May 9

The Isolation Lie

This article was written by Basketball HQ co-founder Kyle Ohman

One of the biggest things that I see in today’s game and all over social media with different “Instagram Trainers” is the desire to breakdown and use different NBA players moves. Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, James Harden, or whoever else will make an exceptional isolation play, and then the next day everyone and their mother is breaking down the move and adding it to their workouts.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for isolation moves and some of these moves that are broken down will come in handy during the course of a game. However, the trap that a lot of younger players fall into is spending the majority of their time working on these moves and neglect so many other important areas of their game.

Players buy into the lie that they need to be able to do everything off of the dribble and breakdown their defender to be great, and this leads to players that are streaky scorers who can shoot step back 3’s and all other kinds of difficult shots, but ultimately at the end of the day are shooting a low percentage. They are unable to run offense or get high percentage shots because they spend all their time developing their one on one moves.

That is why I decided to write this article and give you 5 reasons why you should spend less time working on isolation moves and more time working on scoring within the offense.

 

Shot Clock

In the NBA there is a 24 second shot clock and in college there is a 30 second shot clock. However, in most high school games there is no shot clock. Most of the time when an NBA player gets into an isolation situation it has something to do with the shot clock running down. They have already run their set and it was guarded successfully by the defense, so they are left to try and isolate to create for themselves, or for a teammate if a help defender over commits.

If you are a high school player with no shot clock, your end of clock situations are going to be very rare with four quarters in a game. In college you will get more chances with a 30 second shot clock, but as we get into some more of the reasons why you shouldn’t look to iso all the time, you will see that it still doesn’t work the same as the NBA.

 

Designed Isolation Plays

NBA coaches do an amazing job of taking advantage of mismatches and putting offensive players in a position where they can play to their strengths. A lot of the isolation plays that you see in the NBA are designed by the coach or happen naturally when the defense is forced into a switch on some sort of screening action.

So unless your coach is specifically running plays to get you isolation looks against a mismatch that you may have, you are going to end up trying to force the action. This doesn’t mean that you can’t recognize a mismatch in a game, but if this your primary response every time you get the ball, you are going to end up forcing and taking bad shots.

Your immediate instinct shouldn’t be to catch and isolate every time you get the ball. Keep the ball moving and learn to attack a poor closeout or bad defensive rotation and you will find a lot more success.

 

Help Defense and Spacing

This is the single biggest reason why isolation offense in the NBA works and most of the time fails in high school and college against a good defense. In the NBA there is defensive 3 seconds which keeps the help defense from being able to load up on the side of the ball in the paint and sit in the help. If desired, an offense can set it up so that the ball handler has an entire side of the court to work with.

This means that the offensive player has the option of shooting or attacking an open basket. In high school or college, if you are consistently looking to go one on one all the time the scouting report defense is going to load up in the help. The on ball defender will stay tight to you and force you right into the help.

Even if you end up hitting a couple of tough shots, overall the defense is happy to see you forcing shots because the percentages of those shots that you are taking are going to be so low that eventually it is going to favor the defense. Also, the other players on your team will not be able to get into a rhythm because the ball movement is so stagnant and will end up taking poor percentage shots as well.

 

Surrounded by Elite Shooters

Along with their being a defensive 3 seconds, when NBA player’s make an isolation move they are usually surrounded with players that are elite level 3 point shooters. This means that if the defense helps on penetration, they are basically giving up an open 3 point shot to a player that is pretty much automatic from a catch and shoot position.

In high school and college there usually ends up being a couple of non shooters in every line up. If the defense is good, they know this and will play scouting report defense on those players. They will choose to over help on the ball if a player is always trying to isolate.

The player isolating will not have any space to make a move, so they will end up having to pass out of it to a low percentage shooter and the defense will live with the shot and just rotate out of it.

 

Best Players in the World

Some of the moves and shots that NBA players make are so amazing that it just seems unfair sometimes (actually the majority of Stephen Curry’s shots). My point to this statement is that these players that are making ridiculous moves, shots, and finishes are the best players in the world. They have spent hours upon hours upon hours mastering their craft.

