Table of Contents

Welcome message from Greg Popovich and Sean Elliott.………..………………….........……….…4

Setting Up a Practice
Practice Plan .…………………………………………………....………..………………………….....…5 Positioning as a Team .…………………………………………………....………..…...……………..…6 The Free Throw .…………………………………………………....………..………………..…………..7 Out of Bounds Play .…………………………………………………....………..……………………..…8 Executing the Play .…………………………………………………....………..……………………....…9 Balance on the Court .…………………………………………………....………..……………...…..…10 The Fast Break .…………………………………………………....………..………………..………….11 Pivot and Jump Stop .…………………………………………………....………..…………………..…12 Pivot and Jump Stop Drill………………………………………………....………..………………....…13

Scheduling Your Time
Scheduling Your Time .…………………………………………………....………..………………..….14 Teaching Individual Skills…………………………………………………....………..……………..…..15 The First Day .…………………………………………………....………..…………………………...…16 Written Practice Plan .…………………………………………………....………..……………...…..…17

Individual Offense
The Jump Shot.……………………………………………………..……………….………..…….….…18 Holding the Basketball………………………………………………………………….……...…...……20 Bending the Knees .…………………………………………………....………..……………...……..…21 Taking Time to Practice…………………………………………………....………..…………….…..…22 The Free Throw .…………………………………………………....………..………………………..…23 The Lay Up .…………………………………………………....………..……………………………..…24 Form Shooting Drill .…………………………………………………....………..…………..………..…25

Passing
Passing .…………………………………………………....………..………………..…………………..26 The Chest Pass .…………………………………………………....………..………………………..…27 Control .…………………………………………………....………..…………………………………..…28 Elbow Position .…………………………………………………....………..…………..……………..…29 Mechanics .…………………………………………………....………..…………………….………..…30 Chest Pass Drill .…………………………………………………....………..………....……………..…31 Bounce Pass Drill .…………………………………………………....……………...………………..…32 The Overhead Pass .…………………………………………………....………..……………….…..…33 The Baseball Pass………………………………………………....………..……………………………34

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Rocker Step
Catch, Turn and Face………………………………………………...………………………....….....…36 Stutter Step and Cross Over……………………………………………………...……………......……37 Dribbling…………………………………………………………….………………………………...……38 The Grapevine Drill……………………………………………………………………...…………..……39

Team Offense
Quadrant Drill…………………………………………………………….………………..………………41 Three on “0” Drill…………………………………………………………………………..…...…………42 Pass and Screen……………………………………………………………...……………..……………43

Defense
Introduction to Defense…………………………………………………………….……………….……44 Defensive Position………………………………………………………………….…….………………45 Support Position…………………………………………………………………….………….…………46 Rebounding………………………………………………………….……………...…………………..…47 Block Out Drill……………………………………………………………………….……….……………48 Man on Man Defense………………………………………………………….…………………....……49

Summary
Summary………………………………………………………………………….…………………….…50

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Basketball Introduction with Greg Popovich and Sean Elliott.

Hello I’m Greg Popovich along with Sean Elliott. As volunteer coaches I’d like to thank you for joining this online clinic. I think it’s fantastic that you’re here to receive the information that we’re going to give because it is so important to the kids. I’ve got children that have played in leagues that are coached by people like yourselves and I know, both self image wise and basketball wise how important it is to them. The patience that you exhibit is fantastic. To me it’s unbelievable, I don’t think I could do it. I’ve seen games my son and daughter play in, I’ve seen good coaches and bad coaches, and no matter what, you’ve got to be congratulated for putting the time in that you do. Hopefully something that we teach you in this clinic will help you make your job easier. Maybe you will help a youngster develop as a person, and even as a basketball player. We are going to do our best, we are going to work hard to see if we can get some of that information across to you.

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Practice Plan

Planning a practice can be a very scary situation. You may have fifteen eight year olds walking into the gym. Where do you start? They probably don’t know a lot and you have a game in about five practices from now. How are you going to get these kids ready? You’ve got to relax. You’re not going to get everything in one practice. You’re not going to be perfect. The players are going to forget where the ball goes out of bounds. Somebody is going to dribble it the wrong way. You’re not going to get all the names in the book and you're going to get a technical. Those things are going to happen. I think if you go into the practice knowing that, you can be a lot more comfortable, because it happens to all of us. Even college coaches get technicals sometimes. Don’t worry about it. You sit down and you decide, what basic things do you have to have ready to play the game? What basic things do you want to teach so they will develop as the season goes along? Now you’ve got a kind of two track system. My suggestion would be to take care of all the game rules and game situations first, so that when game day comes your kids know where to go. Tell them where to go to line up for the jump ball, this is how we do it and this is where you need to go.

