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Basketball Passing Drill: Passing Lanes & Patience

Basketball Passing Drill: Passing Lanes & Patience

Developing a patient team can be one of the most difficult aspects of coaching. Young and inexperienced teams tend to rush through sets and often leave scoring opportunities unexplored. These teams need to reduce turnovers and play with more purpose. So finding the right drills and competitive practice games becomes a challenge. So here’s a look at a basketball passing drill that works on both the offense and the defense simultaneously.

Basketball Passing Drill: Passing Lanes and Patience

The Passing Lanes and Patience drill promotes multiple things. For the offense, it promotes patience and making good passes. It stresses the importance of working for great shots. It also helps build habits like crashing the offensive boards.

For the defense, this drill promotes getting into the passing lanes, blocking out, and limiting teams to one shot. It stresses toughness in taking charges and playing hard without fouling.

The Set Up

This basketball passing drill requires two even teams. The drill uses competitive 5-on-5 action that should be high intensity.

Coaches implement four 2:30 minute quarters for the drill, with a 45 second break in between each segment. The two teams split time as offense and defense, alternating after each quarter. Subs can be incorporated with each dead ball situation.

basketball passing lanes

The Rules

Coaches set a specific number of passes the offense must complete. (We do 6 passes.)

The offense “scores” 1 point if they reach that number of passes without a turnover or deflection. They also get 1 point for each offensive rebound. The offense gets 3 points for made three-pointers, but 4 points for a made two-point field goal. We stress working for great shots.

The defense “scores” 1 point for each deflection of a pass. They get 2 points for a steal, and 3 points for limiting the offense to one shot in a possession. They get 4 points for each charge drawn. The defense loses a point when a player commits a foul.

basketball passing lanes

COACHING POINTS

  • Emphasize the importance of getting in passing lanes to get deflections & steals. On the line, up the line is a way of life for our program.
  • Discuss scoring with teams & ask them why they think 2’s are worth more than 3’s in this drill & ask them why they think securing a D-Board after one shot and taking a charge are worth so many points.

Kyle Brasher
Gibson Southern High School
Social Studies Teacher
Lady Titans Basketball Coach

Related: Favorite Basketball Practice Drills

 

 

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Using The Funnel Down Defense

Using The Funnel Down Defense

Scheming the right defensive system for your team remains one of the most important parts of preseason preparation for any basketball coach. While defensive principles may largely be the same from year to year, the athletes on the team might not be. Coaches must gear their strategies and approaches to fit the capabilities of their players. That makes systems like the Funnel Down Defense so valuable. Funnel Down stands as a versatile defensive weapon for any team, no matter the level.

The Funnel Down Defense

funnel down defenseThe basic principle of this defensive set up is to prevent opposing offenses from comfortably using the middle of the floor. Funnel Down creates “gutters” outside the volleyball lines, which are present on most high school and even college courts. Defenders force dribblers into these gutters and funnel them down the line to the next man. The ball is pushed down to the baseline and toward “strike zones,” or trap areas in the short corner.

Ideally, the offense never centers the ball, or swings the ball to the weak side of the floor. This defense focuses on shrinking the court for opposing offenses. Funnel Down tries to prevent offenses from effectively using 60 percent of the court.

Funnel Down is purposefully built to get opposing offenses out of their normal rhythm and flow, resulting in turnovers, and bad or rushed shots. When deployed in games that feature a shot clock, the effectiveness of this strategy is further amplified because the offense must spend time getting out of the trap zones.

Why Use Funnel Down?

This defensive system provides coaches with a versatile set up, adaptable to almost any talent level. Funnel Down can be paired with any base defense. It doesn’t matter if a team normally runs man-to-man or zone, funnel down can work either way.

When used correctly, this system disrupts any offense by keeping the ball on one side of the floor. Funnel Down seeks to “pin” opposing offenses to the sidelines and forcing them into traps. This creates an urgency in dribblers that often speeds them up to a point where they are uncomfortable. By speeding up the dribbler, the offense becomes more mistake prone, leading to game-changing turnovers.

And this defense can be taught by any coach, to basically any team. The lesson linked below provides all of the video tutorials, drills and practice plans needed to implement this system. Funnel Down might be the only defense a team needs!

The versatility of this set up allows for any type of athlete to be used on the floor. The defense creates difficult angles for passing and shooting, especially once the ball handler enters that baseline trap area. Funnel Down uses the sideline and the baseline as extra defenders to leverage pressure on the floor.

Incorporating this system into your routine forces opposing teams to spend extra time preparing. That ultimately robs opponents of time to prep for other parts of their game plans.

For more on how to implement this game-changing defensive system, Click Below for the Limited Time Offer!

Click Here for More about the Funnel Down Defense! 