They didn’t just start out launching 3’s our making ridiculous finishes. They spent time developing their game with the basics and working up from there. So unless you have already spent hours and hours developing a certain move in workouts, you shouldn’t be breaking it out in a game. You need to earn the right to take and make difficult shots.

That doesn’t mean ignoring the other parts of your game though and only working on isolation moves. It means developing your game so that you are a complete player, and then also spending time fine tuning different more difficult shots.

 

Conclusion

The best time to attack is when you have an offensive advantage over the defense, and the best way to get an advantage over the defense is ball movement, player movement, and screening. If you can catch the ball and attack a closeout while the help defense is having to rotate and guard other actions (instead of sitting in the help), you are going to get a lot higher percentage look at the basket.

It is okay to spend some time working on isolation moves, but it shouldn’t be primarily what you spend all of your time on. Spend the majority of your time working on high percentage moves that you are going to get within the course of running your team’s offense. Really look to limit the number of dribbles that it takes you to score and how long the ball is in your hands for.

 

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May 1

Any Move Double Pin Down Diamond Drill

When dribbling through traffic in a basketball game you are not going to have time to plan out what move you are going to use to get through it. You simply need to be able to see what is going on in front of you, and then quickly react with the right move. It may be a crossover, a reverse between the legs move, etc.

That is why you need to be ready to make the right move at the right time with having to hesitate. This basketball drill is designed to be able to help you work on dribbling through traffic with any move. After you have finished off of the dribble though you are going to be required to score off of 2 pin down screens. This is all part of learning to move without the basketball and becoming a complete offensive player.

 

 

Drill Name: Any Move Double Pin Down Diamond Drill

Similar Drills: Reverse Between the Legs Double Pin Down Diamond DrillBetween the Legs Double Pin Down Diamond DrillBehind the Back Double Pin Down Diamond Drill

Drill Goal: Work on ball handling, scoring off the dribble, and scoring off of a pin down screen.

Equipment Needed: 2 basketballs, 6 chairs, and 1-5  partners.

Tips: Keep the basketball tight to your body as you dribble through the chairs, keep your eyes up, and stay low. Work on different cuts as you use the pin down screens. Don’t drift on your shot and focus on the proper footwork.

Directions: Place 4 chairs at the top of the key in the shape of a diamond and a chair on each wing about 12 feet from the basket. One player is going to start under the basket as a rebounder and the rest will start at half court with a basketball. The first player will dribble down to the set of diamond chairs and do any single dribble move at the first chair, right or left chair, and the last chair (one dribble in between each move). After that the player will finish at the basket with any move (unless specified by the coach) or shoot a pull up jump shot. After that the player will go under the basket, set up the imaginary defender, and then come off either wing chair for a shot. Once they shoot they will go under the basket one more time and then come off the other wing chair for a shot. After the last shot the offensive player becomes the rebounder for the next player in line.

** Coaches can predetermine the type of cuts that the players use (curl, straight, fade, loop, etc) and also the type of finish that player does.

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May 1

Ball Screen Split

For this ball screen split drill you are going to be working on splitting the defenders guarding the ball screen. You will use this move when the big man over shows, or the guard and big man don’t come all the way together. This usually will happen on a hard hedge or a trap situation, and it is because the big man is impatient and gets out too early, or the guard defender gets hung up on the ball screen.

The split is a very effective move if used the right way, and is one of the basketball fundamentals for using a ball screen. One of the big keys is staying low and being explosive when you make the move. If you are standing straight up and down, the ball is going to get tipped or stolen. Basketball is a simple game, this drill is all about reading the defense and taking what they give you.

 

 

Drill Name: Ball Screen Split

Similar Drills: Ball Screen Refusal, Ball Screen MismatchBall Screen Turn the Corner

Drill Goal: Practice reading a ball screen and learning how to split between the big man and guard defender.

Equipment Needed: 1 Basketball, 2 chairs, and a basket.

Tips: Don’t turn your back to the ball screen, get below the level of the ball screen, keep your eyes up and see the floor, and mix up your speeds coming off the ball screen.

There are four different types of split moves that you can practice; push through or crossover, Dwayne Wade move (reverse between the legs), push over the top crossover, and Steve Nash move (low crossover push through).