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Positioning as a Team
Organizational Set Up Five players Full court

When positioning your team on the court you should have a big person in the middle (center). In case they lose the tip you should have a guard behind them as a safety valve. Straight ahead from the center you should place your power forward or big forward. To the right of the center you will have a guard and to the left of the center you will position a small forward, from this, coaches can run whatever plays they would like to run.

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Setting up the Free Throw
Organizational Set Up Five players One ball Use half court

Let's talk about a free throw. You will have a shooter and two middle positions. The defense is going to handle the two inside positions. You can put your extra player on the lane, just to get a loose ball, and place a safety zone player behind the shooter. Your league rules will determine how many players you can have in the lane.

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Out of Bounds Play
Organizational Set Up 5 players One ball Half court

On the out-of-bounds plays, it’s important to know where to go. I would suggest, even for young kids, that you use numbers. It’s important for them to remember what the one, two, three, four, and five positions are. It makes them feel like part of the program and it’s good to do. In the example above, player # 1 receives the ball from the referee. Player # 5 is positioned at the middle of the right side of the free throw lane. Player # 4 is positioned at the middle of the left side of the free throw lane. Players #2 and # 3 are positioned at the top corners of the free throw lane. So if you gave your players this setup ahead of time they would know right where they needed to go. Ensure that any substitute who comes into the games knows which number player they are coming in for. So if they just got in the game and there was an immediate out-of-bounds play, they would know where to run to. In this video segment coach Popovich demonstrates an out of bounds play using a screen. Players # 2 and # 5 on the ball side, run over to players # 3 and # 4 and "jump stop" and set screens on their men. Players # 3 and # 5 would then come off the screen and look for the basketball from player # 1. After players # 2 and # 5 jump stop and set the screen, they should roll back to the ball.

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Executing the Play

What makes the play good is how you execute it. If you do exactly what you practice, the play can be very good. That’s the most important thing. Coaches all go to the same clinics and coaches listen to other coaches all the time. There aren’t any big secrets. A lot of it has to do with how we as players execute and listen. That’s why certain teams become the finalists at the NBA playoffs. Because not only are they talented but they execute everything better than everybody else. Free throws, fast breaks, jump balls, they get the out-of-bounds plays sooner and know where they’re supposed to be more often than anybody else. That’s why they’re the best. You’ve got to know where to go on the court, whether it’s a jump ball or a free throw or an out of bounds situation.

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Balance on the Court
In this segment coach Popovich demonstrates how a team should stay balanced when running an offense. The following diagrams illustrate a balanced offense using a two guard front and a one guard front. Different coaches will use different movements on the court, but this the basic position you would be in. Two guard front In this illustration we have one player low, two wing players and two guards up top.

One guard front In this illustration we have two players low, two wing players and one guard up top.

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The Fast Break
The fast break situation is something that’s very natural and very important to the game because it’s the easiest time to score. If you can teach your kids to make the transition quickly and get that outlet pass out up the court, you’ll have a lot of great opportunities to score without a defense being set. Organizational Set Up Five players One ball Full court

As the player catches the ball from the rebound, he pivots on the outside foot and looks to pass the ball to a player in the outside lane. There is an outside lane on each side between the free throw lane and the side line. This is usually where you want your players to run into, the outside lanes. Then you want to get the guard with the ball in the middle. This is just a general picture of how things look. The things that we teach in the fast break are all very important, but we must understand that they take a great deal of time. Whether it’s high school, college, or professional, those people devote a certain portion of their practice everyday to the fast break. It’s going to be a situation where there are turn-overs, or you’re going to lose the ball once in a while, but you do it because in the long run it’s to your advantage to run a fast break. Know that there will be turn-overs, you will lose the ball once in a while. Even professionals sometimes throw it away on the breaks, so your young eight year old players can certainly throw the ball away and not have to be worried about the fact that they’re going to come out of the game or that they just committed some heinous crime.

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Pivot and Jump Stop

Now we are going to go over the pivot and jump stop. You should make sure that everybody understands the outside pivot and the inside pivot. You may not know it, but you use jump stop all the time. When you come to shoot a jump shot, you plant your feet in the ground and you get ready. When you come to catch a pass, you’ll jump stop to catch a pass. When you’re running on the court to change direction, you jump stop and change direction. You pivot all sorts of ways. When you get a rebound, you pivot on one foot to throw the outlet pass. When you’re playing defense, you pivot off a foot. When you’re in a triple threat position, you pivot off one of your feet. When you’re trying to make a pass and you’re being guarded, you need to pivot. There are a lot of situations where you pivot or jump stop but you just never thought about it before. If you want to do it perfectly you should come to a stop with your knees bent, and have your hands ready to play defense or catch the ball. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your weight should be on the balls of your feet, right under your body.

