Raising Basketball IQ – Breaking Habits Part 2

Raising Basketball IQ – Breaking Habits Part 2

Breaking Habits: when you have a player who will continually do the same thing under similar circumstances you have a player who has a habit. It does not really matter if what they are doing is wrong or mostly right or successful some of the time. If they are “just doing an action” then it is a habit. Most habits can be small things like traveling or having extra movement in their shooting form that interferes with the ball actually going in the basket.

What I am going to say next, and you will have to decide whether you agree with it or disagree with it as it is a big statement and a large part of my coaching philosophy. It affects every decision I make when I’m training athletes and developing players.

And that is that the player when acting purposefully will always out perform any automatic reaction they have had “built into them”. Training a player to play “automatically” or by “habit” drowns out their natural ability and dilutes their skills.

Even a good habit, if only eventually, will inhibit the player from performing at their highest level.

As a coach I consider it my job to bring out the ability of the player to their highest performance. Not drive in habits like a trained circus bear.

Once a player has formed a habit it can be quite maddening for a coach. Because despite all the assurances the player gives you that they will change it they go right on doing the same thing, especially in stressful game situations when you want them to be on the top of THEIR game the most. This is where habits really show up.

So how do you break a habit? I found the answer to this question from the American Philosopher L. Ron Hubbard.

“There are three rules on the resolution of automaticity (habit). You just make the “player” do it all by (them) self, and if you just make him do it instead of having it done for him – and he’ll recover from that automaticity (habit).

“Now that’s the basic law: You make him do it (the habit) and he owns it. Now, if you can’t make him do it right away, you can make him change it or you can make him alter it, some slight fashion.” 

So what you do is you drill the player to purposefully do the habit that they keep repeating until they can confidently do it. Pretty simple right?

The player will most likely have some hesitation or resistance to mimicking the action they have been berated for performing. But let’s say the habit is picking up their pivot foot prior to dribbling. So you will ask them to do it the same way that is their habit. Have them purposefully travel by picking up their pivot foot prior to dribbling.

Drill them over and over again until they are certain they can do it easily and freely. Since you are the coach you should be able to see that they can do it easily and freely and that they do it purposefully. Then make it more difficult and put them in a game like situation and have them travel in the exact same manner that they travel in a real game until they are sure they are doing it. It will be pretty clumsy at first and then as the player starts to take control over the habit it will smooth out. When the player can control the action it is no longer a habit.

Of course after they break their habit you now need to drill them on the proper way to do an action or move. But the habit will no longer interfere with your drilling them correctly and they will be able to learn the move quickly.

This may need to be repeated a few times if the habit reappears but this has been very successful for me. One precaution is this is not a punishment, it is a drill like any other drill. Do not treat or let the player treat it like a penalty.

Read more about player habits if you missed Part 1 of my series on Raising the Basketball IQ of a Player.


Individual Skill Development During Practice Time

Individual Skill Development

Summary of Individual Skill Development Article

  • Individual Skill Development Tips including shooting tips, daily shooting, ball handling routines, and a segmented pre-practice routine.
  • 6 Segments Using 3-4 players in each drill typically lasts 30 minutes and covers every basic offensive fundamental in a short time
  • Extremely useful Individual Skill Development Plan for coaches with limited resources, gym availability, assistant coaches, and youth league practices

One of the most widely discussed topics in today’s game is Individual Skill Development.  We came up with a very efficient way of utilizing limited space and practice time to improve a players individual skills. This short and simple skill development segment is easily adaptable to your style of play and number of players. We usually begin after a pre-practice shooting routine, dynamic warm-up and anywhere from 3-4 team passing drills and ball handling. This block typically lasts about 30 minutes and each player will get a substantial number of shots up and ball handling done in a short amount of time.

Pre-Practice Shooting Routine – no free shooting before practice. Must earn the right to shoot.

Form Shooting

  1. 10 Air Shots (No Ball/No Rim) – Focus on hand position, wrist and follow thru.
  2. 10 Shoot the Lines – Players will place the big toe of their shooting foot on a line perpendicular to their shoulders. Players will then shoot the ball in the air and attempt to land both the ball and their toe on the line.
  3.  Square-Ups Off Pass (with ball)- Around the 3pt arc, players self-toss and square up to rim on an inside pivot. Players will go around arc and back to starting spot
  4. Square-Ups Off Dribble (with ball) – Around the 3pt arc, players will take 2 hard dribbles and square up to rim on an inside pivot. Players will go around arc and back to starting spot.
  5. Perfects – With ball, players will now got their respective rims and execute 5 “perfect” shots at 3 spots using just their shooting hand.  The spots are outside the left and right blocks, parallel to the baseline and one directly in front of the rim. A “perfect” is a shot that is all net, not hitting the rim.

