Attack Dribble: Baseline Drive Adjustment (Whole)

This entry is part 11 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

A. 5 players 1 action (WHOLE)

In all of the whole building blocks that make up this layer, all drives will be baseline drives. Ball handlers should always recognize their natural pitch and their safety from each location as well as the 45 and 90-degree windows.  Coaches should show the rotations for the baseline attack dribble from each spot.

5 out
Locate 5 players at the 5 perimeter spots. Since this layer is all about baseline drives, the ball will start with the player in one of the corners.  The player with the ball attacks the baseline off the dribble.  The other players fill the windows for the baseline drive.

4 out 1 in
Locate 4 players at 4 of the 6 perimeter spots and a post player in the post. Because of the different configurations in this alignment, it is important to distinguish when a drive is a baseline drive and when it is not.  All drives from the corner are baseline drives. Drives from the wing are baseline drives if there is no player in the corner.

Because of the number of different configurations of the 4 out 1 in alignment it is difficult to make hard and fast rules for which players should fill which windows.

3 out 2 in
Locate 3 players at 3 of the 5 perimeter spots with 2 players in the post.  The post players can be in the high post or the mid post. Because of the variety of combinations of spots, it is important for players to recognize when a drive is a baseline drive just like in the 4 out 1 in alignment.
There are even more possibilities for locations for all 5 players in this alignment.  It is important that players follow their concepts and principles and fill the 5 windows. They may not get filled the same way every time.  That’s ok, as long as they are filled.
Time to break it down.

Attack Dribble: Circle Movement Description

This entry is part 6 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

Circle Movement simply says that when the ball is driven towards the basket all perimeter players must rotate in the same direction that the ball is driven.  In other words, if the ball is driven to the right, all perimeter players must rotate one perimeter spot to the right. If the ball is driven to the left, all perimeter players must rotate one perimeter spot to the left.

In the above scenario, 1 is driving to the right.  Player 2 is the most immediate player in the direction of the drive.  We call that player the Natural Pitch player.  Player 3 is the player to the immediate left of player 1.  When player 3 rotates to the right, he/she will end up behind player 1.  We call this player the Safety Valve player.

Circle Movement at this point is only for perimeter players.  Posts can be taught to circle move as well even though this is probably more than most teams want to tackle at this point.

Circle Movement is easy to teach and tough to learn.  Players will struggle in making this a habit. They will know what to do, but they won’t do it all the time initially. They may go through a series of steps in learning the action.

First, they may start by not moving or going the wrong way without the realization that they didn’t move correctly.  Then they will continue to do the same, but they will start catching themselves. Next they will react but it will likely be slowly.  They may even start to react incorrectly, but then catch themselves and rotate correctly.  Finally, they will start reacting correctly on a consistent basis.  It takes time and practice.  Regular and consistent repetition will make it a habit eventually.  Even then, it must be repeated to ingrain the habit into instinct.

Circle Movement is the hardest thing that players will have to learn. However, everything else is much easier in comparison.  Teach them Circle Movement first so that as time passes by their confidence only grows.  The alternative is to teach other things first and have initial confidence turn into frustration. In these situations, it may be difficult to get that confidence back.



Attack Dribble: Circle Movement (Whole II)

This entry is part 9 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

After breaking down Circle Movement into all of its small parts and pieces, it’s time to put it back together. Unfortunately, there’s a problem.  We’ve only practiced single actions.  We have yet to put two actions back to back. The reason for that is we have yet to learn what to do in the post once we kick the ball out. All that we have learned is to drive and rotate for one action.

So the question is how can we put it all together if we can’t string actions together yet?

We can, we just have to carefully control the action. There are a number of ways that we can use the whole part. Just remember, we can’t drive baseline yet.

A.  3 out, 4 out or 5 out Circle Movement Test

Place 3, 4, or 5 players on the court in either a 3 out, 4 out or 5 out alignment. Give one player the ball.  The player will attack in either direction.  The other players will circle move appropriately.  The attacking player will keep their dribble alive, dribble back out to the open perimeter spot and attack again in either direction. This will test the players understanding of circle movement. Using 5 out for this test allows the coach to test 4 players at once.  I would recommend using 5 out for the test even if you plan on using a different alignment.

B.  3 on 3, 4 on 4 or 5 on 5 Live

Players are allowed to play live 3 on 3, 4 on 4, or 5 on 5 but only for 1 action which must be an attack. This will force good moves by the ball handlers.  They will get more comfortable with quick reactions to help defense. The other players must rotate.