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Pivot and Jump Stop Drill
Organizational Set Up Large group of players Supply of chairs Half court

In this practice the players are divided into lines. Each line is positioned opposite a chair placed approximately 20 yards in front of the line. Players alternate running to the right side of the chair, perform a jump stop and an outside pivot. After executing the move the player returns to the end of their line and the next player repeats. Emphasis should be placed on good technique. As the player turns on the pivot, they should not stand up. Their body shape should be down and the head should be level. Knees should be bent with hands up.

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Scheduling Your Time

In this egment coach Popovich explains how to schedule your time. You might take the first whole practice, or a good portion of it and teach different situations for the players to know. Maybe after 10 minutes they will have understood everything. Maybe you had the group last year. You should still take whatever appropriate part of that first practice and teach all those game situations to your players. Obviously if all the kids are newcomers it might take a whole practice. You should ensure that those situations are understood and taken care of. Sit your players down on the bench and say, “Okay, you five, we're shooting a free throw, go”, and let them run onto the court. They come off. Then send the next five onto the court. Do it over and over and over until you’re satisfied. Put them in different positions.

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Teaching Individual Skills
The first day you're not going to do team defense and team offense. You are going to teach some individual skills that you think are important. You may teach man to man defense. You’ve got to teach how to move. You’ve got to teach where to be on the court in relation to the ball and the basket. You can do this with some basic drills. Offensively, you want to put the ball in the basket so you need to start teaching shooting from day one and get them used to shooting. You are going to have to pass the basketball, so you should do some basic passing drills. I would suggest that you organize your practice, so that you do five or six minutes of a defensive drill, then five or six minutes of an offensive drill. I would make the drills brief, not 20 minutes long because you’re going to lose them. If these drills are run quickly, you’ll find that the discipline you have to instill is sort of automatically done for you. They will not be bored, and they will be too busy to misbehave. You won’t have to spend time yelling at your players. You should get the players together in the beginning and explain what it is you are going to be doing. You can explain that it is going to be fast; it’s going to be furious. So they have to pay attention, they have to move quickly, and they must pay attention to you, focus and concentrate. So as you go through this back and forth between offense and defense, they're learning, they're having fun, they're excited, their controlled. At some point in that practice you have to let them play. There’s got to be a scrimmage situation.

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The First Day

The first day, let them go crazy. It might be a good situation for you to learn. Those two are my shooters, this guy can rebound, this young lady is a great defender and you will see what you have. If it’s the third year in a row for these kids, you can go ahead and put them in last year’s offense or the new offense you have planned for them this year and go from there. I would make sure that I had that scrimmage situation set for the last ten or fifteen minutes of my practice, either to learn what they can do or to instill this year’s offense or whatever we are going to do in that sense.

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Written Practice Plan
A practice plan should be written down. You may walk out into the gym and the number of kids may change from what you thought. You may have to change your plan in some way once you get started. You have to be flexible, but it’s important to go out there with a starting point. Ahead of time it would really help you if you knew the strengths and weaknesses of your players and you design specific drills to address them. If you are going to shoot, what drills are you going to do?. Write it down so you know going into the practice the things you want to get accomplished that day. Know what drills you want to do to get that accomplished. If you know ahead of time what you are going to do and what drills are going to take place, you are going to keep control of that practice and get a lot more done. Have enough of your practice planned to make sure that you keep them busy, because as soon as you stop and you have to think about what to do, you’ve lost them, now they're going in a million different directions. So writing down your practice is really important. It doesn’t take that much time and I guarantee you that you will feel a lot more comfortable when you walk into the gym.

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The Jump Shot

The jump shot is something that needs to be taught fundamentally. Mechanically, coaches need to talk about the grip. How a player holds the basketball is very important. You see a lot of young kids, either because of a lack of strength or knowledge, hold the ball incorrectly. As a coach you have to talk about their body and how it’s aligned, where the feet go, how the body is set up in relation to the feet and body balance. You should talk about the motion of the shot as the knees bend and as the player follows through on the shot. All of these things are important parts of the jump shot. Then as the group get older it might be important to talk with then about the three “C’s, courage, confidence and concentration. As players get older they realize that it does take a little bit of courage to be the type of person that wants to take the shot in a pressure situation. Confidence is really important. Even though their mechanics might not be great, if a player has supreme confidence because he or she has shot many, many thousands of shots, the ball is still going to go in the bucket. Then of course there's concentration, being able to give your attention to the task in hand, which is shooting. That sort of concentration and the ability to focus will always help you to be a better shooter, just like it will help you to be better at doing anything. Shooting far from the basket is maybe the worst thing that a coach can allow a player to do. We all know that when we start practice, younger players want to come out and shoot three pointers. You get the worst mechanics because they just can’t get it there. So they don’t get a good follow through. They don’t get a good elbow rise. You’ll see them shooting it from their hip. Many, many things are being done wrong. So the closer in they can be the better. A good rule that they sometimes listen to is your age plus one. That’s how far they should shoot. So if a little player is seven years old, he or she shouldn’t be shooting any more than eight feet away from the basket.

