October 27

Between the Legs Toss Tennis Ball Drill

To be a great ball handler you need to learn how to dribble and do different moves without having to look down at the basketball, or have to think about the move that you are going to do. The reason you are going to use a tennis ball for this drill is to teach and train your body to be able to do different moves without having to look down or think about them. Tennis ball basketball dribbling drills will be challenging at first, but they will help you master being able to dribble the basketball without having to look down or think about it.



Drill Name: Between the Legs Toss Tennis Ball Drill

Similar Drills: Partner Tennis Ball Toss Between the Legs Drill, Toss Between the Legs Tennis Ball Drill, All Between the Legs 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill

Drill Goal: Work on the between the legs move and Hand/Eye Coordination

Equipment Needed: basketball and tennis ball

Tips: Dribble the ball as hard and as quick as you can. Stay low and keep your eyes up. It is actually encouraged to mess up, because this means that you are getting out of your comfort zone.

Directions: Stand in athletic position with a tennis ball in one hand and a basketball in the other hand. Take a stationary dribble with the basketball, toss the tennis ball up in the air, dribble the basketball between your legs, and then catch the tennis ball with the hand that just had the basketball. Take another stationary dribble and then repeat the toss between the legs action. Continue this back and forth patter for 30 seconds. To make this drill more advanced, eliminate the stationary dribble between each between the legs move.

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October 23

The Secret to Consistent Shooting

The secret to shooting consistently is simply consistent shooting! (You didn’t really think there was a “secret” did you?) Actually, that’s not entirely true.
I should say the secret to consistently shooting WELL is consistent shooting. If you want to shoot consistently BAD then there isn’t really anything you need to do!
I hear players complain all the time about how they just can’t put the ball in the basket, that their release doesn’t feel right, how they have absolutely no control of the ball and how their shot is completely broke.
So what do many of them do? They go to the gym and shoot 1000 shots – and then don’t work on their shot for another week for two.

That’s like someone complaining that they are overweight so they cut out all fast food and sugar out of their diet for a day. Then a couple weeks later they look in the mirror and realize they are still overweight so they “diet” for another day. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?
To shoot the ball consistently well you have to develop the proper mechanics and muscle memory and the best way to do that is to shoot every day! Not just once a week; not just once a month, and certainly not just the night before your school tryouts are held.

If you are serious about being a good shooter then you should shoot every day you eat! Being too busy is not really a valid excuse because if you don’t have time to get in a full workout then you can still squeeze in the following form shooting workout.

  • From a few feet away use only one hand and shoot at least 10 shots off the side of the backboard. Concentrate on using correct shot mechanics and perfect form. Since the width of the backboard is not very wide you will have to focus on hitting a smaller target which will get you concentrating right away. If the ball hits dead center it will come straight back to you but if your aim is slightly off the ball will bounce off to one side or the other.
  • When you are done with this continue to use only one hand and make 10 shots from three different spots – just off of the big block on both sides and from the middle of the paint. Again, concentrate on making every shot perfect.
  • Once you have made those 30 shots go back around the three spots and repeat the drill but this time every made shot needs to be a swish. If it hits the rim at all it doesn’t count!
  • Before leaving pick one of the three spots (or two or three if you have the time) and make 10 shots with your eyes closed. By the time you start this part of the drill you should have made 70 shots with correct mechanics and perfect form so you should have at least a little muscle memory stored up.

Completing this simple series of shots will take only a few minutes so there is really no reason why you can’t do it nearly every day. On those days when you find that you have more time use this form shooting drill as your warm up and it will make your regular shooting workout even that more effective.

If you want to be a great shooter you just have to remember two words – Every Day!

Please add to the conversation!

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October 21

Down Screens and Baseline Drive Shell Drill

The shell drill is going to work on half court man to man defense, and is going to really focus on the defenders responsibilities when the ball is moved, there are cutters, screening actions, etc. This particular shell drill is going to work on dealing with down screens and baseline penetration. By breaking down the defense into 4 on 4 and staying in the half court, you can really focus on making sure that your players understand their responsibilities. They are also able to get a lot of repetitions at what they should be doing.

Team basketball drills like this one are also great for working on defensive communication. Every time that the ball or a player moves, the defense should be communicating. This will not only help prevent defensive errors, but it will also intimidate the offense.