There are a number of different rules that coaches could add to this building block to create different drills.  It all depends on what they are trying to accomplish.

Let’s cover the Baseline Drive Adjustment right quick so we can tie up this layer and move on to Post Slides.  Once we cover post slides, we can start stringing multiple actions together without kicking players off the court.  🙂

Attack Dribble: Circle Movement (Part)

This entry is part 8 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

This will break the Attack Dribble Layer down starting with 2 player actions and including defense build up to 5 on 5.  Individual skill development is critical but will not be covered in this blog.  I will save that for another place and time.

One big question that some might ask: “What do I tell players when they pass?”  For now, I’m not going to tell them anything, because we haven’t covered what to do when you pass.  For some building blocks, I’m going to tell them to step off the court, but I’m not going to tell them what they should do….yet. If they ask, I might tell them.  I just don’t want them to worry about that right now.  I want them to focus on the Attack Dribble Layer. This becomes an important detail in being able to practice back to back actions.

So for now, for any drill designed through any building block for this layer, the rule is if you make a pass, you (and your defender if one exists) step off the floor once you pass. When other layers are added, they will have “something to do.”

A. 2 offensive players 1 action

This building block is the most basic component for teaching this layer. Everything else will build off of this. Coaches will still want to conduct individual skill development drills first to teach the different fundamentals that make up the building block. However, this is the first place where players really learn how to play team offense.

Players start at two designated spots. The player with the ball performs an attack dribble. The player without the ball rotates aggressively in the appropriate direction to the next spot. Is it really that simple?  Sure it is; except it’s not. I’ll discuss the different things that can go wrong shortly. Let’s finish the building block first.

The attacking player must make a decision on when the defense has committed to help on their attack.  If they have their defender beaten and help doesn’t come, they should keep going.  If the defense steps over to help, this means their teammate should be open and they should look to pass them the ball.

In designing the drill from the building block, coaches should consider some of the following details:

  1. Which spots are we using?  There are plenty of combinations.  Coaches should make sure players are comfortable from all spots. Players should be adjacent to each other initially but as they become more comfortable, the two players can be located on any two spots. Just remember, NO BASELINE DRIVES….yet.
  2. The ball handler can finish with a layup or a jump shot. The other player rebounds after they rotate. They must practice an aggressive rotation even if they aren’t going to get the ball.
  3. The ball handler takes 1 or 2 dribbles and kicks it out to the receiver who has rotated properly. The receiver shoots or attacks the basket. The initial ball handler is now out of the drill.
  4. Initially predetermine the direction of the penetration. This is important for youth players who are new to the action.  Eventually though all ball handlers must be given the freedom to choose the direction of the drive.
  5. Ball handlers attack off the dribble as opposed to off the catch. The question then becomes when do the receivers rotate.  Once the ball handler enters a scoring area?  After the ball handler crosses the 3 point line?

So what can go wrong?

  1. Ball handler travels on the attack.
  2. Ball handler dribbles with the wrong hand (e.g. going left with their right hand)
  3. Ball handler dribbles too deep before they kick it out
  4. Ball handler stares down their receiver instead of selling the attack.
  5. Ball handler doesn’t attack the lane.
  6. Ball handler passes with the wrong hand.
  7. Ball handler makes a bad pass.
  8. Ball handler reverse pivots incorrectly.
  9. Receiver rotates the wrong way or doesn’t rotate at all.
  10. Receiver’s reaction is early because they anticipate the drive.
  11. Receiver’s reaction is late.
  12. Receiver isn’t aggressive in their rotation.
  13. Receiver’s knees aren’t bent or their feet aren’t ready.
  14. Receiver doesn’t stay wide.
  15. Receiver shoots a shot with a foot on the 3 point line. (PET PEEVE!!!)
  16. Receiver travels when they try to attack the basket.
I could go on, but I figured that would get the point across. There’s a lot that can go wrong in this simple 2 player building block. This also means that there is a lot you can teach out of this simple building block. Granted, a lot of these are fundamental skill issues that may show up in other places as well. In any case, this is a great chance to teach, reinforce, and emphasize those skills in addition to learning the circle movement.

This is just the first block, but it’s such an important one. It is a great tool to drill all the offensive fundamentals associated with this layer well as the team concept. The inability for players to execute the basic offensive fundamentals that make up this layer will lead to turnovers. However, continuous repetition of this building block for the sole purpose of improving offensive execution is ineffective since reactors are able to anticipate the initiator’s action.  This is especially true at higher levels, but even youth teams will eventually need to be challenged further for the purpose of offensive execution.  There are a number of different drills that can be created from this building block. I’m compiling and will post them eventually…..hopefully….

