Winning Edge-Basketball Tips
WINNING EDGE Basketball Tips are posted throughout the year and include practical ways for you to improve your knowledge and understanding of the game. Our goal at MINA is to help you reach your full potential; therefore, if you have any questions about the game of basketball, please contact Coach Miller at 919-847-2017 or at
Now get to work on your game!
Offensive Footwork (Part 1)
Clinician: Mark Miller
Great footwork is essential to the success of any player. On the perimeter, a player who faces up strong, understands the importance of North-South movement, has an explosive first step, can attack the defense without traveling and with vision and balance, has a huge advantage in creating scoring opportunities for him/herself or for teammates. I have often described offensive basketball from the perimeter in terms of a race, and players who understand that analogy have an even greater advantage against their defender.
(For information on the race as it relates to developing an offensive mindset, refer to the February 2010 Basketball Tip, Running the Race) This month I am going to focus on a player’s footwork prior to beginning the race from the initial establishment of a pivot foot. When it comes to pivot foot philosophy, we teach establishing a primary pivot foot at North Ridge Basketball Academy. Simply put, a right hand player will always use his left foot, and a left handed player will always use his right foot, as their anchor or pivot foot. The alternative philosophy would be to establish your inside foot as your anchor or pivot foot. Your pivot foot would then change, depending on what direction you approach the ball.
WHY PRIMARY PIVOT FOOT?
SIMPLICITY: I am a firm believer in keeping the game simple so that players can play and react without hesitation. That advantage is huge in a game where speed is crucial and turnovers are costly. In watching the game today, I am amazed at the number of traveling violations that go uncalled at the college and pro level where players are allowed to shift their pivot foot before putting the ball on the floor. The high school level is not so forgiving in this regard. Traveling will be consistently called on the player who shifts his pivot foot; therefore, the certainty of a player’s footwork is paramount. I firmly believe primary pivot players travel far less than inside pivot players because the footwork is simple and consistent. I also believe that this simplicity affords a player much more of a benefit than not traveling. A player who consistently reps, reps, reps as a primary pivot player becomes so comfortable with his/her feet that the result is a player who is very comfortable, skilled, effective and efficient at attacking the defense in both directions. After all, mastering one foot is easier than two.
EXPLOSIVENESS: We teach our students at the Academy that an explosive first step (EFS) is the primary building block in their fundamental foundation. Our students, from an early age (7), are constantly drilled on this single point until it becomes an instinctive part of their game. It is my belief that a player is most explosive coming off of the foot opposite of his shooting hand. It is simply more natural. We teach our students to attack the defender’s foot, creating enough explosive distance to clear the defender’s shoulder, making a defensive step-slide recovery ineffective. That extra distance that a primary pivot foot player creates on his/her first step puts the defense at an even greater disadvantage, and opens up more effective scoring and passing opportunities. The one thing I have learned in studying the game for quite a number of years is that there are advantages and disadvantages in every philosophy and in every game plan, and that the key to being successful, is to make sure the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. That is a pretty good test for any student of the game who is deciding which philosophy is best.
In next month’s Basketball Tip, I will discuss shooting off the pass and off the dribble, and will share my philosophy on jump stop vs. 1-2 step footwork.
Clinician: Raina Smith
It is very important to be prepared for the upcoming basketball season. It’s all about the intangibles. What you can control in life as an athlete, and more importantly as an individual, is key to your success. You can’t control the decisions that the coaches make, or the referees in games, or even how things may play out in tryouts. But you can control your work ethic, your conditioning, and your skill set. The intangibles are things you can control so when the time comes for tryouts, practices or games, you will be ready because you trained hard, and prepared well. Now all you have to do is go out there and do your very best, and hold nothing back! In this month’s Basketball Tip, I am going to focus on the very important intangible of conditioning. Listed below are some conditioning drills that can be done 2-3 times a week, and if you give your best, they will prepare you for the upcoming season.
