In the list of basketball fundamentals or the  list of  fundamental skills basketball, I have briefly discussed the different fundamentals or skills needed to compete in basketball.  It is my desire not only to make lists and make sure that everyone understands the need for fundamentals, but also to give ways for everyone to grow in them.   

As I mentioned, I have 5 kids and three of them are very much into basketball.  They have each been playing since they were around 5.  All of them practice every aspect of their game, dribbling, working on handles, shooting, defense, and of course the list could keep going.  None of them wants to be a one dimensional player, so they diligently work on each part of their game.  In fact they wake me every morning at 5 to say let’s go train dad.  One fundamental you need is heart/desire.  You as a player or as a coach must want it.  You must be willing to work, and to grow. Having the heart to put in the tough work needed.

The thing I have noted with each of them is that different aspects of their games come together at different intervals for each of them.  One developed handles instantly.  After being shown a dribbling drill she would lock herself away in her room and practice that drill tell she had it down.  On the other hand one fell in love with Reggie Miller after watching him You Tube.  Each of them has developed differently, they workout together, and they do the same drills together, each day.  I say all this simply to say, if you and a friend are working out together and you develop differently that’s ok.  Just don’t give up. Keep pressing on.

As we start to break this list of fundamentals for basketball down dive in head first.  Look to be the hardest training person you know.  In order to get better, to have the skill set you want, you will need to work and work hard.  In the end when all the work has been put in and your skills are developing and people take note, you will realize it was well worth the hard work.

Coach don’t give up keep pressing on, pushing them to work hard, developing and growing in their skills. Make it fun, let your players fall in love with the game, but also push them to be the best, that way they can achieve the goals they set for themselves.

Dribbling and Shooting are important.  Every player should be working diligently on his or her game and dribbling and shooting are two facets that should get daily attention.  Which is more important?  That’s up for debate, but I’ll tell you one thing, you will never survive a basketball game without both.  How important is shooting?  You could ask anyone on Miami or the San Antonio.  Remember when Ray Allen hit the game tying 3 with 5 seconds remaining in game 6 of the championship.  You can watch it below its beautiful.

That was as far as we made it on our list of basketball skills in part 1, let’s move on once again.

Passing You can never underestimate the importance of having good passing.  Some of the greatest players were incredible passers.  Larry Bird, oh man watching highlights of his games the passes he would make were simply amazing.  How do you break the press, dribbling not primarily, primarily you pass.  Pass to break the press is what the coach always yells.  

Footwork This fundamental sure seems to get missed.  Offensive footwork, pivoting, proper foot for a layup.  It is crazy the number of Middle School kids I watch go through tryouts doing an improper layup.  Always the wrong foot.  Let’s throw stopping in with footwork.  Do I jump stop, or a one two landing, what is the best, does situation dictate?  So many questions.  Changing direction, jab step, faking, cutting, defensive footwork.   All fundamentals? Ya, all fundamentals.

Screens – Setting and Using, it can be the most frustrating thing to watch a player set a perfect screen, only to watch the ball handler ignore the screen.  Why didn’t you use the screen?  What screen.  So important to recognize a screen.

And we will end with what might be one of the most ignored:

Moving without the ball – Ever been to a Middle School or even a High School game where a player passes the ball off then just grows roots.  They get so frustrated, when they don’t get the ball back, but how can they?  They don’t move!  As a defender playing man to man you have to love the assignment of covering the player who never moves.  Sure makes life easy.

So there you go we made a list of basketball skills that are needed in development of good basketball players.  These are the fundamental skills basketball players need.  If you have anything to add or any questions please leave a comment below.

Fundamental skills basketball?

What are they?

How do I coach them?

When do I stop coaching them?

Are their fundamental skills drills I can run with my players?

As a coach, especially as a new coach, an inexperienced coach, these are all questions good question, and questions I think we have all probably asked.  Without a doubt their are fundamental skills for basketball and they are skills that not only need to be taught be need to be reinforced time and time again.  Let’s try to tackle these questions:

  1.  What are the fundamental skills for basketball?

We can all probably name some right off the top of our head very easily.  I’ll tell you the ones that come to mind for me.

Dribbling if you can’t dribble, you will not be able to advance the ball up the court.  As a team if you have people on the floor who cannot get the ball up the court then your opponent will exploit your weakness.  A good coach with a good swarming defense will press you and look to take advantage of your lack of this fundamental skill set.  Teach your team to dribble, it really does not matter if they are your big men or not.  Everyone needs to be a proficient dribbler.

Shooting if you can’t shoot how do you score?  The ball has to go through the hoop to put points on the board.  Some coaches might actually say. We don’t really need to be able to shoot, we can just drive to the basket for points.  Even if it were possible, to simply drive the ball down the lane every time you had it in your possession, this would make you a one dimensional team   Who really wants to be a one dimensional player?

Now I know that their are many more fundamentals skills for basketball that we need to cover and in future posts we will be sure to cover them.  

For right now however, I would like to give a brief answer for the other questions.

How do I coach them over the next couple of days I will give you some drills or some information for drills to use.  The most important thing is to make them fun, design your practice plan in such a way that they want to do the drills.    This is by no means an easy task.

When do I stop coaching them?  We never stop coaching fundamental skills!  The amount of time we spend on drills for those skills may change but the coaching of fundamentals should/will never stop.

Are their fundamental skills drills I can run with my players?  More to come, if you have found this information helpful, have questions or a little insight of your own please leave me a comment below.

