This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Workouts

SMACKS is an acronym that I like to use for teaching players how to play when they have the ball. Every time a player attempts to score, it can be broken down into each of these 6 stages. When players learn to master each stage individually, they can start putting them together and become better players. SMACKS gives me a way to help teach offensive players in a progression that is easy for them to remember.

S = Setup

M = Move

A = Attack Dribble

C = Crossover Step

K = Kill Dribble

S = Score

The setup is what the player do before they make a move. The setup is probably the most overlooked part of SMACKS. When a player is making a move off the dribble, this is learning to change speeds and levels to freeze the defender. If the player is making the move off the catch, it is learning how to prepare their feet and bodies to make their move without being off-balance or traveling. Players who forget this step often make moves that are ineffective. Players must always learn to set up the move before they make it. In many cases, this setup is not complicated or difficult. The setup can be as simple as playing just a bit slower to make a good read so that they can make the proper move.

The move is probably the most popular part of SMACKS that coaches teach and that players work on. Players always want to work on or learn a new move. The move can include a change of speed, change of level, and/or a change of direction. While the move might be the “flashiest” part of SMACKS, the other parts are just as important to a successful scoring opportunity against the highest levels of competition.

Once the offensive player makes the move, the player must attack the advantage that they gained. This piece of SMACKS is critical to maximizing the advantage that the player gained. The attack dribble must create as much space as possible away from the defender. As a result, a poor attack dribble ruins even the best “move” because it allows defenders to recover and make any scoring opportunity more challenging.

The attack dribble’s partner is a crossover step. The crossover step increases explosiveness and protects the ball from the defender. Many times, this footwork is often overlooked, but mastery of the crossover step can help lesser athletes gain an advantage. Poor footwork by even good athletes can make them less efficient, effective, and easier to defend.

The kill dribble follows the attack dribble in situations where the player needs more than one dribble to score. In some situations, the attack dribble can lead to a scoring opportunity. Although at higher levels of basketball, players must have a variety of finishes in their arsenal. The kill dribble helps players get their feet set for whatever attempted finish they need to use.

The score refers to the different finishes that a player can learn to use. This could be a jump shot, floater, Euro step, pro hop or any number of other finishes that exist in the game of basketball.

Individual Workout #3: Euro step

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Workouts
The individual workout in this post covers SMACKS with a Euro step finish. This workout chooses to work on the crossover between the legs move, but any move could be substituted for this workout. Whether it is workout # 1 or workout #1000, we will continue to emphasize failure with each workout while at the same time breaking down individual skills into their pieces and putting them back together. Repetition and mastery of the basics are most important to improvement and mastery of more advanced skills. In addition, this workout includes jump rope sessions between each drill in order to increase agility and conditioning.
Move Breakdown
Pound, cross, thru, pass to wall (LH & RH)

Jump rope (30 seconds)

Pound, 2 cross, 2 thru, pass to wall (LH & RH)

Jump rope (30 seconds)

Pound, 3 cross, 3 thru, pass to wall (LH & RH)
Jump rope (30 seconds)
Euro breakdown
Lane line break down for inside hand finish for euro: (ONE step, from first two hash marks LH & RH)
Jump rope (1 minute)
Euro-step inside hand finish:(TWO steps, from first two hash marks on both sides LH & RH)
Jump rope (1 minute)
Kill to Euro Step and finish (from first two hash marks on both sides LH & RH)
Jump rope (1 minute)
SMACKS Breakdown
Attack dribble, cross step, scoop cone reset (10 reps LH & RH)
Attack dribble, cross step, scoop cone, kill, stack cone reset (10 reps LH & RH)
Pound, cross, thru, attack dribble, cross step, kill dribble, Euro step without finish (5 reps LH & RH)
Pound, cross, thru, attack dribble, cross step, kill dribble, Euro step, finish (10 reps LH & RH)

Individual Workout #2

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Workouts

This individual workout breaks down a specific individual scoring progression into all of its pieces in a very step by step and specific manner. This is an introduction to SMACKS (Setup, Move, Attack, Cross Step, Kill, Score). While this is certainly the foundation for what we’re working on, we are want to teach the different pieces of the scoring progression in a more conceptual way so that they can be applied outside of one specific move. The emphasis is on improving the rhythm and coordination between ball handling and footwork through maximizing the number of times an athlete can fail. The specific move that we are working on in this workout is: Crossover, Between the legs, Attack dribble, Cross step and Kill dribble into a pull up jump shot.