Don’t forget: it is IMPORTANT to stretch BEFORE and AFTER all conditioning workouts. Don’t become discouraged if you don’t have a track or court to run on. All you need is a playground, backyard or field. So get to work, and put yourself in a position to have NO REGRETS. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might." (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
“Superior conditioning gives your team an edge. When you are highly conditioned, you can perform at a high level and sustain a more effective effort than other players." Tim Grover (Stack Magazine)
Perform each routine two times a week
Week 1: Run 5 400 meter sprints; rest 3 min. between each
Week 2: Run 6 400 meter sprints; rest 3 min. between each
Week 3: Run 6 400 meter sprints; rest 2 min. between each
400 meters is equal to one lap on a conventional outdoor track
CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING DRILLS EACH DAY
(6 DAYS A WEEK)
Half Court, Full Court Drill
-Start at one baseline
-Sprint to half court
-Sprint back to baseline
-Sprint to other baseline
-Sprint back to original baseline
-Sprint to half court
-Cover as much distance as you can in 60 seconds
-Repeat 3 times, Rest 2 minutes between sets
-Start at one sideline
-Sprint to other sideline and back
-Do as many as possible in 60 seconds
-Repeat 3 times, rest 2 minutes between sets
-Beginning on baseline, sprint to opposite baseline
-Touch it with foot, turn and sprint back to start
-Repeat for 3 round trips (six lengths of the court without stopping)
-Rest 2 minutes between sets
Week 1:Complete (3) sets in less than 33 seconds, or within 3 seconds of fastest recorded time
Week 2: Increase sets (4-6) in less than 33 seconds, or within 3 seconds of fastest recorded time
Week 3: Increase sets (7-9) in less than 33 seconds, or within 3 seconds of fastest recorded time
Clinician: Seth Huber
Form shooting should be an integral part of any player’s game at any level. It is useful at all levels to develop and maintain proper shooting mechanics, correct bad habits, and/or prepare and warm-up players for effective shooting workouts. Form shooting repetitions are crucial in developing positive muscle memory by providing extensive repetitions that are concentrated solely on proper fundamental technique. During this time the player and/or coach has the opportunity to aim for perfection by taking time to check and correct all elements of shooting form before each shot is taken. A player who commits to making form shooting a part of their daily practice routine will in time shoot the basketball with a higher level of concentration, consistency, confidence, and accuracy.
There are a variety of form shooting drills that we implement with our students at the Academy, but in order for form shots to be effective a player must understand proper shooting mechanics. The following are 1) basic fundamentals of shooting though not comprehensive and 2) a list of form shooting drills to use in your development as a shooter.
1. Fundamentals of Shooting
The right foot should be slightly ahead of the left foot with the feet being shoulder width apart for balance. The feet should be straight, pointing to target for proper alignment.
The shooting hand is placed with the index finger slightly to the left of the air valve. The ball should rest comfortably on the fingers and area below the fingers referred to as the “finger pads," but should not contact the heel of the hand. If placed correctly there should be a small gap between the ball and base of hand in which you could fit a finger. Be careful of too large a gap as this would start bringing the grip to the fingertips, which will affect proper control and release. The guide hand should be placed on the side of the ball with thumb of the guide hand and shooting hand forming a “T” though not in contact. The guide hand is used for balance and guidance instead of grip; therefore, should be placed comfortably in proper position with no gap between hand and ball.
The shooting elbow should be “in." It should be brought in alignment with the shooting side foot, knee, and shoulder, which are all square to the basket. The shooting elbow should be bent slightly past a 90-degree angle to form what is called a “shooting pocket." At this point, the shooting wrist is cocked back with the ball in front of shoulder and the shooting elbow being under the ball and over the knee. This is the position from which each shot should start to reduce unnecessary movement and time in shooting mechanics. We refer to it as being a “pocket shooter."
With the wrist cocked in the shooting pocket, the ball is released by extending the shooting arm, snapping the wrist, with the ball rolling off the fingers to create an even, rapid backspin. The extension of the shooting arm should be “up”, “out”, and “through” the ball to create a good shooting arc. The guide hand remains in contact and moves with the shot creating a shooting window that provides vision to the rim. During the release the guide hand is kept straight and does not turn out, but comes off the ball just prior to release. The completion of this movement, known as the follow through, should result in the shooting elbow being locked straight and the wrist being snapped to a position where the fingers are pointing to the floor. The guide hand is straight with fingers pointing up and is in front of face and over the head. The arm of the guide hand is extended up and out though it does not come to a locked position as with the shooting arm. The follow through should be held for a couple seconds upon release of shot.
