Concepts in the Pick & Roll and Small-sided Games – Basketball Tasmania Clinics

Posted on Nov 21 2019

Basketball Tasmania recently presented two clinics as part of their ongoing commitment to coach development in the state. State High Performance Manager and experienced national team program coach Mark Radford presented on pick and roll, while BTas Development Officer Nic Martin talked about small-sided games. Below are some notes and video of the clinics.

Mark Radford – Pick and Roll Play

Five S’s of Pick and Roll Play:

  • Starting Point (i.e. if SPR = FT line extended, not pinned to sideline)
  • Set Up (must always be a threat away from screen)
  • Speed (can come off slow/fast – read defence)
  • Separation (both screener and roller)
  • Score (Can I score? Can the roller score? If the answer is NO = throw back)

Other Pick and Roll Notes:

  • Difficult to teach junior players PR play. Takes a lot of time and patience. Don’t afraid to teach some concepts to younger age groups – not necessarily “PR play” – but some passes and movements you do out of it – develops skill.
  • Slow and steady wins the race. You will never be too late using the screen, but you can be too early.
  • Read how are you being guarded and how is the screener being guarded.
  • If the defence goes under = look to shoot 3 (if your range), win the foot race to the paint or TWIST (rescreen).
  • Throwback pass is often the best pass you can throw in PR, yet it isn’t utilised enough – keep emphasising and you will see improvement here.

General Notes:

  • Must be able to handle the ball under pressure, with your eyes up. Don’t pick up your dribble too early.
  • Be light on your feet – have a little bit of “wiggle” when handling ball.
  • Don’t just run the play. Read the defence and act accordingly.
  • Will rarely get layups out of PR against good defences – develop skill set and your 5-10 foot game (floaters).
  • Be comfortable with it being messy at times.

Nic Martin – Small-sided Games

  • Your teams become what you emphasise. If you want your team/players to be great at something then you need to emphasize it every day.
  • The drills/games aren’t necessarily what make the players better. It’s the teaching points and what you emphasize.
  • Consider the notes from Mark’s presentation (above) and look at what you can bring forward (2 presentations tie in together).
  • Turnovers are caused by 1 of 2 things – poor decision making or poor skill execution. Small sided games works on both decision making and skills.
  • Small sided games aren’t the be all and end all of coaching. Need to have concept/game play in your sessions – but you need to strike a balance between block work and small sided games. This balance will vary from team to team.
  • You can’t jump straight into some of the stuff shown without doing the block work prior.
  • With small sided games – you can set rules to emphasize what you work players to work on (finishes for example).
  • Consider the makeup of your team and alter games to challenge/help:
  • Put your “more experienced” players in disadvantage situations
  • Put your “middle of the pack” players in same situations (i.e. 1on1, 2on2 with no advantage/disadvantage)
  • Put your “less experienced” players in advantage situations
  • Encourage players to play off 2 feet when in the paint – gives more time to read the defence and make decisions.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new:
  • See it one day, teach it the next
  • When was the last time you coached something for the first time?

Thanks to Mark, Nic and Basketball Tasmania for sharing these valuable resources for all coaches.


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