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BASKETBALL FUNDAMENTALS THAT EVERY PLAYER SHOULD WORK ON


I was fortunate to have an AAU/travel basketball coach at the age of 9 that showed me the value of fundamentals.

Our basketball team won the State Championship of Illinois multiple years because of how fundamentally sound our team was.

This was no small feat, given that Illinois and the Chicago area produce tremendous basketball talent. The best player my age was Jabari Parker, who is now in the NBA. He played on my team for one year.

Although we didn’t have a lot of players on the team, of our core group from the age of 9, 6 of us went on to play college basketball, and one played college football.

Everyone marveled at how disciplined and fundamentally sound we were as a team. That didn’t just happen. It was due to lots and lots of practice on the fundamentals.


We didn’t practice every day, more like once or twice a week. But every minute of practice was intentional.

Every day in practice, every player had to complete dribbling, passing, and lay-up drills. To a group of young kids, practicing a two-handed bounce pass or a simple crossover for a long time is not their idea of fun.

Younger kids tend to want to shoot from the three-point line and play 5 on 5 for as long as they can. Having the discipline instilled in us by our coach, gave us an advantage over our competition because of the work we put in during our practices.

Here are some of the things we worked on that allowed our team to be extremely successful and set us up as individuals to succeed at the college and professional levels.


Passing to a teammate


Two-handed chest passes,

Two-handed bounce passes,

Two-handed skip passes,

One-handed baseball passes,

No look chest passes,

No look bounce passes,

One hand behind the back passes.


Dedicating 30 minutes of practice to these passes allowed our team to have fewer turnovers than our opponents and instilled confidence in us that we could complete any pass to a teammate no matter where he was.

When the defense is hounding the players, he or she needs to be able to make a good, accurate, and strong pass.


The ONLY way to achieve this is to practice, practice, and then practice some more.

Dribbling


Here are some great drills to do for ball handling:

Strong hand dribbling at full speed up the court and back

Weak hand up the court and back,

Crossovers up the court and back

Between the legs up the court and back,

Behind the back up the court and back,

In & out fake crossover, up and down the court


Every time we did our dribbling drills, our coach would make sure we did them at full speed.


Practicing how you would play in the game, will help reduce mistakes when the games are real.

Even if you are tall or play the post for your team, you should be practicing your ball handling as much as possible.


Lay-ups


It may seem like everyone practices lay-ups, but paying attention to every little detail is what makes you more and more consistent and separates you from other players and teams.

As a team, we worked on lay-ups with our strong and weak hands. We made sure to go full speed to simulate the real game.


The emphasis was on making sure the ball hit the corner of the square on the backboard to give the ball the best chance at dropping in the basket.


We would also work on single-leg jumping lay-ups as well as two-footed lay-ups.


As we got better, adding defense by having someone chase us down from the back, helped simulate how a real defender would act during games.


To young players, doing these same drills may seem tedious and unnecessary. They may not understand that the more time spent working on these drills and concepts, the greater the separation they will see from their peers.


Make sure that you are disciplined and consistent in working on the fundamentals every day to build muscle memory.

Most players and coaches don’t have the discipline to work on passes for 30 minutes. Don’t be like everyone else!



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