Drew Hanlen Basketball Drills for Team Shooting and Toughness

April 28, 2016
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NBA skills coach Drew Hanlen presented teaching points and basketball drills that you can apply to your coaching at a Basketball Manitoba coaching clinic. This is a summary of his topic on the basketball drills for team shooting and toughness.

Philosophy of Playing Towards Your Strength

One thing that stands out to Drew Hanlen is the lack of player development from a position. According to Hanlen, “The word positionless is huge right now. Everyone wants positionless basketball, which is great because you teach them how to play and you teach them how to move. I think that so many times when we do this positionless basketball it sometimes takes away strength and I don’t feel like many people have strengths anymore. Everyone is just kind of out there.”

Kyle Korver Strengths

When Drew Hanlen first started out training, he had one page of a workout. He just did the same workout every single day for himself. He feels it got him pretty good. He realized that many NBA players get paid millions of dollars to do one thing really well. If they do multiple things really well, they’re an all-star. Hanlen discussed two players to support his point:

  1. Kyle Korver – He can’t dribble, he can’t defend, he can’t make decisions but he can shoot the hell out of the ball. Well that’s worth about $50 million.
  2. Tony Allen – He can’t do anything on the offensive end but he can guard one guy. He’s not very good at team defense. He’s just good at locking one guy down. That’s good for about a $100 million.

If you start looking across the NBA what it’s boiled down to is “What can you do to help us out.” This philosophy has directed his skill development work. He wants to give the coaches some workout advice to help their players become really good at game-like finishes, game-like reads and game-like this and that. 

Click to follow along with the drills on the clinic video 

Defender on the Side Lay-up Drill (4:52)

  • Players will line up in pairs.
  • The offensive player dribbles in for a lay-up while the defender “rides” them on their side.
  • The defender uses an arm bar when the offense is driving straight for a layup. The defender pushes the offense out with an arm bar. The goal is to force the offense to make a mistake or to push them out of bound.

Defender at the Rim Pro Hop Drill (6:00)

  • The offense dribbles towards the rim and does a pro hop when the defender is in place between them and the basket.
  • The pro hop is a jump stop that changes direction.
  • Both feet should land at the same time to avoid travelling.
  • If you pick the ball up and then hop it is going to be a travel.
  • He wants the players to keep the inside hand out. They should pound the last dribble before the hop. They should also smack the ball with both hands on the ball pick-up.

Drew Hanlen likes the pro hop better than a euro-step because on the euro-step the player is on one foot. On one foot you lose the option of stopping and making a pass out to the weak side of the floor.

1-2 Finish Footwork Breakdown (8:30)

  • If the defender is trailing behind when executing the layup turn and twist your body so that your body is in between the ball and the defender. That way, the ball is now protected by the attacker’s body, the defender now has to get through the attacker’s body to get to the ball and that of course is going to be a foul.
  • The attacker’s execution is to jump off the left foot and finish with the left hand, or vice versa. What he wants the player to do is take a step with the right foot then jump off the left and then finish with the right hand.

Opposite of the Rim Finishes Breakdown (12:00)

  • The player finishes on the opposite side of the rim with two options:
    1. Reverse layup with the right hand.
    2. Layup with the left hand.

Touch Shot Finishing Breakdown (12:50)

  • Use the touch shot when the mid line is crowded and the attacker doesn’t have the option to pro hop or euro-step.
  • The attacker will shoot a touch shot after driving to the basket and stopping on two feet to avoid the charge.
  • A player should land with their shoulders over their knees so they are completely upright and you won’t have to lean back.
  • It’s just going to be straight up and down and then the shot.

Ball Screen Basketball 

Key Teaching Points

  1. Sneak a pick downhill. It means before you come out of a screen, you need to look downhill and find out what the coverage is, where the weak side people are and where your teammates are. Make a read before using the ball screen because after you start to use it chaos will happen.
  2. You need to lose your primary defender. A player either needs to reject and beat the defender or run them into a screen and get them trailing. Or whatever you do to somehow get the defender behind you so that you can be a in a 4-on-3 or 3-on-2.
  3. Can you reject the screen? If yes, then reject it because there’s no coverage waiting for you. If the defense is trying to force you into a screen and you reject it then there’s no help side after the screen. Skill and Drill Demo (16:20-17:21)
  4. Can you split the coverage? If you can do it because after you split through the defenders then you’ll have an advantage. Skill and Drill Demo (17:22-18:11)
  5. Can you go around the coverage? If you can’t reject or split then go around them quickly because you can create an advantage. As you clear the screen get flat and open up your hips. If your hips and eyes face down hill you will have an advantage. If you don’t open up you you can’t make a play to the weak side as your back will be to it. He communicates this to players by telling them to “Throw your butt to the logo.” Skill and Drill Demo (18:12-19:24)
  6. Can you drag the coverage? If you can’t reject, split or go around the coverage but you can drag the defender covering the ball screen so that eventually you can have the option to throw it back to one of your teammates that can take advantage of it.

What to do vs. a ballscreen drop coverage?

A drop coverage is when a lazy big or a big that’s good at shot blocking is up to touch and they start dropping back.

You have two options:

  1. Pocket jump shot.
  2. Come off and snake it to the ring.
  • Snake it to the rim. Act like you’re going to get to nail it and then wrap it and drive to the rim while protecting the ball and finish with your outside hand. Skill and Drill Demo (19:45-20:55)
  • Fake the snake. Come off the ballscreen full speed, fake the defender with an inside-out dribble move. The inside-out dribble happens after you clear the screen. Skill and Drill Demo (20:56-22:00)

Bump-off Re-screen

The solution for when the defender gets over top off the screen and stays between the ball and the basket is to use a bump-off re-screen. Skill and Drill Demo (23:15-23:54)

  • As soon as you get past the screen you pop back and use the screen again the other way.
  • The pop back hopefully brings the defender towards you which sets up the re-screen action.

