5 Basketball Decision Training Drills with Chris Oliver: Shooting, Ball Handling, Passing, Counter Moves, and Lay Ups
Joe Haefner: Hey, this is coach Joe Haefner. In this next video, coach Chris Oliver is going to take you through his unique basketball decision training system also known as BDT that helps with developing your skills and your decision making. You will also learn six BDT training drill progressions that coach Oliver uses at the beginning of teaching BDT. You have coaches, parents, trainers and players all using coach Oliver's BDT system all the way from the youth, high school, college, and even the NBA level.
Chris Oliver: Basketball decision training is mind training. It is an opportunity for us to be able to train the mind of our player and simulate the decisions that they would make in a game while at the same time training their skills. Basketball decision training operates on the principle of random practice. Random practice means on each repetition, our players have to think because each repetition is unique and different than the one before. They don't know what's going to happen, so on each repetition, they must think and decide what they're going to do.
Chris Oliver: The opposite of random practice is block practice. Block practice means they do the same repetition over and over again in the same way. If we give you an example of shooting, it means that a player goes to a spot in block practice and shoots the same shot from the same spot over and over again. In random practice, the player will shoot from a different spot each time, and they wouldn't know necessarily in advance what type of shot they were going to shoot, whether it be us changing the distance, changing the angle or changing the release point of that shot.
Chris Oliver: Basketball decision training applies our zero second skills in a way that helps our players understand the decision that is going to be made in a game situation. The value of basketball decision training is that it improves retention and transfer to performance because we are practicing in a game-like way. It's more likely that our skills and our decisions are going to transfer to the game.
Chris Oliver: The main component of basketball decision training is that we give each player a decision cue to be able to make a decision. The decision cue can come from a coach, a player, or a parent, whoever you have available to be able to help you as a learner. The value is not just to the shooter who becomes an active decision maker. It's also to the passer who becomes an active participant in the shooter's learning. To give you an example of what those decisions are, I'll show you our hand signals and body signals that cue a decision by the learner.
Chris Oliver: The first decision is to pass the ball. The signal to pass the ball is hands out. The decision to shoot the ball is hands down. The decision to drive the ball is a step towards. The decision to be able to drive the ball and counter is a step to the side. All those examples are meant to cue a decision by the learner. Each of those decisions relates to a game-like decision, so it gives our players a building block that leads to a game decision with live competitive defense.
Chris Oliver: For example, a defender who is arm length away versus a defender who is more than arm length away or has their hands down. If my hands are down or that I'm more than arm length away, the decision is to shoot. That's why the decision is hands down. The decision to pass the ball is based on the defender being arm length away. If a defender's arm length away, then you're going to make a decision to pass the ball. If a defender is running at you, then your decision on a long close out is to attack. If an offensive player attacks with a live dribble and the defender reaches in gaps and gets chest to chest, then the decision is to counter.
Chris Oliver: Those four decision cues are the building blocks of everything else we do with basketball decision training.
Chris Oliver: The first drill we use to teach basketball decision training is 21O passing. The partner gives the shooter decision cues to be able to make. We started as simple as possible using hands out and hands down, so the shooter is either going to shoot or pass. When we talk about passing, we encourage the shooter to never throw a chest pass.
Chris Oliver: We don't feel that the chest pass exists as much in the game anymore, so we encourage our player to be able to pass outside their body using a hook pass, a behind the back pass or some variation of those two passes. We also want both of them to be able to have fun, so the goal of the passer is to make sure that they challenge the shooter to make a unique decision on each shot, so it's random, and they don't know what's coming.
Chris Oliver: The next progression in our basketball decision training shooting is to change the decision queues. Now, we'll go hands up and step towards. That means that the shooter is either going to pass the ball or they're going to drive the ball using our stab dribble concept. It should be noted that we change the shooter after two to three repetitions.
Chris Oliver: The next progression in basketball decision training is to mix all three decision cues together. So now, we can go hands up, hands down, and step towards, and we mix all three together.
Chris Oliver: After a learner's progressed, we add the fourth decision cue, which is step to the side. This signals the offensive player to counter off the dribble simulating that the defender got chest to chest. Chest to chest is the defense's advantage. Ever since players started playing basketball, coaches have always said stay between the ball and the basket.
Chris Oliver: This for us represents what we call chest to chest position. We want the offensive player to always get into a shoulder to chest position, so the counter allows the offensive player to get back to a shoulder to chest advantage. You can use any type of dribble on the counter, but we prefer the behind the back dibble. The reason we prefer the behind the back dribble is because the offensive player is able to keep their head up, have vision to the basket and to obviously be able to read the help and their teammates, but also they're able to quickly run through their dribble so that there's no pause on the dribble.
Chris Oliver: And now, we're going to mix all four of those decisions together to make it even more game-like. We encourage coaches and players to progress as quickly as possible to the four decisions mixed together. We believe very much in the concept of hard first instruction because a player will have a better representation of where they're going. What this means is that by making it harder first, a player will have a better understanding of the game-like skills and the game-like decisions that they have to make. Even though they may struggle, in the long run, this helps retention and transfer to performances.
Chris Oliver: We increased the game-like nature of basketball decision training to add different decisions that you would make as an offensive player in a game. This example, we add relocation. Every time the player passes the ball back to their partner, they relocate. This simulates moving off the ball in the game of basketball, whether it be off a post entry, a penetration reaction, or a passing cut opportunity.
Joe Haefner: Hey, we hope you enjoyed the video. If you want to gain free access to more tips, drills, and teachings of coach Oliver's basketball decision training system, just click on the link below or in the description.
