A fun new drill that teaches great shot selection

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by Bill Winfrey

No more yelling "PASS THE BALL !! " ... let the drill do it for you.

Builting an 'US' mentality within a team is a difficult task, but one that determines a lot of our team's long term success.

I'll show you a simple way to explose quick selfish shots as ridiculous and reward teamwork and good shot selection. You'll enjoy watching drills do te yelling and teaching for you.

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One simple adaptation

This one adaptation is made in the scoring of a competitive drill. So, create a drill or game where you're keeping score based on buckets scored. But, instead of the value of a bucket being 2 or 3... a bucket it is now worth the number of passes made within that possession. So any one bucket can be worth 0 or 10 points (or more). Passes have to be to someone within the 'red zone' .. which is within scoring range (~ 25 ft and in). Restated, if they don't score, no points. But if they do, then the points for that bucket are equal to the number of (red zone) passes made in that possession.

Guards against over-passing too

At first I was concerned this adaptation might create a drawn out offensive slow down, with multiple unnessary passes. But it hasn't it at all. I found that it taught players the need to take good shots when they are there. Here's why... if you take a quick shot... it's not too worth anything or much. Conversely if you work too long and in the process pass up a good shot... it really hurts you because you may well end up with nothing (due to a much lower percentage shot or a TO). So, players are motivated not to hold the ball, but to work together to find and take good shots. Who, when and where the shot is taken becomes much more of factor in this game... all the key things you want players to learn about good shot selection.

Beside creating some very exciting games and comebacks... here's what I've found it does to a game:

Offensively it...

  • forces teammates to look for others

  • encourages teammates to get open, in a 'scoring spot'

  • teaches timing of cuts and movements away from and toward the ball

  • makes players think seriously consider what is and is not a good shot, because...

  • you don't want to over pass and end up with a TO and get nothing

  • when a high percentage shot comes up, and it's got some pt value to it, you take it

  • does away with quick selfish shots, they're worth nothing or very little

Defensively it motivates players to...

  • step up and deny passes

  • not give up anything easy... so blocking penetration is also becomes essential

Variations

There are some interesting variations you can create with offensive rebounds... pick which is most needed for your team:

  1. you can make possessions to be only one shot ... this increases the value of any shot... but the drawback is there is no real fighting for rebounds

  2. any offensive rebound starts over the pass count... increased the need for more passing and looking for teammates, eliminates poor / low percentage put backs (which, contrary to how many seem to think, do exist depending on the player, the defender, and the ball position).

  3. any offensive rebound continues the pass count from before the shot... so that if a team has 5 passes, a shot, and a rebound and putback, then they'd still get 5 pts on the putback. This increases the need to block out and get the defensive rebound... offensively can lead to less teamwork after the rebound, and less need for a good shot... since getting an offensive rebound can 'make up' for poor shot selection.

I prefer the second option and use that most because it forces the need for good shots... since the point value (# of passes) starts over with each shot.

Exciting practice and camp games

I have loved watching teams go crazy after great comebacks. One was down 15 late and cameback in 2 possessions. Another was down 3 with under 20 seconds left, got a steal, then a very self-focused player had the ball, realized he needed find a teammate, then a few beautiful passes later a bucket and a win. It was great to see their focus on finding and using teammates.

Extra Notes: you'll need someone dedicated to tracking the number of passes made... I've done it not as a long game, but rather in 5 minute games, or in games with 5 possessions each. Experiment with it and let me know what works for you. I'd love to hear!

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