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They are going to do some other things before practice and you don’t want to take away all their fun. They get a kick out of that because they see it on television, but when you start practice those shots should be around six, seven or eight feet away for that age. You will find that their mechanics will be a lot more sound and they will have a lot more success. Most importantly remember their legs. The legs are where the power comes from. As long as you do that, then you're able to keep body, arm and head position.

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Holding the Basketball

When you talk about shooting you have to start with the most basic thing and that’s holding the basketball. You should try to grab as many of the seams on the ball as possible. When you place your hand on the ball, the pointer finger is in the middle of the basketball and your hand should be naturally spread on the ball.

You should make a “V” with the pointer finger and thumb. You should also have a little space between the ball and the hand so you are using the fingertips and not the palm of the hands to rest the ball. The opposite hand is used as a guide. A lot of young basketball players put both hands on top of the ball to try and shoot it. When you get ready to shoot you should be balanced. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. The knees should be bent. The body alignment should be in a straight line with the toe, knee, hip, elbow and the wrist.

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Bending the Knees

The next stage of shooting is the power phase, where your knees will bend to get ready to take the shot. What we like to do with a lot of the young players is have them bounce up and down to get the body motion. As you come up to take the shot you should rise up on your toes and finish with your elbow straight. A straight elbow allows you to release the ball and follow it all the way to the rim.

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Taking Time to Practice

In shooting, taking the time to practice is the most important thing. We have to make sure that when a player gets older, he or she feels the responsibility to make the free throw. Many games are won and lost because of free throws. That makes it very different from a jump shot in the course of a game and we should try to instill that in players as they get older. You can’t do that with seven and eight year olds or you will build guilt in them. Every time they miss a free throw they are going to feel guilty. Sometimes you will see coaches and their body language will be unbelievable and you may see a disgusted look on their face when a player misses a shot. That’s about the worst. You can imagine the effect on little kids if you showed the wrong body language.

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The Free Throw

With the free throw we want to mention the foot position because it is very important. Many of us were taught to be square with the basket and a lot of us take that too literally. It doesn’t exactly mean that both feet have to be parallel on the free throw line. Over 95% of free throw shooters will have their right foot turned in and it won’t be perpendicular to the free throw line. The left foot is positioned behind, like in the jump shot and turned out slightly. Both feet are parallel to each other at an angle. This is a natural position and is something that people have to understand. It’s the same as a jump shot and there is no reason to set up any differently from your free throw than your jump shot. As far as the body alignment, the hands, the power phase and the follow through are all the same as the free throw. The only thing that a player may add here is some sort of ritual. Some people need to do something to be comfortable. They may take a deep breath, or they may dribble three times before taking the shot. When we talk about free throws, pressure situations, confidence, being comfortable and going to the line, we are talking mostly about something that is developed over time and that’s self image. I honestly believe that a free throw is almost like a religion where it reflects someone’s inner beliefs. Not so much about the world, but about themselves. If it’s a little child seven or eight they don’t have a clue, but as you get older it reflects your confidence in how well you can shoot a free throw. People who know it’s not going in, it usually doesn’t go in. But if I know it’s going in the basket, my percentage is going to be higher.

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23

The Lay Up

The lay up is a shot that is mandatory and has got to be taught from the beginning with any group, even if it’s the fifteen year old group or the seventeen year old group, because you will find that they can’t shoot lay ups very well with the opposite hand. When we first learn to shoot lay ups with children we have to make sure that they understand the mechanics more than anything. By far the most important thing we have to do is not allow them to dribble into a lay up. A lot of coaches will put two lines out on the court and one line will dribble in from about twenty feet and lay it up and one person from the other line will go and get the rebound and then they will alternate. We all know that drill, but it’s too difficult for a youngster to coordinate all those dribbles and see the basket and the ball. What I find is best is to pick a spot right at the rim, where all I will take is one step. If I am going to make a right handed lay up I will go off my left foot, so we are one step from the basket. Plant the foot in the ground and bend the knee and rise the right way up. The hardest part is going off the correct foot, and this helps them do it. As they become comfortable with that, you can move them back and let them take one dribble into the lay up. Then after that they can go ahead and take their dribbles, but they have already developed what foot they are going to go off on. It makes that coordination, that kinesthetic sense, that spatial sense a lot better in each person.

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Form Shooting Drill
Organizational Set Up Entire group. Half court.