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October 21

Kevin Garnett: A Legacy of Love for the Game

Dustin Kerns

This article was written by Wofford College associate head men’s basketball coach Dustin Kerns. Coach Kerns is entering his second year as associate head coach with the Terriers, but was also an assistant coach with the program from 2004-07. Dustin also has held an assistant coaching position at Sata Clara, and a graduate assistant position as Tennessee University. 


Kevin Garnett is 38 years old and entering his 20th NBA season.  He is my favorite NBA player for many reasons, but most of all I truly admire his passion and competitive fire to play the game of basketball. When he steps off the floor this season he will join only three other players who have played two decades in the NBA (Robert Parrish, Kevin Willis and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).


What Does Greatness Look Like?

Not only is he still playing, he still produces and has played in more than 1,500 games, regular season and playoffs combined.  Surpassing his financial security, he continues to play because he loves the responsibility to produce.  Kevin Garnett is wired differently – that is why the great players are perceived great.

He always wants to guard the best post player, he is always leading and talking to younger players, and he is always strategizing with post and defensive schemes.  He is paid well, and he should be, because he earns it.  You do not just get respect in the NBA, you earn it, and Kevin Garnett certainly has earned it.  His mind is more powerful than his body and that is a huge reason why he still produces after 19 seasons in the NBA.


Ultimate Team Player

Kevin Garnett, like most great players, has a legacy.  He won an NBA Title, MVP, and owns many records, but his legacy is his love. Who is the next NBA player to have as much respect for the history of the game and its predecessors like Kevin Garnett does?  Who is going to leave a legacy of being an ultimate team guy who was driven by the competition and learning process?   Who is going to overlook being considered a power forward one season and a center the next season because he just wants to be “on the floor”?

The legacy of Kevin Garnett is the journey of his career and how his mindset and attitude made his physical talent go from great to legendary.  There is so much to learn from him and his approach to everything he does.  In the end, he stands for something and is a self-made man.


Notable Career Stats

Kevin Garnett owns a lot of personal accolades but these certainly stand out and deserve mentioning:

*Only player in NBA history to reach at least 25,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 5,000 assists, 1,500 steals and 1,500 blocks in his career

*Only player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists per game for 9 consecutive seasons (1998–99—2006–07)


Finishing the Right Way

Most likely, this will be his last NBA season and our last chance to watch and appreciate what he does.  The sports world unified and celebrated recently Derek Jeter’s exit from baseball in an epic moment.  I certainly wish and hope whenever the time for Kevin Garnett to play his last game, he gets the same recognition and moment because he has earned it.

In life, at some point we are all replacements of some kind.  We replace someone and someone replaces us in our job or role.  The NBA has to replace Kevin Garnett, but in my opinion his legacy is irreplaceable.


The Challenge

This all leads to the following challenge for players. What will your basketball legacy look like? Are you going to be known as a player that really loved the game, and gave it their all every time they stepped on the court? There is a right way to do things, and the career of Kevin Garnett is an example to every young basketball player as to what that looks like. Be a leader in your actions, and not just in word. There are a lot of people that talk leadership, but not many that show it through their actions.


“I hear leadership, I don’t see it” – Kevin Garnett

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October 21

Shaka Smart Coaching U 2014 Basketball Clinic Notes

Shaka Smart

These clinic notes are from when Shaka Smart spoke at the 2014 Coaching U Basketball Clinic in Indianapolis, IN. Coach Smart is the head men’s basketball coach at VCU, and is considered one of the top college basketball coaches in the country. Previous to coaching VCU, Shaka has also held coaching positions at the following schools; Florida, Clemson, Akron, and Dayton. These coaching clinic notes are going to cover Coach Smart’s defensive system, and a few other thoughts on coaching. The notes were taken by Jacob Collins.


Shaka Smart: “Culture of Havoc”


3 Book suggestions:

  • Know yourself as a Coach – Denny Kuiper
  • Mindset – Carol Dweck
  • Help the Helper – Kevin Pritchard


All coaches should research Jack Clark – Rugby Coach at Cal-Berkeley


Patriots sign in locker room – “We don’t become you, you become us.”

