5 Basketball Decision Training Drills with Chris Oliver: Shooting, Ball Handling, Passing, Counter Moves, and Lay Ups

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.

Decision Cues

  • 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.

Basketball Decisions

  • Shoot the Ball IF: The defender's arms are down, or the defense is more than arm's length away.

  • Pass the Ball IF: The defender is arm's length away.

  • Driver the Ball IF: The defender is running at you in a long closeout.

  • Dribble Counter IF: The offense attacks and the defender takes away the initial driving angle with a chest-to-chest position.

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

  • Dance Steps
  • Split Steps
  • Side Dancing
  • Side Split Steps
  • Runouts

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:

  1. Hands Out > Pass
  2. 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:

  1. Hands Out > Pass
  2. Step Towards > Drive

BDT Shooting Drill #3: Pass - Shoot - Drive

The next progression includes all three possible decision cues:

  1. Hands Out > Pass
  2. Hands Down > Shoot
  3. Step Towards > Drive

BDT Shooting Drill #4: Pass or Counter

After players become comfortable with these three signals we practice the fourth signal:

  1. Hands Out > Pass
  2. 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.

To learn more...

Basketball Decision Training (BDT) Resources:

Basketball Camps: BDT & Zero Seconds Skills Training - Ball Handling, Shooting, and Decision Training

Basketball Video & eBook: Basketball Decision Training with Chris Oliver

Free PDF: Chris Oliver's 0-Seconds & Basketball Decision Training (BDT) - Bonus Drills, Coaching Tips, & Training Tips

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


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Todd Covert says:
5/12/2019 at 3:27:38 PM

Is the website down to login for videos

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
5/12/2019 at 5:12:23 PM

Thanks for the heads up, Todd! It should be up and working now. Let me know if you have any issues.


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