The Basketball Podcast: EP326 with Brian Benjamin on FIBA 3×3

RELEASE DATE : 26/06/2024

In this week’s coaching conversation, the technical director for Netherlands basketball and former FIBA 3×3 head coach Brian Benjamin joins the Basketball Podcast to discuss FIBA 3vx3 and its application to all basketball coaching.

From 2016 to 2021, Brian Benjamin has been the Head Coach of the 3×3 Men National Team of The Netherlands. After his teams won several medals at the Europe Cup and World Cup, the Men’s team qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Brian Benjamin is currently the Technical Director of the Netherlands Basketball Federation, a position in which he oversees and is responsible for all National Teams and Talent Programs (3×3, 5-on-5 and Wheelchair) of the Netherlands Basketball Federation.

Brian Benjamin

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Brian Benjamin Quotes:

“On of the things with the three x three national team is that we had our players the whole year. So, you can work on your team, you can play your tournaments, and every time you can go back, analyze what went wrong, and adapt to your daily practice situation . . I would say it’s a lot easier to progress and improve your team in a three x three setting than in a five-on-five national team setting.” 

[On 3 x 3 rules]  “There are a couple of differences vs. five -on- five.  [In 3×3] You play half court. I think the biggest difference for me is the shot clock. You have a twelve second shot clock. There’s no bringing up the ball, there’s always pressure . . Another big difference is how you score. You have one and two points. In regular five-on-five basketball, you have one, two and three points. Because the two pointers are twice as many points, it’s a big factor in your game strategy. And I would say the fouls. So, there’s no maximum fouls that you can have as a player, but as a team, there’s a maximum of seven files. And once you have your seventh foul, every foul is two free throws and at ten fouls, it’s two free throws and possession.”

“With five-on-five basketball, you would say, on average, you would have to shoot 35% threes to beat the 50% twos. With three x three, it’s about 25%. So, there’s a lower percentage to be more efficient.”

“My main defensive philosophy is that we switch everything because our main focus on defense is to take away the two-point shot. I don’t care if there is a mismatch, as long as you don’t give up a two-point shot. So, we switch and we switch on contact. Our number one rule in defense is touch and talk.”

“Whenever there’s a screen situation, the defender who’s playing defense on the screener calls the switch.  He has to go out all the way and the other defensive player has to get underneath the screener to prevent an easy roll.”

“I think the misconception when people talk about 3×3 is that they think it’s three-ball and everybody’s playing one-on-one. Obviously, that would be the worst kind of offense because it’s very inefficient. We run a lot of off ball actions, redirection screens, rescreen situations, because when players are moving, it’s just easier to play offense. It’s the same as in five-on-five basketball. If somebody goes iso all the time, it’s very easy to play defense on.”

“You create a team that, if a team is switching, you want to create a matchup that you want. And that goes back to having players that are really good at playing one on one.”

“I’m a big believer that on average, teams lose more games than their opponent wins . .  My whole coaching perspective is you limit your mistakes. So, no turnovers, no poor offenses, no missed box outs, no unnecessary fouls, etc. Don’t beat yourself.”

“I think that is the main benefit of three x three when you want to develop complete basketball players . . In our youth talent development program, we let all of our players also play three x three just for them to learn how to play defense because they are forced to . .  you actually have to stand your ground. So, from a teaching perspective, it’s great to teach guys how to play defense, but also how to be smart in defense.”

“You can simulate any regular basketball situation in a three x three setting. Using the three x three rules, every action matters because it’s a twelve-second short clock. It emphasizes that details are important. If you miss one screen in three x three, because of the 12 second shot clock, basically you’ve lost an offense because the screen wasn’t set at a proper angle . . Because there’s so much pressure and there’s so much physicality, the angles of the screens have to be really right for every screen”

“When you have the ball, you always have to be a threat. And I think that’s the main advantage because your players are learning not to get the ball and then look for two or three passes or five passes and not being a threat. If everybody on the floor is a threat, your offense becomes much more efficient. Everybody can make decisions. I can shoot, I can drive or I can use the screen.”

“It’s the simplest action to pass the ball from the top to the wing or vice versa. So, I think the first focus when we teach basketball should be on teaching players how to play one on one, either shooting, using a screen, or taking a closeout. All the other stuff. It’s easy to learn, but it’s so much more difficult to teach somebody to be aggressive with the ball and to make the right decision.”

“We do a lot of drills with the defense being on the side of the offensive player. The offensive player has to learn to initiate contact and not use speed, but use his body to control the defense, to finish with contact.”

Brian Benjamin Breakdown:

1:00 – Netherlands Success in 3×3 Basketball
5:00 – Defensive Strategies for 3–Point Shots
11:00 – Strategies to Counter Switches
14:00 – Defensive Rebounds and Communication
20:00 – Limiting Turnovers
22:00 – One-on-One Defense
27:00 – Player Skills and Team Concept
30:00 – 3×3 Practice and Defensive Tactics
36:00 – Importance of Individual Skills
39:30 – Performance Analysis
42:00 – Keep Competing

Brian Benjamin Selected Links from the Podcast:

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