View Post

Making the Most of High School Basketball

In High School Basketball, Teaching by Coach Brock

As September approaches, student-athlete and teacher-coaches are returning school and a new basketball season is upon us. Here are some little changes that coaches can make in order to develop players into responsible people. Coach the entire student-athlete so that they can make the most of their high school experience. It is unfair to expect teenagers to devote all their free time to a sport or one particular interest. Sports offer physical fitness, social interactions and fun and are a healthy part of the school experience, although levels of commitment will vary. Build Personal Connections with Players Get to know …

View Post

Pre-Game & Pre-Practice

In Skill Development by Coach Brock

I’ve been thinking about effective pre-practice and pre-game routines and how players can maximize their preparation. A good routine should prevent injury, raise heart rate and mentally prime the athletes. It should be dynamic and challenging, not static and predictable. Take initiative to get better by creating a routine that can be practice during pre-practice, pre-practice and afterwards. Good Pre-Practice Routines… Recreate Games Take shots or perform moves that you use in games or manifest themselves in the offense that the team runs. If drills do not mimic competitions, they will not prepare athletes. Select a weakness that impacts your …

View Post

Why We Compete

In Coaching by Coach Brock

Larry Bird once said that he “always hated seeing someone watch the ball roll out of bounds.” The quote summarizes a player who could do it all: shot, score, rebound, pass, dribble and defend. Although he was a superstar, Bird would hit the floor, dive into the stands, encourage his teammates and play through pain. From his parents, Bird learned to never take a day off – or in his case a play or a game. When describing Bird, players and coaches use words such as “grit,” “drive” and “competition.” To develop that legend, Bird had to apply that work …

View Post

Bringing Team Culture to Life

In Coaching by Coach Brock

As a coach, I always aim to improve my communication skills. While I have a firm grasp on my philosophy, as well as the team culture and style of play that I want to see, it is nothing if I cannot get the message across. As John Wooden would say: “You haven’t taught until they have learned.” Emphasizing a team culture helps youth adopt a different mindset, assuming the dominant characteristics of the group. Character skills are malleable, like intellectual and athletic ability (Tough, 2012, p. 97). Key words can be repeated in huddles and used as positive self-talk. It …

View Post

Pin Down Series Drills

In Drills by Coach Brock

When there is sufficient time and space, shooting percentage skyrockets. Use pin down screens to free shooters so they can take high percentage shots. Ray Allen Series (Pin Down A) Learning Goal: Learn how to use pin down screens away from the ball. Points of Emphasis: Stay low & balanced when cutting, using the screen & catching the ball. The cutter starts under the basket and prepares to use the screen. The cutter goes to the left side and curls around the cones in order and receives a pass. After shooting, the cutter goes to the other side and executes …

View Post

Transferring the Summer to the Season

In Training by Coach Brock

Summer’s over, student-athletes are back in classes and high school practices will soon be underway. Many players spent a lot of hours working on their game, training and putting up shots. The next step is to transfer that hard work to the court and turn workouts into wins. Push Others to Get Better After working out throughout the summer, you have become a better player. But you are only one player and basketball teams demand rosters consisting of twelve athletes. Raise the level of those around you by showing teammates how to work out and encouraging them to join you …

View Post

Star Trek Leadership, Part V: Dealing with Disaster

In Star Trek Leadership by Coach Brock

For me, one of the fascinating aspects of Star Trek: The Next Generation is their collaborative problem solving. All team members have a role to play and everyone’s best efforts are integral to success. Characters don’t come to blow, there are few battles between egos and situations must be analyzed critically. In the episode “Disaster”, the Enterprise is impacted by quantum filaments and all members of the bridge crew must step forward and lead. Delegate Responsibilities: Captain Picard is stuck in the turbolift with three children who received top honours in a recent science fair. Children have long been a …

View Post

Rebounding Drills

In Drills by Coach Brock

Rebounding is a skill & tactic that is neglected in basketball practices. Practices include ballhandling, shooting and defense but sometimes stop short of completely finishing the possession. Among the Four Factors, rebounding accounts for twenty percent of basketball success. Coaches can help by allowing game situation drills to continue beyond one shot, until the defense secures the ball, and by regularly practicing rebounding drills. Drill should instruct individual rebounding techniques & small group tactics for team rebounding. McHale Rebounding Drill (Rebounding Phase A) Learning Goal: Rehearse skills & techniques for offensive & defensive rebounding. Points of Emphasis: Assume a low …