  • How?
  • Constantly teach what we do to the smallest detail
  • Constantly reinforce what we do
  • Constantly provide the answers to the tests


Freshman Orientation

  • Twice a week in the summer that provides some of “the answers to the test”
  •  Every day we_____________________?—Ask yourself what we do
  • What do you do every day?
  • At VCU they work on transitions EVERY DAY
  • Goal: best in country at transitions
  • Older players teaching younger players how it is done
  • In practice transition getting water into getting in a huddle
  • Combine things in drills


Core Values

  • Appreciation—see every opportunity as a gift
    • Appreciation to entitlement ratio
  • Enthusiasm—passionate and excited about our process for success
  • Competitiveness—aggressively pursue greatness
  • Teamship—we fully commit to align ourselves with the team
    • Goals are all team endeavors
  • Accountability—we are responsible for our team and ourselves


3 types of Accountability

  • Coach holding player accountable
  • Coach/player holds themselves accountable
  • Players hold each other accountable


Need to:

  • Coaches must expose any type of hypocrisy in the program


“If it were natural to be a champion, it would happen a lot.”


Havoc – mentality to the way that we approach the game

  1. Fullcourt pressure defense
  2. Halfcourt pressure defense
  3. Transition offense
  4. Halfcourt offense—ATTACK!!
  5. Relentless attack at the offensive glass


Always want to be the aggressor

  • 2 types of pressure defense (VCU utilizes both)
    • Matchup and pressure ball and deny
    • Trap



  • Element of surprise (trapping v. not trapping)
  • Want to keep the pressure on


“That which gets measured gets done.”

  • If it’s a good trap, result will normally be good.
  • Bad traps will KILL you
  • Have to deal with disadvantage situations if you are pressing
  • Need to be good at “Fix-It” situations
  • Transition rules apply
    • 1) Basket
    • 2) Ball
    • 3) Ballside
  • Not worried about mismatch


Most important pass to deny is the entry pass

  • No elbow catches
  • Wants to take team out of their offense
  • Rarely will teams hit backdoor w/o entry pass


Reasons why we press

  1. Turnovers
  2. Force quick & bad shots
  3. Create offensive opportunities for ourselves
  4. Force tempo
  5. Disrupt flow
  6. Make opposing players do things they are uncomfortable with
  7. Difficult to prepare for
  8. Create fatigue
  9. Make depth a factor
  10. Exciting for fans/players/recruits
  11. Identity


Pressing Notes

  • Not a question of if you get fatigued, but what you do when you are fatigued
  • Who gets tired first? Who recovers fastest?
  • VCU wants to play players 6-11 significant minutes
  • Who’s 6-11 is better?
  • Perfect team to play with is a team with no great players (this style)


Pressing emphasis

  • Energy—setting expectation is 1st step in getting them to achieve it
    • Caveat—fouling negates hustle
    • Energy from game to game is up and down
  • Communication—Talking makes you quicker
  • Transitions
  • Deflections
  • 1st to the floor
  • Pressure
  • Stunting
  • Back pressure
  • Outnumbered situations
  • Defending multiple positions
  • Fix-it situations


Trapping Situations

  • Lane to lane—middle tunnel (no trap here)
  • Trap When
    • Ball handler is out of control
    • Ball out of the middle
  •  Favorable defensive matchup=1 man trap
  • Fullcourt 1on1—first day of workouts


Fundamentals of the trap

  • You have to closeout to the trap
  • Take up ALL the space
  • When he pivots away take that space away
  • Live dribble = NO ESCAPE
  • No split/No fouls
  • You have to force an obvious pass = informs interceptors where to go
  • Ball above the head = hands above the head
  • If you foul, foul with lower body


Press Notes

  • Fist—Fullcourt with no trap
  • Guy on ball = madman
  • Off ball put hammer in ribs


Don’t let the ball inbounds

  • Pressure on the ball
  • Position = 1/3 position (1/3) from man and the ball)
  • Stunting = fake with foot and your hand
  • Work on these things every day


2 ways we trap

  • The turn
    • If you see the back of his head, you are gone (the turn)
  • Force the action
    • Force the action from the middle


Key—Pressuring the ball

  • 1 Trapping drill a day
  • 1 Pressing rotation every day
  • Other than that—just working on traps when playing


In scouting focus on:

  • Press attack
  • Entries


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October 17

How to Handle Cutting Players During Tryouts

Of all the unpleasant tasks that basketball coach’s face, telling a player that he has been cut from the squad is perhaps the toughest.
Many coaches have become pretty creative over the years while looking for a way to break the news as gently as possible while others still
post a list on the locker room bulletin board and call it good.

