Don’t Create The “Elsa Shooter”

“Let it go! Let it go!”

Anybody who has a young child probably has had this song stuck in their head all day... probably only 563 times.

And if you're unfamiliar with the song, it's from the movie Frozen and the main character is Elsa.

In this article, you’re going to learn how to avoid creating an “Elsa Shooter”.

And you’re going to learn how to create confident, aggressive players that will result in better shooting percentages, better offensive efficiency, and ultimately more wins.

What is the “Elsa Shooter”?

You've probably coached quite a few "Elsa Shooters"

I’m sure you’ve seen it. It’s the player that catches it and just freezes or is FROZEN in triple threat. They don’t shoot. They don’t attack. They don’t pass. They are FROZEN.

Here is the huge problem with this. When a player freezes, it gives the defense more time to get into the proper position... not only the defender on the ball, but the help defense as well.

It’s easier to attack a defender that is moving than a defender that is already set.

It’s easier to attack a help defense that is scrambling and/or out of position. And it leads to more fouls and open driving lanes. In effect, you score more points.



How I Developed “Elsa Shooters” (Don’t Do This)

“Indecision is the enemy of success.”

You have to be careful.

When I first became a coach in my early 20s, I’d almost correct on every repetition. In theory, it seemed like a good idea to do this. It would help them become a better decision-maker.

But as the late Yogi Berra once said, “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”

In other words, what sounds great doesn’t always actually work well.

And I found this out the hard way. I was creating the “No decision-maker”... The "Elsa Shooter". They would freeze every time they caught the ball.

It was paralysis analysis.

What to do instead to create aggressive, assertive, and EFFECTIVE scorers

You teach them to “Attack IMMEDIATELY”... whether it’s via a shot, dribble attack, or a pass. You want to put the pressure on the defense and attack. Don Kelbick taught me this unconventional fundamental and it has treated me very well since I implemented it.

This is where the name Attack & Counter originated for Don Kelbick’s videos and camps.

And trust me, I was skeptical at first. I was always taught that you need to “read the defense”, then react. But when I saw Don teach it and the immediate results, I was sold on the concept.

How to teach this to players so you don’t suffer through the mistakes that I made

  1. First, you teach this concept without a defense. You work on your moves and counters... just attacking immediately.

  2. Then, you introduce competitive drills with “dummy” defense and live defense.

  3. When first teaching the competitive drills, I just let them go through reps and let them discover how to attack the defense.

At first, I teach them that the most important thing to do is to make a decision immediately. I want them to build that “Attack” mentality. I want them to have the mentality that they own the defender; that they own the situation.

It doesn’t bother me if they make the “wrong” decision at first.

I do this for a few different reasons:

  • I believe that attacking immediately with an aggressive, assertive mentality will lead to more effective plays even if they make the “wrong read”.

  • In fact, I believe it is better, not perfect, but better to make a move immediately and aggressively than to try to read the defense and make a move.

Don’t get me wrong... Ideally, you want them to attack immediately and make the right decision. However, you’re never going to get the best of both worlds all of the time.

Tom Thibodeau on Derrick Rose "Attacking"

Tom Thibodeau said this about Derrick Rose a couple of years ago,

“He’s gotta attack. That’s the bottom line...Like some teams are going under him, some teams will adjust to the blitz, so all I know is when he’s pushing the ball up the floor and attacking, that’s who he is. He can’t defer. He can’t pace himself. He’s gotta go. That’s the big thing. He’s gotta go... We need him to be Derrick.”

When To Start Correcting And Teach Counters

After I feel players have started to attack assertively, I will start to correct a little bit if I see the same mistake over and over. A correction will lead to a better result.

However, you do need to be careful as you don’t want to create paralysis analysis.

If I see somebody repeatedly making the wrong decision, I might say something like “He’s too far away. Shoot the ball. In fact, I want you to shoot until you get blocked, so you know when you can and can’t shoot.”

Or I might say, “You’ve been blocked 5 times in a row, maybe you should drive.”

Or I might say, the defender is standing on the right side of your body, how about you try countering it with a drop step.

This is what has worked for me. It’s something I do based on feel.

If I have a very hesitant player or players with lower confidence, I may even bite my tongue longer than normal.

Well, won’t your players be out of control and this result in turnovers and offensive fouls?

Turnovers and offensive fouls will happen no matter how you coach.

My experience has been that through repetitions, they figure things out. However, as a whole, you have more aggressive, effective players.

Generally, this approach has worked the best for teams that I have coached. However, there might be special situations where you coach differently.

You may have a player that puts himself in bad offensive situations and the player’s aggressiveness makes the problem worse. You might have to slow them down.

From my experience, this has less to do with an aggressiveness problem and has more to do with a poor skill level. In other words, if they get in the gym and improve their skills, their aggressiveness isn’t the problem anymore. And they need to stop doing things they’re not good at.

During games, they just might need to focus on doing things that they do well and avoiding things they don’t do well. Us coaches might have to put them in better situations for them to succeed.

You also may have a player that has the ability to read defenses like Steve Nash, so you might coach him a little bit differently. Don’t plan on that happening every year... or maybe ever.

This is part of coaching.

How to get an edge on your competition...

If you’re like me or the common coach who can’t always control the talent walking through the door, we have to do things a little bit differently to get an edge.

To me, Don’s Attack & Counter Skill Development System is one of the ways.

If you’re just curious to learn more, there is a 100% money-back guarantee. We’re not naive in thinking that every single person will use this system. And we don’t want to take somebody’s money for something that isn’t right for them.

Also, if you get a chance, I’d recommend to attend one of his camps.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Jason Lund says:
6/3/2016 at 4:30:46 PM

Just to be clear... When you say "attack immediately", that means attack with the intent to score. Which could be an aggressive pass to an open cutter, take an open shot, or dribble attack to get a layup or attack and kick out for an open shot. Is that correct? The second question I have is do you ever see this "attack" philosophy result in poor ball movement or selfish basketball? Thank you and I appreciate thirds web site immensely...

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
6/4/2016 at 2:34:35 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Jason.

In regards to "attack immediately"... I believe you have the correct interpretation.

In regards to poor ball movement or selfish basketball, I've actually seen the opposite by teaching the "Attack mentality". I get a lot of good ball movement and selfless basketball, but that's also based on things that I emphasize.

From a team perspective, I tell them they should only dribble to score.

I also focus on minimizing dribbles. Within the half court offense, there are few times that I like them to take more than 3 dribbles. I'll do drills that actually emphasize 2 dribble limits.

I also tell them if somebody is open with a better scoring opportunity, you better get them the ball. If I see selfishness, they learn quickly that they ride the pine.

I also do a lot of "no dribble" drills which emphasizes passing.

Great questions and I hope that helps, Jason.

  1 person liked this. 1 reply  

Jason Lund says:
6/4/2016 at 7:35:10 PM

Thanks Joe...


Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Sixteen minus two is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank
    Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.