View Post

Defensive Drills

In Drills by Coach Brock

Here are some drills that can teach a progression of defensive skills, expanding beyond the ubiquitous Shell Drill. 1-on-4 Defensive Skills (Defense Phase A) Learning Goal: Improve major defensive skills each player should know. Points of Emphasis: Ensure players use proper technique while playing defense at high intensity. At one basket, players take turns playing defense. The defender starts with the ball & initiates the drill by passing to an offensive player on the wing. The defender closes out & shifts positions as the ball is swung, finishing by taking a charge as the last player drives. The defense works …

View Post

Transition Drills

In Drills by Coach Brock

As more leagues adopt F.I.B.A. rules & shot clocks, playing at full-speed becomes a indispensable skill on the court. Teams that can attack the basket before the defense has set up & play downhill will generate high percentage scoring chances. Five Man Fast Break (Phase A) Learning Goal: Pass, dribble & score in transition. Point of Emphasis: Move the ball down the court from the first pass to the three-point line in under four seconds. Squads of five players go up & down the court six times (three trips there & back). One of the posts grabs the ball as …

View Post

Pick and Roll Drills

In Drills by Coach Brock

In F.I.B.A. play, offenses often go to a pick & roll situation as the shot clock winds down. The action can also be used in transition & half-court offensive systems. Players must not only master the dribbling, passing, screening & finishing techniques but also understand how to read the defense & make sound decisions. Two-Player Game (Phase A) Learning Goal: Understand the basic techniques & tactics required for the two-person game. Points of Emphasis: Move without the ball & dribble at game speed. Two players start in each corner and the remaining players start in the centre jump circle. The …

View Post

Weak Hand Drills

In Drills by Coach Brock

In game situations, players must be able to dribble the basketball, pass and finish with both hands. Good defenses will force an opponent to their weak hand so elite players must become equally proficient with both hands. Five Finishes (Phase A) Learning Goal: Control the ball and finish with the non-dominant hand Points of Emphasis: Stay low, read the court, be explosive Set up five goals outside the three-point line (in the corners, on the wings and at the top of the key). The player starts under the basket and using their non-dominant hand dribbles around the cone and finishes at …

View Post

Thank You Tim Duncan

In N.B.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Tim Duncan retired this month, ending a nineteen-year N.B.A. career. Duncan was not a compelling superstar because of his style on the court or controversy away from it, but because of his excellence and consistency. The outcome – five N.B.A. championships – cannot be easily duplicated but players from all levels can learn about the process behind it all. Like the rest of the San Antonio organization, Duncan was about doing the right thing as often as possible. He let himself be coached. Gregg Popovich has been known to coach hard or “Go Serbian” and the three players who anchored …

View Post

How Role Players Succeed

In N.B.A. Basketball by Coach Brock

Richard Jefferson comments on how he adjusted to his role with the Cleveland Cavaliers: “I knew I only could control what I could control. I‘m not a guy that they‘re going to call plays for; I‘m not a guy that they‘re going to run anything for. So I was just like, ‘Richard, just rebound the ball like crazy. Rebound the ball, run the floor, play defense, get on the floor for any loose ball.‘ […] That‘s what I can control, and then try to get shots & try to do some extra things.” Jefferson didn‘t let his limited offensive role …

View Post

The Mozart of Basketball Except

In International Basketball by Coach Brock

My favourite anecdote from Todd Spehr’s book about Dražen Petrović and how he established the team culture for the first Croatian Olympic Basketball Team: Radja admired Petrović most for his work ethic. Invariably, when Radja would show up for national team practice, there would be Petrović, before him, already working out. There were constant reminders to Radja and the others that Petrović’s devotion forced the others to evaluate their own efforts. There was a practice session during the first Coratian team training camp that had ended what Petrović perceived as too early. He promptly went to the team’s physician, Dr. …

Spring Basketball Workout #6

In Practice Plans by Coach Brock

Emphasis: footwork, explosivess, core strength & stability, ballhandling Summary: This is a variation of my first spring workout. By repeating many similar drills & exercises, I hope to reduce coach-centered instructional time so I can focus on individual feedback. Referring to the same basic drills reinforces the teaching points so that the players can practice them on their own. I extended the time of the workout to allow more time in the weight room & on the stairs. Reflection: Establishing habits is tricky. I had to give more feedback than I had hoped to regarding defensive positioning & communication. Even …