Final Thoughts on Using Ballscreens

A lot of people over-complicate ballscreen but your primary question is can you either reject it or split it. If you know that your opponent is a blitz team, then you should ask yourself if you can reject. If the answer is no then you’re using the ballscreen. If you use the ballscreen your next question is can you split. If you can’t split you need to get around the ballscreen defender.

If they are in a drop coverage, the first question is can you reject. If the answer is no and they start dropping, the next question is can you split or snake it. if the answer is no, then it should be an automatic inside out.

It’s just a yes or no question. Based on the coverage, you should know exactly what reads you should have (this is where a pregame scouting report helps) so that players don’t have seven options to think about. It’s basically, can I reject, yes or no, and then it’s either going to be an inside out or it’s a snake. It’s either a split through or a pop back and get around. If they uses a ballscreen thinking that they have one decision to make instead of seven, they’re gonna make it likely.

Run Cut Concept to Set-Up a Downscreen (26:46)

A run cut is used instead of a traditional one-two step below the screen set-up by the cutter. The traditional set-up will work vs. bad defenders. Good defenders will require the use of the run cut. A run cut begins with a fake up, followed by a sprint low before you cut off the screen. The run cut should look like you are faking a backdoor cut. This will prevent the defender from jamming the cutter and preventing them from using the screen.

Another important concept is to define the corner. The corner is the area below the lowest hash mark. Most of the time when you say corner players position themselves too high. Positioning players below the lowest hash mark for spacing makes closeouts harder. This is important for positioning the cutter with spacing.

Cuts off the Downscreen

  1. Curl and Shot (27:47)
  2. Curl and One Dribble (28:22)
  3. Bump or Pop (30:08) - He wants players to use a two foot landing instead of a reverse pivot as it prevents travels and allows for a quicker reaction into an attack using a plyo-step.

Six Pass Screening Drill (33:19)

Basketball Screening Drill

1 vs. 2 Dribble Lanes (36:27)

Needs nine players. Three players with a ball are on offense on the baseline. Two players per offensive player are on defense.

  • Play 1 vs. 2 within a lane. The lanes are free throw lane to sidelines on both sides of the court and free throw lane to free throw lane in the middle of the court.
  • The dribbler tries to get past or split the two defenders.
  • The offense will stop and let the defenders catch up again if they beat them.
  • The defenders must keep their hands up and chests out. They are not allowed to steal the ball or foul.
  • A new offensive player with go 1 vs. 2 after one trip is completed.

Zig Zag Drill (41:15)

  • Two players go offense vs. defense one-on-one up the floor.
  • The goal is the number of "breaks" an offensive player gets from the defender (space separation between the defensive player's hands). Call out and count the number of times a "break" happens.
  • When the offense gets to half-court they pass to a coach and play one-on-one without the ball.
  • The offense is allowed a certain number of dribbles based on the number of "breaks" they get dribbling up the floor.
  • If the defense steals the ball or deflect the pass to the coach, their reward is that the drill is done and they don't have to play defense more.

12 Second Drill (44:09)

  • The offense will "flip" the ball anywhere in space.
  • The defender gets all over the offense and tries to steal the ball.
  • The offense must rip through for 4 seconds, stationary dribble for 4 seconds and finally rip through for 4 seconds.

Drift and Curl Shooting (48:20)

  • There are two lines on the wings. The player with the ball drives and kicks to the weakside player drifting (cutting towards the corner).
  • The passer makes a cut to a curl shot after the pass.
  • The coach will then pass a ball to them and make a catch and shoot.

Drive and Kick Kick Shooting (50:24)

  • There are two lines with the player with the ball on the wing and the player without the ball in the corner.
  • The player with the ball drives changes direction and kicks to the weakside player cutting up to the wing.
  • On the pass the receiver penetrates and kicks again to the original driver. On the catch the player shoots and the passer relocates for a pass from the coach and a shot.
  • This drill helps develop multiple action teams.

Transition Throw Back Shots (53:25)

  • One line is at the center and the other is on one of the sides.
  • The player at the side will "hit ahead" to the coach up the wing and run their wing.
  • The player at the center will drive towards the opposite side and use throw back pass across the court to the other player who filled the wing.
  • After the pass the passer will relocate to the top or ballside corner for a pass from the coach.

Veer In Second Step Drill (56:02)

  • Two players start shoulder to shoulder at the elbow.
  • The offense is on the outside with ball. They start with a live dribble.
  • On a "go" command they veer in and attack the defender and the basket to score.
  • The defense will try to push the offense out of bounds.

Drew Hanlen

The offense should place their first step in front of the defender and the second step towards the rim. This way the defender will not have a chance to step in front of the offense and the offense will have an uncontested shot or a layup.

Transition Skip Dribbles (59:43)

  • In the open court use a full speed dribble followed by a slow skip dribble into an attack dribble.
  • This is an application of the Steve Nash "Chest Up, Chin Up" Concept: He says that when Steve Nash came off a ball screen, the first thing he did was get his "chest up and chin up". The reason for this is that when he was in that upright position, he could shoot his floater, he could make the dumped pass that looked like he was gonna finish it or he could just read the floor.

For more great basketball ideas to stimulate your thinking download 

Manual for Teaching Zero Seconds and Basketball Decision Training

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