I base a lot of my training on making players more proficient in game situations and getting them to move cleanly around the court. Here are a few of the steps we take to achieve our goals.
“Part / Whole” Method
In a game there are 7 to 8 basic offensive actions: iso, pick and roll, dribble hand-off, multiple types of screens, and a variety of different cuts. I will classify all of those actions and then drill players on them with game-like situations.
Start out in situations without a defender. Teach the player what’s going to happen and how they should respond. Then apply light defensive pressure to the situation defensively.
Once they’ve got the fundamentals in place, play the situation out and make sure the player makes the correct choice based on what he/she sees from the defense.
It’s important to keep pushing the pace up, forcing them to play in contact, and ramp up the pressure. When I’m training and playing defensively, I like to apply heavy pressure or foul hard because that way the player is better prepared to succeed in a game situation.
I like to identify a player with a position on the court. In my book, you are what you can guard.
For example, a player may think he is a wing. He may have the offensive skill set necessary to be a wing at his current level, but he can’t guard a wing because he doesn’t have the lateral quickness at that position. That’s what college coaches will often evaluate when looking at young, promising players, so it’s important to understand that.
I try to identify those key movements that are necessary for a given position and work on how to improve those movements with all my players. If you have a player who is a little taller than most kids but doesn’t have a position, the focus is to teach him how to move in an agile way, open up his hips, and be able to play certain positions on the court.
I use a foot matrix for movement work too. It’s not just about footwork, it’s about whole body movement: how your hips move, how other parts of your body move.
During workouts I can have players of all different levels on the court at the same time. My focus in those cases is on the highest skilled player. So if I have an NBA player on the court with high school players, I’ll focus on the NBA guy because the high school kid is learning from everything going on. An NBA player does things at such an acute level, and everything is so detailed and done with such efficiency, that there is a ton for a younger player to learn just by paying attention to the workout.
I’ve been working with Raymond Felton for the last four and half years now. So say he’s working on wide pin-downs and I’ve got a college player that will also train with us. Everything I’m telling Raymond, the college player is learning from. So just from osmosis, players are picking up on what the best player is doing. So as a result, all the players are getting the details they need. Everyone feeds off of how hard the best player is working and how detailed that player is.