Between the legs break down:

  • Thru, snatch
  • Pound thru snatch
  • Pound, thru, cross step, attack

Partner resistance:

  • Continuous Crossovers
  • One pound, thru (small diagonal)
  • Cross, thru, push out (RH & LH)

Partner pass for rhythm using thru/cross:

  • Pound, Cross, Thru, pass (RH & LH)
  • 3 pounds, Cross, Thru, pass (RH & LH)
  • On the move, one pound, Cross, Thru, pass (RH & LH)
  • (Start with same hand you pass with, partner throws back to same hand) down and back, switch partners, then down and back opposite hand and switch partners

Pull up break down: (focus on quick feet)

  • Kill 1-2 snatch (RH & LH)
  • Kill 1-2 shot (RH & LH)
  • Attack, Kill 1-2 Shot (RH & LH)
  • Pound, Pound, Cross, Thru, Cross Step, Attack, Kill, 1-2 (RH & LH)

Breakdown Wing Pull Up (3 dribble for break down for footwork on pull up)

  • Pound, Cross, Thru, Cross Step, Attack, Kill (RH & LH)

The Whole

  • Start at half court, rep the move, on last rep finish with shot

Athletes in this workout did not leave the workout feeling comfortable. A lot of very basic weaknesses with regards to rhythm, ball handling and footwork were exposed. Our hope is that we showed them things that they will take with them and practice on their own.

Individual Workout #1

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Workouts

This individual workout is a good introduction to ball handling. This is a good measure for the coach and the athlete to find out how comfortable they are with the basketball.  The point of emphasis for this individual workout is the force with which the ball is being dribbled for every dribble. It doesn’t matter how good the player looks doing the drill. Players must dribble the ball harder than their level of comfort. It is important that players learn to play outside of their comfort zone. Failure is more than encouraged. It is a requirement in this individual workout.

  • Rhythm stationary Ball handling: (heavy & regular ball)
    • 1 pound, cross, 1 pound; 5 times (Right hand & Left hand)
    • Same with heavy ball
    • Perform the same series and add 2 & 3 “pound” dribbles
    • 1 pound, scissors (between the legs), 1 pound; 5 times (Right hand & Left hand)
    • Same with heavy ball
    • Perform the same series and add 2 & 3 “pound” dribbles
  • Catch, hop, shot
    • Self toss into catch,hop, shot
    • 2 pounds, cross, thru legs, catch 10 times (Right hand & Left hand)
    • 2 pounds, cross, thru legs, catch, shot 10 makes (Right hand & Left hand)
  • Chris Hyppa series
    • Single arm cross, 3 scissors 6 reps  (Right hand & Left hand)
    • Same series with heavy ball. 6 reps
    • Single cross, scissors (between the legs) with pass
      • Pound, single arm cross, 3 scissors, pass to partner or against the wall off the bounce, one hand. 6 reps
      • Same series with the heavy ball 6 reps
  • Attack-step 6 cones to layup/finish
    • Between legs at all 6 cones, 6 times (Right hand & Left hand)
      • 2 layups
      • 2 pro hops
      • 2 “rondo” finishes
  • Pick up/stack cones
    • See diagram below
    • Player will go thru legs at the first cone, pick up the cone as they change hands.
    • Attack the next cone, stack the cone as they turn the corner and finish strong.
      • 5 reps rounding the corner for strong finish (Right hand & Left hand)
      • 5 reps bouncing off after the stacked cone, between the legs, attack and finish (Right hand & Left hand)Individual Workout Pick up/Stack Cones

Player Movement in the R&R

There are 27 questions listed at this link that coaches could ask to determine optimal player movement for their team. That, of course, is not an exhaustive list. There are plenty of others. These questions are just windows into how different coaches view the game and how to coach it.

For me, the R&R answers a lot of these questions in way that is good for players and the game as a whole. Here are my short answers to those questions. If you want to expound on any of them, let me know.

  1. You can put in as much structure as you want. It’s completely customizable to your philosophies and personnel. You might even coach it well enough that players learn to do this on their own.
  2. It’s easy to teach, and in fact, it’s fun to teach. Teaching players how to play basketball and seeing them succeed is a lot of fun.
  3. Anyone can play in it.  It’s not skill specific as long as you have some sort of skill set. If you don’t have any set of offensive skills, it doesn’t really matter what offense you run.
  4. You can model your team after other teams. This gives you a framework to do so.
  5. It doesn’t matter who your best players are. They can all be successful in their way.
  6. Getting players shots won’t be a problem. Your best players will get plenty of opportunities. The question is can they take advantage of it.
  7. The hardest thing to guard is the ball combined with constant player movement. This is in the R&R’s DNA.
  8. Players are always in a position to use their strengths.
  9. You’ll have constant movement, along with random combinations of actions. Most teams aren’t used to defending that.
  10. If the player is as good as the players that you’re playing against, then it doesn’t matter. The skills of your players will determine how you play.
  11. The skills of your players will determine the most successful actions.
  12. This offense will work against any defense, man, zone, or anything else.
  13. This offense is never the same. It’s always evolving.
  14. Everyone better be moving or they are probably doing it wrong. The movements are scripted so players can be held accountable.
  15. They are giving up something else, but the offense won’t stop and you’ll find scoring opportunities.
  16. Someone should be open or have a mismatch. Can you make the play?
  17. Once they have the habits, there’s very little thinking involved.
  18. Players can hide their weaknesses in this offense.
  19. Players can use their strengths in this offense.
  20. Players aren’t worried about what defense they are facing. They just execute their trained habits.
  21. Even I never know what’s going to happen. There’s no way the opponent knows.
  22. Drivers can drive. Shooters can shoot. If you can’t do either, I hope you’re big enough to play in the post.
  23. For every action there is one reaction and we drill it every day, even in defensive breakdowns.
  24. Just make sure you teach players to put themselves in positions where they can be successful.
  25. This offense provides this opportunity to get the ball into the lane on every single touch.
  26. If you make it important that your players attack the glass, you’ll get rebounds.
  27. The defense is hardly ever standing still. If they are, they won’t be standing still for long.

