1 on 1 in post and eliminate having to double.
  • Have a positive assist/turnover ratio. Taking care of the ball allows us to determine when and where we will take shots from so we have board coverage.
  • Desire, determination and toughness as a group. This starts with the head coach putting a strong importance on toughness. We start instilling this in our players from day 1 of conditioning.
  • We work at it!!! Have several very good drills which create an environment of how important rebounding is.
  • TWO HANDS!! We are extremely adamant about our players going after the ball with TWO HANDS!!
  • PRIDE! Rebounding becomes a source of pride for all individuals involved from players down to themanagers who keep the statistics.

Drills we use:

(1) 1 on 1 Rebounding. Defensive rebounder must box out his opponent. Defender must grab 3 consecutive rebounds before he goes to end of line and a new rebounder comes on. This can be an extremely competitive drill.

(2) 2 on 2 Rebounding. Two offensive lines at the free throw line area. Front two players off on defense. Coach or manager shoots ball. Offensive players can cross or screen to make defensive rebounding more difficult. Again, the defensive rebounders must get 3 consecutive rebounds before they go to the end of the line and new rebounders come on. There are no out-of-bounds and the ball is live until the outlet pass is thrown back to the coach or manager. As in the 1 on 1 rebounding drill, fatique can play a factor. 2 players can get "stuck" trying to get 3 consecutive rebounds. This develops toughness and desire.

(3) 3 on 3 Rebounding. 1, 2, and 3 are guarded by X1, X2, and X3. C (Coach or Manager) can either shoot or pass to the other C who can shoot. Passes from Coach to Coach require shifts in defensive position and these shifts should be monitored by the coaching staff.

Xs block out and all players go for the rebound. Note: Corrections for blockout mistakes should be made immediately.

Player who gets the rebound, whether offensive or defensive, can shoot.

If no shot is taken on the rebound, the rebounders team goes on offense immediately with the other 3 players on defense. Offense is allowed NO DRIBBLES. Play continues until a team scores.

Original offensive team gets 2 points for a score. Original defensive team gets one point for a score. Play continues for a designated number of points.

A new set of six playeres come on after a score.

In this diagram, 2 has ball. 2 either shoots or waits for teammates to use offensive screens to get open. 2 passes to 3 and sets screen for 1.

If shot goes up, all 6 players go to boards hard. If ball is not scored team that retrieves the rebound goes immediately to offense. There is NO OUT OF BOUNDS.

 

 

(4) 3 on 3 Rotation.

Offensive players are overloaded left with defenders in normal help defense.

C starts drive to basket.

 

 

 

X3 quickly cuts across lane to stop C's drive.

X2 and X1 drop back into normal defensive help situations.

 

 


C throws a skip pass to 2.

X1 rushes out to stop #2 as X2 moves out to defend 3.

X3 rushes out into defensive help position on 1.

When shot goes up, defenders must block out from help positions.

This is a great drill because it teaches defensive rotation and rebounding at the same time.

Remember....EMPHASIZE rebounding, preferably by the Head Coach, in order to become a great rebounding team.

Rob Wilkes is Assistant Basketball Coach at Old Dominion University. He can be contacted at 757-646-1886 should anyone have questions on this article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A GUIDE TO ONLINE FUNDRAISING SUCCESS
FOR YOUR SCHOOL BASKETBALL TEAM
Why Fundraise Online?

