Nitty-Gritty Basketball
Teaching Skills In Game Situations

Main   I   Products   I   Clinics   I   Basketball Help/Tips   I   Contact Us   I   Join List   I   Order   I   Free Downloads

Teaching Skills In Game Situations
by Sidney Goldstein Copyright © 2003

A coach at our annual clinic asked how do you teach or relate to individual skills in game related drills. I had to think for a moment before answering. The answer is that you don't!!!
Let me explain.
The standard ineffective way to teach basketball, which too many coaches have adopted, involves starting at the end, games or game situations, then attempting to teach every individual skill from there. This has never been effective for several reasons. One, anything "taught" (not really) or explained is never repeated by the player since the team is involved in a game situation. To effectively teach a skill you need repetition.

Another reason is that there are zillions of individual skills. Players could not play more than 5 seconds without the coach making 10 different corrections and/or explanations. Since coaches can't stop every few seconds (even if they did it would be worthless) the coach must let players play incorrectly.

Another problem is that the coach can not simultaneously watch 10 or even 5 players (watching one closely is difficult) perform zillions of skills thus allowing them to make zillions of mistakes.

To avoid these problems, the effective coach isolates each skill, or part there of, then repeats the drill till players improve or master the skill. Eventually, if you spend time on 50 or so drills, players know an array of skills to execute in the team situation. And if you give players the parts they have the ability to put them together. You don't need to do it for them.

The team skills, like a play or the most difficult to teach offense-against-a-full-court-press, take only minutes to learn after players better master individual skills. Remember, that team skills only involve floor movement; that execution of individual skills from a team setup determines effectiveness. So, spend your time on the nitty-gritty, the hard stuff, if you want to be more successful. And, never mix up team and individual skills. Teach them separately, 90% of time devoted to individual skills.
I hope this answers the question.

Your comments are welcome.
Sidney Goldstein, author of The Basketball Coach's Bible and The Basketball Player's Bible, has successfully coached both men's and women's teams over a period of 15 years.
logo The Nitty-Gritty Basketball™ Series
by Sidney Goldstein
nitty-gritty logo
website copyright 1995-2008 © Sidney Goldstein, Golden Aura Publishing