I don’t know which is the best way to break the news to a young man who has his heart set on making the team, but I do have four
suggestions to make the whole process a little less painful.

1. Prepare players and parents beforehand

Before you start your tryout process have a “team” meeting where you can gather all the interested players and their parents and explain exactly what you are looking for in a potential team member. Make it clear to everyone that you are not necessarily collecting talent but are attempting to assemble as strong a team as possible.

National Champion Jerry Tarkanian wanted his Long Beach State, UNLV, and Fresno State rosters to include the 8 best players he could get and then 4 other guys who were just more than happy to work hard in practice and then cheer like crazy during games. As a result, he usually cut better players than he kept for the end of his bench.

If possible put whatever criteria you are using in a letter and have it signed by every player’s parent. In this day and age of extremely involved parents you may find that when it comes to cutting players most of your resistance may come from parents and not the kids themselves.

2. Be available to discuss in person

Depending on the number of players you have to cut you may not be able to spend large amounts of time with each one. However, you should make yourself available for those who want to meet with you; especially for those borderline kids who really thought they were going to make the team. The players who were just “hoping” to make the team will take the news much better and may not need or want to meet with you in person.

When you meet with a player in person, not only can you deliver the news but you can also offer him some suggestions and advice as to which direction he should consider heading. However, when you meet with a player and/or his parents you should always have another coach or athletic director present as sometimes things are misunderstood or even ignored in the heat of the moment.

3. Be honest

The honest truth is that most players are cut from your team simply because they are not good enough. Very few players are cut because they are lacking only one specific skill. Their overall skills or playing abilities may be underdeveloped or you may be in the fortunate situation where you just have several better players at his position.

However, many coaches try to soften the blow by telling players something like, “You’re not making the team because you don’t shoot (pass, dribble, screen out, defend, etc.) well enough. If your shot was better we would have a spot for you.” If that is absolutely true then great. But if not what happens when the below average player comes back after improving that one particular skill?

4. Put them to work

Just because a player isn’t good enough to play doesn’t mean he’s not good enough to help the team in a different way. (Let’s be honest, most of us wouldn’t be coaching if we were good enough to play in the NBA!) Big time programs have and utilize as many as a dozen managers – why can’t you do the same?

How much more productive could your team become if you could videotape every practice or keep individual stats on every player every day? Could you use extra passers and rebounders in your individual workouts? Who better to help with these things than a kid who loves the game but lacks the overall ability to actually get on the floor?

Telling someone he is not good enough to make the team is not fun or easy for anybody. However, by being mindful of the above suggestions you may be able to make the experience less painful and more productive for everyone involved.

Please let us know what you think!

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October 16

How to Do a Euro Step

The Euro step move is a great way to finish around the basket and avoid a charge or shake off a defender. A lot of basketball players use this move, but probably the most famous for using it is Manu Ginobli or James Harden. The Euro step is a great move, but to make it effective you need to learn the right basketball fundamentals to executing it.

This video will teach you how to do a Euro step and then also have a player demonstrate the move so that you can see exactly how it is done. When doing this move there are two things that you need to remember; be under control and then also sell your move. These two things are essential for this move to work.



Drill Name: How to Do a Euro Step

Similar Drills: How to Do a Decelerated Euro Step

Drill Goal: Learn the proper technique and footwork for the Euro step finish.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, a partner, and a basket.

Tips: Protect the basketball when you make your move by either cradling it or bringing it over/under the defenders hands. You can finish the move several different ways; same hand/foot, opposite hand/foot, leaner (Steve Nash), etc. This is a great move to use in transition or if a defender is setting up to take a charge. Take a big side to side step when you make the move.


  1.  Dribble towards the basket with your right hand and as you are coming to coach or imaginary defender plant with your right foot and pick the basketball up.
  2. Step laterally onto your left foot and bring the ball across your body by cradling it or bringing it over/under the defenders hands.
  3. Jump off of your left foot and finish the shot by either laying it in, floater, leaner, etc.

*** If you drive to your left do everything opposite.

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October 15

Windshield Wiper Toss Tennis Ball Drill

The windshield wiper tennis ball toss basketball drill is a great ball handling drill that incorporates both a tennis ball and basketball. Using a tennis ball to work on dribbling drills makes you have to focus on the tennis ball, rather than the basketball. This will hopefully help to make dribbling a basketball second nature to you, and allow you to keep your eyes up while dribbling the ball. Once you are able to handle the basketball with your eyes up, you will be able to read the defense, and make the correct play. If you are looking for a great way to improve your handles try tennis ball basketball dribbling drills.