Team Workout #2

This entry is part 20 of 20 in the series Practice
MESSAGE OF THE DAY Courage is the commitment to begin without any guarantee of success.
Emphasis of the Day Doing it Wrong vs. Failing
  Dynamic Warm Up Player led warmup
2 Dribble At Dribble 2 on 0 one dribble at and layup
4 Fast Break Drill Be better than we were yesterday (Right side)
2 Ball Handling Player leads: 2 balls stationary
4 Post Slides Dribble 2 on 0 with two attacks
4 Drive and Kick Dribble 2 on 0  one attack
3 1 on 1 w/ shooter Dribble 2 on 0 with on ball defense. Defend and box out (3 dribbles max)
4 2 on 2 Dribble 2 on 0 with 2 defenders. Start at half court with  dribble (5 dribble max)
2 Ball Handling Player Leads: 1 ball motion
3 5 on 0 Teach Baseline drive
4 3 on 0 Ball on Wing  drive either way
4 3 on 3 Ball on Wing (must start with dribble)
4 Fast Break Drill Be better than we were before (Left Side)
2 Ball Handling Player Leads: 2 balls motion
5 Dribble Test 5 on 0 (3 attacks or dribble at)
3 1 on 1 w/ shooter Dribble 2 on 0 from different spots
5 3 on 3 ball starts at top must start with dribble
4 FTs 1 and 1  must make 75%

Everyone was better today. It’s not surprising. The second day of doing something new is always better than the first day. Our attacks were better. Our rotations were better. The defense was better. Our passing was better. We need to improve our shooting, but that will come with time. Our team works really hard. Lesson learned is that we should have done 2 on 2 on the first day. I don’t know why I didn’t practice what I preach, but even I can learn. I will do it better next time.We improved from day 1.

Team Workout #1

This entry is part 19 of 20 in the series Practice

I wanted to share the team workout that we did yesterday. We had 1 hour. Our purpose was simple. Get better. To do that, I knew we had to do things differently. We needed to get out of our comfort zone. So we did. We failed. We failed a lot. We didn’t let the failure stop us. We used the same drill over and over again. Every time we used the drill, we tweaked it. It was never the same twice. We didn’t spend very long on any one concept. We worked hard. We had fun. We got better. We will try again today.

MESSAGE OF THE DAY If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
DATE: 4/11/16
TEAM WORKOUT #1 Stretched and ready to go at 3:00
Emphasis of the Day What happens when somebody dribbles
  Dynamic Warm Up Player led warmup
4 Fast Break Drill sprint, make good passes and layups
2 Ball Handling PG Leads  1 ball stationary
5 Teach Attack Dribble Odd & even front, drive right rotate right, drive left rotate left
4 Circle Movement Drill Dribble 2 on 0. Must attack one direction. Progress to attacker chooses direction
4 1 on 1 with shooter 3 dribbles from red line to score. Dribble 2 on 0 with defense. Emphasis on beating defender first. If we kick, block out and finish to rebound.
3 3 on 3 Out of transition (make two people guard you) Progression from last drill with extra defenders and receivers.  Should have probably done 2 on 2. Will play 2 on 2 next time.
2 Ball Handling Player leads  1 ball motion
3 Baseline Drive 5 on 0  (skipped this today)
3 Baseline Drive and Pitch 2 on 0 (skipped this today)
3 Teach Dribble At 5 on 0
3 Dribble At Dribble 2 on 0 with only Dribble At. Progressed to ball on wing.
5 Dribble Test 5 on 0 (5 out) attack or dribble at either direction. Each player gets 3 actions. Lots of failure here. Great learning opportunity.
2 Partner Passing Player calls dribble combination into pass to teammate
3 Post Slide Single attack (skipped this today)
3 Teach Post Slide Dribble 2 on 0 with two actions. Double attack (what happens somebody drives after drive and kick) or dribble-at attack.
7 3 on 3 Half court (must start with dribble) Same as above
4 FTs 1 and 1  (must shoot 75% as a team)