Daily Individual Shooting and Ball Handling Routine

Players will either partner up, or in groups of 3 or 4 to perform this routine, depending on the number of rims and players you have.  Each segment will last from 1 to 2 minutes in length, with each player going at least 30 seconds. One partner will be shooting and the other will be doing ball handling drills. Ball handling drills can be any of your choice.  We like to use tennis ball drills or two ball drills.

Segment 1 – Mikan/Reverse Mikan Drill – focus on shooting the ball with no side spin and off of one foot. Partner will be doing Dribble pounds while tossing the tennis ball in the air and catching with off hand. Switch hands have way through.

Segment 2 – Finishing Drills – Player starts at wing and drives hard to rim finishing with your move of choice for the day. Typically, we work on simple moves like the reverse layup, baseline reverse layup, fake pass to middle and finish or two foot finish with a shot fake. Players will dribble out to opposite wing and do the same move. Partner will be doing In-Out dribbles, Push-pulls or the pound pound cross-over.

Segment 3 – Rhythm Shooting/Arc Shooting – Player 1 will be the shooter approximately 12 feet from the rim and player 2 will be the passer-rebounder. The shooter will start in the ready position with hands in proper catching position, calling for the ball.  Player 2 will make a good pass to the shooter, hitting the shooter in the target hands. Player 1 will dig their non-shooting foot into the floor, rocking to the ball of their foot and sticking their shooting foot directly under their knee.  The shooter’s index finger, elbow, knee and toe should be in a direct line.  Shooter will shoot and back pedal to the starting position quickly. In the Arc Shooting drill, player 1 will be 2 steps outside the restricted area arc moving side to side along the arc.  The shooter will pivot on their inside foot and shoot a bank shot.

Segment 4 – Hubie Brown Shooting  3 parts – We like to chart this segment. Players will call out “Hubie” when they have made 3 consecutive makes. Player 1 will now move out to the baseline approximately 12 to 15 feet and will shoot from both the baseline and wing area, sliding between each spot. Player 2 will be the rebounder-passer. Players will shoot on one side, switch, and then the other (2 parts).  The 3rd part of Hubie Brown Shooting consists of the players “Shooting the D” . Players will now shoot at the elbows and trace the top of the key, focusing on getting their hips around and feet into the proper shooting position.

Segment 5 – 5 Spot Shooting/Partner Shooting – In this segment, you can use either, depending on your philosophy, point of the season, how much time you have or how stressed your team is. In 5 Spot Shooting, Player 1 may shoot for the entire time allowed with their partner as the rebounder-passer. Typically, this would be :30 to 1 minute per spot.  Some coaches have the players shoot for the entire 5 minutes and then switch instead of alternating. Entirely up to you as a coach. In Partner Shooting, the rebounder-passer makes a pass to the shooter, closes out and the shooter shoots over defense. The shooter gets their own rebound and the players switch roles.  This would last anywhere from 1 to minutes per spot.

Segment 6 – Free Throw Game – Here you can insert your choice of Free Throw game for total number of makes or makes in a certain time limit, or even a contest on the type of makes and or misses.  Quite often, we will use the plus/minus system for a cumulative total.  For example, the game may be to +8.  The shooter will get a -1 for a missed shot, +0 for a make that hits the rim, +1 for a swish that does not spin back to them and +2 for a swish that does spin back to them. As soon as they have reached this number or the time has run out, they can get a drink. If they did not reach the total, then a consequence must be paid.

Each of these Individual Skill Development drill segments are done quickly and no time is wasted going from one to the next.  The players get to know the routine quickly and become very comfortable in leading the drills themselves. In addition, as “repetition is the mother of skill” these drills serve as an excellent, intentional, daily process to develop good basketball habits.

3 Out High/Low Motion Offense Playbook

3 Out Motion – “Marquette Motion Offense”

Coach Lois Heeren, U of Wisconsin-La Crosse Women

Version of Bill Self’s Kansas 3 Out 2 In Motion Offense

What is a 3 out motion offense? Coach Erick Blasing breaks down a popular version of this offense made popular by Bill Self at Kansas. Coach Louis Heeren of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Women’s team has designed her own version of the offense. Included below are the diagrams for this 3 Out Offense if you want to download them.