Coaching Points: This shooting drill is called “form shooting”. We don’t use a basketball. We talk about hand position, body alignment, foot position and balance, the power phase of the shot and the follow through of the shot. Set Up: Players are positioned in a line facing the basket. Coaching Points: When the coach says “Shoot” the players visualize shooting the ball into the basket while concentrating on the mechanical points below: The players first start with good feet position. If you're right handed get the right foot out a little in front of the left foot. If you're left handed get the left foot out a little in front of the right foot. Pretend to have your hands on the ball and start bouncing. Feel that rhythm, feel that body position. Line up the foot, knee and elbow. Pretend to cock the basketball in the up position.

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Passing

Passing is something that obviously we are all going to do with our players to try and develop their game. It is a lost art. Hopefully people like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird have brought it back to the point where players realize how great a pass can be, even though it’s simple. Many times we forget what that does for a team and how good somebody feels when they throw a good pass. If we can do a good job of teaching passing, and get it back into the game, I think we bring the game of basketball back to where a lot of us old timers really liked it.

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The Chest Pass

The first pass that you should teach is the chest pass. It’s not so important that you begin with the chest pass, but it’s the most logical place to begin. The most important thing is the mechanics. It starts with your hands and how they are placed on the basketball. The mechanics of the pass begin with how you hold it with your hands. I think it’s really important for the young kids because very few of them are going to do it correctly to begin with. What you will find is that they will hold the ball either with two hands on top, or they will get one hand behind it because they are not strong enough and try to push it at you. They don’t automatically get the ball in the correct position. The correct position is when all the seams are lined up. If they learn that when they are young, they will automatically catch a pass and put it in the correct position to get ready to shoot, or put it in the correct position to pass it. It sounds like it might be a lot of work, but it’s an automatic thing that all players do. The younger they begin to learn that this is a better way to pass or shoot, the better off they will be.

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Control

As far as control is concerned it’s a pretty logical situation. If your hand is on one side of the ball the other hand should be the mirror image of that. That will give you the most symmetrical and the most balanced position for your hands on the ball. It’s a natural position. It’s not contrived. It’s not something that you have to work to get. Don't spread your hands out to get a big as surface as possible, because you would have less feel, touch and therefore control. Don't tighten your hands because that is just as disadvantageous. It should be a natural spread hand with the index finger and thumb forming a “V” on the basketball. Not closed and not exaggerated but a natural “V” on the ball. The ball should rest in the finger pads and touch the palm just a little. It’s mostly the fingers that hold the basketball.

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Elbow Position

When you get ready to throw the basketball, your elbows start from the in position, not an outward position. Then as the basketball comes towards you the elbows will naturally go out as you go to pass. It is impossible to throw a pass with your elbows in. At this point the follow through becomes important. After you pass the ball the elbows are extended with the thumbs down and fingers pointed up. Along with that you would take a step forward. It doesn’t matter if it’s your left foot or your right foot.

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Passing Mechanics

• • • • • • •

Begin with a balanced position with feet together. Elbows should be in, not out Step with the left or right foot. As you step forward the ball will come to you. The elbows will naturally go out. Aim your hands towards your team mate’s chest. Then let the ball go. Thumbs rotate down. It will make the ball rotate backwards.

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Chest Pass Drill
Organizational Set Up Divide group into pairs One ball between two Full court

Coaching Points: In this drill coach Popovich demonstrates the technique of the chest pass. Divide your group in pairs. Partners face each other approximately 10 yards apart. On the coach's command, the player practice passing the ball back and forth using the chest pass. Coach's Comments: The first thing we will do is a very basic chest pass drill. In this practice we are mostly concerned with the hands being in the proper position, and making sure they follow through correctly, and step. The hands should finish with the forefingers high and the thumbs down. The knees should be bent as the player steps. One thing you want to make sure of is that the elbows start in and then they’ll naturally go out. Try to hit your partner right in the chest with the ball. If some players can't get the mechanics down right, they need to move closer.

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Bounce Pass Drill
Organizational Set Up Divide group into pairs One ball between two Full court

Coaching Points: In this drill coach Elliott and coach Popovich demonstrate the technique of the bounce pass. Divide your group in pairs. Partners face each other approximately 10 yards apart. On the coach's command, the player practice passing the ball back and forth using the bounce pass. Coach's Comments: Now we’re going to learn the bounce pass. It’s basically the same thing as the chest pass, except you want to hit it about three quarters of the way to the player that’s going to catch the pass. And you want to bounce it just right so it will be in a good position to catch it. Your hands should be on the side of the ball, and don’t put your hands flat on the ball. It’s hard to control it that way.

