4 offensive players (Attack Dribble, Dribble-At, Attack Dribble)
If the initial attacker were to reverse pivot and pitch it back to the safety, these diagrams could look much different. I have added those to the to draw list.
A. 2 players 1 action
In this building block, players will already be located in the post area. This building block should not be limited to post players. Perimeter players should see this as an opportunity to work on their midrange game as well as finishing moves. Players will probably pick up on this action quickly in this breakdown. It is in the combination of the layers where players need extra repetition. However, they must understand the basic movement before they are ready for the combination of movements.
There are a couple combinations that coaches may decide not to drill and replace with different actions. One action is if a player is in the high post and the ball handler decides to attack in the direction of the high post player. Following post slides, this player would move towards the short corner. However, the coach may decide to have this player Circle Move, use the high post player as a pick and roll opportunity, or make this a Dribble-At action, all of which will be described later. If any of these are the coach’s desired approach, they will be covered in an upcoming section and should not be drilled at this time. Coaches could teach that this would be a poor time to drive and discourage it from occurring completely.
B. 2 offensive players 2 actions
Locate 2 players on the perimeter in any two spots. The attacker executes any attacking action. After they pass, the receiver now becomes the attacker and must execute another attacking action. The cutter must react appropriately to this action in order to satisfy post slides.
C. 2 offensive players 1 defender 1 action
This building block can be used in a way similar to the Circle Movement building block. Coaches may want to use it to train the ball handler on how to deliver the pass.
However, when it comes to defending post slides specifically, coaches may decide this is something to skip and avoid all together. I would have to think carefully before I used this drill to train defense. I know that if we have to help with our post players in the lane, we’re really in trouble. We never want it to get to that point. Should we train it anyway? In a situation where time is limited, I would choose to skip this block and work on keeping the ball out of the lane.
C. 2 offensive players 2 defender 1 action
If we aren’t going to spend much time with 1 defender, I’m not inclined to spend time with 2. Next….
D. 3 offensive players 2 or 3 actions
The next logical offensive progression is to add another offensive player to the court. The drill runs exactly the same as the last drill with each player following the rules that have been drilled previously. This now gives the second attacker an option after they make their attack. A third action can be added in this drill as well, but in this case the second attacker should pass to the perimeter player instead of the player who executed the post slide. This should create a scenario for two players to react to an attack dribble from the post.
E. 3 offensive players 1, 2 or 3 defenders
Again, if coaches want to take this opportunity to go back to the Attack Dribble Building Blocks and work on any of the offensive or defensive parts of this layer, that is fine. However, I haven’t found much value yet in drilling defensive reactions to a post reacting to the dribble.
F. 4 offensive players 2 actions
This is getting pretty boring. All of these breakdowns start with Circle Movement building blocks. It’s all the same stuff. Do I really need to go on? At this point, players have been taught how to react to dribble penetration anywhere on the court. It’s only a matter of it becoming habitual.
As much as I love it when our players attack the basket, I’m getting tired of talking about it. We’re so close to doing some pretty cool stuff. Maybe I’ll come back to this at some point but for now, I think you all get it by now and I want to take this in another direction.
If you want more about basic post slides let me know.
A. 5 players 2 actions
Locate 5 players in the 5 perimeter spots. Even if you do not plan to use a 5 out alignment, it is important to use this alignment to show the action. This introductory drill will include two actions, both of which will be dribble penetrations. Have the player with the ball execute an Attack action. The player should pass to a perimeter reactor.
Once the perimeter player receives the pass, they should drive while the cutter is still in the lane area. Notice that this action could result in two players in the lane and the need for two post slides. It all depends on the timing of the drive and where the cutters are in the middle of their drive.
This can be executed in slow motion for the purposes of the demonstration. This will be drilled in game speed to work on the finer details of the action. Players should be shown the differences of the ball handler driving left or right and how the cutter should react. The connection between the Baseline Drive Adjustment and Post Slide should also be established to show how the two layers complement each other if the ball handler drives baseline. On the penetration, all the perimeter players should react appropriately just as has been drilled previously.
There may be times where players “run into each other” during a slide or a rotation. It’s tough to always avoid this completely. This doesn’t occur often and if it does, the poor spacing is only momentary.
3 out 2 in 1 action
This building block is only necessary if a 3 out 2 in alignment is part of your offensive plan. Locate 3 players in perimeter spots and 2 players in the post. The guards should be in the top and wing spots while the posts can be in either the high or low post on either side. Demonstrate where the post players should go depending on their location and the direction of the penetration relative to them. Remember in this alignment, post slides will need to be executed by two different players.
