Skills, drills, and too much of a good thing

by on October 12, 2015
in Practice Design

Coach Nick sent a tweet with the video above. 

If you want to practice like an NBA team, there you go: More three-man weaves! Otherwise, check out Fake Fundamentals!

As I thought about the three-man weave, and drills that I use in practice, I remembered an old axiom that I heard from Lute Olson or Rick Majerus: Every shooting drill is a passing drill. I do not do any form passing drills because players practice their passing technique throughout practice in other drills. Of course, in the NBA, that is not necessarily true. NBA teams, and many high-level college teams, have managers, assistant coaches, and player development guys to pass the ball during practice.

I watched a BCS program work out in the offseason several years ago. There were three players and 19 support staff members on the court: They had the four coaches (head coach + 3 assistants), a director of basketball, a strength coach for basketball, interns, managers, etc. The players did not have to do anything for themselves: Someone brought them water, rebounded their shots, passed them the ball, etc. What’s wrong with making players pass to each other? I noticed this before a soccer game last week: The coach passed the ball to players who attempted a shot on goal. Now, I understand that the coach likely passed the ball to the players because he worried that the players’ passes may not have been perfect, and he wanted the players to practice their shooting. But, what happens in games? The coach will not pass them the ball. Players will, which means they may have to shoot after receiving a poor pass. Volleyball coaches are notorious for setting to their hitters so the hitters receive more repetitions, but that ignores the interaction between the setter and the hitter in the game. If practice includes drills similar to these:


Do players need additional form passing practice? Of course, these passes are nothing like passes that one throws in a game, but neither are the passes thrown in the three-man weave. Therefore, maybe college and professional teams have too much of a good thing with the managers and interns. They actually have to do form passing drills because they otherwise do not throw passes in drills.

By Brian McCormick, PhD
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League
Author, The 21st Century Basketball Practice and Fake Fundamentals

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