Drill Name: Windshield Wiper Toss, Tennis Ball

Similar Drills: Windshield Wiper Toss Tennis Ball Drill, Broken Windshield Wipers 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill, Windshield Wipers 2 Basketball Dribbling Drill

Drill Goal: Improve ball handling

Equipment Needed: basketball and tennis ball

Tips: Keep your head up, toss tennis ball straight up in the air, pound the basketball, stay low during the drill. Make sure that you are practicing a good tennis ball toss each time. You will need to be able to execute a good toss as you progress to more difficult drills.

Directions: Stand in athletic position with a tennis ball in one hand and a basketball in the other hand. Sweep dribble the basketball back and forth in front of you (in a V motion). While doing this, toss and catch the tennis ball with the other hand. Repeat action for 30 seconds to a minute, and then switch hands.

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October 9

9 Ways to Impress Your Coach & Make the Team

I’m assuming you already have at least a little bit of talent and that you work hard. However, whether you are a role player looking to get more minutes, an established “star” looking to get to the next level, or just looking to impress the coach during tryouts, here are 9 things you can do to help accomplish your goal.

1. Play with Passion

Most basketball coaches love the game (that’s why they coach!) and they want to be around players who love it too. Enthusiasm, attitude, and competitiveness are all contagious. Encourage everyone on the court – even those who are going after your spot. Do everything with the highest level of energy possible. Clap, whistle, and lead the team in high fives! Project your inner Magic Johnson and be the teammate that everyone wants to have around.

2. Play Smart

It’s much easier to teach a player how to improve their ball handling and defense than it is to improve their basketball IQ. Focus on how all the drills and offenses are supposed to be executed and develop the reputation of being a “quick learner.” Since practice time is limited, all coaches want players who pick things up quickly because it saves time and makes things easier for everybody.

3. Pay Attention

When the coach is talking look him or her right in the eye and listen like your career depends on it! Ask appropriate questions so he will know you are listening and truly want to understand what he is talking about and explaining. Don’t be afraid to speak up if he asks a question and you know the answer.

4. Be the Beast of the Gym

When it comes to playing be tough, hardnosed, scrappy, and physical. Box out hard, set hard screens, fight over screens hard, defend hard, run hard and go after every loose ball and rebound like it’s a sack of hundred dollar bills. So few players approach the game like this anymore so if you play like a beast you will surely stand out and be noticed.

5. Be the First in Line

When drills are being demonstrated and run most kids are going to try and slip to the back of the line hoping they won’t be noticed. Not you because you want to be noticed! You race to the front of the line! That way coaches will notice you both as a player and as a leader and you’ll get in more repetitions which means more chances to look good.

6. Be in Better Shape than Everyone Else

It’s plain and simple – the better shape you’re in the better you’re going to look – especially at the end of practice or on the second or third day of tryouts when everyone else is exhausted. By coming to tryouts in shape, the coaches will know you are serious about making the team and didn’t just decide to try out at the last minute.

7. Talk on Defense

Coaches go to bed every night dreaming of having players talk on defense. Why? Because so few actually do talk! “I got #14,” “Help this side,” “Bring him my way,” “I’ve got the lob,” and “make him go left,” are just a few examples of things you can say that will help you get noticed. Not only that but it will also improve your defense and give you an opportunity to show off your basketball IQ – all great things when you are trying to make the team.

8. Be Early & Stay Late

Not on time – early. In fact try to be the very first one there. Then when practice is over don’t be the first one to rush out of the gym. Grab a ball and head to a basket and get some more shots up while everyone else heads out the door. Chances are the coach will come over and spend a few extra minutes working with you. Even if he just yells “Ok time to go!” at least he will know you are trying to get in as much work as possible and that you love being in the gym.

9. Talk to the Coach

Be a person not just a number. Ask him how you did and what should you have done better. After the tryout is over make sure you thank him for the opportunity and that you’re looking forward to working with him. Coaches like drawing up plays and running practices but coaching is still relationship driven. All coaches want players they can talk to and relate to yet many young people don’t take advantage of that. Let’s face it, if a coach knows you and likes you then chances are you are going to get a closer look than a complete stranger will get.

Please share your thoughts:

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