4 out 1 in 1 or 2 actions
This building block is only necessary if a 4 out 1 in alignment is part of your offensive plan. Locate 4 players in perimeter spots with a player in the post. The perimeter players can be located in any of the perimeter spots while the post player can be located in anywhere in the post. Coaches can show 1 Attack Dribble action so that the post can react. A second action can be added to this drill in order to show how guards should react if the receiver decides to penetrate immediately after receiving the pass.
A. 5 players 1 action (5 out whole)
These building blocks now can incorporate any drive in any direction. Coaches should use the same tests that they used in the Circle Movement whole block to test the combination of the two together.
Post Slides are coming up. You will be able to include them shortly.
B. 4 players 1 action (4 out whole minus the post)
This is the whole drill (minus the post player) for a 4 out alignment. Of course any drive from the corner would follow the same rules as a 5 out alignment. Assuming the spots were filled in order from the corner, the person at the opposite top spot would be responsible for filling the natural pitch window.
The scenario above is the most likely situation where a Baseline drive could occur from the corner spot. The Passing Layers will discuss options for players who are more than 1 pass away in a 4 out alignment. They are not required to fill the next closest spot. This would be an option for the 3 player at the Top Left spot in the diagram. This player could be located on the wing or in the opposite corner. The player in the Top Right spot could be in other spots as well. Not only would this force the defense to defend the whole width of the court, but it also makes this movement to the natural pitch position much simpler for the 3. There are advantages however to filling all of the spots, and taking away some of the help side coverage. It is up to the coach to encourage the alignments and configurations that best fit their team.
Regardless of the initial locations of the players, the players should be located in the appropriate windows when the ball handler drives baseline.
A. 2 offensive players 1 action
Attack Dribble Baseline Drive building blocks are the same as the Circle Movement building blocks except the only way to drill the Baseline Drive Adjustment is to drive baseline. Since the attacker only has one option for attack, the main purpose of this building block is to drill the fundamental skills of the drill. The true reactions will be drilled when the Attack Dribble Layer is tested as a whole.
A dummy help side defender should be added early in the learning process so players can practice avoiding charges as well as learning the amount of time they have to make a decision when they drive baseline.
Building this sub-layer piece by piece is very difficult, because in order for players to fill the windows, it is critical for them to know where other players are located. With only 2 or 3 players on the court, the number of combinations for the location of other players is too varied to really be able to drill a habit. For Circle Movement, players rotate in one direction regardless of the location of other players. For the Baseline Drive Adjustment, their movements are completely dictated by the position of the other players.
In order to really teach players the Baseline Drive Adjustment, coaches should use 4 or 5 player Attack Dribble building blocks that were discussed in the Circle Movement breakdown and give players the freedom to attack in any direction. This allows players to either rotate on a non-baseline drive and fill windows based on the location of all of their teammates.
In trying to describe this sub-layer of the Attack Dribble layer, I’ve realized the need to break down this layer even further. This need arose out of various complications that occur in the 4 out 1 in alignment. The truth is that the same complications arise in the 5 out and 3 out alignments as well. Even though a team might be playing 5 out, there could be 1 or 2 players in the lane when a baseline drive occurs. This could mean that a 5 out alignment could look like a 3 out alignment for a short period of time.
This breakdown is FOR COACHES ONLY. I would not recommend that we teach our players in this level of detail. I think this is a time when we have to encourage players to use instincts and common sense to accomplish the task the best way they can. In other words, get the 4 windows filled whenever a player drives baseline. I think they can figure it out.
However, for coaches who want all the details, here’s one approach. I would encourage you to share yours.
We’ll tackle each window 1 by 1.
The primary window that must be filled is the natural pitch. That’s the one in the opposite corner. That window should be filled by the perimeter player furthest away from the ball because they are closest to that spot and are best equipped to be a threat on receiving a pass.
The next window that we want to make sure is filled is the safety valve. That one should be filled by the perimeter player closest to the ball.
Pretty simple right?
This leaves the 45 and 90 degree windows. Post players will likely be filling at least one if not both of these spots. Remember post players who players who are in or around the lane. Some post players are “permanent” posts. Others are not. Regardless of the alignment, players must know when they are posts and when they are not. If there are no post players, it’s pretty straight forward who fills the 45 and 90 degree windows.
Similarly, if there are 2 permanent post players, it’s pretty obvious that they will fill these windows. If one player is on either side of the lane, they both slide up the lane and the windows are filled.
