Mick Smith was Strength Conditioning Coach at Creighton University and Miami University. He spent four year with the Portland Trail Blazers and, since eight seasons, he is Assistant Coach/Strength Conditioning Coach of the Orlando Magic. He is coauthor of two books, “Power Conditioning for Basketball” and “Conditioning: the NBA Way”, Human Kinetics.
The dream of every coach and organization is to have a good big man. Basketball personnel are always trying to determine how well a “big” can play the game of basketball and if he is athletic and shows potential. This test challenges a big man to display the skills every coach covets in this type of player.
This is just one of the many ways to help get a “feel” in the evaluation process of a player’s ability to play the game in a somewhat controlled environment on the basketball court. Hence, help determine a decision of keeping or cutting a player on the roster or to evaluate the needs of the player. Coaches want to see how well the player can move laterally (getting to a defensive spot fast to stop the opponent from going to the basket or for helpside defense). They need to see how well a player can move his feet quickly with precision and balance. A center needs to demonstrate how well he can set a pick and then roll to the basket and finish. It is also important to be able to evaluate how well a player can run up and down the court, recover back to their opponent (after getting picked) and possibly box-out, make a good defensive play by jumping to block a shot or being in a good position to get a rebound, a steal or a deflection. There also is a need to observe if there are any deficiencies in the basic fundamentals such as catching, shooting, passing, and positioning their body quickly in a game-type situation. Many of the fundamentals and athletic moves have been incorporated into the design of the skills test.
EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR ADMINISTERING THE SKILLS TEST
- A regulation basketball court.
- 1 ball.
- 16 cones or other marker devices.
- 1 vertical jump measuring device.
- 2 coaches to catch and pass ball.
- 1 ball holder (could be omitted by placing ball on floor).
- 2 stop watches, pencil, paper and clipboard.
ADMINISTERING THE SKILLS TEST
- Marker #1 - Player starts at half court facing opposite basket.
- The clock starts when the player begins sprinting toward marker #2.
- From marker #2 to marker #3 = backpedal.
- From marker #3 to marker #4 = slide left.
- From marker #4 to marker #5 = slide right
- From marker #5 to marker #6 = approach jump.
- Vertical Jump #6 = jump toward designated height on measuring device.
- Ball holder #7 = retrieve ball.
- Marker #8 = pass ball to coach A.
- Catching area #9 = catch pass from coach A.
- From Catching Area #9 to marker #10 = dribble sprint.
- Marker #10 to marker #11 = dribble sprint.
- From marker #11 to marker #12 = dribble sprint.
- From marker #12 to marker #13 = pass to coach B.
- From #12 marker to marker #14 = sprint.
- From marker #14 to marker #15 = sprint.
- From marker #15 to markers #16a and #16b = sprint.
- At markers #16a and 16b = slip the pick and roll.
- From markers #16a and #16b to Area #17 = sprint.
- At Area #17 = catch and finish.
- From Area #17 to marker #18 = sprint.
- From marker #18 to marker #19 = finish.
TIMING OF THE SKILLS TEST
There could actually be two separate timing periods throughout the skills test. The first time period is a running clock from the first movement of the player at marker #1 to finishing the drill at marker #19. The second time period is from the end line sprint from marker #18 to completing the sprint at marker #19. Therefore, you have a total running time of the test and a 3/4 court straight a head sprint.
The participant is penalized:
- 1/2 second for each cone or marker moved or tipped over.
- 1 second for not reaching 28” - 0,70 m. mark on Vertical Jumper device 6.
- 1 second for a bad pass to the coach A or B.
- 1 second for a not making the shot in Area #17.
COURT DIAGRAM AND SET-UP
- Cone #1 - “half court” (20 ft. - 6 m.from side out of bounds).
- Cone #2 - free throw line (2 ft. - 0,60 m. inside lane).
- Cone #3 - 2nd hash mark (2 ft. - 0,60 m. inside lane).
- Cone #4 - opposite side (right side) low block (2 ft. - 0,60 m. inside lane).
- Cone #5 - low block on original starting side (2 ft. - 0,60 m. inside lane).
- Vertical Jumper device 6 - 15 ft. (1,80 - 4,50 m.) from side out of bounds (left side) directly outside cone #5 at low block.
- Ball holder #7 - 12 ft. (3,50 m.) from side out of bounds (left side) directly outside Vertical Jumper device 6.
- Cone #8 (Coach A) - 2 ft. (0,60 m.) from side out of bounds top of the circle extended.
- Area #9 - general area from Vertical Jumper device 6 to Cone #10.
- Cone #10 - 15 ft. (4,50 m.) from side out of bounds top of the circle extended.
- Cone #11 - 9 ft. (2,50 m.) from side out of bounds and 12 ft. - 3,50 m. cone #10.
- Cone #12 - 15 ft. (4,50 m.) from side out of bounds at half court line.
- Cone #13 (Coach B) - located at top of circle
- Cone #14 - 9 ft. (2,50 m.) from side out of bounds and top of the 3 pt. line extended
- Cone #15 - located on low block (2 ft. - 0,60 m. inside lane)
- Cone #16a - located 13 ft. - 4 m. from side out of bounds on 3 pt. line
- Cone #16b - located 15 ft. - 4,50 m. from side out of bounds and in a direct line toward elbow (makes a 45 degree angle)
- Area #17 - general area inside paint half way between basket and cones #16a and #16b
- Cone #18 - located at baseline inside low block (2 ft. - 0,60 m. inside lane)
- Cone #19 - located at opposite free throw line (2 ft. - 0,60 m. inside lane).