This limited time offer includes teaching sessions and video drills, PDF diagrams, practices plans, a cheat sheet, and a coaching community!

Related: What is the Funnel Down Defense?

Resources: 

Coach Unplugged Podcast:

Ep: 1142. Funnel Down Defense

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What is the Funnel Down Defense?

What is the Funnel Down Defense?

Basketball coaches often find themselves scheming for different ways to defeat the best team on their schedule. Many of those schemes are oriented around the defense. Coaches searching for ways to streamline their practices and become more efficient in their instruction need to look no further than the Funnel Down Defense. This approach provides coaches with a tried and true defense system that dictates pace and generates turnovers.

The Funnel Down Defense

Funnel Down uses something most basketball courts feature and many coaches dismiss: the volleyball lines. This defense focuses on shrinking the court for opposing offenses by pushes ball handlers outside of that key stretch of the floor. Funnel Down tries to prevent offenses from effectively using 60 percent of the court. Instead, it forces them to the perimeter, operating on just 40 percent of the floor.

This approach attempts to keep the ball on one side of the floor. It speeds up opposing offenses to the point where they become mistake-prone. It also shrinks the usable floor space for the offense.

Funnel Down is purposefully built to get opposing offenses out of their normal rhythm and flow, resulting in turnovers, and bad or rushed shots. When deployed in games that feature a shot clock, the effectiveness of this strategy is further amplified because the offense must spend time getting out of the trap zones.

Three Key Concepts of the Funnel Down Defense

Funnel Down Defense1. Pin the ball on the sideline

2. Funnel the ball to the baseline

3. Trap and Rotate in the short corner

The design of this defense borrows its terminology from bowling. The task of the defense remains to “funnel” the ball along the “gutter” of the court to the baseline, where a trap awaits in the “strike zone.” Funnel Down seeks to keep the ball out of the “alley,” which is the main stretch of center court inside the volleyball lines. The traps occur in “strike zones” positioned at the short corners.

Ideally, defenders pressure the ball into the gutters, avoiding the centering pass. This is called a “pin.” This tactic overplays the ball handler away from the middle so that the ball can’t be swung.  Defenders stay ahead of the ball handlers by sprinting, not sliding, trying to stay half a body width ahead of the dribbler. This discourages penetration and funnels the ball toward the trap areas.

The defender “up the line” covers a man below the ball level on the court. This defender needs to remain between his man and the ball in order to help. The defenders continue to “funnel” the ball along the sideline, encouraging the dribblers to head toward the baseline. Once the ball enters the “strike zone” in the short corner, that triggers a trap and weak side rotation.

For more on how to implement this game-changing defensive system, Click Below for the Limited Time Funnel Down Defense Offer!

Click Here for More about the Funnel Down Defense! 

This limited time offer includes teaching sessions and video drills, PDF diagrams, practices plans, a cheat sheet, and a coaching community!

 

Resources: 

High School Hoops Podcast

Ep: 161. Funnel Down Defense

 

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4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

Block out the Block-out (#3 thing I no longer teach on Defense). Tom Izzo gets the credit, but I thought of it first! (Just kidding). I did realize this point on my own as a coach, however, and only later learned Izzo agrees with me 🙂 All this before I get to my 4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound.

Izzo deserves credit for his courage, for he challenged the Big 10 Creed that when rebounding a player must first Find his (or, a) player, Spin around, Put his butt into gut, Spread his arms & legs out (wide), Lean back into his man, Hold him there for, say, 2 seconds, and THEN go get the ball.

How many years have we seen coaches teach this same thing to players? Answer: Too long. Truthfully, it doesnt work, at least not for anyone outside the paint.

The only thing that matters in rebounding is getting the ball. Anything more is just a dance. What does matter is what I outline below, which is what I now teach regarding How to Rebound. First, though, some background.

Recently I happened to be watching another coach practice with his team. Dutifully, they did the 3-Man Box-out Rebounding Drill. But this time I saw what was actually happening each time the coach shot the ball. When his shot went off, his players looked AWAY from the ball, to find a person to go try to box out. They ran AWAY from the basketball to go get that person.

Then when they got to where that player was, they tried to turn around to locate them with their butts. But by then that offense player (who was facing the basket, and watching the ball the whole time), easily got around the spinning rebounder. In 80% of time the boxer-outer rebounder never even made contact with the moving, reacting offense player. No contact! Instead, just wasted effort, and an unsuccessful solo dance.

I have since noticed this same phenomenon at other practices (disclaimer, including at my own!)

4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

This is what I now teach on the 4 Steps to Get a Rebound:

First, ASSUME every shot is going to miss (this may sound obviously, but most of our players assume every shot is going to be made–which is why 90% stand there watching the shot floating in the air toward the basket, and dont move). They assume the ball will go in; a good rebounder knows it will not.