Every coach will put their own twist and ownership on motion offense. Coach Lois Heeren of University of Wisconsin- La Crosse Women’s Basketball has titled her motion offense, Marquette. However, the offense is derived from the 3 out motion offense that Bill Self runs at Kansas.

Kansas was again back at the top of the Big XII this season and made another deep NCAA run. While the faces have changed and Coach Self has gained more recognition with the Jayhawks, one thing has not changed; the success of the Jayhawk 3 Out motion offense.  The ability to space the floor with a constant ball side triangle, good offensive rebounding positions, and great pin and skip opportunities continually makes Kansas the team to beat in the Big XII.

Coach Lois Heeren utilized this offense several seasons at UW-La Crosse and saw great team success. The 2015-16 campaign marked the 17th season and final season at the helm for Coach Heeren. In 2011, Coach Heeren led the Eagles to a 20-8 record and an at-large bid in the NCAA DIII tournament, the first appearance for the Eagles since the 1987-88 season. In 2011, Coach Heeren picked up her 200th career coaching victory and in 2015 she earned her 200th victory as coach of the Eagles. Heeren, who stepped down from her coaching duties following the 2015-2016 season finished as the winningest of 14th Head Coaches in the program’s history with 209 victories. UW-La Crosse had posted winning seasons in 6 of the past 10 years. Coach Heeren also sits at 9th in career victories throughout the history of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

From Greene, Iowa, Coach Heeren graduated from Truman State University and received her masters from the University of Iowa. Coach Heeren’s stops as an assistant coach include stops at NCAA DI Southwest Texas State, the United States Air Force Academy, and DIII UW-River Falls. Her Head Coaching resume includes NCAA DII Truman State University and DIII St. Mary’s University (Winona, MN).

The 3 Out Motion that Coach Heeren runs has been a staple for Coach Self and the Kansas Jayhawks. The Jayhawks reached the #1 ranking during the 2015-2016 season and earned a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament before falling to eventual National Champion Villanova in the Elite Eight.  Kansas is currently riding an 12 year regular season conference championship streak. The Jayhawks finished their season at 33-5 overall and 15-3 in conference. Coach Self following the 15-16 season holds a career record of 385-83 with the Jayhawks.

Hopefully this 3 out Motion offense will allow you to get some solid hi/low opportunities as well as great ball reversals. Good luck the rest of the way!

Download Below:

UW-L/Bill Self Kansas 3 Out Motion


Raising Basketball IQ Part 1 – Habits

Basketball Habits by Coach Julia Allender

Habits can either make or break players and ultimately decide the outcome of a basketball game. Coach Julia Allender shares her thoughts on developing a basketball IQ.

[bctt tweet=”My intent is to raise the Basketball IQ of the player…then let them play the game.” username=”juliaallender”]

basketball coaching habits

Basketball IQ

There has been a phrase around sports training for a long time, maybe you have heard it? “Developing good habits” It has been used when coaches have been discussing training female basketball players and, in fact, it is used in the entire sporting world. Coaches have proclaimed that they want to “break their girls down, strip them of what they do wrong and then create and develop good habits”. You hear and see this at all levels and all ages. From Youth Leagues, AAU programs, High School, Junior College, Division I’s, II’s and III’s, the WNBA and NBA. It’s everywhere.

You have to ask yourself do you want to be (or even need to be) broken down? I don’t know about you but that sounds rather unappealing.

So what is a habit?

A habit is something that you do unconsciously or a way that you act in certain circumstances and situations. It is always something you do, at least partially unknowingly.

One example of a bad habit I have seen a lot of is a players traveling with the ball. There are as many different ways to do this as there are players. But what is interesting is how unaware they are of what their body is doing when they travel. This is a habit, they are doing it without deciding to do it and they are for the most part unaware that they are doing it.

With that understanding of what a habit is, then the real question is: Are there actually any “good” habits? Do you really want to unconsciously have to act a certain way because of some unknown and unseen force? Or would you rather be the one playing the game?

My view of this is, you don’t need habits. You need to understand the game of basketball well enough to respond and react to each situation as it occurs and you need to have practiced and learned well enough each of the fundamental basketball moves so that you can respond.

You need to understand basketball well enough so that as the action occurs and the defenses change you know instantly what you need to do and can do it.

When I coach a player I do not want to create habits, I want the player to have an increased awareness of what is happening around her on the court and to have the skill to respond to it, I want to train players to knowingly act! I want actions, which are based off of their knowledge I want them to use their judgment. There is another term for this it is called Basketball IQ.

My intent as a coach is to raise the Basketball IQ of the player and the physical skill then let them play the game.