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Drills and Practice

One of the questions I hear most often as a Read & React Coach is, "How often do you work on defense?" My answer is that we are almost ALWAYS working on defense. Very rarely do we work on offensive fundamentals or habits without introducing a defender to simulate a game situation. It is said that Leonardo Da Vinci could work with both hands independently, drawing with one while writing with the other. Inspired by this example, we thought it would be easier to collapse time frames if we gave drills both an offensive and defensive purpose. If you have assistant coaches, why not assign them to watch different sides of the ball? We call it the Da Vinci Way of drilling basketball. As an example, in our 3-Player drills, we always have a defensive emphasis. Once we teach the techniques we want used, we put 90 seconds on the clock and each group of 3 goes to a separate basket. To prevent players from 'going through the motions', we make it a competition and require each group to count out their makes. Coaches watch to make sure the offensive habits and defensive fundamentals are being followed and can subtract a point from that team's total if they are cutting corners. After 90 seconds we move to the other side of the court and repeat. At the end, the winning team breaks while the others do push ups, sit ups, etc. Here are two Layer 1 Drills that illustrate this idea.

Many of our drills are designed to work the habit of Circle Movement even if we haven't yet taught Circle Movement in Layer 4. We do it in Full Court Trips during Trip 3 (Reverse Dribble), and our 'Circle Movement Shooting Drill' is another that does the same, which allows us to install it on Day 1. We normally run this for 10 minutes with half of the team on each end of the court, starting on the right side.  We go 1:30 shot fake and drive, 1:30 shot fake-escape dribble jumper, and 2:00 catch and shoot.  Then we switch ENDS (they are now all on the left side of court) and work back down.  2:00 catch and shoot, 1:30 shot fake-escape dribble jumper, 1:30 shot fake and drive. We use this drill to collapse time frames by emphasizing ball fakes before the pass, jump stop finishes, great closeouts, making great shot fakes, calling names out on passes, and covering ground with our dribble. All while training the habit of Circle Movement! [embed]http://www.fastmodelsports.com/library/embedImage.jsp?id=dfe0cf1b-ba48-40cb-a766-61c5d855dffd[/embed] We choose 2 different spots to start from each day to change the spots we shoot from as well as the passing and driving angles, but the drill stays the same. 2 things to watch:

Many in the Tribe have asked about the Full Court Trips Drill listed in the Master Practice Plan from my last post, 'Do You Have a Master Plan?' Since this is the first drill we do just about every practice, it is appropriate for it to be the first drill detailed in this series. We work on this drill every day of practice, and it has been invaluable to our program in making it a habit for our players to flow from our fast break directly into the Read & React. Our players love the opportunity to push the ball and score quickly, but if the defense gets back, we do not feel the need to pull the ball out and 'reset' in order to run offense. Here is a video excerpt from Planning the R&R Practice of our team running it, followed by the breakdown of the drill. To set up the video, I must mention that this was filmed at a Spring Clinic, and our team had been off for 2 months. It is not perfect, and we were using players from 3 different levels of our program.  What I love about that is that they were all able to operate on the same page because of the Read & React curriculum we have installed. (If you don't have Planning the R&R Practice, it is an invaluable resource that we use all season long for ideas and information) Teaching Full Court Trips The way we install Full Court Trips, is to first teach our early offense. We use an Inbounder, an Outlet, 2 Lane Fillers (who cross if we don't pass the ball ahead) and a Rim Runner. The first 3 trips can be taught to all players at all levels regardless of Read and React experience.

“The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought” -SUN TZU The questions that Read & React coaches collectively have on their minds as they begin their respective seasons seem to be centered around practice planning. For those who have the Planning the R&R Practice DVD Set, you are probably ahead of the game already, and have a great idea about how you want to operate your practices. The number one thing I am asked as a High School Read & React coach is, "How do you prepare for your first game with only 12 practices to do so?" We work very hard to collapse time frames and have put 3 years of trial and error into our Master Practice Plan. It outlines everything we want to cover prior to tipping off against our first opponent. We use this plan to stay on track while scheduling our individual practices, and alter it slightly each season based on the experience and skill level of the players we have returning. We view every drill in each practice as another brick we want to lay perfectly on our way to building something special over the course of the season. Please feel free to download the Master Practice Plan I use with our team. I will be discussing each brick in more detail beginning today. To further get the mental juices flowing, here are some past Tribe Posts with video that talk about practice planning:

Yesterday a great tip landed in my inbox from Ed Hammersmith. Those of you who frequent the Tribe Forum will know him as CoachEd - the creative voice chiming in on all sorts of topics. You also might remember him from an early Tribe Spotlight. Here's what he's been doing in his most recent practices. I love this tip because it is immediately actionable. You can (should?) do this in your practice today!
I’ve been testing my kids a little on circle movement. We go 5 out and I tell only the ball handler what to do. For example... Dribble-At twice in a row, then Bounce-Off once, then Pass and Cut. Since the four without the ball never know when they might get the pass (remember, they don't know the sequence), I'm not only testing their reactions, I'm training them to play without thinking once the sequence is over and they receive the pass. The kids are loving it. If they don’t react right, they hit the floor and do 5 pushups on their own. They watch the whole floor and call each other out if someone misses a reaction. They laugh at them and yell, "Pushups!" It's been fun to coach. Now we just have to see if it translates into better movement in games.
In the videos below, you can see Ed's 7th grade team in action. They aren't demonstrating the tip above, but you can see just how a well coached Read & React team can progress.