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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Basketball: Erasing the Seams, Conversion Practices

We value "seamless" basketball. In her MasterClass, director Jodie Foster discusses how music "erases the seams" in films. Where are the seams in our play and how do we mitigate these transitions between actions? 

Conversion. The new defense is vulnerable during the "Golden Moment" after scoring if the offense can inbound quickly. This also manifests through the defense reacting more quickly than the new offense. 

- Offenses beat zone defense first through transition. 
- Inbounding quickly is central to the hyperspeed offense of The System. 
- Forcing turnovers with rapid conversion sets up easy baskets.
- Maximum pressure, full denial defense after scoring (chest to chest) relies on conversion

Drill: Coach Bob Knight used the "Change Drill." During scrimmage, a whistle signaled the offense to drop the ball immediately and offense-defense switches. Enhance the drill by demanding new defenders cover a different player than their assignment. 

Action to action. If great offense is "multiple actions," then better cutting and passing applies. 

Drill. Israeli National Team Coach Ari Shivek employs what I call the Shivek Drill. The drill teaches passing, cutting, receiving, shooting, and closing out. Players alternate lines. 

Run this at both ends of the court, using 3 players and 2 basketballs. 
- Middle passes and cuts for give-and-go to layup.
- After passing (4) cuts to receive a pass and shot (foul line or three pointer) 
- After passing (3) cuts to the corner. The layup scorer closes out and 3 drives to score. 

Rebounding. How do we outlet the ball efficiently? It demands catch, control, vision, and safe passing and catching. 

Drill: Rebound and Outlet

Rebounders and defenders deploy at the blocks and elbows. Coach shoots and misses, rebounder catches and pivots to the outside. Guards get above the foul line extended with back to sideline (seeing the whole court). Rebounder outlets overhead pass to guard and opposite guard cuts to the middle and opposite rebounder runs the floor while the rebounder becomes the trailer. 
Offense-defense-offense. Depending on player availability, we run 4 on 4 or 5 on 5. In the midst of the flu epidemic and injuries, we're regularly practicing with eight to ten players. We initiate three possession games with either a free throw, BOB, or SLOB against man-to-man defense. There's immediate conversion to full court man defense. This directly simulates games and practices special situations EVERY practice. 

I certainly don't have all the answers. What actions help your conversion? 

Lagniappe: via @BBallImmersion (Chris Oliver)  Rebound Outlet at the Nail

The rise of three point attempts spawned a change in rebound direction and locations. Check out Chris Oliver's blog and discussion about how this creates a possible paradigm shift in rebounding and transition

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