by

Lance Trebeoch and Colt Lapham


1. Online giving is growing exponentially every year, from just over a half a billion
dollars in 2000, to more than $4.5 billion in 2005. (www.groundspring.org)
2. People are much more likely to turn their impulse into donations, raffle ticket
purchases, or auction bids when online. The instantaneous nature of the internet
promotes action by catching people in the moment. Being “close to the click” means
being close to donors and dollars.
3. Online fundraising eliminates geographic borders. With the right incentive you can
attract a world of potential donors outside your region.
4. People are more generous online. An email campaign launched by North Carolina
School of Science and Mathematics resulted in a 20% increase in the average
donation. Their overall efforts resulted in a 150% ROI. (www.bronto.com)
5. Online fundraising attracts alternative demographics. cMarket conducted a study
concluding that 71% of their online bidders are women. Women are turned off by
the highly competitive environment of the traditional auction, making them a highly
un-represented group.
6. The internet is quickly becoming the donors medium of choice because it’s quick and
easy.
7. Online Fundraising is a great option for a time constrained world. The typical auction
lasts 1 to 3 hours making it difficult for a lot of people to attend. An online auction
generally lasts 1 to 3 weeks, creating a lot more time for bids to be posted by a lot
more people.

10 Ways to Boost Your Basketball Team’s Online Fundraising Dollars
Fundraising
The nature of online fundraising is very different than traditional fundraising. Here are a
couple of things to keep in mind.
1. Offer Big Incentives for Big Returns
With online fundraising, you’re dealing on a much larger scale. The audience is larger and
more diverse but much harder to engage and coerce action from. Providing the right
incentives is key. Modonna School located in San Jose, conducted a raffle with a $1.5
million, 2800-square-foot dream home as the prize. They sold 32,000 tickets at $150 each,
for a total of $4.8 million. This shows just how effective an online fundraiser can be. By
eliminating geographic limitations, and providing the right incentive, the rewards grow
exponentially.
2. Partner With Online Fundraising Providers
To greatly expand the audience for your auctions, consider selling on Ebay Giving Works.
(http://givingworks.ebay.com/) Ebay Giving Works is dedicated to non-profit and charity
listings. To do this, start by signing up to MissionFish. MissionFish makes it safe and easy
for nonprofits to sell on ebay. AuctionPay (www.auctionpay.com) is another resource that
can help create bidding activity outside your school’s local geographic range. St. Mark’s
School instituted AuctionPay’s Online Auction Solution and managed to raise $25,000; more
than one-fourth of the school’s total revenue of $97,000. A bidding war even erupted
between two grandmothers, one in Florida and one in California, over a lunch with the
school’s teacher followed by a movie at a local cinema. The item sold for $2,200.
(www.nptimes.com) For raffles, RaffleSoft (www.rafflesoft.com) offers good online raffle
software.
Communications
Maintaining ongoing communication with potential donors ensures they are up to date on
upcoming games and fundraising events.

