The Shoot-Around or Walk-Through

Most teams at the high-school level and above have a walk-through or a shoot-around the day of a game or the day before. These are designed to rehearse the plan for the game, go over the opponent one more time, and build confidence in one’s shooting by watching the ball go through the net with some easy, uncontested shooting drills.  […]

Perimeter Spacing Principles with Dribble Penetration

The video is a combination of two drills from 180 Shooter and Developing Basketball Intelligence: String Shooting Drill and Spurs Shooting Drill. More importantly, the drills teach basic spacing principles in relation to dribble penetration by a teammate. This was the final progression of these drills, and we moved quickly to the final progression because the players wanted to cheat: They moved on the pass rather than waiting to see the direction of the player’s drive. […]

Hard2Guard Skills – Pivoting, Protecting the Ball, and Passing

Below are two clips from a recent clinic with the u18s in Ghana. I apologize for the lack of volume in some parts. The keys are to protect the ball from the defense while remaining in a position to make a pass at all times. These are basic drills and skills featured in Hard2Guard: Skill Development for Perimeter Players. […]

Coaching the End of the Bench

Playing time is one of the hardest issues of coaching. Last season, I struggled with my commitment to play every player, as it is hard to make that many substitutions in a game and to give players enough time to get comfortable on the court. While there are reasons to play everyone, when I started as a coach, I tended to stick to an eight-person rotation. […]

The Spiraling Learning Process: Practicing on the Edge

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, July/August 2012.

Learning spirals. We tend to view learning as a linear process: An athlete practices and gets incrementally better at performing the skill. The view is captured by coachisms like “perfect practice makes perfect.” The goal of practice, however, is improvement, not perfection, and these differ. […]

Athletic genius: An argument for the intelligence of athletic gifts

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, May/June 2012.

As a child, my parents emphasized the importance of academics, like most responsible parents. They encouraged my sports participation, but if I had to sacrifice one for the other, it was clear that athletics would be sacrificed for academics. Throughout high school, I was reminded by every adult in my sphere of influence that I was not going to be a professional athlete. The implication was that my G.P.A. was far more important than recreational pursuits. This is a fairly common story, and many of the young children that I coach have been indoctrinated with this belief. We have this idea that G.P.A. equals intelligence and a good future, while playing games is trivial. Athletes rarely are considered intellectual geniuses.  […]