We lost our second game, but improved markedly from Game 1 to Game 2. I imagine most of the improvement was reduced nerves and an appreciation for the difference between junior high school basketball and high school basketball.
This week, we have one practice followed by two games and then two practices. It is also finals week for me, so I will miss or be late for one of the games, depending on how long my final takes. Not an ideal situation, as it is against the best team that we have played this season, allegedly.
In our last game, our opponent pressed. We never worked on a press break. We installed the Blitz Basketball press last week, and spent a good deal of practice playing 3v3 Hockey and 5v5 Full Court to work on our press. Consequently, our players practiced against the press, so we were able to handle the press without much difficulty. One father commented that he was very impressed by our “press break.” It’s just spacing.
Our offense looked better, especially early, but we settled for too many three-point shots. Since the game, and again in our practice prior to our games this week, is a greater emphasis on getting into the key by pass or by penetration before we shoot an outside shot. Initially, we were able to go to one of our initial options and get the ball into our post player in the paint. In the second half, we were less successful, and we need to continue going inside and find other options in our offense that create similar shots.
In our practices, we have started to score a point for offensive rebounds to emphasize the importance of finishing the possession with the defensive rebound.
Our emphases continue to be largely the same in terms of transition defense and offensive spacing. Offensively, we are concentrating more on harder cuts and greater balance within the options available rather than trying to do one thing or go in one direction every time. Defensively, we will emphasize rebounding more, as well as defending early. We struggled with post defense because we allow the opponent to establish position before we defend, rather than defending before the cut or attempted post up.
A lot of these lessons are the typical lessons that players must learn as they advance from junior high school basketball to high school basketball. You should never be standing: if your man moves, defensively you should be adjusting your position; if the ball moves, all five defensive players should move in relation to the ball. Offensively, cuts need to be quick and sharp. An aggressive cut can have the same outcome as a screen.
We’ll see what happens in the two games this week. The players are improving in their understanding; we’ll see if the improvement is fast enough.
Just as an example, our shortened practice over the weekend featured:
- 8:00 Shooting
- One of the Blitz Basketball shooting drills (modified slightly)
- String Shooting drill (modified to incorporate a defender)
- 3v3 Hockey
- 5v5 Half court (count offensive rebounds as a basket)
- Tip Transition Drill:
By Brian McCormick
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League