Directions: 

  1. Place one chair on either wing about free throw line extended and the other chair a couple feet wider and up towards the top of the key.
  2. Have the line of players start 4 or 5 feet above both chairs and towards the sideline.
  3. Have the first player dribble down the sideline below the ball screen chair.
  4. Set the imaginary defender up with a couple of different moves and then come off the ball screen.
  5. As you come off the screen you are going to use one of the 4 different split moves.
  6. After you make the split move finish anyway you want around the basket.

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May 1

1 Minute 3 Point Shooting Drill

Footwork has a big impact on the percentage of a shot going in or not. This is especially true when coming off of a down screen, or cutting out to the 3 point line for a shot. The shooter needs to do a great job of getting their body back towards the basket and squared up before shooting the ball. It takes repetition upon repetition to get this down the correct way, so it is important that you spend a lot of time working on developing great footwork coming into your shot.

This shooting drill will allow you to work on your footwork and shooting, even if you don’t have a passer. That means that you are able to get the repetitions that you need, even without a partner. It is also a drill that can be used to work on conditioning as well. If the player executes the drill at a high speed, it will allow them to also develop their conditioning.

 

 

 

Drill Name: 1 Minute 3 Point Shooting Drill

Similar Drills: Andy Enfield 5 Minute Shooting Drill

Drill Goal: Work on developing your footwork, and coming into your shot the correct way.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball

Tips: Spin the ball to yourself from different spots on the floor to make sure that you are practicing coming into your shot from all different areas on the floor. Come into your shot with the same footwork every time, and make sure that you are getting your body squared to the basket before each shot. If you feel yourself drifting after your shot, you aren’t getting squared up enough before the shot. Player should be getting around 12 shots per minute.

Directions: Start anywhere you want inside the 3 point line with the ball. Spin the ball out to yourself outside the 3 point line somewhere around the arc. As you are catching the ball, come into your shot, and shoot a catch and shoot 3 point shot. Go get your rebound, dribble out to near the 3 point line, and then spin the ball out to yourself again. Continue this pattern for a minute, and keep track of how many makes you get.

 

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May 1

1 on 1 Chairs Wing Closeout Drill

The 1 on 1 chairs wing closeout basketball drill is a great offensive and defensive basketball drill for your basketball team. The drill allows you to put together all of your offensive scoring moves, and practice them against a defender. So whatever moves you have been practicing in your offensive drills without a defender, you can now practice them against a live defender.

On the defensive side it allows you to practice your closeouts, and one on one defense against a live opponent. Teach your players the right fundamentals and how to compete with this basketball competition drill. Make sure that every player is practicing the correct defensive fundamentals of a closeout, high hands, etc. and then let them try to guard a live person.

 

Drill Name: 1 on 1 Chairs Wing Closeout Drill

Similar Drills: 1 on 1 Dribble Line Drill1 on 1 Help Side Recovery Drill1 on 1 Three Chairs Basketball Drill

Drill Goal: Work on your offensive and defensive in a 1 on 1 live scenario.

Equipment Needed: 2-3 players, 3 chairs, and 3 basketballs.

Tips: Closeout with your hands high and under control. Slide your feet and put your chest on the offensive player when the drive to the basket, don’t use your hands. Offensive player needs to read the defender and try to score using only 2-3 dribbles. As the coach you can set the limit of dribbles aloud if you want.

Directions: Place 3 chairs on one side of the floor just outside the 3 point line (corner, wing, and lane line). Have a basketball sitting on each each chair. The defensive player is going to stand on the lane line box nearest the chairs. Offensive players form a line on the opposite box. When the coach says go the offensive player is going to run to any of the 3 chairs and grab a basketball. At the same time the defender must touch the opposite lane line and then closeout the offensive player. The ball is live as soon as the offensive player touches it. Play one on one until either the offensive player scores, is fouled, or the defender gets a rebound.

You can rotate the positions a couple of different ways. If you do defensive scoring then the player who is on defense stays there till he/she gets scored on, then the player that scored goes to defense. If you are doing offensive scoring then the player on offense stays on offense till the defender gets a stop. If you do offensive scoring the line of players would be on the defensive side.