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The Overhead Pass
Organizational Set Up Divide group into pairs One ball between two Full court

Coaching Points: In this drill coach Elliott and coach Popovich demonstrate the technique of the overhead pass. Divide your group in pairs. Partners face each other approximately 10 yards apart. On the coach's command, the player practice passing the ball back and forth using the overhead pass. Coach's Comments: The overhead pass is a little bit different than the chest pass and the bounce pass, in that it’s more of a wrist pass and the follow through is a little bit different. Hold the ball exactly as you would with any other pass, but it starts above the head. The action is a wrist action. The follow through will be there, but it’s going to be more of a knuckle ball, it’s not going to spin very much. You should aim for your partner's forehead. Use the same step as the chest and bounce passes and follow through right at the target. If you can’t throw a straight line, then get closer. It’s a little tougher for young players to throw, if they have to get a little closer, that’s fine. Again, you want correct form, and it should be nice and controlled.

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The Baseball Pass
Organizational Set Up Divide group into pairs One ball between two Full court

Coaching Points: In this drill coach Elliott and coach Popovich demonstrate the technique of the baseball pass. Divide your group in pairs. Partners face each other approximately 10 yards apart. On the coach's command, the player practice passing the ball back and forth using the baseball pass. Coach's Comments: The last pass we’re going to go over is the baseball pass. You’re going to use it mostly in the forecourt offense for breaking traps and breaking presses. Usually it’s going to be from out of bounds, maybe to half court or maybe somewhere in the back court onto the front court. The basic principles are the same as throwing a baseball. You want to grip it like you do in the other passes with a space in between your palm and the ball. You should have total control over the ball. Most of the other passes are right at a target, but the baseball pass, very often, is a leading pass. It’s not going to go right to a body, but a spot in front of that body. The one handed pass is exactly like a baseball throw in that the ball is brought behind the right ear, if you’re right handed, the elbow is out and then we go ahead and follow through just like we would with a baseball. The target is really dependent on where the receiver is. The baseball pass is great for a fast break or down court or a long pass in most cases. You may be aiming at a spot that’s away from a player, leading him or her to get to the basketball. When you use the baseball pass you’ve got to think about use. The chest pass and the bounce pass are the passes you’re going to use to the greatest degree in the half court, depending on where the defense is.

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The baseball pass is probably something you won’t use unless you’re thinking about throwing a long pass down court, usually in fast break situations. The younger kids are going to use the baseball pass to a greater degree than one might think. The pass they’re not going to use very much is the two handed overhead pass because they don’t have the wrist or forearm strength. So the baseball pass is going to feel pretty natural to them. Hopefully the younger ages have a smaller ball so that they can throw all the passes a little bit better. But since, in most cases, it is a bigger ball than they’re used to, the baseball pass will be tough for those who haven’t begun to develop yet. A coach needs to understand that if a young person throws a pass on a fast break and it comes off his hand and it immediately goes out of bounds, that probably was a great pass. It was the correct pass. That their body just couldn’t execute it. Rather than say anything in a negative way to the player, he or she should be praised for realizing that that was the only pass that was going to get it there, they just can’t do it. So in that case it’s a big positive response facially so that he or she knows that it was a good pass.

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Catch, Turn and Face

The rocker step is a really important part of the game as far as scoring is concerned. You might know it as a triple threat position or catch, turn and face. The important thing to remember is that it is a progressive sort of a skill. It takes a long time to develop. It is not something you would teach in the very beginning of your practice session or your season with your eight year olds or nine year olds. At some point during the season the very basics of this are important for everybody. The very first step that you would teach in the catch, turn and face, is important for five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, all the way up. Beyond that you’ll spend more time with it the older the kids are. The first thing that’s going to happen is you’ll see the player set up his man, or the bucket. He’ll come out and catch and stop. On his inside foot, his right foot, he’ll pivot and turn and face the basket with the basketball. We don’t want the player to be off balance. You’ll see a lot of kids catch the ball and they’ll be off balance and they’ll try to travel or walk and they don’t know what to do because they haven’t been taught to face the basket. So what we’re talking about is setting our defensive man up, faking or jab stepping or de-cutting toward the bucket, then popping out on the wing and catch, turn and face. It seems simple, but for a lot of kids it’s tough.

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Stutter Step and Cross Over

The cross over is something that takes place once you’re guarded. After you pivot, you’ll make a little stutter step and go in the opposite direction. The stutter step is to get the defense to lean in the wrong direction and throw them off balance. Use the same pivot foot, and the cross over. The next phase of the rocker step is the continuation move. In this demonstration coach Elliott catches the ball, turns and face, and used the stutter step. In this situation the defense does not take the fake, so he continues to the basket.

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Dribbling

Dribbling may not be quite as important as passing and shooting, but it is something that needs to be developed. It’s important for coaches to understand that the development will take place at different rates for different players just like the other skills that we’ve talked about. When you first speak about dribbling you’ve got to make the kids understand that it’s not going to happen overnight. They’re not going to be able to do the drills as perfectly as they would like. Some kids don’t react well to that. They may become angry or frustrated. You need to make sure that no matter what the age group you start with drills that they can do.