Note that descriptions of shooting fundamentals were given based on being a right- handed shooter; therefore, it would be opposite for a left-handed shooter.
2. Form Shooting Drills
Shoot the ball up in the air to self with it landing a couple feet in front of feet. Proper backspin should bring the ball back to shooter.
Sit in a chair with good posture. From this position shoot the ball up in the air with it landing a couple feet in front of feet. Proper backspin should bring the ball back to shooter. This drill really helps start the shot in the “shooting pocket."
Laying on back, shoot the ball up in the air with the goal to have the ball come straight back down to “shooting pocket." Focus should especially be on great wrist action and backspin.
Align yourself with the side/edge of the backboard standing 2-3 feet away from edge of backboard. Shoot the ball to the edge of backboard trying to hit it square so the ball comes straight back to you. A ball that is shot even slightly to the left or right will bounce in that direction. This will give you feedback that your shot was not perfectly straight.
Same as edge shooting except you align yourself with the corner of the backboard. This is where the edge of the backboard and the face of the backboard connect forming a corner. This simply increases the precision of shooting the ball straight.
Align yourself with the front of the rim standing 2-3 feet away from the front of the rim. Concentrate on shooting with perfect form and form shoot to the basket without hitting any part of the rim. It must be a perfect swish. This drill can be done with shooting hand only or with both shooting hand and guide hand. The goal can be 10 total made perfects, 10 perfects in a row, 10 one-hand perfects and 10 regular perfects, etc.
This form shooting drill is done with shooting hand only but can be done with using guide hand if needed. Start in front of the rim as you would with Perfects. When you make a perfect from that spot you step back to the middle of the lane and shoot until you make a perfect. When you make a perfect from the middle of the lane your next spot is the free throw line and then the 3 point line. When you make a perfect from the 3 point line you move back to the free throw line, middle of lane, and front of the rim to finish. You count the total number of shots it takes you to complete the drill making sure you make a perfect from all 7 spots (front, mid-lane, free throw, 3 point, free throw, mid-lane, front) and don’t move to the next spot until a perfect is made from the previous spot. A challenging goal would be to complete the drill in 14 or less shots. The distance and number of spots for this drill can be modified for younger or more advanced players.
This form shooting drill is done with shooting hand only but can be done with using guide hand if needed. Start in front of rim as you would with the Perfects Challenge. There are four spots which includes front of rim, middle of lane, free throw line, and 3 point line. The goal is to make 10 in a row from the front of the rim, 7 in a row from mid-lane, 5 in a row from free throw line, and 3 in a row from the 3 point line. A missed shot results in those shots scored against you and starting over from 0 at that spot until you make that number in a row. Once you make the number required at that spot in a row you move back to the next spot. For example, if at the first spot you are to make 10 in a row and miss on your 7th shot, you start that spot all over and have 7 points against you. If you are then at mid-lane and miss on your 4th shot you add 4 more points to your total. The goal is to complete the drill with the least amount of points. The distance and number of shots in a row can be modified for younger players.
Note that in all form shooting drills the focus is on every shot being done with perfect form as described above.
Player Development Tips
Clinician: Mark Miller
The NRBA is committed to Individual Player Development, and to helping each of our students reach their full potential. If you are interested in learning about the programs the NRBA offers, please contact Coach Miller at www.NRBasketballAcademy.com
Many students have asked me for advice over the years on how they can improve as players. Often times it’s not what they want to hear because significant improvement comes at a sacrifice. Below are 12 tips that I have found absolutely critical for any player seeking to dramatically improve their game:
12 Tips for Effective Player Development:
1. Trust the Process
It cannot be cheated.
2. Commit to the Process
There are no easy shortcuts to success.
3. Embrace the Details
Greatness is found here.
4. Train Full Speed or No Speed
Your work ethic will carry you.
5. Learn to Conquer Fatigue
Fatigue causes compromise.
6. Make an Investment in Time
How serious are you about developing as a player?
7. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
No substitute for the repeated execution of proper technique.
8. Persevere with a No Regrets Mindset
Looking back on a life unfulfilled is no way to live.
9. Be a Student of the Game
Read, study, and understand all you can about the game you love.
10. Make Poise and Self-Control your Reputation
Emotion out of control will inhibit your progress.