3. Start an email Campaign
Starting an e-mail or e-newsletter campaign is the #1 most crucial factor in the success of
your online fundraiser. If people aren’t informed, they won’t be willing to help. Emails
should be specifically tailored to each recipient’s interests. The tips provided below will
make your campaign a success.
 Purchase email Marketing Software: Email marketing software will save a great deal
of time and money. This software allows your donor database to be uploaded
directly into an email marketing application, eliminating the need to manually upload
data. Emails can be easily tailored to a recipient’s interests. Emaillabs.com offers
great basic email marketing software. WildApricot, Convio, GetActive, and
LocalVoice are designed specifically for online fundraising and offer a handful of
specialized tools general email applications do not offer.
 Do Not Solicit in Initial Mailings: The importance of not soliciting recipients with their
first email cannot be emphasized enough. Initial emails should be used to gather
information on the recipient needs and interests in order to provide more valuable
content. There is a direct correlation between the relationships built with potential
donors and the amount they will give.
 Establish a Schedule for Writing and Distributing: The whole point of an email
marketing program is to hold a recipient’s attention by keeping them continually
informed. People will look forward to receiving your email. A set frequency should
be established based on time constraints and your program’s ability to produce
relevant news or content.
For more information on email marketing read my article “Email Marketing for School
Basketball Teams: Why and How.”
4. Integrate an RSS Feed
RSS feeds allow for subscribers to be automatically updated on new content without having
to check your website. New blogs, email newsletter shipments, and upcoming fundraising
events should be placed on an RSS page. Doing this will greatly increase fundraiser
participation. For more info on creating RSS feeds visit http://www.wilsonweb.com.
Community
Keeping people engaged with your basketball program is very critical. The more involved
they are, the more they will give. A few ideas are outlined below.
5. Start School Blogs and Forums
Blogs are especially great for school basketball websites. Hearing about current basketball
team issues from a coach’s perspective is something that’s very valuable to fans. A forum
gives students, community members, parents, and faculty a place to share ideas and
become involved.
6. Create Wiki Pages
A wiki page is a webpage that has the capability to be edited by website visitors. Wikipedia
is the most commonly known wiki site, offering a visitor edited, free encyclopedia. Consider
designing a wiki page for the basketball team. This will allow players, coaches, booster club
members, staff, or whoever is involved to contribute unique pictures and stories about the
team. This not only helps establish a sense of community but also informs the entire
community on current basketball events. JotSpot provides a fully integrated wiki application
that makes creating wiki pages a breeze. While most wiki pages are mostly text based,
JotSpot allows you to create rich web-based spreadsheets, calendars, documents and photo
galleries with ease. For additional information on general wiki page creation, visit
www.intersci.ss.uci.edu.
The Basics
Here are some basic tips that will help make any fundraising effort more successful.
7. Base Appeal on Benefits, Not Needs
Communicate how your basketball team and community will benefit from funds. Don’t act
desperate in an attempt to receive donations out of pity.
8. Provide Convenience for Donors
Give donors the convenience of paying online, over the phone, or via mail. Establishing
several mediums for submitting donations, or purchasing raffle tickets, will increase the
likelihood that people will participate.
9. Following up with a Thank You
Don’t forget to send thank you notes to any direct donors, big raffle ticket customer, and
purchasers of auction items.
10. Use Online Fundraising as a Supplement
Encourage online participation, but don’t let this be the only alternative. Many people do
not want to become engaged with the online process. Make sure traditional fundraising
activities are still in place, they are the backbone of your fundraising efforts.

Lance Trebesch and Colt Lapham
lance@TicketPrinting.com
www.TicketPrinting.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE POWER OF THE MIND

by Andy Louder



When you think of basketball training what types of things come to mind? If you're like most people you probably think of things like shooting drills, speed & quickness workouts, developing the weak hand, footwork and etc. Those are all very legitimate basketball fundamentals that need to be improved and should be part of every players training routine. The point I'm trying to make however, is that there is something else that wasn't mentioned that most players don't even think about when it comes to training. Something that they don't realize has a far greater impact on their ability to succeed than the typical things like shooting, dribbling, speed and jumping do. What most players don't realize is that the power of the mind is more amazing than any other physical skill they can possess and that they need to take the time and energy necessary to train their mind like they do their body. If they do this they will start to see results ten times quicker than if they relied on just their physical abilities to make themselves a better player.

Think of it like this. There is very little debate about how good of a player Michael Jordan was. 9 out of 10 people you ask will agree that he is the best player that has ever played the game. Since MJ has been out of the game it's accurate to say that there have been dozens of players come into the NBA that could jump just as high, could shoot just as well, could play just as good of defense, etc. But, how many players have we seen that have played the game as well as MJ? That's right, zero. And it has everything to do with what went on in MJ's head, that's where he was different and that's what set him apart. MJ had an amazing will to win, an unshakable confidence in himself and an understanding of how important it was to study the game - especially his opponents.

The fact of the matter is - most players don't have the patience to work on their mind. When they have an hour to focus on basketball they want to get on the court and do something physical. They want to form a pick-up game or work on some aspect of their game and you can't fault them for that, those are good things that need to be done. It takes practice to get in a routine of regularly working on your mind. The good news is it's not hard to do and it doesn't take very much time. Even if a player dedicates just 15 minutes a day on improving their mental basketball state, they will improve as a player 5 to 10 times quicker than if they focusing on just physical skills. The purpose of this article is to explain the specific things that need to be done in order to obtain a powerful basketball mind.

