Breakthrough Basketball Newsletter:
Reaction Drills to Sounds?

September 23, 2021

Before we get to the subject below, I also wanted to let you know that we have the fall basketball camps schedule at the bottom of the email if you're interested.

Now let's talk about today's topic...

I was browsing around Twitter and I saw a video where a player was reacting to auditory cues (or sounds) during a drill.

For example,

When a player is attacking the basket from half court, you can use a verbal cue such as "change" or blow the whistle lightly. Then the player utilizes a change of direction dribble each time.


Every time you use a verbal cue, the player has to immediately pull up for a jump shot.

I used to do this same thing earlier in my coaching career. However, I don't do this any more.

Because training reactions based on auditory cues (sounds) isn't ideal...

I can't remember where I read it or heard it first, but...

Playing the game of basketball is mostly based on visual cues.

Your actions are based on what you see or perceive - not what you hear!

So with the auditory reaction drills, you might get better at reacting to sounds, but will that help you...

  • Change directions when a defender cuts you off?
  • Recognize a help defender rotating to the post, so you can pass the ball to an open teammate in the corner?
  • Attack the basket when a defender has a quick close out?
  • Quickly flare off a down screen when you see a defender shoot the gap?

It might help a little... Maybe.

But if you want to be effective and efficient...

Use drills with actual defenders to give you the biggest bang for your buck!

This is why it's important to include game-based drills (drills with defenders) in all of your workouts and practices.

Those drills will help you get better at attacking those situations and making decisions.

Are drills with defenders better to use.. or at the very least, use visual cues? Why do you think that?

Joe Haefner
Breakthrough Basketball