11. Lead by Example
The game needs leaders who will serve their teammates and live what they believe.
12. Commit your Ways to the Lord
Only through Him will you truly reach your full potential.
Be A Do More Coach
Clinician: Mark Miller
This month, as a break from basketball skill development, I offer the following quote from J. L. Cole. I have had a framed copy in my office for over 20 years, and it has served as a source of inspiration, and when re-visited, always makes me mindful of how important the profession of teaching and coaching is at impacting and shaping lives. The Bible says that "mere talk leads to poverty." (Proverbs 14:23a) May we be coaches who live what we teach, thanking God daily for the enormous privilege we have, and asking Him in humility for wisdom to lead with conviction.
Do more than say you are a coach....prove it.
Do more than assume leadership....accept the responsibilities.
Do more than profess dedication to the team....show it.
Do more than hoard game knowledge....share it
Do more than demand teamwork....encourage it.
Do more than know player potential....develop it.
Do more than urge physical conditioning....require it.
Do more than formulate team rules....enforce them.
Do more than talk to players....communicate with them.
Do more than advocate consistency and fairness....practice them.
Do more than react to game pressure....stay cool and deal with it.
Do more than meet the game challenge....enjoy it.
Do more than dream of victory....work for it.
Do more than count wins and losses....analyze them.
Do more than commend officials and foes....mean it.
Do more than profess your convictions....demonstrate them.
Improve Vertical Leap
Clinician: Brian Hyma
Improving your vertical leap is a crucial part of any player improvement program. The steps below, if followed during each workout, will not only increase the height you can jump, but will help give you the competitive edge necessary to truly 'reach your full potential.'
Remember to rest your legs at least two days a week. Results will come from sustaining the exercise program, not performing it aggressively for a few weeks and then slacking off. Typically you need to complete 10-12 weeks of this program before you may see any results. Consistency is key. DO NOT take weeks off, it will only hurt your results. This program should be performed up to 3 times per week with 48 hours between programs.
Note: You may experience some muscle pain the first couple of weeks of this training. That’s OK. If your pain is prolonged past 2-3 weeks, you may need to seek medical help.
Step 1: Begin every workout by warming up your muscles and then doing extensive leg stretches. Because you'll be building muscle fibers that are used for explosive activities such as jumping, stretching is of the utmost importance.
Step 2: Jump rope for its excellent cardiovascular conditioning. This step should never be skipped as it will be an important contributor to your results. 10-15 minutes of jump rope is critical. (For a complete Jump Rope Program, see Coach Seth Huber's October 2009 Basketball Tip)
Step 3: Incorporate sprints into your workouts. This builds muscle, which will add to your jumping ability. 10 full court gut sprints at full speed with rest in between. (To execute one gut sprint, begin on the baseline facing the court, sprint to closest FT line and back making a quick/tight cut touching the line with your foot and then return to your baseline starting point. Without stopping, sprint to Half Court line, opposite FT line and opposite baseline, each time making a quick/tight cut touching the line with your foot and then return to your baseline starting point. Completing this circuit of sprints one time is one gut sprint.)
Step 4: Run stairs on your toes. Start by running up a flight, one step at a time. Walk down and run back up, taking two steps at a time. Repeat as many times as you can manage. You should have a minimum of 20 steps that your running up, 5-8 sets.
Step 5: Do sets of elevated jumps. Begin by placing a step bench or platform on the ground (many health clubs have a platform for just this purpose). Stand on the platform, then jump backward onto the ground, concentrating on landing softly. Jump back onto the platform immediately, with a bouncing motion. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions. Be very careful when performing this exercise, as there is a potential for injury. Ask a trainer or spotter to help.
Step 6: Do sets of explosive jumps. Position yourself for an explosive leg jump by facing a secure platform and placing your right foot on it. Jump as high as you can, concentrating on exploding off the right leg. Scissor your legs once in the air, then land with your left foot on the platform and your right foot on the floor. Gather yourself and explode upward again, this time off the left foot. Do three sets of 10 repetitions, resting for about 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.
Step 7: Do sets of double jumps. Execute a double jump by jumping as high as possible with both feet from a stationary position. Jump again immediately upon landing, using less effort. Repeat until you've accomplished three sets of 10 jumps each.
