- Part I: The Purpose
- Part II: Why Change?
- Part III: Importance of Fundamentals
- Part IV: The Basics
- Part V: The Breakdown
- Part VI: Defense
- Part VII: 6 Reasons Why Dribbling Actions Are Taught First
- Part VIII: Building Blocks vs. Drills
- Part IX: Combining Layers
- The 8 C’s of Post Play
- Teaching Basketball Players To Play the Game
- The Simplicity of the Game
So you’ve spent the last two weeks or two months drilling skills and layers. Players can execute fundamental skills. They can react perfectly every time. Now they have to make them work in a live setting. In other words, they have to perform layers consecutively, seamlessly, and efficiently.
Coaches ask regularly, “What combinations work best?” While there may be some good answers to that question, I don’t think we can predict how defense is going to play us. Even if we know a team’s defensive philosophy, it isn’t as if they will always be in the position they are supposed to be in. Are our players always in the right positions?
When we’re teaching players to combine layers, we should do this without defense. We should encourage them to incorporate certain layers in a possession. We can let them execute any layer they want. We can limit the layers they have to execute. We can require that they can’t stop until they execute a certain layer or layers. This gives ball handlers freedom. Players without the ball can’t predict what’s going to happen. Yet, they can be forced to think about executing specific actions.
However, when we want to teach our players which layers they should execute this must be done with defense on the floor. I believe we must empower our players to make those decisions. I believe we must show them and teach them when they should make one decision versus another. I don’t believe we can do that without having defense on the floor. Defense gives the offense something to “read and react” to.
In addition, putting defense on the floor allows to teach defense. Defense is always in a reactionary mode. However, offenses are much more organized. They typically execute actions in a certain order. You can train defense to defend a certain set of actions by requiring that the offense execute specific layers in order. In this case, you’re getting offensive reps in a live situation, but the emphasis really turns to the defense. If action A occurs, this is how we defend it. If Action B occurs followed by Action C, then this is how we defend it. If Action D follows Action B, then we do this.
Coaches can dictate some offensive actions and let the players dictate the rest. Coaches can let the offense dictate all of them. It depends on what, if any specific defensive concepts the coaches want to cover. Do they want to make sure the team knows how to rotate on a baseline drive or defend a staggered screen? Or is it more important that the defense be able to react to unplanned offensive actions?