More 1 on 1 Pressure Drills – Coach Option

Houston Rockets v Detroit Pistons

Set 3

This is Set 3 in my Series of Drills for training players to handle Full Court Pressure.  While the drills still involve only two players going 1 on 1, a coach (or two) is used as a passing option now.  These drills are generally used as small group work involving perimeter players while the Bigs are working at another basket, but they can also involve the whole team.

Drill #3 – 1 on 1 with Coach Option

After players are taught how to use various dribbling moves to beat a defender down the court, the next step is to teach them how to recognize open teammates and get the ball to them.  The two drills presented utilize a Coach standing around mid court who will signal when he is open by raising a hand for a second or two.  The goal of the dribbler is to see a Coach’s hand going up and make a successful pass to him immediately.  The coach can raise his hand at anytime, but only for a second or two, then he can do it again later.  The dribbler (1) continues to work his opponent (X1), trying to beat him down the middle of the court, while watching for the signal to pass to the Coach. (Diagram 1)

As Coach, I eventually tried to challenge the better players by only raising my hand when I thought they wouldn’t see me.  With beginners, I just raised it randomly.  Also, I set up on different sides of the court, but never near the center circle because that is where the dribbler is suppose to head.  The ball handler can use quick stops or back dribbles to create space for his pass to the Coach, or just pass around or over his defender.  A bad pass or a deflected pass is considered a turnover and obviously not the result we want.  Sometimes, as a change up, I would not raise my hand at all and let the ball handler beat his man across mid court with the dribble.

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Drill #4 – 1 on 1 with Double Coach Option

Same as the first drill, only now a second Coach is added to the other side of the court. (Diagram 2)  The two Coaches can be placed at different distances, close or far, or they can move slowly around as the dribbler is proceeding.  The Coaches will offer a hand raised at different times and sometimes at the same time too.  The dribbler now has to try to beat his defender and look for two possible open pass opportunities.  Remember, the offensive player is suppose to use his dribbling moves from Set 1, “Dribbling Basics for All Players,” to also try to beat his defender across mid court line through the center circle.  We usually ended this rotation of the drill after a pass to a Coach or when the dribbler crossed the mid court line.

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These two drills train players, especially point guards, to handle defensive pressure while keeping their eyes up and searching the court for open teammates.  These drills not only allow offensive players to work on their dribble moves, but they also allow the defense to work on containing dribblers and forcing them to a side.

After a couple of sessions with the “Coach Option Drills,” we were ready to move on to more sophisticated drills, adding more players and Traps.  These will be presented in Set 4 later, “2 on 2” and “3 on 3” Drills.

Key Teaching Points:

  1. Remind players to use their moves from Set 1 while working to get past their defender.

2. Dribblers need to keep their eyes up and searching the court as they attack their defender.

3. Quick stops and back dribbles help free up dribblers to make passes.  Use them.

4. One handed passes are generally not good for young players against full court pressure.  They are harder to control and difficult to fake and pull back.

5. Bad passes and deflections are considered a poor result.  Missing too many Coaches’ “hand ups” is also not looked upon with favor.

6. I found it helpful to let the dribbler know how many times I raised my hand and he didn’t pass to me.  The players really used that as a competition and didn’t want me to get away with anything on them.


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