Running The Race
Clinician: Coach Mark Miller
I have found that one of the most effective ways to look at offensive basketball is to view the competition like a race. As an offensive player facing the basket in the half court, I have three main lanes ahead of me (right, left and center). Generally what keeps me from occupying the center lane initially is the defender in front of me. With this race mindset, you must consider the following key points.
(1)You must be in a correct ready position (prepared to shoot) when starting this race from the moment you receive the ball.
(2)You must be a shooting threat from behind the 3 point arc to clearly control every aspect of the race. At least give the impression that you are a threat until that part of your game is developed.
(3)You must value and protect the ball as the opponent becomes a closely guarded defender.
(4)You must not allow the defender to intimidate you or force you to step back from your starting ready position. When crowded by the defender, step into the center of his body forcing him to retreat. This move, commonly referred to as a ’jab’ step, creates space and can effectively keep the defense off balance and vulnerable, and keeps you in control of the race.
(5)You must control the race at all times (when it starts, what occurs during it, and when it ends).
(6)You must execute a ‘stay low, fake high’ ball fake before moving into the lane of your choice.
(7)You must start the race with an explosive first step, it should occupy the inside lane (right or left), and should clear the defender’s shoulder.
(8)You must limit the number of dribbles during the race and effectively use this fundamental to your benefit.
NOW THE RACE HAS BEGUN! Remember, if you have followed the key points above, you are in control of the race and now need to be able to execute the following to complete this race with successful results.
(1)You need to be able to attack the defender (right and left) and finish at the rim if the defender or his teammates do not recover.
(2)You need to be able to attack the defender (right and left), and with the defender on his heels and in recovery, shoot the pull-up jump shot. Having a ‘Middle Game’ is critical to consistently winning the race.
(3)You need to be able to attack the defender (right and left), and with the defender on his heels and in recovery, read the reaction of the other defenders and make a productive pass to a teammate.
(4)You need to be able to attack the defender (right and left), and with the defender on his heels and in recovery, read the reaction of the other defenders and execute a counter move that leads to a play at the rim, a pull-up jump shot or productive pass to a teammate.
(5)You need to be able to protect the ball and sweep it through (low, tight and below your knees) when going in the direction of your off hand.
(6)You need to be able to occupy the center lane when possible to completely cut off the defender from any type of recovery.
(7)You need to be able, as stated earlier, to shoot effectively from behind the 3 point arc if you truly want to control the race.
It is the complete player that is in control of the race; therefore, don’t shortchange any of the areas above. The only thing keeping you from achieving your goals is your lack of dedication to pursuing them.
Inside A Defender's Mind
Clinician: Coach Seth Huber
Defenders have a warrior mindset. Defense is as much mental as it is physical, which makes defense both skill and attitude. To defend at a high level a player must develop a tough mentality that commits to defending every possession, maintaining and playing in a stance, communicating with teammates, denying passing lanes, helping and recovering, and allowing nothing in the middle of the floor.
A true defender, a complete player, has an attitude on defense that says, “I will not get beat whether guarding the ball, denying passing lanes, or helping off the ball. I will play every possession in a rock solid defensive stance. I must get low and stay low while defending the ball because there is no other way to defend. I will not let fatigue beat me. I will master and conqueror fatigue because every possession counts and defense wins games. I will maintain a stance and execute perfect footwork. I will be aggressive in stopping dribble penetration by keeping my head on the ball and my body between the ball and basket, forcing the ball toward the sideline and baseline. Nothing will get into the lane because that is our HOUSE. I must communicate with my teammates at all times and be in position to help my teammates because the ball is not getting in our HOUSE no matter what. Every shot will be contested and every shot called out. I will fight for position and attack the boards because every rebound is mine. I will dive on the floor because every loose ball is mine; possession of the ball is that valuable. I will never have my hands down while defending; they must be active and ready to deflect passes and take advantage of mistakes made by the offense. My movement will be strong, powerful, explosive, and disciplined. When my body gets tired and wants to cheat a possession, my mind takes over because it is stronger than my body, and I force myself to allow no one to play with more energy than me, to allow no one to out hustle me, to allow no one to out work me, or to allow no one to defend harder than me.”
There is skill that needs to be developed and practiced to defend at a high level, but defensive skill without this mindset and attitude will not get the job done.