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Basketball Skill Development:
Practice Drills for the Give n Go

Basketball skill development is an ongoing process - we're always teaching the skills, and players need to always be learning, refining, and practicing them so that, when it comes time for them to use these skills in a game, the skills come naturally.

I always say that I don't want my players to think on the court. This is partly a joke - of course I don't want them to be making bad decisions or no decisions in the game - but I also don't want them to be trying to remember how to do things while the game is underway. Basic, fundamental skills like cutting and faking and essential moves such as the give n go play are things every player needs to be able to execute without thinking if he wants to be effective.

These practice drills will help players become more comfortable and decisive when running give n go plays. The drills teach players how to execute the give n go, starting with the simple movement itself, and adding obstacles as the players progress in their abilities to perform the movement.

Basketball Skill Development:
Basic Movement for the Give n Go

basketball skill development - give n go practice drill 1 basketball skill development - give n go practice drill 1b

  • Have players line up at the top of the key, single file, one ball with the first player in line. Two players start at the wing

  • The player with the ball passes to the wing, makes the fake and then cuts down the side of the key

  • The wing passes back to the cutter, and the cutter finishes the layup strong - if he misses, he rebounds until it goes in

  • Focus:

    • Good strong passes - chest pass or proper bounce pass - always strong and with proper form

    • Quick jab away - as if the player intends to move in that direction - before making a very quick cut down the key.

    • Wing cannot be staring at the cutter - i.e., don't telegraph the pass - instead, the wing should look a little above the players at a mid point on the court (usually just above the basket) so that he can see the entire court using his peripheral vision

    • The cutter must always finish strong - game situation

  • The cutter takes the ball out of the hoop, pivots and passes (proper chest pass) back to the next player in line. The cutter goes to the end of the passing line; the passer goes to the end of the cutting line.

Basketball Skill Development:
Adding in One Defensive Player

basketball skill development - give n go practice drill 2
  • Same as above, except now there is a defensive player assigned to the cutter

  • Now the cutter must work against a defensive player - this provides the cutter with a target to practice the jab step (refer to cutting and faking for tips on how to execute a good fake)

  • As with the first drill, the cutter needs to cut hard and finish the drive, and everyone needs to pass hard, with proper form

  • The defensive man needs to play honest defense (though if he cheats, the cutter can always go backdoor on him to teach him a lesson)

  • Once the cutter makes the basket, he passes out to the next person in line. The cutter becomes the defender, the defender moves to the passer's spot, and the passer goes to the end of the line.

Basketball Skill Development:
Adding in a Screen

basketball skill development - give n go practice drill 3
  • Another offensive player is added to the drill to set a screen for the cutter

  • This now allows us to practice several skills in one drill - the cutter practices a strong fake and cut, as well as the give 'n go; the screener practices setting good screens; the defender tries to fight through the screen; and of course, the passer practices strong passes to a player on the move

  • Once the cutter makes the basket, player move in this rotation: cutter to defender; defender to screener; screener to passer; passer to end of line

Basketball Skill Development:
A Final Word

Always enforce that these drills are performed under game situations - good fakes, quick cuts, strong passes and always finish the drive with a basket. Enforce punishments of some sort - suicides or pushups - if they start to slacken off. If players walk through the drills, nothing will transfer to the game; if they practice like they mean it, they'll become much more effective players and you'll have a much stronger team.

More on Basketball Skill Development here

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"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
- Thomas Jefferson

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