More specifically I want to be a coach for basketball.  A coach who teaches basketball basics for all of his players.  No actually basketball basics to anyone who will listen.  Basics or maybe I should say fundamentals mean so much in the game of basketball.  Without good fundamentals you will never be a great player.  

What do I Need to Be a Good Coach?

Maybe the most important quality you need as a coach is to be teachable.  To actually never stop learning the game.  Once you come to the place where you feel you have arrived, your on your way to being a bad coach.  A good coach is always learning and growing.  A good coach is watching other more experienced coaches and learning why they do what they do.  A good coach has strong self esteem, good character, and good communication skills.  A good coach will realize his main job is teaching.  A good coach works to develops players he does not just worry about winning games.

Am I a Basketball Dummy?

This week after reading an article from a well known trainer I realized how little I know about the game of basketball.  I instantly started researching offenses, defenses, and when to use what.  In the article a coach was asked: Can you explain how to manipulate a guard trying to down a angled ball screen to attack at a 45? Can you give me 4-5 options off of a horns set? What are 2 secondary reads off a floppy set? To be honest it sure made my head spin, but more than that it made me realize that there is so much I just don’t know.  Maybe I am a basketball dummy, but then again maybe they’re needs to be a little basketball dummy in all coaches to keep us motivated to keep on learning and growing.  

Quick question, if your kids do not like working on fundamentals, are you making it fun?  No kid is going to enjoy something that is not fun.  Hopefully, I can give you some basketball drills, kids will not find boring.  Over the years I have taken different drills that I have found,  and turned them into a competition.  The kids seem to love it.  I try really hard to incorporate into our practice the things that I notice we failed on the most in our last game.  I don’t generally look at the plays and think they failed.  I look more at our fundamentals and have come to realize that more times then not, we faltered in our execution of simple fundamentals.

Competition and Drills

It is really pretty easy to take any drill and make it into a competition.  For instance when we open practice we start with dribbling.  We work speed and endurance.  I totally believe the way you practice is the way you will play.  If you are lazy and sloppy in practice it will show in the game at some point.

1st Drill for speed and endurance

I set 4 cones up in a line for 4 different teams.  That comes out to be 16 cones.  The cones are spaced out the full length of the court.  Roughly the free throw line, center court, opposite free throw line and finally the far baseline.  Each player has to dribble full speed around the first cone (making sure to touch the cone on the way around) back to the start, then off to cone 2.  I use really low cones to force them down low.   After the first player has gone all the way through all 4 cones, the second player goes.  The drill ends when each player has made it through twice.  Of course the winning team is the first to complete the drill.  For our team, generally we award pushups, the number depends on what order you came in.

2nd Drill for speed, endurance, and ball handling

Same 4 cones only this time we incorporate several crossovers.  Cross over in front, through the legs, behind the back, and usually a spin move.  Again we run this as a competition with our teams.

3rd Drill geared towards layups

We use two balls, one is simply to hold while, the other is a wrap around while you dribble down for a layup.  This time we go for speed and makes.  Although the makes are what really count, we want game speed as though you just got the ball and are running a fast break.  So if two teams tie on makes, then the speed is the deciding factor.

4th Drill incorporates a little defense, shooting and layups  

I encourage everyone to have at least one move in their arsenal that they are very proficient at.  A cross over, a spin move, really any move as long as they do it well.  This time we place someone on the right side of the court about even with top of the key.  They are the defender, it is their goal to stay low move side to side and stop the offensive team from getting past.  The offensive player is only given so much  space to move within, they must stay in-bounds.  They need to cross up the defender to go make their layup to get the points.  This drill is based on makes and speed.  We run this drill for layups, floaters, mid range and 3s.  Each player goes through 3 times at each basket for a total of 6 shots per player, per shot.

Conclusion:

By the time we are done with these drills they have worked on each part of their game.  They have worked on them at game speed, and are becoming more and more ready for their next game. If you have any drills you do that you think work well please add them in the comments to share with everyone.

For those of us who are coaching basketball we need to ask ourselves one simple question. WHY?  Why are we coaching?  The answer to that question is going to change depending on who you are.  Some will coach because they love the game and want to be around it.  Some might say they are coaching basketball because they played, basketball gave them so much and they want to give back.  For others it might be that they want to coach their kids.  But what about you, why are you coaching?

No matter what the reason, one thing is for certain if you are coaching kids you need to be coaching for them.  Coaching so that they learn good fundamentals.  Coaching so that they will have the skills they need later on, if they chose to continue playing.  Coaches need to make sure that they don’t just  make winning their purpose.

Make Fundamentally Sound Players

Over the years as an athletic director I have been able to watch numerous coaches coach kids of all ages from super young to varsity age.  The biggest mistake I watch inexperienced coaches make, is to look at a child and put them in a position based solely on their size.  They teach them that position for the season at hand and never teach them anything else.  Which is a total shame, and can be damaging.  Kids all grow differently some shoot up really early in life, others may not grow till later in life.  It’s a shame when a young child who has shot up quickly in height, is placed in a center position simply because he is taller than anyone else.  Then is treated like an NBA post player.  They are told I don’t want you dribbling the ball.  Yet later on in High School when they haven’t grown much more they are short and at best guard size.  Now what do they do, they don’t have the skills they should have been taught earlier.  It’s not about winning at the moment, it’s about the kids.  If it is about the kids and teaching them solid fundamentals, then the winning will come.  

What is Your Purpose

For me that’s an easy question to answer, college!  I have players who one day would like to play in college, so I am trying to coach in such away that college is a possibility for them if they are truly willing to work.  Not everyone is willing to work for it, but for those who are, then I want to give them what they need to succeed.