When I train players, we work on everything from the very basic stuff up to things NBA players do. How can we realistically do that?
1. BREAK EVERYTHING DOWN
My philosophy is to break everything down. Take the most complex scenarios and break them into bite-sized pieces that make it possible for any player to digest them. I have a progression chart that we follow, and it’s very important that a player understands you need to have a foundation to understand your game.
A foundation for a player is a breakdown of a skill and it’s a progression of learning.
2. GET THEM OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE
I’m really big on getting players out of their comfort zones. A lot of kids train, and they do the same things over and over. I think it’s very important that a player is challenged. Being challenged is going to get them to be more comfortable when they’re in a game and things aren’t going their way. Maybe they'll be going against a defender who is quicker than them or more athletic.
We put players in 1-on-1 situations with a defender and through different challenging drills. We want to get them to understand that you need solutions to make plays during games.
Lets take for example coming off of a ball screens. I’m going to break down a ball screen by getting them to understand:
If there is a hard hedge, you are going to attack the hedger. If he doesn’t let you turn the corner, you’re going to look to balance it out.
When you balance out, you need to keep your shoulders square and look downhill. And you’re going to read what the situation is.
If they switch then there is a very good possibility you’ll attack the big guy and look to attack the basket to create for yourself or your teammates.
If the big man hedges and leaves a gap, we’ll look to split the ball screen.
We break everything down and do drills to understand the reads so that players know what to do to be successful on the court. And that’s just one example. So I keep putting in different situations and give the players different avenues to solve them. The player needs to have a bunch of different solutions.
3. PREPARE THEM FOR MULTIPLE SCENARIOS
There are so many things that happen during the course of a basketball game and there are so many things you can teach. So it’s not just about playing the game but understanding what you need to do to put you and your teammates into a situation to succeed.
So we keep giving them scenarios. Ask them questions. If the defense does ________, what will you do?
As a player you need to be a student of the game. Even if you’re on the bench, you can watch what’s going on in the game. You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses and what you need to work on.