Second, ANTICIPATE where the missed ball is going to bounce after it hits off the rim or backboard. And while anticipating, take your first step in that direction. Go when no one knows where, not after it is obvious. Let me ask you as a coach, isnt rebounding more about positioning than player size? Will not the smallest, slowest player on the floor get the rebound if he is in the right place, than a taller guy who is out of place and gazing flat-footed?

The truth is, most players stand where they are and hope the ball bounces to them. Almost none move. The next time you are at a practice note how many stand where they are when the shot is taken, and dont move more than 4 inches in any direction. Instead, they freeze & gaze.

Third, POSITION yourself between the ricocheting ball and ANY other player who may be standing in that same area on the court (even if it is your own teammate). As coach, I am okay with one of my players getting in front of another of our players, to grab the rebound. The point is to get the rebound; it doesnt matter to me who on our team gets it.

Fourth, JUMP to meet the ball at the highest point in the air. Again, this sounds obvious. Yet it is surprising how many players only partially jump, if at all; and, instead, they assume the ball will come to them, so they wait for it.

One of my original observations about basketball is this: The first-mover wins the play. And, rebounding is all about who moves first, to the right place, and there jumps first & highest.

Watch your players–are they dancing, or actually getting the ball?

Related: Shell Drill, Rebounding and Transition

Resources:

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1-2-2 Basketball Press

1-2-2 Basketball Press

Developing the right defensive approach can often be one of the most difficult tasks for coaches at any level. Defense often directly leads to wins. As the cliche goes: Defense wins championships. So when a coach is faced with the decision to develop a pressure system for the team, there are a number of choices. Among them, the 1-2-2 basketball press stands as an effective option, especially for coaches with developing teams.

1-2-2 Basketball Press

1-2-2 basketball pressThe good thing about the 1-2-2 basketball press is that it’s fairly easy to coach. This press also stands as a relatively safe option for coaches who don’t want to leave the back line of the defense open. This press also becomes particularly effective when the player at the top can provide ample pressure on the ball.

This defensive alignment takes advantage of a team’s best athletes. The primary strength of this press remains the constant application of ball pressure. This press also allows the defense to control the tempo and flow of the ball game. It can be particularly useful in places that incorporate a shot clock.

The 1-2-2 press allows the defense to trap along the side line. It often forces the offense into awkward counter alignments, which can lead to mistakes and turnovers.

While other full court presses, like the 2-2-1 or “diamond” press, try to leverage the back court to force a turnover, those alignments often leave the back end lightly covered. The 1-2-2 press keeps a pair of players back, doubling that back line.

This press can be useful in breaking an opponent’s offensive rhythm. It can also be folded back into several different half court zones or even a man-to-man.

Coaches must stress protecting the middle of the floor when implementing this press. Coaches should also stress trapping along the side line.

Communication is key with this press, like any other, because each offensive pass will require a defensive realignment on the floor.

Watch the video below where Coach Collins and Coach Jaryt Hunziker talk through all of the alignments and permutations of this press.

Related: Basketball Full Court Presses

Resources:

Coach Unplugged Podcast

Teach Hoops

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Basketball Full Court Presses

Basketball Full Court Presses

When talking about basketball full court presses, coaches refer to the defensive tactic of applying pressure on the offense the entire length of the floor. Depending upon the style of the press itself, a defense might pressure the ball before it’s even been inbounded. Well-drilled teams often find the use of a full court press to be a game-altering proposition.

Before deciding on a press, coaches must understand the limitations of their team. The defense must be well-conditioned and disciplined in order to effectively use a full court press. If not done well or correctly, the full court press might surrender easy scoring opportunities on the other end.

Reasons for Basketball Full Court Presses

The reasoning behind implementing any style of basketball full court presses remains applying pressure to the offensive unit. Presses allow the defense to control the pace of a game. Presses also allow for the defense to create transition opportunities on offense.

If a team is trailing in a game, a full court press might provide the best chance at scoring quick buckets. The press could result in a turnover, or it might force the offense into a quick shot on the other end. Either of those outcomes provides the defense with another opportunity.

In states where the games are played with a shot clock, using a full court press can burn valuable seconds off the clock. Presses often result in lob passes across the court, which rob the offense of their time.

Implementing a consistently, high-energy full court press also affords the coach with the ability to expand the team’s rotation. Having 10 to 12 players capable of performing at a high level will leverage these high-energy attacks.

Types of Basketball Full Court Presses

While there are a number of variations available and different vocabularies, basketball full court presses often boil down to a few basic set ups.

A full court man-to-man press creates a chaotic, scramble environment that allows the defense to control the pace of the game. This option can incorporate a ball-denial approach for every player, or for specific offensive players. An initial overplay might dictate where the ball gets entered. From there, the man-to-man press allows for multiple trapping opportunities in both the full court and half court.

