In Season Skill Development

Basketball season is here and in full swing. Coaches are preparing their teams for the next game with scouting reports and watching team film. Teams are also prepping for competition by executing half court offensive plays and defensive schemes in practice. Each one of those are very important to team success, but coaches and players must also remember to get in some skill development time.

With teams now playing a couple of games each week it's easy to bypass individual skill development and get right into team concepts. The problem I have with this is team coaches stress the importance of skill development in the off-season and then forget about it during the season. I know team practice takes precedence over individual practice. During the season coaches have to prepare scouting reports and get their players ready for the next opponent. That's all good, but lets not forget that the team is made up of a bunch of individual players. The stronger and more skilled each player is the better your team can perform.

The most frequent excuse I hear from coaches is I don't have time to dedicate any of my team practice to individual skill development. That's not true. If you make skill development a priority then you can make some time. Below I have some tips on how to incorporate a skill development segment right into your practice. By using these steps you can get individual skill development in a team setting while at the same time work on your team's offensive and defensive concepts.

  1. PREPARATION - When prepping for your skill development workouts the first thing you want to think about is what skills do you want to work on. What areas do you need to improve. This could be an area you didn't perform well in the last game or an area you need to address to get ready for the next game. Also, you need to know how much time you want to spend on your skill development segment. If you can get a good 15-20 minutes of intense skill development in then you are doing good. Anymore than that will take away from the meat of your practice, going over team concepts. You will also need to think about how many coaches or managers you have on hand to help out with the skill development segment. The more the better. This will decrease lag time and keep things moving quickly.

  2. ORGANIZATION - Now that you are prepared for the skill development segment you must get organized. When getting organized you need to consider a few things: 1. How long will you be in each drill? 2. How many drills are you going to do? 3. How are you going to organize your players? If you have those questions answered before you start practice and get into your skill development then everything should flow easily.

  3. EXECUTION -  After prepping and organizing you should be able to flow right into your skill development without any hiccups. Don't be afraid to mix up the drills and how things are done. You can incorporate continuous action drills where a player executes a skill on one side of the floor and then a different skill on the other side of the floor. An example of this could be a ball screen on the wing into an elbow jumper. Next, the player can go to the opposite block and curl to the elbow for jumper.

When conducting your skill development be sure to use your team's offensive actions. Breakdown your sets into drillable actions to incorporate into your skill development segment of practice. So if you run the flex offense you may want to drill the down screen part of the offense. Or if you run quick hitters where your perimeter players are coming off multiple screens you make those into drills.

Another thing to consider is allowing the players to make the passes. Make sure to pay close attention to how they are passing. Chest passes are rarely used in the game. They must imagine a defender guarding them and use a right or left hand push pass. You can even incorporate proper footwork against pressure on the pass.

These are just a few ideas and ways to incorporate skill development into your in-season practice schedule. If you would like help with incorporating skill development into your practices don't be afraid to reach out. Hit the like button below and be sure to share with coaches, players, and parents.