Breakthrough Basketball Newsletter:
Ball Screens - 6 Ways to Shut Them Down

April 9th, 2021

In today's newsletter...

  • 20% Discount Ends Soon for Summer Camps

  • Defending Ball Screens - 6 Ways to Shut Them Down (From 3x Nat'l Champion Coach)

  • Coaching Different Skill Levels and How to Organize Practice Drills

20% Discount Ends Soon for Summer Camps

We wanted to give you a quick heads up that the 20% discount expires soon for the Breakthrough Basketball Camps this summer.

There are limited spots at each camp and a number of camps have sold out in 2021.

We have different camps for different age groups ranging from 8 year olds to 19 year olds. There are youth camps, shooting camps, ball handling & playmaking camps, and even a couple of overnight camps.

You can find camps near you at the schedule below:

Breakthrough Basketball Camp Schedule

Defending Ball Screens - 6 Ways to Shut Them Down (From 3x Nat'l Champion Coach)

Ages: Youth, High School, College/Pro
Audience: Coaches

Here are 6 ways to shut down ball screens from Hall of Fame Coach Danny Miles!

Coach Miles then takes you through a breakdown drill of each of the 6 methods. Danny Miles even shows you in what situations you might use the different types of defensive ball screen methods.

Coach Miles teams were known for being tough to score against with teams shooting a low percentage against him. This is a big reason that he won over 1,000 games and won 3 national championships during his tenure at Oregon Tech.

His various ball screen defenses is just one of the reasons his teams were great defensively.

Youth coaches: You certainly don't want to practice all of these ball screen methods. You should focus on hedging at first. Once proficient, you can incorporate some switching as well.

Watch the video >>

Coaching Different Skill Levels and How to Organize Practice Drills

Ages: Youth, High School, College/Pro
Audience: Coaches

Here is a question we received from a youth and high school basketball coach. While this question pertains to the youth level, the method used can certainly be applied to different levels of basketball as well.

Reader Question:

I am a volunteer coach for our HS boys and also our Jr. High girls team. This year our 7th grade girls team (whom my daughter is a part of) didn't have a head coach so I took that spot... Of course coaching 6th and 7th grade girls is particularly challenging because of the wide variety of skill sets... most of the girls are just starting to play competitively at this age.

We have some pretty good athletes, just not any basketball skills. Which I can work with!! I have written down all the things I want to go over once we start... it seems overwhelming with everything we will need to learn. I have read a lot of your stuff and watched videos from you and several other coaches. I really like the concept of teaching how to play the game instead of drill after drill of the ordinary stuff.

Any tips you can give me directly would be much appreciated. Thank you.
- Mike

Joe Haefner's Response:

Thanks for the email and the kind words, Mike!

You're in a challenging situation. You're probably already on top of many of these things and I'm probably preaching to the choir, but this is what I'd do and have done in the past.

1 - Coach to your top players. While your goal should be to have everybody improve as much as possible, it's not always feasible. I think it's better to coach to your top players' skill sets and have the other players strive to get better than it is to not challenge your top players enough. While it's not perfect, this will provide the whole team with the most improvement.

2 - If you have enough time, create beginner to advanced progressions for your practice drills and small-sided games. Then group your players by skill level for each drill. This can vary drill to drill.

Group A - Beginner
Group B - Intermediate
Group C - Advanced

Nate Sanderson does a great job of showing progressions in his Game-Based Drills videos.

For example:

Group A - 1v1 Ball Handling - Defense Can't Steal
Group B - 1v1 Ball Handling - Live Defense
Group C - 1v2 Ball Handling - Live Defense

You can always rotate players to different groups during the middle of the drill. Some Group A players might go against some Group B players and some Group B players might go against Group C players. Or you could even mix all three groups together at times.

3 - Gather assistants! If you can have an assistant, this makes it much easier to work with varying skill levels.

Also, my brother wrote about his experience coaching his daughter's team through the middle school years here:

Coaching 5th & 6th Grade Basketball

Coaching 7th Grade Basketball

Coaching 8th Grade Basketball

All the Best,

- Joe Haefner
Breakthrough Basketball