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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.

Communication is critical in basketball

How to teach communication through drills

When coaching a basketball player, you will often recognize that they will think about what skills they would like to acquire. Whether that means to be a great passer, shooter, slasher or all three, each person fails to miss one important aspect of basketball. While wanting to shoot like Steph Curry or pass like Steve Nash is admirable, there is one thing that many players miss. That one important thing is communication on the court. Communicating on the basketball court is something ALL good teams do on every possession. Whether on offense or on defense “communication is key” in basketball and that’s something any reasonable coach can see.

No offense can function without a guard communicating properly to his teammates but it goes so much deeper than that. Screens cannot be set, players who are open will not be found and even worse that means players will play “Hero Ball” and go in a crowd to shoot a low percentage shot. This also contributes to turnovers as passes can go awry if players are not on the same page. As a result, the offensive execution of a team depends on communication of some sort. As important as communication is on offense, it is perhaps even more important on defense.

Coaches, how many times did you look on with anger in your heart as you saw your own team get mercilessly destroyed by an opposing team’s player cutting to the rim? How many times did you want to throw the poor clipboard to the ground as your team’s rotation was not properly executed and a player was wide open for an easy layup or jump shot? Now how many times did you think in that instance “They gotta talk!!”? If your answer to all three questions was “a lot” then you do not need me to tell you what not communicating on defense can do. The result of a team not talking on defense is catastrophic.

“So how do I get them to communicate?” you now ask?

Unless you are coaching a team of telekinetics, you have to get them to talk while on the court to one another. Luckily there are some drills for that. Here are a couple that are paramount to having your team communicate.

Teach Communication in Offensive Drills

There are actually quite a bit of drills that a coach can use to get a team to talk. A coach can even modify simply drills like a “3 man weave” or a “2 on 1 fast break” drill into a communication drills by making players call ball. However, personally the best way to get a team prepared to communicating on the court is to have the team run through the offensive sets or plays but to have them talk about their jobs during the run through. This sounds silly for every experience basketball player and coach, however, if a team calls out what they do on a play during their run-through of the play in practice then more often than not they will execute on offense in a game better.

Teach Communication in Defensive Drills

There is one drill that I particularly like and that is the 3 on 4 contest drill. Here is a video of a version of that drill courtesy of Championship Productions:

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOkNFXkStuk
This drill emphasizes the important of team defense rotating and talking while doing it.

Trust me, communication on the court will make your team better. Take a look at how important communication is to Team USA.[/fusion_text][/one_full]