The above is not a novel drill; the player makes a triple move, attacks forward, and stops behind his back to shoot.
On social media, many complain about Insta trainers and their dribble combos. Others complain about trainers not practicing the actions that players will use in their games.
I am in a unique situation; I am one of his coaches, and, I suppose, his trainer. He is a 14-year-old post player. This is not a move that we would expect him to use in a game.
I was asked to work with him on his shooting. In our second session, I asked his goals; he wanted to work on shooting and 1v1 moves/finishing.
Our sessions usually start with some warmup shooting drills like these:
The goal for these initial drills is to improve his rhythm and move him away from some of his bad habits. In addition to various movements, we also start with a medicine ball against a wall.
Again, none of these drills is unique. Also, none is game-like. This is general skill/shooting development for a youth player.
To some, these drills may be gimmicky. However, I have specific purposes for these drills.
Drills solve a problem.
One problem that he has is the pick up of the dribble. One may see that as a shooting problem, but I see it as a lack of ball control. It is easy to see how the entire rhythm and coordination of his shot is thrown off by the pick up of the ball.
The triple move is to attack this weakness; the specific instructions are to make any three moves as quickly and tightly as possible, without hesitations, and explode out of the last move. I disallow hesitations in these drills because hesitation dribbles allow players to get away with a poor reception of the dribble; that is not the only reason for a hesitation move, but without defenders and when practicing specifically for better ball control, what purpose does a hesitation serve?
The behind the back dribble on the stop is again to challenge the ball control on the pick up of the dribble, and to provide the immediate feedback if the pick up is suboptimal. He feels the mistake more easily than if he dribbled straight into a shot.
Again, this does not mean that I expect him to make these moves in our games this weekend. Instead, these are tools to solve a specific problem. These are not drills that we will do every session from now to eternity. These are used to solve a problem; when he adapts to these drills, I will add something new to continue to overload the skill until the problem ceases to be a problem.
This, to me, is skill development. It has nothing to do with the specific drill. Instead, it is identifying the problem and creating a series of challenges to address and correct the problem.
How many repetitions? Who knows? I don’t count. We end each set on two makes in a row, shortly after he “gets it”. Again, the goal is not to master the drill and continue to perform the drill to get better at the drill. The goal, in this case, is to improve his ball control. Once his ball control improves in this drill, I change the drill to see if the improved ball control transfers to the new problem or if he simply adapted to the drill. It’s not about perfect repetitions; we’re striving for learning, which ultimately must be demonstrated in games.
In between sets, we make 2 free throws. After all, shooting is the main focus. We use this drill as the free-throw shooting drill.
He rarely makes his first two in a row. However, over the weekend, he was fouled with under 15 seconds to go and hit the two free throws to ice the game. He was shooting 30-40% early in the season. We’ll see how he progresses, but the variable free-throw shooting practice certainly did not have an adverse effect.