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86,000

I watched a skill exposure camp this summer and this was given to all the participating athletes. It didn’t list the original author and I don’t know who it is. Imagine there is a financial institution which credits (deposits) your account each morning with $86,000, carries over no balance from day to day, allows you […]

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Frandsen Skill Development Workout

In our last post we listed Casey Frandsen’s three step skill development plan. Today we have one of his actual workouts. Frandsen, who was a two time Washington State Player of the Year in high school and went to be a 1st Team All WCC performer at the University of Portland, now runs Next Step […]

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3 Step Skill Development Plan

The following skill development plan comes from former D1 star Casey Frandsen who is the founder of Next Step Basketball.  Diagnose your game (Evaluate what you bring to the table)  Strengths – Make a list of your strengths, the areas that you excel and things you do that help your team the most. Weaknesses – Make […]

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How Do You See Your Team?

Almost every coach I know wants to establish a “team first” culture where no one individual player is bigger or more important than the team as a whole. However, sometimes we forget that the team is not a nameless, faceless entity made up of clones just waiting to be pointed in the right direction. Instead […]

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Don’t Play Harder in Big Games

Some games are definitely bigger than others; we all know that and it would be very foolish to think otherwise. Rivalry games, playoff games, “revenge” games, and games in front of college recruiters all seem to take on a little extra significance. However, every member of the team’s mental and physical approach needs to be […]

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Improve Your Passing on the Fast Break

One of the long time fundamentals that has been taught for decades is to always dribble with your right hand on the right side of the court and with your left hand on the left side of the court. Most of the time that is still rock solid advice but it’s not the best way […]

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Mike Lee’s Killer Scoring Workout

Choose a series of moves (change of direction, baseline, transition, bounce back, on the block) Execute 5 shots of each move without missing two shots in a row. If you miss two shots in a row then start the sequence over. Make 4 free throws Go to the next move in the series and repeat […]

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How to Score 20 Points a Game

Every player I know would like to score more and for some reason 20 points is almost like a magical number. It takes a little effort but it can certainly be done – especially if you are someone who is extremely active on the court and plays hard. Transition Layup – 4 points. Sprint down […]

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4 Ways to Get a Jump Shot Off When Defended

It’s one thing to shoot a wide open jump shot where all you have to do is catch and shoot and an entirely different thing when you have to get a shot off when you are closely guarded. Each of the four techniques below require a lot of work before you can use them in […]

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Can’t Get Open on the Wing?

If defenders can keep the offensive point guard from passing the ball to the wing then they can stop a great majority of offenses before they can even get started. Here are 5 things you can do if you are having trouble getting open on the wing because of extreme pressure: Dribble at the wing […]

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Latest Articles

The Highly Productive 12 Minute Shooting Workout

padding:10px; I've been a basketball coach for nearly 30 years and as far as I'm concerned it's the greatest, most rewarding job on the planet! However, I'll also be the first to admit that it can be extremely frustrating at times. One of those times is when a player tells me that he or she just doesn't have enough time to get into the gym and shoot. It might even be true every once in a while but every time I hear that I'm literally ready to pull my hair out!

What do you do when you have a player who needs to get in a high quality, game like shooting workout but is limited by how much time he can spend in the gym? Well the next time you find yourself in that situation try the following workout. It is comprised of four separate shooting drills that can each stand alone and still be effective but when combined together will provide a myriad of game like shots at game like speed. The best part is that it doesn't take very long!

Remember, this is a shooting workout for players in a hurry. Even though most skill development experts will agree that the majority of individual workouts should include shooting, ball handling, and conditioning, we are going to focus primarily on shooting since we are short of time. However, because of the pace and intensity of these drills, there is an indirect conditioning component built into them.

In order to maximize the available time it works best if the player working out has a rebounder. If two players are working out together they can alternate going through the drills and rebounding for each other. If all four drills are completed and there is still some time remaining, return to the beginning and start all over again until the available time is up.

25 in 4:00

1. Put 4:00 minutes on the clock

2. Start in one of the corners and shoot until you make a mid-range jump shot and then rotate around the lane until you make one shot at all five standard shooting spots. (Corner, wing, top, wing, corner) 5 makes.

3. After making the shot in the second corner step out to the 3 point line. From here give a good shot fake, take one separation dribble and shoot and make a mid range jump shot. Repeat while working your way all the way back around through the five spots. 5 makes.

4. Now you should be back where you started. Again, shot fake from the 3 point line, take one dribble and shoot and make a mid range jump shot. This time take the dribble with the opposite hand that you used the first time around. 5 makes.