VISUALIZE YOURSELF SUCCEEDING

Players should spend a good 10 minutes a day (at minimum) visualizing in their mind themselves performing well on the basketball court. It should be uninterrupted and it should be taken very seriously. It doesn't matter if it's done while listening to music or in perfect silence, it's whatever environment the player feels most comfortable in. The point of this exercise is for players to imagine themselves executing successfully the types of things they will likely be doing during games. For example, I'm a point guard that has never dunked a basketball, for me to imagine myself stealing the ball and then throwing down a windmill dunk is silly. Instead I will visualize myself bringing the ball up the court with confidence, making sharp passes, hitting the open 3 pointer, coming off a screen and making a jump shot, things like that. You want to focus on visualizing yourself in scenarios that are very likely for you to be in during a game and visualize yourself doing them well.

If this is the first time you've ever heard of this and don't understand the power of meditation please don't be closed minded to this. IT WORKS. The mind is more powerful than any of us can comprehend and when it is conditioned to believe something, it does whatever it takes to make it happen. Does that mean that a horrible shooter can simply just imagine themselves making 10 out of 10 three pointers before a game and automatically come out and miraculously go 10 for 10 from 3 point land? No. It doesn't work that way. It's a process, not a silly hocus pocus, superstitious, magic act. When you see yourself performing well in your mind over and over again eventually your body syncs up with the mind and starts perform in harmony with the mind. The opposite is just as true. If you continuously doubt yourself and visualize yourself as a bad player, that's exactly how you'll perform on the court.

Another reason players want to visualize their success is because it builds confidence. A very common reason players don't perform well in games is they don't handle the stress very well. They know that the shots they take all of a sudden mean something and so they get nervous about missing. If you've gone through in your head how you will shoot during a game, it will come much more naturally and you'll shoot with more confidence.

Be a student of the game

It's not enough to simply know the rules of the game. If you want to become a top caliber basketball player you have got to study the game. When you study the game you find all sorts of angles that give you advantages while you play. These little advantages can mean the difference of scoring 18 points a game vs. 14 or averaging 12 rebounds vs. 8.

Instead of just watching a game for pleasure try to focus more and really take away some things that will help you on the court. Watch the player that plays your same position and pay attention to everything he does. Try to pick up on the little things that are going on and if something takes place that you can't explain, write it down and talk to your coach about it.

Buy or rent an instructional DVD. If there is something you know you can improve in, find out what other coaches or successful players have said about the topic. Your coach probably has a whole library full of DVDs, if not they are all over the Internet. Do some searches and really try to study the topic because you aren't the first to have questions about whatever topic it might be.

STUDY YOUR OPPONENT

Players that take some time before each game to really think about their opposition perform better than those that don't. You can't just take the exact same approach into every game you play. Is the team you're playing going to play you mostly man-to-man or will they zone you? That makes a huge difference in what type of activities you'll be doing in the game and if you take 5 minutes to think about that you'll play better. It's that simple. Other things to think about are things like how good of an offensive player is the player you'll be guarding? If they are really good you are probably going to get pretty tired guarding them and therefore you may need to adjust your philosophy on offense. If they aren't very good then you'll want to formulate a plan to help out more on defense and look for opportunities to push yourself on offense. The bottom line is this - players that goof around and take no time to think about their opponent before a game underperform.

ELIMINATE FEAR

Fear can be one of the biggest barriers to success a basketball player can face. Fear of not succeeding, fear of looking stupid, fear of failure, etc. For you to become the player you want to be, you have to overcome your fears by addressing them head on. What I mean by that is taking some time to really think about what you are fearful of. In most instances you'll realize that what you are fearful of is actually kind of silly but you'll never come to this realization if you don't take time to address it. What's the worst thing that can happen if you miss a shot during a game or perform poorly? Would you be the first one to ever go through that experience? Could you deal with it? Of course you could. Would it be the end of the world? Of course not. And if it's your coach your fearful of realize this - I don't know a coach out there that likes to see their players play tentative. All coaches I know would much rather you play with complete confidence and take a bad shot every once in a while than run around the court so nervous to make a mistake that you never really do anything. Really, what is there to fear?

