Playing the SABA way

A high school teammate and former college coach emailed and asked for anything that I could send, as this would be his last season coaching a local AAU team. I sent this:

He replied:

How do you get your girls to throw the type of passes I’m seeing, as well as throw to the space they are heading vs where they are?  The SABA closeout attack video is great stuff.

The simple answer is that I allow them to throw those passes, and I encourage them. Then we throw them in drills like these:

We have some basic principles for movement away from the ball that we drill through the shooting drills above, and teach through the drill below:

Otherwise, we scrimmage. No magic drills, just a lot of 1v1 against a closeout, 2v2 to create an advantage in a pick-and-roll, 3v3, 4v4 and 5v5.

For more on SABA, watch the video below or purchase the book as a Kindle or a paperback:

When to Use the Triple Threat

by Paul Cortes
Head JV Boys Coach, Jewish Community High School of the Bay
Youth Basketball Coach, San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
AAU Coach, Bay City Basketball

This is to piggy-back off Brian’s last post on “Problems with the Triple Threat“. Brian may or may not disagree with something I post here, because my thoughts are my own, but we share similar philosophies and I agree with many of the sentiments in his post. I originally started to respond in the comments section, but as my post grew in length I decided to make a separate post. The topic that came to mind is when to use the triple threat, and how to use it correctly. Read more

Perimeter Spacing Principles with Dribble Penetration

The video is a combination of two drills from 180 Shooter and Developing Basketball Intelligence: String Shooting Drill and Spurs Shooting Drill. More importantly, the drills teach basic spacing principles in relation to dribble penetration by a teammate. This was the final progression of these drills, and we moved quickly to the final progression because the players wanted to cheat: They moved on the pass rather than waiting to see the direction of the player’s drive. Read more

What volleyball can teach us about zone defense

I play in a men’s league where virtually all of the teams, including mine, play zone defense. I never played zone defense at any level, as I played for strict man2man coaches. Also, this league isn’t very good. However, I noticed something when I entered the game for the first time. Our defense changed. Read more

Teaching the Overlooked Skills

An ESPN ScortsCenter’s top play last night was this goal by FC Bayern’s Thomas Mueller’s goal:

Watch the goal again. Everyone notices the skill of the shot. It is an amazing strike with an incredible degree of difficulty.

However, the goal is only possible because of what Mueller does before beginning his strike while the ball is loose in the box. Rather than run wildly toward the ball or stand and watch, when the ball deflects toward the edge of the box, he quickly backs up into space and prepares his body. When his teammate heads down the ball in his direction, his feet are set and he has space to strike the ball.

While the strike is exceptional, players often practice this skill, just as basketball players practice different shots. However, few people practice moving into the right area to be a bigger threat. In basketball, most movement instructions starts and stops with the movement of specific plays. Therefore, players only learn this type of movement through experience, if they learn it at all.

On the other hand, at the end of the third game of the WNBA Finals, Angel McCoughtry missed a three-pointer. One of the Miller twins rebounded the ball. After she rebounded the ball, the other Miller twin back-pedaled to the three-point line; she received the pass as she moved backward, never set her feet and missed, ending the series. When you need a three-pointer to tie, why stand inside the three-point line? If she had recognized that her sister was close to the rebound a split-second earlier, much like Mueller starting to move before his teammate received the ball, maybe her feet are set when she receives the pass and she makes the shot.

This skill – this awareness – is common to elite players. If our goal is to develop better, more aware players, we need to find ways to cue players so that they move subtly into more dangerous positions, regardless of the play.

By Brian McCormick
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League

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