 

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May 1

Alternating Windmill 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill

This is a stationary 2 ball basketball dribbling drill that works on ball control and developing good hands. As a ball handler you want to be able to control the ball and make whatever move you need to without having to think about it. If a defender steps up in front of you or reaches to steal the ball you need to quickly be able to make the appropriate move, without hesitation.

Even though this isn’t a move that you would use in an actual game it is great for developing good hands and ball control. Ball handling drills like this are still really valuable to use because they develop the players hands.

 

 

Drill Name: Alternating Windmill 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill

Similar Drills: Windmill Crossover 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill, Windmill 2 Basketball Dribbling DrillDribbling 1 Ball/Windmill 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill

Drill Goal: Improve ball control and touch

Equipment Needed: 2 basketballs

Tips: Work on the timing of the basketballs being dribbled through the legs, stay low, and keep your eyes up. Do your best not to look down when you dribble the basketball between your legs.

Directions: Hold a basketball in each hand. Dribble the ball in your right hand reverse between your legs and then catch it with the same hand. Now do the same with your left hand. Alternate back and forth and begin to go as fast as you can. Continue for 30-60 seconds and then rest.

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May 1

2 Minute Magic Basketball Shooting Drill

The magic shooting drill is designed to help you work on your catch and shoot as well as provide some pressure on the shooter. A game adds pressure that you are not usually able to duplicate in a basketball drill but with this drill you have to make 3 shots in a row to move on to the next spot. Hopefully this will be able to simulate a little bit of game pressure in each shot and help the basketball player to be able to shoot under pressure better.

Watch the basketball training video below to learn how to do this basketball shooting drill and then add it to your basketball training plan. When doing this drill the player needs to be shooting at game speed and is getting their work done before the shot.

 

 

 

Drill Name: 2 Minute Magic Basketball Shooting Drill

Similar Drills: Teammate 3 in a Row Shooting Drill, 2 Minute Magic Basketball Shooting Drill (5 Shot), 3 Minute 90 Point Shooting Drill

Drill Goal: Improve catch and release shooting, improve shooting concentration

Equipment Needed: 1 Basketball and 1 partner (for rebounding)

Tips: Concentrate on being in shot ready position before you catch the pass from the rebounder, follow throw on shot until the ball is in the basket or a miss

Directions: The goal of this drill is to make 3 3 point shots in a row in each of the 5 spots around the 3 point arc (both sides of the baseline, both sides of the wing, and the top of the 3 point arc) before moving to the next spot on the court. The player only has two minutes complete the drill as well.

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May 1

Andy Enfield 5 Minute Shooting Drill

Andy Enfield is the head coach at the University of Southern California, and he is one of the best basketball shooting coaches that you will find out there today. He has worked in the NBA as a skill development coach. The reason that this particular basketball drill is named after him, is because he gets credit for creating the drill.

This shooting drill is designed to allow the player to get up a lot of shots, and can be done on your own or with a teammate for competition. You want to practice coming into your shot the right way every time, and really focusing on your mechanics each time you shoot the basketball.

 

 

 

Drill Name: Andy Enfield 5 Minute Shooting Drill

Similar Drills: 3 Minute 90 Point Shooting DrillSteve Nash 3 Point Shooting DrillSteve Nash Mid Range Shooting Drill

Drill Goal: Get up a lot of shots and work on your footwork coming into your shot.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball per person.

Tips: Don’t run in after you shoot, hold your follow through and then go get the ball. Shoot the same way every time. Condition yourself mentally to try and hit multiple shots in a row.

Directions: This drill can be done with or without a partner. However if you do it with multiple people it becomes a competition between the players. Each player is going to start with a basketball, shoot a 3 pointer from anywhere around the arc, get their own shot, and then spin the ball out to themselves as they run out for another 3 point shot anywhere around the arc. The drill is going to go for 3-5 minutes and the player with the most makes at the end wins. If you are by yourself then you can just try and beat your previous record of makes.

 

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April 25

Physiclo Resistance Tights Review

As a basketball player or a coach you are always looking for ways to gain an edge on the competition and improve yourself. You see products out there that work on all different areas and come with guarantees sometimes big and sometimes small, and it becomes hard to tell what products are actually going to help you or what products are a waste of time and money.