5. Catch and make one standstill 3 pointer from each of the five spots. 5 makes

6. Make five free throws. 5 makes

This will result in five made standstill mid range jump shots, 10 made mid range jumps shots off one dribble, five made catch and shoot 3 pointers, and five made free throws. Move on to the next drill as soon as this one is completed or after four minutes, whichever comes first.

7's

1. Put 4:00 minutes on the clock

2. Start at the right sideline and sprint to the 3 point line. Catch the ball and shoot a 3 and then sprint to the original sideline and back. Keep repeating this sequence until seven shots are made.

3. Move to the top of the key. Backpedal to mid court, sprint back to the 3 point line and shoot a 3. Repeat this sequence until seven shots are made.

4. Move to the left sideline and sprint to the 3 point line. Catch the ball and shoot a 3 and then sprint to the original sideline and back. Keep repeating this sequence until seven shots are made.

Move on to the next drill as soon as this one is completed or after four minutes, whichever comes first.

Levels

1. Put 2:00 minutes on the clock

2. Make a short jump shot from the low block. Keep shooting until a shot is made.

3. Rebound the above make and spin the ball out to the area between the free throw line and the top of the key. Chase the ball down, pivot and shoot a mid range jump shot. Keep repeating this sequence until a shot is made.

4. Rebound the above make and spin the ball out to the 3 point line. Keep doing this until a 3 pointer is made.

5. Once a shot is made from each of the above three spots, the clock is stopped and the shooter steps to the free throw line for two free throws. If both free throws are made the shooter has completed one level.

If either of the free throws are missed the level doesn't count. After the free throws are made or missed the clock starts again and the shooter returns to the low block. The goal is to rack up as many levels as possible in two minutes.

Ray Allen's

1. Put 2:00 minutes on the clock

2. The shooter starts in one corner behind the 3 point line and begins shooting 3's until he makes two in a row.

3. Once he makes two in a row the shooter moves up to the wing and shoots until he makes two in a row from there. He then moves through each of the five shooting spots, shooting until he makes two in a row from every spot.

4. After reaching the opposite corner, the shooter starts over and comes back the other way.

5. The goal is to make two in a row from all 10 spots in two minutes.

It only takes twelve minutes for one player to go through these four drills and only 24 minutes to run through them twice. One of the great things about this workout is that with just a couple minor tweaks it can be made longer and even more challenging. For the example, the "25 in 4:00" drill can easily become the "50 in 8:00" by completing the circuit twice. Instead of doing the "7's" drill for time, simply continue the drill until seven shots are made from each spot, regardless of how much time it takes. Also I've found that most players will usually want to repeat the "Levels" and "Ray Allen's" drills in hopes of beating their previous score.

The next time one of your players tries to use the "I don't have enough time to shoot" excuse hand him a copy of this article and point him in the direction of the gym!

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How to Coach Like Steve Jobs

Because coaching is such a complex and multi-faceted job (if done correctly) I've always felt that I could learn a lot of applicable information and strategies from a variety of groups and disciplines.

Recently, I came across a book called "Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs," by Carmine Gallo that discusses what the author considers to be the driving principles behind Job's success.

While the book is not written specifically for basketball coaches it does provide a rough outline that can be used as a blueprint by all of us in the profession. In the following paragraphs the principles are Steve Jobs' but the applications are mine.

1. Do what you Love

Why do you coach? To stay involved in the game? To stay competitive? Because you like to teach? Is it so you can spend more time with your kids? To make some extra money? Those might be valid reasons to start coaching but I don't think they are good reasons to keep coaching.

If you take a quick mental inventory of all the coaches you know you'll realize that there are those guys who coach basketball and then there are basketball coaches - and there's a huge difference between the two groups! I imagine it's possible to be great at something you just tolerate but I would think that's very unlikely. If you don't love it, don't do it!

2. Put a Dent in the Universe

Don't let your own perceptions limit what you or your players can accomplish. Dream big. Be creative. What you might lack in budget and/or staff shouldn't effect in the least bit how you teach, prepare, or interact with your players. Your goal should be to have every kid in school want to be involved in your program or to have every kid for miles around want to be part of your club.

3. Kick Start your Brain

As a coach when you are through learning, you are through! Attend clinics, watch videos, and read books for new and better ways to do things. Learn everything you can and then distill it down to its simplest form and teach your players only the best of the best. If you're not sure where to start check out BasketballClassroom.com which might be the most comprehensive coaching resource available today.

4. Sell Dreams not Products

Understand what your players want and then help them reach their goals. I've found that most high school players can be at least 10% better than they are and most can improve 20%. Middle school and youth players have even more room for development. Unfortunately most players have no idea how good they can eventually become if they work hard and you need to give them a glimpse of that vision. Remember, being an athlete is not always about what you get, it's about what you become in the process that's most important!

