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Coaches Corner

How to Shake Off the Rust

  • Date:
    Sep 19, 2015

Content from this post originally was published in September 2015.

USA Basketball is ready to field your coaching questions for the 2019-20 season on Twitter using @USABYouth and #CoachesCorner, but before we kick off with new questions, let us bring you some helpful perspective USA Basketball coaches already have provided on the preseason.

Sharman White, head coach, Pace Academy (Ga.)
During my years as a coach, when players enter into the preseason, they tend to have rustiness in two specific areas that stand out to me. Those areas are ball handling and shooting. Those two skills tend to require the purest development when it comes to fundamentals and are easily detected when we evaluate our players early in the preseason.

To sharpen the skill of ball handling, we like to work on drills that require two-ball ball handling as well as weak-hand development drills. These drills help restore muscle memory as well as a keen sense of comfort with the basketball, which is needed as competitive play nears.

Shooting is a skill for which we focus on quantity in the preseason – but there has to be focus on quality as well.

We do a varying amount of shooting drills, where they go from stationary to constant movement shooting, and we also utilize our shooting machine to assist with the development of our shooting. One thing we stress to our players is that it is not just about taking shots, but it really comes down to the number of shots we make.

DRILL: Dribble, Pivot Pass

Sue Phillips, head coach, Archbishop Mitty High School (Calif.)
For our players, footwork tends to be the fundamental that develops the most rust in the offseason. “Two-ball circle shooting” is a drill we do to teach and/or streamline our players' footwork. It is a progressive drill of varied shots, while incorporating an array of stationary ball fakes. It is executed with four players and two basketballs, each player taking a turn passing and then shooting. This drill will improve your players’ footwork and enhance their scoring versatility.

Our progression is as follows: 

1) One-foot lay-up (proper hand).
2) Power slide lay-up (one bounce and finish off two feet).
3) Catch and shoot from low block (inside pivot foot and finish off the glass).
4) Catch and shoot off a two-foot jump stop from the elbow. 

Our progression continues with stationary ball fakes from the elbow. Our players will catch the ball with a two-foot jump stop, and start each move from a triple threat position:

5) Fake shot drive (direct and crossover).
6) Rocker step or jab and go.
7) Fake drive shot.
8) Step-back moves.

When attacking the basket, our players will alternate their finishes with layups, mid-range jumpers and floaters. 

DRILL: Fundamentals of Shooting


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