That is why when our Basketball HQ team comes across a great product we want to help share it with our community of basketball players, coaches, trainers, and parents. If we come across a product that we believe is going to help you gain that edge, we want to help bring it into the light.

We believe that the Physiclo resistance tights are one of these great product that need to be brought into the light and shared. That is why we did a personal product review on these tights. Please read our review and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment them below.

 

Why Use Resistance?

It is important that we first talk about why resistance training is important. Once we get that down, then we can talk about why Physiclo tights area a great choice. The goal of using resistance to train is to get your body to put out more effort than it normally would just trying by yourself without resistance.

If you can get your body maximize it’s effort with resistance bands or in this case resistance tights, then when you remove that resistance, you become that much more explosive because your body still believes it needs to put out the same amount of effort as when there was resistance.

In a sense, you are basically tricking your body into working harder than it needs to, and that is what helps you to become more explosive.

 

Why Physiclo Tights?

There are a lot of great drills and exercises that you can do with a resistance band, and we encourage the use of them. However, they are still somewhat restricted and limited in what they can do with different basketball specific movements. With the Physiclo resistance tights you are able to execute every move that you would make in a game or drill, while wearing the resistance tights.

During workouts you can train with the tights on, and work on everything that you would normally work on in a workout, and the whole time you will also be developing your explosiveness, quickness, and speed.

 

 

Comfortableness

At first when I put the tights on, they were pretty tight and constricting. So I was nervous to see how they would feel when I was actually training. As I went through my workout though they were very comfortable. Obviously, there is the resistance factor, but they did not restrict my movements outside of what they were supposed to do with the resistance.

 

Overview

If you are looking to improve your explosiveness, quickness, etc. (which every player should be doing) I would recommend the Physiclo resistance tights. They come in at $95 for the shorts and $112 for the pants. There site provides a much better explanation of the exact science behind the tights, so I am not even going to try and get into that, but please click the link below and checkout their great product and get a pair of resistance tights of your own.

 

Find Out More: Physiclo Resistance Tights

 

 

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April 17

Rick Pitino Basketball Shooting Drill

This drill is called the Rick Pitino basketball shooting drill, because it is one of the basketball shooting drills that they do at Louisville University during their basketball training to help develop their players. Everything done during this basketball drill is going to be at a high pace, and is going to be done at game speed. The drill is going to be at full speed, but it is important that the shooter executes each cut the correct way, and really focuses on their footwork.

Another reason why this drill is done at high speed, is because it is going to be used as a conditioning drill as well. As a player gets tired they begin to mental disconnect, and this causes their shooting technique and fundamentals to fade. Well if the player can train to do something the correct way while they are tired, it should hopefully translate over to the game better, and pay off in a late game situation.

 

 

Drill Name: Rick Pitino Basketball Shooting Drill

Similar Drills: Ray Allen Curl Cut Shooting DrillReaction Inside Pivot Shooting DrillStephen Curry Basketball Shooting Drill with Fade Cut

Drill Goal: Work on different scoring and shooting moves, footwork, and player conditioning.

Equipment Needed: Chair or cone, 2 partners, and 2 basketballs.

Tips: Go fast, but be under control and execute the proper footwork and shooting technique. Stay in your shot until you see it make or miss. The goal should be to make 80% of your shots.

Directions: Set up a chair 2-3 feet outside the elbow on either side of the paint. Passer is going to be just above the top of the key and rebounder will be down by the basket. The player will be at half court to start. When the drill starts the passer is going to pass the ball to the player and they are going to dribble attack the chair with the basketball in their inside hand. At the chair they can make any type of crossover move to their outside hand where they will take 2 dribbles, and then pull up for a jump shot.

After they shoot they are going to take two steps towards the baseline (start with inside foot) and then come off the chair for a down screen shot. Once they shoot that shot, they will take 2 steps into the paint (start with inside foot), and then will use the chair for a flare screen catch and shoot shot. After the third shot the player will sprint back to half court and then repeat the same pattern. The player should go through the pattern 4 times, for a total of 12 shots.

 

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