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How to Quickly Improve Your Players Balance, Footwork, and Overall Basketball Skills
You might find this hard to believe, but if done properly, the Jump Stop Drill can make a huge difference in your players performance, both young and old.
This is an absolutely critical drill to player development. My old high school coach (who is a now a very successful college coach) made us do a variation of the jump stop drill every single day.
The drill will lower the number of times your players travel, improve their balance, improve their confidence, and improve their ability to pivot and create space.
I personally attest to this drill improving my basketball ability more than any other drill.
It's amazingly simple, yet very important and effective.
Here are the drill instructions and tricks to make it work:
Jump Stop Drill
This is a very important drill that all coaches should use. It will improve your players balance, reduce travels, improve pivoting skills to create space, and improve confidence.
Continually tell your players...
- Don't travel!
- Stay low when pivoting. Keep your knees bent and butt down, in a good triple threat stance.
- Don't get out of your triple threat stance until you hear the whistle. You always want to stay low, so you can take off quicker.
Tip #1 - The motivation aspect of this drill is simple. If they do it wrong, they all have to go back to baseline and start over again.
Tip #2 - It's important to always mix things up and keep your players guessing. You should mix up the number of times and locations that you blow the whistle. You might want to let them run all the way down without blowing the whistle once. And next time blow the whistle 5 times.
Tip #3 - Vary the speed that your players run. Start out with half speed, then progress all the way to full speed. Again, mix things up.
Tip #4 - Add a ball. Generally, you should use a ball for this drill and have them dribble while they are running. However, you might want to start without a ball, especially when first teaching younger players how to run this drill. Or if you don't happen to have enough basketball balls, they will still get benefit without it.
Tip #5 - Make sure ALL players pivot properly. Their butt should be down, knees bent, with feet shoulder width or wider. The pivot should be a full 180 degree turn, and then back again. Some players will have trouble with this at first or just do partial pivots. But keep on them to do it right. It's an important skill to master!
Tip #6 - You might want to use this as a combo warm up drill every day. For me, it worked great as the warm up at the beginning of every practice. This saved time because they worked on important skills and warmed up at the same time.
Tip #7 - You really should run this almost everyday, especially if you have players at the high school level or younger. At the minimum, run the drill every other day.
How to Improve and Teach Footwork Skills ProperlyAs you've probably heard a hundred times, great footwork is arguably the most important skill for players to learn. Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and countless superstar players all have ONE THING in common -- superb footwork. Yet few coaches know how to teach footwork properly.
If you'd like to learn how to teach footwork, we recommend this book by Don Kelbick. It's about post player development but it explains footwork brilliantly. The concepts apply to all positions, not just the post. In our opinion this is something that all coaches should learn and this is something that we highly recommend.
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