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The Grapevine Drill
Organizational Set Up Divide group into pairs One ball per player Anywhere on the court

Coaching Points: In this drill coach Popovich demonstrates ball handling skills. Divide your group in pairs. One line steps forward and performs a variety of ball handling drills. Lines rotate after each player has performed the drill. Coach's Comments: All players can get a lot better as ball handlers because they can practice it. Now maybe you won’t become Nate Archibald or Magic Johnson, but you can be better than you are today if you want to work at it. It’s important to know that the first day, the first two days can be frustrating. But if you get a routine and work on it everyday you’ll find that the improvement will be dramatic. What we want to do are some basic drills and progress to drills that they can’t possibly do. Player should perform the following ball handling drills in sequence: Around the legs Feet together, bend your knees and start low and try to take the ball around your body. Alternate directions. Then do it as you stand up.

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Through the legs Spread your legs out and go around your right and left leg making a "figure eight". Keep the head up and alternate directions.

Around your back Move the ball around your back and back down around your ankles. Alternate directions.

Back and forth Pick a spot right in front of your right foot. The ball’s going to go there every time. Dribble the ball using only one hand. Not just straight up and down, but back and forth. Try to push it, pull, push it, pull, and hit that spot every time.

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The Quadrant Drill
Organizational Set Up Groups of four. One ball per group. Each group has four squares.

Coaching Points: In this segment coach Popovich demonstrates the Quadrant drill. This practice is designed to improve each player's movement off the ball. Divide players into groups of four. Each player stands in one of the squares. The drill begins with one player passing the ball. After passing the ball the player must swap places with one of the players without the ball. An emphasis is placed on good movement and passing. Coach's Comments: The quadrant drill that we do with the younger players can also be done with older players. Divide the court into four quadrants or squares. Imagine that there’s a piece of tape right down the middle. Halfway down the lane we’ll put another piece of tape this way, so it makes a plus sign. Place a player in each square. The rule is; the player who just passed the ball can go any place that they did not pass the ball. They can go to any of the other two squares. If someone goes into your square, you have to go to the square that they came from. All of a sudden you will have a lot of movement from your players and great floor balance. It’s a wonderful teaching drill. You could even make your offense the same thing.

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Three on "O" Drill
Organizational Set Up Groups of three players One ball per group Half court

Coaching Points: In this segment coach Popovich demonstrates the Three on "O" drill. Divide players into groups of three. The drill begins with player #1 passing the ball to player #2. After passing the ball the player must "Jab step" and make a run. Supporting player #3 runs to player #2 and receives the pass. Coach's Comments: The beginnings of team offense start with the “three on o” drill, or three offensive people and no defensive people. It’s a very, very complicated drill. At the same time it’s a very simple drill. The player with the ball sets their men up. The player must then pass to one of them, Jab step, then go opposite and through trying to catch the ball. When we pass and screen away, it becomes a little bit more complicated. If the player passes in one direction, they should screen in the opposite direction.

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Pass and Screen
Organizational Set Up Small groups of players One ball Half court

Coaching Points: In this segment coach Popovich demonstrates the "Pass and screen drill". The drill begins with player #1 with the ball. Player #2 runs towards player #3 and sets a screen. Player #3 runs into open space and receives the ball from player #1.

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Introduction to Defense
Organizational Set Up Group demonstration Half court

Coach's Comments: The defensive part of the game will be of least interest to your kids no matter what age. Defense is something the kids don’t really do naturally. The defense is important as we all know, but how do we get that across to the kids?. The thing that I tell them is; you could be the worst player in this gym, but you can make the basketball team through middle school, grade school, high school, if you are a great defender. Because every coach understands the importance of it. If you’re the guy that drives people crazy, not because you foul or hit or knock people out, but play a great fundamental solid defense, there’s a place for you on a basketball team. The basic starting point is the basketball position. The knees are bent, the feet spread apart, hands ready, balanced with one foot in front of the other. The basic slide is "Step, push off, push off, step". Now they should have an understanding of the fundamentals of defending.

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Defensive Position
Organizational Set Up Small groups One ball Half court

Coach's Comments: In a good defensive position the players feet are spread shoulder width apart, the knees are bent and the hands out and ready to go. In relationship to his position on the ball, the defender should be chest to chest, facing the player with the ball and he should be able to reach out and touch him if he had to. He’s not too far and he’s not too close. In this defensive stance the player should have one foot in front of the other. In this video sample, both supporting players should be one pass away from the ball. The defending players draw a line on the floor mentally. It should be a direct line between his man and the ball. His left foot is close to that line and his lead hand is in the passing lane or over that line. His thumb should be turned down to make sure he’s in a position to swat at that ball if need be. His knees are bent, he’s in good position and if he looks straight ahead, he can see both the man and the ball. He doesn’t close just to his man, because he can’t see what’s going on. He doesn’t close to the ball, because he can’t see his man behind him. He should be able to see both.

