Identify the skills necessary to excel in your offensive system and incorporate them into your skill development portions of practice.
Developing the skills necessary to excel within your offensive system is perhaps the most important thing coaches will accomplish on the practice floor. If our goal is to make our practices as efficient as possible then we should probably start by digging into game film and determining what skills are essential to improving our performance. Then we must make time in our practice plans to develop those skills. Once that is done we can plan our practices around building those skills.
During the 2016-2018 seasons we moved away from a more traditional motion offense to more of a dribble-drive motion style offense. We placed a heavy emphasis on the use of dribble handoffs, blur screens, and creating double gaps to attack. After adjusting our scheme we then had to identify which skills were essential to succeed in that type of system. The skills that we decided to invest in heavily were:
Dribble Attack Technique
Dribble Stop & Retreat Technique
Finishing at the Rim
Quick Pitch Passing & Shooting
These skills would become a key component of our practice plans and were typically used in a progression format. They would be introduced on-air, then applied with guided defense and small-sided games. In the end, the hope was that players would be able to recognize, apply, and then execute those skills in the game environment.
I - Dribble Attacks
Being able to execute simply attacking moves off the dribble is an essential skill for scoring in dribble drive motion. Whether we are in transition or in the half-court we are trying to create double gaps for the basketball to attack into. Whenever we have a defender that is isolated in the middle of the floor we want players to use a simple dribble attack to collapse the defense. The three Dribble Attacks we are teaching:
In & Out Dribble
Practice Drill -
"1/1 Dribble Attacks":
Here is a simple drill that combines Dribble Attacks and Finishing at the Rim. The two versions represent two common scenarios:
In the drill, we are working on dribble attacks and then finishing at the rim. Coaches can either dictate which dribble attack is used, or they can allow the players to execute which one they will use.
Work Right/Left Side
Video Clips - Examples of applying Dribble Attacks in Games.
II - Dribble Stops
Clean dribble stops are an essential part of a dribble-drive offense skill set. The majority of drives are not going to get all the way to the rim, and in order to keep the pressure on the defense, we need to conduct clean stops to keep the ball moving. From a technique perspective, we place heavy emphasis on the use of:
Two Foot Jump Stops
The use of the Bounce Out Dribble
These three dribble stops allow you to make plays after a failed drive, and in the case of the Bounce Out Dribble, allow players to keep the basketball moving.
Practice Drill -
"3/0 Stride Stops":
Here is a three-man progression drill in which players land perfect Stride Stops, followed by Second Cuts. Once players have moved beyond the 3v0 portion of the drill, we can load the drill with defense.
Slot Drive & Stop
Euro Cut from Corner
Left Hand Drive & Stop
Euro Cut to Point
Slot Drive & Finish
Video Clips: Examples of players applying dribble stops techniques in games.
III - Finishing at the Rim
What we are hoping for our players is that they can finish at the rim from multiple angles, and with a variety of finishes. The 1v0 Technique Drill below makes our players finish from the three most common angles within our offense: 1) The Slot Drive, 2) The Wing Drive from the Corner, and the 3) Baseline Drive. We want our players to feel comfortable finishing with at least 1-2 different techniques, from both their strong and weak hand. Over the course of the season, we will emphasize these finishes: 1) Extended Arm, 2) Scoop, 3) Inside Hand, 4) Stride Stop, 5) Jump Stops, and 6) Reverse Pivots.
Practice Drills -
We will use a simple 1.0 finishing drill in the early parts of the season to work on the technique of various finishes.
I would recommend keeping lines short and using as many baskets as possible in order to increase the reps.
Stride Stops, Reverse Pivots
Two Foot Jump Stop
1/1 Russian is a drill that we typically do from the top of the key, and on occasion from the wing. Here we have moved on to Guided & Live Defenses while working on finishing technique.
IV - Drive & Kick Shooting
On top of developing our players’ ability to attack, finish, and come to clean stops, we want our players to be able to make the Quick Pitch pass versus help defense. A good dribble drive offense is going to be constantly collapsing the defense, so working on drive and kick opportunities becomes an essential skill. We are not only working on the passer but the timing of the off-the-ball players as well.
General Points of Emphasis:
Develop a Catch-to-Shoot Mentality
Finding the Passing Window
Both Quick & Late Pitch Passes
Practice Drill -
Chair Drill Shooting -
Here is a staple 2v0 Shooting Drill that is designed to shoot the three most common Drive & Kick opportunities that our players get.
Players get 2-3 shots at each of the three locations, and then the same is repeated on the opposite end of the floor.
Add a Coach as Defender
That coach can help Early or Late to help the passer make the right read.
Video Clips: Examples of players executing Drive & kick opportunities.
Concluding Thoughts -
This post is centered around the essential skills that we identified for our dribble drive offense, but coaches could apply this logic to whatever offensive system they employ. Once we identify the essential skills we need to find ways to embed those skills into as much of our practice plan as possible. These skills can be worked on in not only skill development portions of practice but in small-sided games and eventually 5/5 advantage situations. I think the last piece of the puzzle is making sure we can find examples of these skills being applied in gameplay.
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