If both of them happen to be on one side of the lane, that means one will be higher than the other one. In this case, we will have the higher one “circle move” to the elbow opposite where they are now, while the other one slides up the lane.
In a 4 out 1 in alignment, one of the windows will be filled by the permanent post player, and one of them will be filled by the other remaining perimeter player. This “other perimeter player” could be on the perimeter when the ball is driven. They could be in the lane. They could be exiting the lane.
The question is “Who Goes Where?”
If the other player is on the perimeter, it’s pretty simple to decide who goes where. It may be that both players are already in the two windows and they don’t have to move at all.
It could be that the post is in the low post on the opposite side of the lane of the perimeter player, which basically means the post just slides up the lane and now both windows are filled.
All pretty simple and straightforward, right?
The same scenario holds true if the guard is a cutter and is on a different side of the lane than the post player. Both players slide up and we have all the windows filled.
Again, that’s pretty simple.
There are two tricky scenarios that occur.
One is if the guard and post are on the same side of the lane when the drive occurs. In this situation, we tell the permanent post player to go to the 90 and the perimeter player (or possibly cutter) to fill the 45. That one isn’t too bad.
The second is if the drive occurs when the guard is exiting the lane. Does the guard keep going? Or do they move up the lane? This is one of those times where players just have to make it work.
As much as we would like to set a hard and fast rule, this is one time where it really isn’t feasible. Players have to fill all the windows based on what makes sense.
Success! Simple, straightforward (for the most part). We’re all good right? Well sort of. I could stop there and avoid the next more difficult question. But that would be leaving things incomplete. I’ve never been afraid of a challenge. The next question is “How do I know which player I am?”
More specifically, “How do I know if I’m furthest away from the ball”, “How do I know if I’m closest to the ball”, or “How do I know where my teammate is to determine if I should fill the 90 or the 45 degree window?”
Let’s try to tackle these questions 1 window at a time.
Natural Pitch: I know that I’m the perimeter player furthest away from the ball if I am looking at the ball, and I can see all 4 of my teammates in my vision. At the same time, if I can’t see all my teammates, I know I’m not the Natural Pitch.
Safety Valve: I know that I’m closest to the ball if I am on the perimeter and there are no perimeter players between me and the ball. If there is at least 1 perimeter player between me and the ball, I am not the Safety Valve.
2 down. 2 to go. Stretch. Breathe Deeply. Ready? Let’s do this.
The first step is for players to know if they the 45 or 90. This is the same as understanding that they are neither the Natural Pitch or the Safety Valve. Once I know, I’m either the 45 or 90, I have to decide which one. How do I decide?
There are two different scenarios that can arise in this situation.
1. One perimeter player and 1 post player.
2. Two post players (one permanent post and 1 cutter)
Let’s say there is 1 perimeter player and 1 post player. This is usually pretty easy for players to figure out. The post player is going to move up the lane. They will fill the 45 or the 90-degree window, which is determined by the side of the lane they find themselves on. The perimeter player must see this and adjust to the post player. Everything that is happening should be in perimeter player’s vision. It shouldn’t be too difficult for them to quickly go through the thought progression:
1. I’m not the farthest player from the ball
2. I’m not closest to the ball.
3. The post is in my way. I need to slide over opposite of the post.
Now let’s tackle scenario number 2. A perimeter player is now in the lane with the permanent post player for some reason. The reason why is irrelevant. It’s probably going to happen How do they react now? Again, they must know that because they are in the lane, they will fill the 45 and 90 degree windows on a baseline drive. Now how do they know which window to occupy? How do they know “which player they are.”
If the drive occurs early in the cut, the cutter should treat it as if they were on the perimeter. The post should be able to naturally slide up the lane while the perimeter player fills the opposite window from the post.
If the drive occurs in the middle of the cut, it’s likely easiest for the permanent post player to take the 90 degree window, while the cutter fills the 45 degree window. Again this may not be a hard and fast rule, but it should work most of the time.
If the drive occurs as the cutter is exiting the lane, this is the toughest scenario to figure out. Do you let the cutter keep going and hope they get to the corner? Do you stop the cutter and make them slide up the lane? I think regardless the post player must go to the 90 degree window.
My preference is to have the cutter stop their cut and move away from the baseline. This keeps the initial rule of “farthest perimeter player from the ball fills the Natural Pitch.” Again, I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer to this. At the end of the day, we must get all 4 windows filled.
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.
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.