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Support Position
Organizational Set Up Small groups of players One ball Half court

Coach's Comments: In this example player #1 is defending the player with the ball. Player #2 is in a one pass or denied defense position. Player #3 is is two passes away, so that makes him the support player. This is the beginning of team defense, where we help or support our team mates. Player #3 is still is on defense so he still has a line between man and ball. But it’s different now. He doesn’t go above the line, because if he goes above the line very far he loses sight of his man and his man goes to the bucket. He’s going to be a little bit below that line, between man and ball. He uses his fingers like pistols and he points at each one, he can see them both. If his opponent goes low, that line changes. The key is when you are on defense, you are either on the ball or off the ball. If you're off the ball, you've got to know where the man and ball are and draw that line. Once you draw that line between man and ball, you're in good shape. You should always see both, whether it’s one pass away, two or more.

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Rebounding

Coach's Comments: Rebounding is another aspect of the game that is very similar to defense. Players have to be taught how important to the game that is. Try to convince players that if they can get good at rebounding, there is a place for them on a team. There are very few good drills that you can use because it’s a very basic thing and it involves going up and getting the ball off the board. It involves keeping your opponent from getting to the board. We start with a block out position to try to teach them that blocking out is very important. With young players we use the line drill just so that they get a really great feel for their body position. Most importantly, we want to teach them that the arms stay, up, and that they shouldn’t be holding the opponent. Sometimes players become a little bit too worried about making contact with other players, but at some point you’ve got to go get the basketball. You don’t want to go overboard to the point where they’re getting such a big kick out of keeping this person off the board that they forget to go get the ball. What’s important is, you block out to the point where you freeze your opponent. He is frozen to the point where he can’t move. He has to start up his momentum again.

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Block Out Drill
Organizational Set Up Three versus three One ball Half court

Coaching Points: In this drill coach Popovich demonstrates the technique of rebounding. Divide your group into tow teams of three. One team is on defense, the other team on offense. The coach starts the drill by shooting the ball at the basket. The defending player will immediately turn and try to get the rebound. After each attack the defensive players rotate. Coach's Comments: Three players are on offense, and another three players are on defense. The coach is going to shoot the basketball. As the coach shoots the ball, the three defenders are going to all yell “shot”. This conditions players to know that it’s time to go get the basketball. It’s time to block out. The offensive people are going to make a half hearted effort to get the offensive rebound. We want the defenders to pivot and make that contact. The defenders should keep in a good defensive position, with hands and arms up, knees bent, and staying back to make some contact with the opposing player behind them. Defenders are trying to use this contact to freeze the offensive player and stop his or her momentum. Once we get the rebound, the coach will rotate the defense.

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Man on Man Defense

Coach's Comments: As a coach you will have to make a decision defensively whether you're going to play a man to man or a zone defense. I would urge you not to use the zone defense. The reasons are obvious. If you’re someone who does run a zone defense, ask yourself why. Most kids can’t shoot. It takes somebody a really long time to develop a really good jump shot. It’s true that it takes a lot less time to teach a player to just guard an area than all these techniques and fundamentals. But it doesn’t do the kids any good. For me to learn a zone defense at age seven does nothing for me as far as what I’m going to have to do as I progress. It doesn’t help a young person to develop his or her body to play man to man defense. Playing man to man takes a little bit more effort. We’re trying to develop some skills both personal skills and basketball skills for young people. A man to man defense is more of a challenge, with the physical work that takes place with bending your knees and moving. The responsibility that takes place of guarding that person no matter where he or she may go really helps develop that youngster. At the same time it makes everything more fair for both teams. One team won’t just sit and wait for the other one to shoot, get the rebound and go down the court. It really means a lot to try and develop that in a youngster. I think the point here is that our priority when we step on the floor with the kids is not to win, but to improve both their basketball skills and their self image. If in that process we win the game, that’s fantastic. What’s most important about it is to not win at the expense of any teaching or development that can take place in the individual. When you play a zone defense, it takes advantage of kids' weaknesses rather than try to take advantage of their strengths.

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Summary

I would like to take the time to thank you for taking the NYSCA Online Basketball clinic. I hope that you were able to get something out of it. NYSCA is a heck of an organization. I wish it was around when I was a kid, because I wasn’t as fortunate as far as being coached. Thanks again for being here. It’s so important. It’s been great for my kids and all the kids that you coach someday are going to appreciate it, and I know their parents do too. Take care and good luck.

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