SUMMARY

Basketball players that use their mind to make themselves better are the cream of the crop. You could be the best conditioned and most skilled player in the world but if you're mind is a wreck it will all go to waste. Bad players that understand the potential of their mind become good players. Average players that understand the potential of their mind become elite players.

Andy Louder is President of www.hoopskills.com & www.hoopskillsacademy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A NEW APPROACH TO MENTAL TOUGHNESS AT THE FOUL LINE

by

Spencer Wood
President, IceBox Athlete

Here is a sobering thought for any coach or player….. that in the entire history of high school and collegiate sports, the most important individual and team championship skill is often the skill that is practiced the least…namely the ability to perform extremely well under pressure. Of all the sweat, effort, energy and time that is invested in strength training and conditioning, individual and team offense / defense, and pre-game preparation; a relatively small amount of time and emphasis (if any) is placed on this all important athletic trait. Few would argue that the ability to perform under pressure is a critical skill that is often responsible for bringing all of these components together, and a skill that will be the deciding factor in so many games this season. This sobering thought is even more of a reality in the pressure filled crucible of the playoffs. However, with high school state championships and collegiate conference/national tournaments now complete, progressive programs are providing their athletes with training ideas in the off-season and pre-season that will improve their mental toughness, poise, focus and resiliency under pressure. This article will continue with the theme of pressure performance by focusing on success tips to improve mental toughness and success in the one area that arguably decides the outcome of more games than any other area, the ability to consistently make free throws under pressure.

THE RESEARCH

Numerous studies have reported on the immense value of free throws in games, and especially in tight games. An in-depth study reported in Scholastic Coach noted that the team with the highest free throw percentage won 80% of the games (Jenkins, 1977), while a Hays and Krause study determined that free throws determine the outcome of 50% or more of all games, generally make up to 20-25% of all points scored in a game, 35% of all points scored in the last five minutes, and 69% during the last minute of the game (Hays & Krause, 1987, Walker, 1985). However, after analyzing NABC records, Ryan and Holt reported that over the last 20 years, collegiate teams averaged an anemic 68-69% free throw accuracy in games (1988). Vaughn and Kozar (1994) also reported that a significantly larger percentage of free throws are missed in games vs. practice.

What are some of the immediate implications of this data? First, despite the overwhelming evidence that underscores the importance of success at the foul line, many programs still do not invest enough time and energy toward free throw excellence. Second, practice vs. game percentages indicate that many programs have not found a way to successfully translate good practice habits and success at the foul line to game time free throw success.\

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS

In 1994, some researchers decided to take a close look at some of the factors that are responsible for these important differences in practice vs. game time success. Vaughn and Kozar studied an NCAA division I school and videotaped 1011 free throws, 366 of which were game time attempts, and 645 of which were regular practice attempts (Whitehead, Butz, Wilson & Kozar, 1996). What they found was that the first two free throw attempts in a practice situation where at least 5 free throws were shot in sequence by one athlete, resulted in a similar percentage to the game time average, while the rest of the practice free throws that followed the first two practice shots enjoyed a much higher success rate. The researchers reasoned that after the first two practice free throws, players often found a ‘rhythm’ and a much greater percentage of shots made. So what does this mean for the design of practice? Clearly, to simulate game conditions, more shots need to be taken in sets of two, and taken in scrimmage conditions while players experience fatigue and varying circumstances. But this recommendation is old news, and this is only part of the story………..Many programs already shoot free throws in sets of two under game-like conditions, while other programs choose to shoot their free throws in larger sets. The very latest research shows that BOTH training environments need to be utilized in each practice vs. the habit of most programs who utilize just one of the two environments. Ensuring that each athlete shoots large sets of free throws (25 or greater) in one sequence in practice is important for the athlete to refine and polish the mechanics of free throw shooting and find that touch/rhythm that is critical for excellent mechanics, and it is equally important to ensure that athletes also shoot sets of two free throws under game conditions in a different part of practice. The value of this recommendation transcends mere statistics and research. From a personal perspective, when I initially completed the transition from high school to college, my free throw percentage jumped from 79% as a high school senior point guard to 90.1% as a college freshman and a 3 rd place national ranking for all college players, by utilizing these same practice habits.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GAME FREE THROWS AND PRACTICE FREE THROWS

