As a former basketball coach, I know it was a challenge to communicate what I knew to the players. And the reality is, you cannot drill, you cannot teach, you cannot prepare for every situation. Coaches must teach the basic fundamentals and skills and be confident that players can transfer into a game situation.
In the book A Season With Coach Dick Bennett by Eric Ferris, Coach Bennett discussed his belief that if players know how to play, coaches use more drills in practice. If players do not know how to play, coaches should use more scrimmage-type situations. These drills are certainly game-like, and with the reduced number of players give coaches the opportunity to correct mistakes and praise successful execution.
Coaching great Ralph Miller was often quoted as saying “the only way to learn to play basketball is by playing it”. Those of you familiar with Mr. Miller’s teaching style may recall that he only ran six drills on a daily basis to teach fundamentals and develop his teams. While most of us in the coaching profession look at this approach with some skepticism, it is important to try and implement drills that teach as many fundamentals and game-like situations offensively and defensively as possible to maximize practice time.
This article will illustrate two drills that can be tailored to achieve this concept. I have also included two video coaching clinics explaining three of Ralph Miller’s commonly used drills. For more information on Ralph Miller’s System, check out the Pressure Basketball book and DVD.
Let me know about any favorite drills or philosophies of yours. Good luck on the upcoming season!