Start Here: What is Zero Seconds and Basketball Decision Training?

The two main concepts of Basketball Immersion are Basketball Decision Training and Zero Seconds Skills Training. It is important that I define both terms and explain why the concepts are important. Put simply, Zero Seconds is skills training, and Basketball Decision Training (BDT) is mind training.

What is Possible?

Zero Seconds

Zero Seconds Skills Training is focused on improving ball skills. Dribbling, ballhandling, passing and shooting are taught through fast-paced and rhythmic learning opportunities. We mix many of those skills together rather than training them in isolation.

Why Zero Seconds?

We believe that the most open an offensive player is going to get is when they first catch the ball. As such there are no predetermined movements. We want technical aspects of offensive play executed quickly and decisively with no pause on the catch. This means that as soon as a player’s feet hit the ground they are immediately into their shot, pass, or drive. As a result we do not emphasize jabs or fakes but rather we want our players to make decisive decisions on the catch about whether to shoot, dribble or pass.

We also believe the goal of the offensive player who catches the ball is to score. Because of this they need to attack immediately on the catch with no hesitation to take advantage of a recovering defender or help side defenders. If they cannot score it is because the defense prevented it. This creates secondary decisions.

The decision making progression on the catch is that we want all players to catch the ball prepared to shoot. Too many players catch the ball unprepared to shoot. We want to build a confident mindset. We also want to force a reaction from the defense on every catch. One of the ways to do this is to ensure that all players catch the basketball with the intent to shoot. The decision not to shoot the ball on the catch is determined by:

  1. Defender
  • Gap – If the defender gives the offensive player space, then the decision should be to shoot the ball.
  • No Gap (Jam) – If the defender jams the offensive player then the decision should be to attack with first step.
  • Counter – If the defender gets chest to chest after a first step dribble then the decision should be the counter with a dribble in the opposite direction.
  1. Teammate
  • Sometimes a teammate may have a better opportunity to score. The zero seconds concept applies to passing. If the decision to shoot or drive are not chosen we want the ball to move quickly.
  1. Coach’s Philosophy
  • In individual player development we remove any constraints placed on a learner. We want them to freely work towards skill and mind training improvement. However we recognize that a coach’s philosophy may dictate the best shot opportunities for a player or team.


The goal of BDT is to provide learning opportunities that help players to improve their decision-making skills, not just their technical skills. It uses random and variable learning opportunities to best simulate competitive conditions. The foundation of the BDT process is the hand and body signals which key an offensive reaction. Various signals are used by the passer or coach and the offensive players must read the signal to make the appropriate decision. BDT can be applied to just about any drill.

Learn more about how Basketball Decision Training connects with a games approach to coaching here: The Comprehensive Guide to Basketball Decision Training

Why BDT?

The goal of practice should be to improve players’ performances in the long term and to support the transfer of the training to game performance. Many of the teaching methods used by coaches are not effective at accomplishing that goal.

Numerous researchers and studies have consistently concluded that random practice makes players better over the long term and prepares players more effectively to perform in competition.

Why? Because the opposite of random practice is blocked practice. Blocked practice involves athletes repeatedly performing a skill again and again. For example, ten shots in a row from the elbow. On the first few repetitions the shooter may have to think, but after that the drill becomes mindless. Whereas in random practice a shooter would be required to think on each repetition. This process of engaging the mind of the learner on each repetition leads to better retention.

Random practice challenges a player to think on each repetition. It involves players practicing multiple skills in a random order in game-like drills. This requires players to perform several skills in random order. Each repetition is unique. An example would be shooting from various locations on the floor while mixing in passing and penetrate and kick actions prior to the actual shot.

BDT is an attempt to bring the concept of random practice to the forefront of individual and team training in a practical and applicable way.

Learn more in our full course on Basketball Decision Training here: How to Teach Basketball Decision Training Shooting

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