We have already discussed that game time conditions differ from practice conditions for a myriad of reasons that include fatigue, varying game conditions, and game time distractions. However, a much more important difference exists that often remains unnoticed and unaddressed. Shooting is a skill that is best executed under ‘auto-pilot’ conditions when an athlete allows the trained skill movement to take over without thinking about the ramifications of making or missing the shot. Yet, the preoccupation of expectation and making or missing the shot is exactly what causes athletes to have a lower percentage during the first two free throws in a multi-shot sequence practice scenario or during a game time scenario. Physical pre-shot routines are often utilized by athletes to help them find their rhythm while occupying them to reduce the ‘dead time’ before shooting a free throw. However, what about the all important cognitive (mental) components? After all, it is the mental expectations of reward/punishment and success/failure that often results in increased game time anxiety, elevated muscular tension and general physiological stress. Thus, the mind must be kept just as busy as the body with a sound pre-shot mental routine (that can involve mental rehearsal and key inner voice cues – mental skills techniques that have been discussed in general terms in some of my previous WBCA Journal articles). Together, sound practice habits (with a combination of game simulation two-set free throws, and large set practice free throws), in addition to game time mental and physical routine sequencing, can increase rhythm, shot mechanics and overall accuracy, while reducing ‘dead time,’ shot outcome preoccupation, and game-time stress for the all-important free throw.

Here’s wishing you, your athletes, and your programs, tremendous success with these steps to master mental toughness at the foul line!

References:

Hays, D., & Krause, J. V. (1987). Score on the throw. The Basketball Bulletin, 12, 4-9

Jenkins, R. (1977). Win the big ones from the foul line. Scholastic Coach, 47(5), 42, 88-89

Ryan, D. & Holt, L. E. (1989). Kinematic variables as predictors of performance in the basketball free-throw. The Basketball Bulletin, 60-63

Vaughn, R. E., & Kozar, B. (1994). Practice and game error tendencies of skilled free-throw shooters. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport: Abstracts of Completed Research, 65, 67.

Walker, F. (1985). Take P.R.I.D.E. in your free-throwing: It will win for you. Scholastic Coach, 55(3), 18-20.

Whitehead, R., Butz, J. W., Kozar, B., Vaughn, R. E. (1996). Stress and performance: An application of Gray’s three factor arousal theory to basketball free-throw shooting. Journal of Sport Behavior, 19, 354-362

 

About the author and founder of the IceboxAthlete Mental Skills & Toughness Training System:  

Spencer Wood M.S., C.S.C.S., P.E.S., Member A.A.S.P., is an internationally renowned speaker, author and trainer of athletes and coaches in the area of Winning Mental Skills & Toughness Training. Spencer is a featured speaker at events such as the NCAA Final Four, and an on-site provider of Mental Skills & Toughness Training Workshops for championship teams across the United States, Canada and Europe. Spencer’s work with the Olympic Committee for Trinidad and Tobago has garnered international acclaim, and his work with C. Vivian Stringer’s Rutgers Women’s Basketball program was featured on ESPN at the 2007 NCAA Final Four. For more information or to request a Mental Skills & Toughness Training Workshop for your team, please visit www.iceboxathlete.com

 