B. 2 offensive players 1 defender 1 action

The only difference between this building block and the previous one is the addition of a defender. However, this one defender changes the dynamic of the drill.

The defender starts guarding the attacker. This can be live or not, but the receiver must still react. If the defender is a dummy defender, it is up to the coach to specify what happens.  If it’s live, the attacker should look to score first, but they must take good shots.  This is a good way to teach shot selection.

The receiver must always rotate appropriately, even if they don’t receive a pass. The ball handler must be limited in the number of dribbles and/or space that they have to score. This might as well be called 1 on 1 with an outlet. However, there are a lot of offensive and defensive concepts that can be taught in this building block, not to mention the many different ways that the 1 on 1 situation can be created.  Either way, why have players standing on the baseline watching two people play 1 on 1.  Have them in spots on the court, practicing their reaction. Every repetition helps. This building block can be used to teach 1 on 1 defense in a variety of ways as well as closeouts.  Again, when the drill section is complete…..

The defender should now guard the receiver. Again it is up to the coach what defensive technique is used.  The defender can be dummy or live.  Regardless, they will pretend that the ball handler beat the on-ball defender, and they have to help.  The attacker must make this read and deliver the pass to the receiver who has rotated to create a passing lane for the passer.

The intensity of the defense should start at a low level and increase as the players improve. As the players become more comfortable with the execution of Circle Movement, the drill can be used to teach defensive concepts.

This building block provides an opportunity to drill the defender on their 1 on 1 defense in a more game like situation. This helps the passer learn when to pass. It helps the receiver gauge the amount of time they have to evaluate their next action. In addition, it drills the defender on help and recovery techniques as well as proper closeouts and rebounding. At the same time, the offensive players are continuing to build their offensive habits that were covered in the previous drill as well as the reactions required to run the offense.

You guessed it, there are a lot of different ways to create a drill with this building block.

C.  2 offensive players 2 defenders 1 action

In this building block, the ball handler must attack their defender with a good 1 on 1 move.  The player without the ball must react appropriately.  Defenders must defend one action from the initial ball handler.  The ball handler can pass after 1 attacking action.  The receiver is now playing 1 on 1.  The other offensive and defensive player are no longer involved in the building block (follow the rule as stated in the beginning of this section.)

D.  3 offensive players 1 action or 2 actions

This next step is the same as the 2 on 0 block except there is a 3rd offensive player.  Previously, the attacker only had one receiver as an option.  Depending on the direction of their penetration, the attacker had either the natural pitch or safety as options for receivers. This is the first time that the attacker will have more than one receiver.  The attacker must have awareness on every drive where receivers will be located.  The attacker must make a clearly defined attack while the receivers learn to  react habitually by rotating in the appropriate direction. Both receivers must be ready to receive a pass.

This is the first opportunity to execute a second action with a second reaction.  After the first receiver catches the pass, the initial ball handler steps off the floor. In this case, player 2 fills in. At some point during this filling action, player 3 attacks again.  Player 3 can attack immediately or they can wait. It’s important for player 2 to react immediately.  This is a good way to repeat the Circle Movement reaction.

 

The same coaching considerations listed above apply here. Receivers must know that they are always an option for an attacker and must be in the proper position on every drive whether they receive the pass or not. Even though, only one layer and at most two actions are being taught at this time, players must be in proper position in order to be able maintain proper spacing for the next action.  This 3 player building block is especially good for teams with 12 players who only have 2 baskets.

Drills are coming. DOH! I said I wasn’t going to mention the drills again.

E.  3 offensive players 1 defender 1 action or 2 actions

Coaches can now put a defender on any player and run the same drill as before.  The defender must maintain proper position based on the player with the ball and their man.  If the ball handler dribbles in their direction, the defender should “help” and now they are forced to closeout and play 1 on 1. The other offensive players in the drill remain as outlets and rotate if the player with the ball attacks. The ball handler can now be taught shot selection in a 1 on 1 scenario.

This block is similar to the 2 on 1 block above except defenders are added to both receivers.  Defenders can play at varying levels of intensity depending on the emphasis. This will help attackers become comfortable with delivering passes to all receiver positions from all attacking positions against defense.