0:45 - Basketball Decision Training
2:12 - Decision Cues: Shooting, Dribble Attack, Passing, Counter Moves
4:24 - BDT Shooting Drill #1: Shoot or Pass
5:52 - BDT Shooting Drill #2: Pass or Drive
6:48 - BDT Shooting Drill #3: Pass - Shoot - Drive
7:30 - BDT Shooting Drill #4: Pass or Counter
8:50 - BDT Shooting Drill #5: Pass - Shoot - Drive - Counter
Basketball Decision Training (BDT) is mind training. It creates an opportunity to train the minds of our players while simulating the decisions that you would make in a game while simultaneously training your skills.
Basketball Decision Training operates on the principle of "Random Practice". Random practice means that on each repetition our players have to think because each repetition is different than the one before. Players don't know what's going to happen next so each attempt requires them to interpret what to do in reaction to their partner's signals.
The opposite of random practice is "Block Practice". Block practice describes repeating the same repetition in the same way. An example of block practice would be when a player shoots the same shot from the same spot over and over.
In our shooting practice, we manipulate many different variables to create random practice situations. This could include altering the distance from the rim, changing the angle of the shot, or using different release points for each shot.
Basketball Decision Training applies our 0-Second skills (view videos and camps to learn more about 0-Second skills) in a way that helps our players understand the decisions that are made in game situations.
The value of BDT is that it improves retention and transfer to performance. Because it involves practicing in a game-like way, it is more likely that our skills and decisions will transfer to the actual game.
Basketball Decision Training Cues
The main component of BDT is that each player is presented with a decision cue that dictates the action for that repetition. These decision cues can come from anyone willing to help you improve including a coach, parent, sibling, or a teammate.
There is value for the shooter who becomes an active decision maker and the passer who becomes an active participant in the shooter's learning. The passer's skills will also develop as they provide cues for the shooter.
Below are examples of the decisions that are cued in response to the hand and body signals given by the passer.
- Hands Out > Pass the Ball
- Hands Down > Shoot the Ball
- Step Toward > Drive
- Side Step > Dribble Counter
Each of these decisions relates to a game-like situation so it gives players a building block that leads to better decision-making against live competitive defense. Below are examples of in-game decisions that mimic our decision cues.
5 Basketball Decision Training Drills: 2-Player Drills
There are some simple ways to make a drill more random. Below are ways to randomize your feet prior to receiving a pass in BDT.
Randomize Your Feet
Each of these repetitions represents a random way to move your feet prior to shooting. This can become more complex by having the player first move away from the ball, then sprint back into the catch to simulate a game action. There are many situations where players move prior to shooting, such as when a shooter relocates after a post entry, or when a player receives a pass in transition.
Note - We encourage our passers to never throw a chest pass. We feel like the chest pass is rarely used in a game anymore. Instead, we encourage players to pass outside the frame of their body using a Hook Pass, a Behind the Back Pass, or some variation of those. We want both players to have fun during the workout by being creative with their passes.
The goal of the passer is to ensure that they challenge the shooter to make a unique decision on each shot so it's random and the shooter doesn't know what's coming.
BDT Shooting Drill #1: Pass or Shoot
This is our simplest version of 2-Player BDT. The passer will give the shooter one of two signals:
- Hands Out > Pass
- Hands Down > Shoot
The passer will rebound for the shooter and initiate the next repetition followed by one of these two signals. You can change the shooter after any number of shots, but we generally like to switch roles after 2-3 repetitions.
BDT Shooting Drill #2: Pass or Drive
Once players become comfortable with the initial drill, we change the decision cues to include the following signals:
- Hands Out > Pass
- Step Towards > Drive
BDT Shooting Drill #3: Pass - Shoot - Drive
The next progression includes all three possible decision cues:
- Hands Out > Pass
- Hands Down > Shoot
- Step Towards > Drive
BDT Shooting Drill #4: Pass or Counter
After players become comfortable with these three signals we practice the fourth signal:
- Hands Out > Pass
- Side Step > Dribble Counter
This simulates that the defender got chest-to-chest requiring the dribbler to counter. When the defender is able to get into a chest-to-chest position it is to their advantage as the defender is positioned between the ball and the basket. In contrast, the offensive player should always work to get into a shoulder-to-chest position with the defender. The counter affords the offense the chance to regain a shoulder-to-chest advantage.
Players may use any type of dribble on the counter, but we prefer the Behind the Back Dribble because it allows the offense to maintain vision and to quickly run through their dribble so that there's no pause in the attack.
BDT Shooting Drill #5: Pass - Shoot - Drive - Counter
Finally, we mix all four of those decisions into one drill to make it even more game-like. We encourage coaches and players to progress to this stage as quickly as possible.
We firmly believe in the concept of "Hard First Instruction" because a player will have a better representation of where they are going. By making it more difficult at first, players will have a better understanding of the game-like skills and game-like decisions that they have to make. Though players may struggle initially, in the long run this helps retention and transfer to performance.
The Value of Basketball Decision Training
The value of Basketball Decision Training is that players are shooting unscripted shots. They never know in advance what shots they will end up shooting. All of their shots will be based on cues, decisions, and reads based on the signals that their partner gives them.
3-Player BDT becomes an even more complex process because there are two other players that the shooter must read. As you have fun with this and develop these concepts in your training, you can add another player by following the same guidelines in 4-Player BDT.
Basketball Decision Training can be added to any 5v0 drills as well.
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