Icebox Athlete has also produced a Multi-CD Mental Skills & Toughness Training System for individual athletes and teams to build elite composure, concentration, confidence, intensity and leadership skills.For more information, or to order a copy, visit www.iceboxathlete.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shooting Drills for Guards

by Brian Schofield

Cut, Catch & Lay-up

Great scoring guards know how to create space and get open. Practice and work hard at establishing position by either performing a solid v cut or using the lane to get open. Once you've come up the lane and popped out the ball should be on its way to you. You should have taken a mini hop-step already to get in position to shoot the ball. Now instead of going right into a jump stop, take an immediate dribble and go in for the lay-up. The footwork on this is tricky. Some players travel because the hop-step throws off their timing a little bit. It takes practice. If you've hopped in the air and landed with both feet you should be in an excellent position to drive for the lay-up.

Cut, Catch, Dribble & Shoot

Come up the lane and pop out to the wing. Take the hop-step before the ball arrives and immediately take one hard dribble in either direction. After one or two hard dribbles, immediately go into your jump shot. The hop-step will set up everything if you've done it correctly. It prepares you to shoot quickly and tells the defender that you can shoot quickly. If he gets close to you simply drive past him and if he's worried about you driving past him then the shot off the dribble will work every time because he will be on his heels.

When I work on these drills, which I still do today, I do them in order starting from the jump shot. The jump shot sets up everything else. It is like a great fastball from a pitcher. Once a great pitcher shows his fastball and that he can throw it for a strike, the pitcher has the edge. Good scorers use the jump shot as a way to set up everything else.

Cut, Catch & Shoot

This drill should be done exactly as the drill above with one exception - there is no dribble. As you get the ball you immediately go up for the shot. This will probably feel a little uncomfortable for most players in the beginning but it's crucial for you to eventually be able to hit this shot. If you can't hit this shot your defender will constantly sag off you when you receive the ball and prevent you from making a break to the basket or getting a shot off the dribble.

Wing or Corner Jumpers

As young players get older a couple things happen. First, everyone gets bigger, stronger and faster. Secondly, as a result it gets tougher to get open and create a shot. Something I've learned over the years has made it very easy for me to be able to get off a shot quickly and effectively. Start with the ball at the top of the key. If you are a coach, I suggest starting this drill with two lines on both sides of the top of the key. A line of shooters should also be formed on the wing or the corner. When the pass is made from the top of the key to the wing player I want the wing players to take a mini hop right before the ball gets there. Immediately shoot the ball when it arrives. If you have to gather yourself before the shot goes up then you have a problem that needs fixing. Players ask me how they can practice this by themselves and I tell them to get a toss back. What a great invention. Some people talk about their car in high school when I talk about my toss back. If you aren't comfortable shooting off the hop yet, then practice by throwing the ball off a wall or the toss back and just getting your feet correct. Have each player shoot within their range from the two spots then switch out to different areas. After all, nobody only shoots from the wing or the baseline. Don't just stand there and shoot jump shots either as that doesn't help nearly as much as shooting off the hop.

Pass, Cut & Shoot

A little bit of a modification of the drill I just talked about is the pass, cut and shoot. A player that stands still is extremely easy to guard so I coach my guards to cut once they pass the ball. To practice this drill, have a player line up at the high post and start the ball on the wing. The line should be at the wing position. Once the ball is passed to the high post the player should cut to either the baseline or the top of the key. Once the cut is made, the passer throws the ball with the wing player taking the hop-step before the ball comes so he can get off a quick shot. The drill should be practiced with the ball coming from the high post and also from the low post as those are the most common areas of double teaming. When the high post receives the ball many times you'll see 2-3 defenders collapse on the ball and if you, as a shooter, can get to an open spot where the defense can't recover quickly, you'll get an uncontested shot. This drill isn't one to practice at a slow pace. The cuts need to have a point and has to be quick. Players that play hard are not easy to guard. That's worth repeating, players that play hard are not easy to guard.

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