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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Basketball 101: 6th Grade Clinic, Visiting Professor for Youngsters

Our sixth grade program has enthusiastic leadership, solid athletes, and needs experience. If you had the opportunity to be "Visiting Professor" for a day, what would you  introduce and emphasize?

They have an hour practice. I outline ten areas they can work on while encouraging focus and a high tempo. 

1. Footwork. Basic offensive skills include cutting, passing, dribbling, shooting, rebounding, and pivoting. As Pete Newell said, "you play a hundred percent of the game with your feet. 

Review jump stops, front (chest leads), and back (back leads) pivoting. Foot work is universally poor with beginners. Footwork is central to separating and preventing separation. And "basketball is a game of separation." 

2. Play without the ball. Fifty percent of the game is defense. On offense, each person will have the ball twenty percent (on average, less). That means NINETY percent of the game, you play without the ball. Are you standing or moving? Are you spacing or corrupting space? Are you helping your teammates by getting open, creating openings for them (e.g. screening, emptying)? "Movement kills defenses." 

4 "empties" the block allowing driver (2) to penetrate AND provides opportunity for 4 to become the receiver in a scoring area (elbow). 

3. Defense begins with ball pressure. Your job is to attack your assignment, to make them uncomfortable. "Crawl up into them" or "nose on the chest." Play in a stance. Low player wins. "Basketball is a shoulders game." 

4. If you force the ballhandler to pick up the ball, limit them. Get a foot between their feet to take away their front pivot. "Put them in a box" while maintaining hand discipline not to foul. Communicate. Signal your teammates by calling "pinch" or "deny" as the opponent may make a bad pass, travel, or get a five-second violation. 

5. Attack the front hand/front foot. If you have your dribble and the defender is angled (e.g forcing you to your left), they must drop step (slower than sliding) if you attack the 'closed' side. 

6a. Read defenders. Defense ALWAYS give you something. The diagram above illustrates how to set up your cut. Find ways to make their job harder...when they overplay, they give you opportunities for screens and back cuts. 

6b. Read screens. The defender has to do something...

When they trail you, you curl.
When they cheat over the top, back cut. 
When they go under, bump to the corner. 

7. Spacing is offense. 

Spacing (left) opens driving and passing lanes and limits defenses from double-teaming. On defense (right), shrink the space (at a minimum) with the 'Helpside I" forcing the offense to play 3 and against 5. 

Spacing sets up the initial opportunity (e.g. give-and-go) and secondary passes as defense reacts. 

8. "The ball is a camera." If you want to be in the picture, the ball (camera) has to see you. Relocate (move) to be seen. 

When the ball goes to the middle, note how wings (2, 3) must find space to be seen by the passer (5).

9. Force the defense into harder to defend actions. Reverse the ball with the pass. I don't want to see a lot of 'east-west' dribbling, but paint touches and ball reversal set up open shots and force closeouts. 

10. Learn to play the game not to run plays. Small-sided games provide teaching experience and more "touches" analogous to soccer futsal

High ball screen out of 3-on-3 inside the split. 

UCLA cut from 3 on 3. 

Post entry wing back cut with "blind pig." 

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