Kevin Eastman is one of the best teachers of basketball fundamentals in the U.S. A former coach of Washington State and North Carolina - Wilmington, and NBA scout, he is currently Director of NIKE Skills Academy. Last summer, he worked closely with LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets). He is the author of five videos on basketball fundamentals, produced by Championship Productions.
There are many coaches who spend time directing basketball drills, but they do not understand how to make each drill as competitive as it can be. Making drills competitive will be what makes your workouts different from others. The more competitive the drills, the more intense your players are likely to be, and the more game-like your drills will be.
There are three forms of competition:
1. Competing against yourself.
2. Competing against the clock.
3. Competing against an opponent.
COMPETING AGAINST YOURSELF
You are challenging yourself each day to make one more shot, or do one more repetition, or jump one inch higher. You are only concerned with what you did yesterday and whether you can beat it today.
COMPETING AGAINST THE CLOCK
You see how many repetitions you can do in a certain period of time. Your main challenge here is to see if you can improve upon the number of repetitions in the same time period.
COMPETING AGAINST AN OPPONENT
Plain and simple, it is you against the other person: Who does better, who does more, who jumps higher, who does more repetitions.
Competing day in and day out is something athletes have to do if they are going to become good basketball players. They need to challenge themselves on every drill they perform.
Basketball drills are basic.
Practice sessions are basic. The skills are basic. The real battle for the player comes during the hours spent working. The player must find a way to get through all of this. Fatigue, frustration, and sweat help develop the much-needed discipline. If he has a genuine passion for the game, he will succeed.
Finally, understand the basketball is a game of transition-of constantly moving up and down the court, and from and side to side on the floor. There is very little time when a player just stands around, not moving. The same is true for the way you practice. Players must be constantly moving: YOU CAN’T JUST STAND AROUND!
To become a good player, you must be willing to work very hard.
The harder you work, the better you will become.
Do not be a person who is just willing to “get by.”
Good basketball players do not have that attitude.
The better players are always trying to improve their skills. What really separates a good player from someone who just plays the game is that a good player puts in quality time.
A good player practices at game speed on all game-like drills.
SHOOTING DRILLS FORM OF THE JUMP SHOT
The player takes three shots from each of the seven positions on the court. He works on maintaining perfect form before, during, and after the shot (diagr. 1). He must follow through with each shot.
FORM OF THE JUMP HOOK SHOT
The player takes two perfect form jump hook shots with the right hand followed by two with the left hand from each of the four positions (diagr. 2).
CUT, CATCH, PAUSE, AND SHOOT
The player makes a cut towards the basket at game speed, and then to the free-throw line. Here, he catches the ball, squares up to the basket, pauses for a moment, and then shoots. Five shots are taken from each side of the court (diagr. 3).
The same move, but as soon as the player catches the ball, he drives hard to the basket, and finishes with a shot or a dunk, if possible. Five shots from each side of the court (diagr. 4).
Make an angled cut from one low post position to the other on the opposite side of the court, completing a five-shot series from each side of the court, using different post shots (diagr. 5).
AFTER CUT SHOTS
These are drills made from cuts, catches, and shooting from the designated positions of your set plays. The cut’s angle is as important as the shot itself. Each of the drills can lead to a two-point shot or a three-point shot from each of the two sides of the court (diagr. 6).
These are the possible cut types:
- Motion cut (diagr. 7);
- “Flare cut,” moving away from pick (diagr. 8);
- “Flex” cut (diagr. 9);
- Post baseline cut and then to the top of lane (diagr. 10).
ZIGZAG CUTTING DRILLS
The player starts the drill 30 feet away from the basket, on the center of the court and outside of the three-point line. A teammate or coach passes the ball from under the basket.
The player runs to point 1, catches the ball and shots, then goes back to the starting point, runs to point 2, catches the ball and shots. He works this way for all five spots. The drill can be performed by catching and a taking a jump shot immediately, or by catching, making a shot fake, taking one dribble, and then taking a shot (diagr. 11).
Four cones are put on the court (diagr. 12). A teammate or the coach makes the passes. The player can start in any of the positions. He runs towards the cone, catches the ball, and shoots. He then has to run to another cone, catch, and shoot once again. After every shot, he has to run to a cone that is farthest from the one he has just shot from (diagr. 12).
ELBOW CHAIR SHOTS
Two chairs are put at the two corners of the free-throw lane.
The player starts the drill in the middle of the court: he makes a straight cut fake, changes direction, runs to the chair, picks up a ball, and shoots.
He then repeats this move on the other side of the court, first returning to the middle of the court.
Two teammates are under the basket to catch the balls and then place them on the chairs. The drill duration can be established according to time or to a certain number of shots taken, or shots made. The player can catch and shoot immediately, after a dribble, after a shot fake, or after a shot fake and a dribble (diagr. 13).
REVERSE PIVOT ELBOW CHAIR SHOTS
The drill is the same as the previous, but once the player goes past the chair, he reverse pivots back, picks up the ball, and shoots. He has to make this move only after he is past the chair (diagr. 14).
QUICK SQUARE-UP CHAIR DRILL
The coach has the ball and the player has his back to the basket. The coach passes to the player and when the ball is in the air, he shouts “right” or “left.” The player turns, squares up in that direction, pivoting on his right or left foot, makes two strong dribbles, explodes through the chairs, and takes a pull-up jump shot (diagr. 15).
Four chairs are put at the corner of the three-second lane, each one with a ball on it. Two teammates or coaches retrieve the balls and put them on the chairs The player starts on the right side (in this case), makes a cut fake parallel to the baseline, and then cuts up, turns around chair 1, picks the ball and then shoots. He then goes back to chair 2, where he started the drill, picks up the ball and shoots. He then runs baseline, goes around the chair 3, picks up the ball, and shoots. Finally, he goes around chair 4, picks up the ball, and shoots (diagr. 16).