This or That: Traditional Approach vs. Basketball Immersion Approach

In the dynamic realm of basketball training, coaches and parents are always in pursuit of the most efficient methods to enhance players’ abilities. Historically, the emphasis has been on repetitive exercises, where players execute isolated skills in uncontested, simulated scenarios. Nevertheless, at Basketball Immersion, we advocate for a transforming strategy that integrates technique and decision-making through game-like drills and small-sided games. In this blog post, we will delve into the notion of “this or that,” drawing comparisons between conventional methods and our groundbreaking approach to nurturing player growth.

Traditional Approach vs. Basketball Immersion Approach

Traditional basketball coaching often resembles a dance recital – players flawlessly execute memorized drills, but struggle to adapt those movements to the unpredictable chaos of a real game. The Basketball Immersion approach throws out the script, prioritizing skill acquisition through game-like situations. Here’s why this shift is so valuable:

  • From Rote to Reality: Basketball Immersion ditches the rote memorization of drills. Instead, players learn by doing in a dynamic, game-like environment. They encounter realistic decision-making scenarios, forcing them to apply skills under pressure, just like they would in a real game. This fosters transferable skills, ensuring players can adapt their abilities to any situation on the court.
  • Building Confidence Through Autonomy: Traditional practices often dictate every move, leaving players passive participants. Basketball Immersion empowers players with decision-making autonomy. They’re encouraged to experiment, solve problems within the game-like scenarios, and learn from mistakes. This fosters a deeper understanding of the game, builds confidence, and ignites a passion for learning.
  • Unlocking Potential Through Player-Centered Development: Traditional coaching often takes a one-size-fits-all approach. Basketball Immersion recognizes every player learns differently. Through individualized feedback and a focus on understanding why a skill is important, coaches can tailor their approach to unlock each player’s full potential. This personalized learning environment fosters a growth mindset and allows players to become active participants in their own development.

Basketball Immersion isn’t just about drills; it’s about a shift in coaching philosophy. By prioritizing game-like situations, individual needs, and player autonomy, it equips players with the skills and confidence to thrive on the court, transforming them from dancers in a recital to dynamic forces in the real game.

Comparing This or That

Traditional basketball drills have long been a staple in player development, offering structured routines to hone skills. However, there’s a growing recognition of the value in embracing a more immersive approach to training. By immersing players in scenarios that mimic real-game situations, the basketball immersion makeover of traditional drills provides a dynamic learning experience.

The value of these this or that comparisons is that the immersion makeovers lies bridge the gap between practice and performance. By replicating game-like conditions, players develop the instincts and confidence needed to excel in high-pressure situations. Moreover, it fosters a deeper understanding of how skills translate to real-game scenarios, ultimately leading to more effective and versatile players.

Embracing the immersive approach not only keeps training sessions engaging and relevant but also maximizes player development by emphasizing skills in context. As coaches come up with your own ideas about how to change a traditional drill into a more immersive drill like we have demonstrated. Or, just adopt ours, and enjoy your players immersive learning.

3-on-0 vs. 3-on-3

On-air repetition’s are not wrong. You can use the 3-on-0 or on-air situations, but we would suggest you don’t start there. Start with the full context by including defense. Only use the on-air if your player are having a hard time with the task complexity. However, the goal is to move beyond that as quickly as possible in the learning process. Adding one defender, it still allows the offense to execute with an advantage. However, defense changes the perceptions, decisions and solutions for the offense. Adding defenders helps bridge the gap between on-air, blocked repetitions which don’t transfer to games and full 5-on-5 in which it’s easy for players to hide. Within the 3-on-3 drill, if players struggle with connecting concepts, a quick reconnection can be used to focus attention back on the important details.

Layup Lines vs. Perceptual Layups

Layup lines lack game context due to the absence of perception-action coupling. Since players are practicing without defenders, there is little cognitive engagement. Consequently, there is a lack of decision-making involved. In contrast, Perceptual Layups introduce a defender at the rim, requiring players to perceive the defender’s position, make decisions on how to score, and execute their moves against an opponent.

Static vs. Dynamic Dribbling

Many coaches see superstars like Steph Curry doing stationary dribbling as part of their pregame warm-up routine. They automatically assume that doing these stationary dribbling drills will help improve their players’ ball handling abilities. Really, these stationary repetitions during Curry’s warmups are to provide a sense of comfort and confidence prior to performance.

Dynamic dribbling is a superior method for enhancing in-game dribbling skills. Unlike stationary dribbling, dynamic dribbling simulates game-like scenarios where players have to navigate through defenders in tight spaces. This not only improves ball handling under pressure but also enhances players’ ability to read the court and make quick decisions. By practicing dynamic dribbling, players can better prepare themselves for the challenges they will face during actual games.

3-Man Weave vs. 3-on-1 Transition

The common arguments in support of 3-Man Weave include its ability to teach spacing, passing, catching, communication, and finishing in transition. However, the effectiveness of these teachings may be limited without the presence of a defender. By introducing a defender, players are compelled to utilize passing, dribbling, spacing, and finishing skills in more realistic game-like situations. Moreover, the inclusion of a defender promotes better communication and problem-solving among players. Eliminating the scripted start allows players to practice transition offense from various scenarios, enhancing their adaptability during actual 5-on-5 games.


In summary, the comparison between traditional on-air unopposed repetitions and Basketball Immersion’s method of integrating technique and decisions emphasizes the distinction. Although both techniques target skill enhancement, our unique approach focuses on replicating game situations to enhance players’ readiness for real challenges on the court. Through the fusion of technique and decision-making during training, we enable players to enhance their performance and maximize their capabilities. Thank you to Basketball Manitoba for supporting our sharing of the game.

Watch the full “This or That” clinic presentation and many other valuable clinics on their YouTube channel:

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