5. Say "No!" to 1000 Things

In fact, say no to most things! Compromising your integrity, lame excuses, players who don't work hard, sloppy execution, the internet's offense of the week, explaining yourself to parents, catering to your "star" player, and taking shortcuts are just a few of the things that should always produce an emphatic "No!" Say no and eliminate anything and everything that is unnecessary and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much bigger your program will grow.

6. Create Insanely Great Experiences

Right now the scores are important, the stats are interesting and the outcome of each game is crucial. However, that won't be the case ten years from now as most of the specific details surrounding your season will long be forgotten. What will be remembered, however, is a lasting impression of the overall experience as a whole. Along with winning games and developing individual skill sets, do whatever you can to provide everyone in your program with positive and fun experiences.

7. Master the Message

Great coaches are great communicators. Whether it's primarily spoken, written, body language, multimedia or a combination of everything, great coaches know how to be motivational, inspirational, and informative. If you want to coach like Steve Jobs you need to vividly describe your vision, get everybody in the program on the same page, and be a living, breathing, walking billboard for your program and its culture.

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How to Defend a Great Shooter

Coaches, players, and especially fans all love to see rim rattling dunks and ankle breaking crossovers but sometimes forget that the objective of the game is putting the ball through the basket. There are literally thousands of different offenses and set plays but each and every one of them is practically useless unless it’s built around a great shooter.

Great shooters are an opposing team’s nightmare because they stretch the defense, can score points in a hurry, and get the fans all fired up. With a great shooter on the floor every offense and every set play is much more effective and therefore great shooters must be defended every second they are on the court. If you can do this as a team you will win many more games; if you can do this an individual your worth to your team will skyrocket!

Here are 4 things to consider the next time you have to lock down a lights out shooter:

1. Don’t let him touch the ball

I realize this is much easier said than done but it is the “easiest” way to lock down a shooter since he can’t shoot it if he doesn’t touch it. Fortunately for you, most middle school and even high school shooters are “catch and shoot” types of players and most offenses are played at a pace that actually helps the defense. (Watch how much the average high school shooter moves without the ball and compare him to game clips of Stephen Curry, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton or other big time shooters.)

I know a lot of teams are now using a drive and kick type offense to get the ball to their best shooters but here’s something to think about: Would you rather have a great shooter get off a wide open, uncontested 3 point attempt or a penetrator shoot a contested shot while driving to the rim? In many offenses the penetrator’s main objective is to force the shooter’s defender to help so he can kick it out for the 3. What would happen if you refuse to drop off and force the penetrator to shoot it himself? Some coaches and players would say that’s not “good” defense but “good” defense is not always effective defense!

2. Get him out of rhythm

The best shooters are all rhythm shooters which is why they can stand there and make dozens of uncontested shots in a row. If you can’t keep him from touching the ball then the next strategy is to get him out of his normal shooting rhythm and routine. This can be done in several ways – 1) run him off the 3 point line and make him shoot it off the dribble 2) rotate defenders so he is constantly getting a different defensive look in terms of length, quickness, and physicality 3) force the ball away from him so he is not getting the ball in the same spot every single time and 4) run a second defender at him every time he touches the ball forcing him to either speed up or be trapped.

3. Hands in then up

Most shooters, especially rhythm shooters, bring the ball “up” before shooting it. Therefore, as a defender you should get your hand “in” and placed about waist high which will prevent him from bringing the ball up into his shot pocket. Once the shot sequence has started get a hand up but make sure it’s the correct hand. Too many times I see the right hand go up on a shooter’s left shoulder which does absolutely no good in terms of contesting the shot.

4. Make him defend

Many great shooters have a tendency to rest on defense for two reasons. First, they are trying to conserve some energy and secondly, they can’t shoot the ball if they are on the bench in foul trouble. Therefore, if you can make him defend on every possession you have an outstanding chance of lowering his shooting effectiveness.

Get him into pick and roll situations, run him around several picks, and post him up. Be creative and don’t let him hide out on the weak side where he is always away from the action. Even if the great shooter is not defending one of your team’s best scorers you can still make him work by running him into three or four good, hard screens before getting into your “real” offense. Not only will this force him to defend and make him fight through contact but in order to do this you have to play at a little faster pace. Unless the shooter is in exceptional shape the faster pace may help tire him out quicker than usual. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense!

I don’t want to oversimplify this but if you stop the shooter you usually stop the offense and if you can stop the offense you can usually win the game!

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