5 fixes for basketball sessions that are too easy or difficult for players

  1. Increase the number of chase down layups
  2. Improve shooting percentages (5 different ways covered in this article)
  3. Practice passing drills
  4. Rapid-fire 3 on 2 session
  5. Get players to locate the target (Rim) earlier

Basketball is not an easy sport to master. Even pros can find training sessions too difficult, or too easy, and in both cases this could knock confidence before a game.

When training sessions aren’t going to plan, a coach may need to pause for a moment and rethink how to approach things differently. There’s no sense struggling on with a session that players aren’t getting the most from.

At times, sessions could be too difficult. Players could be having a hard time understanding what you want them to do. At other times, these sessions could be too easy. Forcing a coach to make quick changes to ensure players really benefit from them. In this article, we look at five ways coaches can fix training sessions that aren’t going to plan.


5 fixes for challenging basketball training sessions

#1: Increase the number of chase down layups

Chase down layups are a great way to get players to finish full layups at speed and under pressure. If a training session is proving too difficult (or easy), then this is a great way to mix things up and get players engaged more effectively.

A chase down layup drill should start with two lines of players down each end of the floor. An offensive and defensive line.

Start this session with giving one player from the offensive team an advantage over the defensive. It’s up to the coach how far off the baseline they are. This way, the offensive player needs to sprint while dribbling, under pressure, and aim to get the basketball on target despite the pressure. Repeat the exercise when you swap the offensive and defensive teams.


#2: Improve shooting percentages

Players could be missing too many shots in training. When this happens too often, player confidence could be knocked, and that’s not what you need as a coach before they play a competitive game.

Take a close look at players struggling to hit the target. Review videos of past sessions — which you can do with XPS Collections — to identify those in need of more help when it comes to hitting the target. 

Players who are struggling with this more than others could benefit from some one-on-one time; just a hoop, ball, and either yourself, an assistant coach, or another player to support them. There’s no shortage of things a coach can do to improve shooting percentages. Depending, of course, on the issue affecting particular players. Here are a few examples:

Hold your follow through. Basketball players have heard this hundreds of times; but that’s because it works. Holding your follow through solves numerous shooting problems. It helps players maintain a good technique that they soon won’t need to think about.

Don’t think about shooting mechanics. Once a player starts thinking too much about their shooting mechanics, it can seriously mess up any attempted shot. Once players have got rhythm and mechanics down, encourage them NOT to think about this all of the time.

Stop caring. Woah, really!? Yes. Encourage players to approach each shot with the mindset of, “I don’t care if this goes in or not.” With lower expectations, there’s less pressure with every shot, which should make a positive difference when the moment of truth comes.

Develop an optimal arc. Did you realise that when a shot has a flat 35 degree arc, the margin of error is only .6 inches? Whereas, a 45 degree arc, this increases to 3 inches. Which means, if players can focus on perfecting their shooting arc, the margin of error reduces dramatically. Aim to finish a follow through with the rim clearly visible beneath the fingers of your shooting hand.

Film every shot. Good and bad ones. This way, players can watch them back within XPS Collections, which makes a huge difference when it comes to understanding how to perfect shooting percentages, techniques, and making much-needed changes. You can use XPS Analyzer and Presenter to highlight situation and add drawings for better understanding and share them easily with your players via XPS Messages

Of course, there are loads of other ways to improve shooting percentages. Dozens of techniques. We will cover these in another article for basketball players and coaches.


#3: Practice passing drills

If players are a bit shaky when it comes to passing, then get them to practice a number of passing drills. One of the best ways to get both teams to practice smart passing to limit turnovers. No dribbling or shooting allowed in this session.

Get players to stick to an individual opponent. Keep the number of passes to a fixed limit, such as 20, without the opposing team getting a steal or deflecting the basketball out of bounds. If that happens, then the ball switches to the other team, with the opposition aiming for the same objective, to prevent the team with the ball from getting possession of the ball.  


#4: Rapid-fire 3 on 2 session

If players are finding training too difficult, or easy, try mixing things up a little. With a rapid-fire 3 on 2 session. It’s one of the best ways to improve passing and decision making.

With an extra player on offense, there should always be someone open, providing the offensive team keeps spaced apart. Get 5 players on the court, use one ball, and then once the first rapid-fire 3 on 2 session is complete, get another 5 players to run the same practice. Keep going until everyone has had a go, then get back to practicing something else.


#5: Get players to locate the target (Rim) earlier

When it comes to shooting, one of the most effective ways to increase the percentage of shots on-target is to get players to locate the target (Rim) earlier.

Make this a normal part of every player’s shooting technique. If they can master this, then it should be easier for everyone on the team to hit the target more consistently.


Would your team, club, youth association, or sports association benefit from XPS and its wide range of features? Contact XPS Network if you want to find out more, or Sign-up for a Free Trial today.




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