The Hoops College Methodology
Hoops College strives to present things in a very clear concise and organized methodology. As we present topics, each section will begin with a description of the topic. Next, points of emphasis and fundamentals for the players involved in the action will follow the general description. These points of emphasis are the primary teaching points for each layer. The teaching breakdown of each layer follows these points of emphasis including building blocks for creating drills to reinforce the teaching points.
Building Blocks vs. Drills
These building blocks could be used as drills. In contrast, we believe drills should take a number of factors into consideration. Here are some important factors that drills should consider (there are many others):
- Number of players on the team
- Skills of players on the team
- Number coaches on staff
- Skills of coaches on the team
- Number of available baskets
- Time available
We encourage coaches to start with these building blocks and design drills around them for your team and your philosophy. We will provide many examples of drills. However, any compilation of drills is not all-inclusive. There are so many useful variations that will fit one team better than another team. If you understand the building blocks, you can create drills that will fit the needs of your team. However, the building blocks are the keys to building a complete system. They will follow a logical progression in a Whole Part Whole Methodology.
If defensive concepts can be taught with a specific section, those concepts will be discussed as part of the description for that section. The specific defensive strategy or philosophy is mutually exclusive from the offense. However, all defensive strategies have certain concepts that must be taught. The building blocks used to teach the offense can be used to teach many defensive concepts as well. However, the drill will need to be changed to make sure defense is the emphasis.
The whole part whole methodology is used for teaching each individual layer. Significant time does not need to be spent on the initial “whole” segment. However, it is important that players see the big picture prior to the breakdown of the layer so that the smaller parts will make sense. Many of the building blocks used to teach the individual layers of the offense can be used to teach other parts of the game as well. They are great foundations for teaching defensive fundamentals, footwork, ball handling, and a long list of other fundamental skills.
Building Blocks as Teaching Tools
The repetition of the layers makes the actions and reactions habitual. If the repetition of fundamentals is the focus, defensive players should be eliminated or be dummy players. If the purpose is to test fundamental skills or to improve on the execution of the offense, the defenders should be live.
The building blocks are great tools for offseason workouts to build the habits of the offense with the focus being on individual fundamental skills. When practices start, the same building blocks will improve the team’s execution of offensive and defensive strategies.
Framework for Methodology
As a general framework for this methodology, introductory building blocks for each layer will include 2 offensive players and 1 action. Initially, these basic building blocks are good for the installation of each layer as well as the teaching and repetition of the fundamentals required to make each layer work.
If the goal is to improve offensive execution, it is important to use drills that incorporate multiple layers and multiple actions as well as live defenders. Once teams can execute the foundational layers effectively, the rest will fall into place fairly easily. However, everything starts with the basics. Skipping steps hurts the development of the individuals and the team.
Coaches must emphasize the layers they want their team to employ beyond the basic layers. As players master one layer, add another one to increase your team’s sophistication. The seamless execution of the combination of layers will take time to master. In addition, unless players can execute individual layers, players cannot execute a combination of layers.
Youth teams may find that the foundational layers are enough for their complete offensive system. Once this foundation becomes a habit, finally add optional layers to increase player’s sophistication and basketball IQ.
There are a couple of ways to approach teaching the combination of layers. Some coaches advocate the drilling of predetermined combinations of layers. In other words, on this possession, execute the following actions in this order.
The Hoops College methodology advocates giving the players the freedom to combine layers while requiring proper execution of their choices. Predicated actions may provide good ways to teach specific defensive concepts. However, in order to encourage offensive creativity, execution, and basketball IQ for players, players must learn to create offense on their own. Freedom doesn’t necessarily mean total freedom. It doesn’t mean that you as the coach can’t control the action in certain ways.
Control the Action
Here are a few examples. You can probably come up with many others.
- Limit the actions for the team to a certain group of actions. (Attack Dribble would always be in the mix for me, for the reason that I always want players to have an aggressive mentality).
- All players can only Attack Dribble or Dribble At.
- All players can only Attack Dribble or Pass to the Post.
- Give players the freedom to do whatever they want but also require them to include a specific action in the possession.
- The team must set at least 3 back screens in this possession
- At least 1 guard and 1 post must set a pin screen.
- Post up after every pass.
- A specific action, for example, the third action, in a possession is specified
- This possession must start with an Attack Dribble.
- The third action must include a Pass & Cut.
- A certain player must always execute a certain action
- Player A must set a screen for every passer.
- Player B must Attack Dribble every possession.
- A certain player can never execute a certain action.
- Player C can do anything except Pass & Cut.
- Player D can do anything except set a ball screen.
Post vs. Perimeter
To achieve mastery of the offense, all players must be comfortable executing the offense as perimeter and post players. A player’s location on the court, not the position listed in the media guide, determines their label of post or perimeter. To start teaching the offense, eliminate post players. Bigger, less skilled players may not spend significant amounts of time on the perimeter and vice-versa for smaller more skilled players. However, it is inevitable that there will be moments where every player regardless of size or skill set will be in different areas of the court and consequently must be able to react properly.
Post players are players who enter the lane or who are located in the area immediately around the lane. Perimeter players are players who find themselves outside the 3-point line. Skill sets are irrelevant to the label of post or perimeter for offensive purposes. Remember, at any given moment any player could be either a post or perimeter player and as a result must react appropriately. The majority of the structure for the offense is for perimeter players.
The offense only requires that post players react properly to dribble penetration. Coaches have the freedom to add other rules and requirements for post players at the team level or the individual level based on player’s skill sets. Consequently, we will discuss some of the possibilities for these types of rules in a future post.