This block can be used to build from a defensive standpoint as well. It is recommended that other layers are added before players are allowed to play in any type of live scenario except for 1 on 1. Even in 1 on 1 there should be time, space or dribbling constraints.  Just as in the 2 on 1 and 2 on 2 blocks above, once the ball handler passes, they are no longer in the play along with the person who was defending them.

Any person with the ball who is being defended is forced to look to attack. We always want players to be threats.

F.  3 offensive players 2 defender 1 action or 2 actions

It’s the same as above with another defender.

F.   3 offensive players, 3 defenders 1 or 2 actions

This is very similar to building block E with an extra player.  1 on 1 defense, closeouts, help and recover and rebounding can all be taught from this building block. This building block can be turned into a number of different drills to teach a number of different skills.  It’s up to the coach and the emphasis.

G. 4 offensive players 1 action

This building block will let the ball handler see 3 of their teammates in motion at once.  This building block may not require a lot of time for more advanced teams. It may still be a useful step in helping younger players build the complete picture. All 4 of these players must be perimeter players.  They could be in 4 out or 5 out spots.

Keep in mind placing them in a 4 out alignment completes the picture for this alignment.  Congratulations!!!

H. 4 offensive players 1 to 4 defenders 1 to 3 actions

I think everyone is smart enough to figure this out by now.  Right?  If you need an explanation let me know.

J.  5 offensive players 1 to 5 defenders, 1 to 4 actions

This completes the picture.  Remember to keep everyone on the perimeter.

Let’s look at the WHOLE and see how we can assess what we’ve learned.



Attack Dribble: Circle Movement (Whole)

This entry is part 7 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

Since this is the first layer, we are only able to execute one action at a time for two reasons.

1.  Players don’t know what to do when they pass the ball.
2.  Players don’t know how to react in the post.

This will change when Post Slides and Pass & Cut are added to the mix. In the meantime, we will make a rule for all drills that says when a player passes, they are off the court and out of the drill along with the player who was defending them if applicable. This will allow us to practice multiple Attack Dribble actions when 3 or more people are on the court.

A. 5 offensive perimeter players 0 defenders 1 action

5 out or 3 out 2 in
Locate 5 players at the 5 perimeter spots. The player with the ball attacks the lane with one dribble.  Each player rotates one perimeter spot in the direction of the penetration. Ball handlers should always recognize their natural pitch and their safety from each location. Place the ball in each spot and show the rotations for one attack dribble from each spot.  All penetrations should be shown except for baseline penetration. Baseline penetrations and rotations will be covered in the second sub-layer.

The shaded player #2 in the above diagram is called the Natural Pitch player.

The shaded player #3 in the above diagram is called the Safety Valve.  

If 1 passes to the Natural Pitch player, they would fill out to the opposite side as 3, 4, and 5 filled the empty spots (as shown above).  If 1 passes to the Safety Valve player, they would fill out to the same side corner after 2 fills the wing spot.  (as shown below).

Keep in mind that the above diagrams show where players would be if there was only one action.  Ideally, another action would follow this drive and kick.  As multiple actions are tied together, players react to these actions making their placement unpredictable.  These strings of back to back unpredictable actions make the offense very difficult to defend.

4 out 1 in

Locate 4 players at 4 of the 6 perimeter spots. The post player should not be  included. The player with the ball attacks the lane with one dribble.  Each player rotates one perimeter spot in the direction of the penetration. Ball handlers should always recognize their natural pitch and their safety from each location. Place the ball in each spot and show the rotations for one attack dribble from each spot.  There are a few different combinations of player locations in 4 out. All possible combinations should be shown.  All spots 1 pass away from the ball should always be filled.  All penetrations should be shown except for baseline penetration. Baseline penetrations and rotations will be covered in the second sub-layer.

The shaded player #3 in the below diagram is called the Natural Pitch player.

The shaded player #2 in the below diagram is called the Safety Valve.  

Notice in the last drawing that 1 has not filled the other top guard spot.  This fill is optional.  There are advantages to 1 staying on the wing as well as advantages to 1 filling up to 2.  These advantages will be discussed in future posts. The post also has a number of options as well. These will be discussed in the upcoming layers.

3 out 2 in

Locate 3 players at 3 of the 5 perimeter spots. This should look the same as 5 out with two open perimeter spots.  The post players should not be  included. The player with the ball attacks the lane with one dribble.  Each player rotates one perimeter spot in the direction of the penetration. Ball handlers should always recognize their natural pitch and their safety from each location. There are a few different combinations of player locations in 3 out 2 in. All possible combinations should be shown.  All spots 1 pass away from the ball should always be filled. Place the ball in each spot and show the rotations for one attack dribble from each spot.  All penetrations should be shown except for baseline penetration. Baseline penetrations and rotations will be covered in the second sub-layer.