A soft version of the man-to-man full court press might simply force a zig-zag break from the offense, which would burn valuable seconds and might disrupt play timing.

Common zone full court presses include the 2-2-1 and 1-2-1-1 (sometimes called the “diamond press”).

The 2-2-1 press might be particularly valuable to a team that uses a 2-3 zone, or some other configuration, as its base half court defense. The 2-2-1 full court easily folds back into a half court zone. It also applies pressure to the ball and forces the offense to use the sidelines. This pressure moves the offense into potential trapping areas and tries to key to ball out of the middle of the floor.

The 1-2-1-1 or “diamond” seeks to trap the initial offensive pass. This press often allows the offense to initiate the action to a specific spot, then converges from there. The trap applies immediate pressure deep on the floor, so any turnover can be quickly turned into an offensive opportunity.

What to Consider Before Installing a Press

Coaches must evaluate their roster before deciding which full court press will be most beneficial. Some of the other considerations include: when to press, and when to remove the press.

Many presses are implemented following a made field goal, made free throw or off a dead ball. Coaches might mix and match their approach, but those are typically the options. The decision to remove the press usually comes when either the opponent easily navigates the pressure, or the defense is not running it properly. Zone presses often fold back into half court zones at a given point.

Beyond those considerations, others include denying the entry pass and protecting the rim. Denying the entry pass might make an initial trap difficult, and this can be beat with a pass over the top. Protecting the rim might use a safety, or a player rotation.

Trapping the basketball provides the defense with its most high-leverage play in any of the full court presses. But coaches must be clear regarding the expectations for their team when trapping, both on and off the ball. Are there specific areas on the floor that always signal a trap? What do the weak side defenders do?

As with anything, communication is key to a successful full court press.

Related: Basketball Defensive Systems

Resources:

 

Click Here for Coach Ted Anderson’s Pressing and How to Teach It PDF packet.

 

Coach Unplugged Podcast:

Ep: 717 Pressing How and Why with Ted Anderson (Part 1)

Ep: 718 Pressing How and Why with Ted Anderson (Part 2)

Teach Hoops

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Basketball Defensive Systems

Basketball Defensive Systems

Developing basketball defensive systems stands as one of the most important aspects for any coach out there. While designing offensive plays might be more fun, crafting the right defensive system might make more a difference between winning and losing. A good defense feeds directly into offense and it makes scoring that much easier. 

Many coaches believe it’s better to sport a simple offense and complex defense, rather than the other way around. How a coach crafts their team’s defensive approach often dictates the very identity of the team. Also, not all players, particularly at the youth level, will have the same natural abilities on the offensive end, but most players can be taught complex defensive schemes and excel.

Basketball Defensive Systems

Basketball Defensive SystemsOne key consideration for any coach, when creating their basketball defensive systems, should be the capability of the team. Depending upon the skill level of the players, a coach needs to adapt their system to fit what the team can actually do. The system itself becomes the terminology the coach decides upon, and what each call represents for the players on the floor. 

One particularly useful approach when designing a defensive system is to divide the court into quarters. “Four” represents full court. “Three” represents three-quarter court. “Two” represents half court. And “One” represents the three-point line.

Dividing the court in this way allows for the defensive system to have clear calls from the sideline. This concept is also very simple for players to understand. 

From there, a coach needs to decide what defensive approaches are best suited for the team.

Basketball Defensive Systems Optionality

What makes a defense complex isn’t the core concept itself, but the constant variations. If a team were to run the same base defense through each possession, it’s only a matter of time before the opposing offense feels comfortable and adjusts. This is increasingly true as the competition improves.

So when a coach decides upon their defensive approaches, most will settle on a base defense, but also install variations and special attacks. For example, a team’s base defense might be man-to-man, but a coach will also install a half court zone, as well as some sort of press. Some coaches layer multiple defensive approaches as a season progresses.

Basketball Defensive Systems

Once the base defenses are installed, players run through the different progressions to understand the key principals. A coach will have a man-to-man defense, then perhaps zones with even fronts and odd fronts. Players practice with each approach and learn the specific terminology. From there, it’s a matter of bringing the system together.

The calls from the sideline would combine the defensive approach and the pickup point. So one call might be: “Red 4” which would signal to the players a full court, man-to-man press. Another call might be “Blue 2”, which would be a half court, 2-3 zone.

Coaches can play with the terminology and defensive approaches, but the optionality is what makes these basketball defensive systems complex. Constant changes frustrate opposing offenses and create opportunities for the defenses.  

Related: 4-on-4 Cut Throat Basketball Practice Progression

Resources:

High School Hoops Podcast:

Ep: 118. Basketball Defensive Systems

Teach Hoops

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