Welcome to the second in a series of installments from Coach Rob Smith, East Lansing Girls Varsity Basketball Coach. Coach Smith began his coaching career in his home town of Montague and has held basketball and softball coaching positions at Lowell, Elkton-Pigeon-Bayport, Grand Rapids Northview and Bath.
He and his teams have earned seven straight CAAC-Blue Conference Titles with four consecutive district and regional titles. The East Lansing Varsity girls were State basketball finalists in 2008 and earned the State Class A Varsity Girls Basketball Championship in 2010!
Coach Smith is an eight time recipient of the Lansing State Journal Class A Coach of the Year and 2008 Michigan Coach of the Year!!
This installment features Coach Smith addressing the question of what a youth player should do to improve their offensive skills.
One of the most important things is to practice your offensive moves at game speed. So many players miss layups because they don’t practice them at game speed. In addition to practicing at game speed be sure to add someone contesting your shots. Every time a player practices they should begin with form shooting keeping things close to the basket in the beginning. Shooting around is fun, but do it at game speed – it makes you better.
It is also important for a player to develop an intermediate jump shot. Players need to be able to pull up on the fast break and make a 10-foot jumper with good form. Players should keep their shot line, elevate off the ground and release the ball at the top of their jump shot.
Something that will make every player better is their ability to “see-the-floor”. See things before they develop. Players must see their target while dribbling – they have to keep their head up. Work on pressured dribbling – get used to having someone play defense on you while you are dribbling and looking up the court. A simple drill is called Player-in-the Middle. Start with three players and have one player in the middle trying to steal passes and pressure the player with the ball while the other two pass the ball back and forth. This drill will help players practice no look passes and help them develop the ability to get passes around defenders. Players should also work on post entry passes – passing the ball into the post with a fake down and pass up pass; wrap-around pass; or my favorite – a zip pass – fake down and “ZIP” it past the defenders ear!!
I hope you found this installment from Coach Smith helpful. Please stay tuned as the next installment from Coach Smith will address how players can improve their defensive skills. Do not forget to leave any comments or suggestions!!