Now that we’ve shown the whole, it’s time to break it down.

Attack Dribble: Defensive Fundamentals

This entry is part 5 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions
  • 1 on 1 defense
    Good on ball defenders make playing defense off the ball easy.  Regardless of the defensive philosophy, the ball must be guarded.  Preferably, only one person is needed to defend the ball.  Teams must work on their one on one defense.  Again how you decide to guard the ball is up to you.  There are a variety of different techniques that coaches use in defending the ball. At the end of the day, players must be taught to guard the player with the ball. If teams can’t defend the ball handler, they are going to struggle. This layer provides a great framework for working on 1 on 1 defense.  Not to mention, that good defense will force the offense to improve.
  • Closeouts
    The closeout may be the most difficult skill to perform on the basketball court.  Yet, it is paramount to playing good defense. Many players can defend the ball handler, if they can keep the ball handler contained initially. Teaching players to closeout is important to “stop the bleeding.” If the bleeding isn’t stopped, it becomes harder for teams to recover and easier for teams to score.  This layer provides numerous options for working on closeouts in different ways and from different angles.
  • Help and Recover
    Eventually, the on ball defender is going to get beat.  Defining and drilling how your team helps on penetration is crucial.  Again there are a number of different ways to do this. At this point, the philosophy is irrelevant. We must recognize that it must be taught. The Attack Dribble layer provides numerous ways to drill this defensive fundamental.
  • Rotations on penetration
    Once someone helps, everyone else must rotate and help the helper.  Defining how this is done and then drilling it is important. Guess what?  You can do it all from the Attack Dribble layer.
  • Taking Charges
    There’s no need to repeat myself.  It’s all tied together with a nice little ribbon called the Read & React.
  • Rebounding
    Everytime a shot goes up, box out.  It’s pretty straight forward, but it must be emphasized.  Your players will shoot a lot during these drills. It’s a good opportunity to teach rebounding.

There are obviously a lot of details that have been left out of this section. There could be whole blogs on each of these topics individually. There are tons of books and movies and drill to discuss these topics. Maybe I’ll expound on those topics at some point. For now, I just want to point out 3 things:

  1. All these defensive skills relate to this layer directly.
  2. All these defensive skills can be taught and drilled with this one layer.
  3. Great players have most, if not all of these skills.

Now it’s time to teach Circle Movement, starting with the WHOLE picture…

Attack Dribble: Defensive Points of Emphasis

This entry is part 4 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

Attack Dribble gives coaches the opportunity to teach the most important defensive concepts. The best teams make a commitment to playing good defense. It’s not just something that they talk about. It’s something they practice and something they do.  Playing defense starts with defending the ball.  If you can’t defend dribble penetration, you’re going to struggle.  What better place to teach this than at the beginning?

Different coaches are going to have different philosophies about how to play defense. Any philosophy can be taught. Any of them can be effective.  It’s the idea that it is taught right along side the offensive concepts that is important to me.

A.  On ball defense
On ball defense is where defense starts. If you can guard the ball well, it’s a lot easier to do everything else. It’s easier to defend off ball screens. It’s easier to defend on ball screens. It’s easier to defend the post. Teams don’t have to help as much, which means they don’t have to recover as much. Recovering less means fewer closeouts.  Fewer closeouts means less opportunities to get beat, which starts the cycle all over again.
B.  Closeouts
Closeouts are the toughest skill to perform on the court.  Taking away an open shot without giving up a drive from a disadvantaged position is very difficult.  Even good on ball defenders can’t play on ball defense if they don’t closeout well. This layer provides numerous ways to drill closeouts.
C.  Help and recover
It’s inevitable that players are going to get beat off the dribble. What do we do when that happens?  How do we help?  Where does the help come from? When we get beat, we have to recover.  Once we help, we have to recover.  In an ideal world, we’ll never get beat. We don’t live in an ideal world.  At least I don’t.
D.  Help the helper
We learned to help and recover, but now we have to learn how to help the person who helped. This is all about defensive rotations.  How do we rotate defensively? If we’re going to have a chance to cover all the possible outlets, we have to rotate correctly.
E.  Taking Charges
Rotating is important. Making the offense pay for their aggressiveness is game changing. Learning how to take charges avoids fouls and changes the momentum of games. Most charges are taken when someone is attacking off the dribble. Makes sense to teach it at the same time right?