By ONE2ONE Team
A different kind of drill to help prepare your team for the unexpected...
"We don't have the time to prepare for EVERYTHING."
It's a common lament heard from coaches worldwide. Indeed, it seems that no matter how much time you get with your team, you wish you had a little more.
One of the areas which is most commonly overlooked by coaches who are especially pressed for time is "special situations". After all, when you've only got a couple of hours a week with a team to fit in getting your shots up, making defensive adjustments, implementing a scouting report and adding a new layer to your offence, how on earth would you make time to establish what to do when you're up/down four points, with 1:20 to play and no fouls to give?
As such, one of our favourite things to do with teams is to use the scrimmages to put them into specific situations (like the one mentioned above), or taking free-throw practice (with the aim of missing the free-throw and grabbing the offensive board) specifically for those moments later in the season.
While it's easy enough to simply tell a team "you're up X, no fouls to give, one timeout" - and it's a tool which has its' merits - our favourite way to prepare our teams for the chaos that comes late in tight games is to start from an unknown score...
Once the teams are set, we have each team call two flips of the coin.
The first coin flip is for fouls to give. The second is for timeouts.
If the team wins their coin flip, they get one, if they lose it, they give one to the opponent.
Red calls "Heads, Heads", the coin comes up "Tails, Heads". The other team has a foul to give, but Red have a timeout.
Blue calls "Tails, Tails" and it comes up "Tails, Tails", then Blue adds another foul to give (giving them two), and has a timeout as well.
We give the teams 30 seconds to discuss their approach - to simulate a long huddle/short timeout, and from there, we have a clock set at two minutes, and the teams begin to play - while the fouls and timeouts are available to the teams, the clock does not start until there have been nine points (or more) scored between the teams.
This gives a suitable "random" sample between the teams in terms of variances of scoreline (anything from a one-point game to a nine-point game), fouls to give (anything between 0-2) and timeouts (anything from 0-2).
Once the two minute game is concluded, we bring the team together, and have the players lead the conversation about the tactics they undertook, whether they felt they were successful and what (if anything) they would change.
If there are certain philosophical points that we have to reinforce (such as fouling late in the clock up three in order to prevent overtime), then the coaches tend to lead on this until such time as the players have the "rules" down.
We think adding this wrinkle to your practices will help your team to be more poised come crunch time, but if you'd like us to come run this (or anything else) with your team, please don't hesitate to get in touch, and don't forget, if you'd to have all of our drills to-hand this season, our Drill Bible is available from our webstore.