Creating Practice Variability Back in Lockdown
Unfortunately down here in Melbourne, Australia we are back in lock down. Athletes will be confined to their own company and backyard and I cringe thinking of the return to 1v0 repetitive ball handling on Zoom. Not taking away anything from that, but hopefully this stimulates some creativity with what we do with our athletes.
As the great Charles Darwin said above, it becomes our duty as coach to be a master adapter to our environment. And creating environments where the athlete has to adapt, even within the constraints we have at this current time or used to have for those in other cities.
If you're unsure or question why there's value in random versus blocked practice, I will direct you to this video here for more information.
Game Number 1 - 'Be the Pro'
I remember the game "Beat the Pro" shooting elbow to elbow jump shots as an athlete, make 1 you go +1 and miss you go -2. If you get to 10 you win and minus ten you lose. A great start but not exactly the shooting variability we get in a game.
Here's my new version where you get to "Be the Pro"
(a) Collect your favourite players scoring package off youtube - example here's Luka Doncic getting 41.
(b) Watch 4-6 (memory dependent) clips on your phone or laptop of exactly where on the floor he scored, how he got there and the type of shot.
(c) Jump out onto your outdoor court and re-enact those exact moves/shots, get 1 repetition, make or miss move straight onto the next one.
(d) Score yourself like a game, 2's, 3's and 1's for FT's.
(e) Repeat the process watching the next set and working through them.
(f) Keep going until you get a certain amount of points.
Disclaimer: apologies to all coaches whose players use Luka and come out of lockdown shooting copious amounts of step back jumpers.
Why this Game?
Practice variability, no repetition or situation is exactly the same.
Imagination - using your brain to try and see how you are guarded, and other defenders, team mates out on the floor.
Engagement - it's fun and players love copying their idols!
While it's perceptions and actions may not be coupled, there's still more transfer than some other more repetitious options.
Game Number 2 - Campazzo Passing
If you've never seen Campazzo pass, I will leave this here. Just amazing.
What you need?
A brick wall space - however big you've got.
Deck of Cards
Mark out some squares on your brick wall: the bigger your space the more you should vary your heights and spaces
With your chalk mark out A(ace), Q (queen), Jo (joker), K (king) and J (Jack).
Separate your deck of cards into all the picture cards and Aces, then all the numbers in another pile.
Mark out your ground with Numbers 2-10, anywhere you want. Here's an example, the court has been used but any space would do.
1. Set yourself up, however far away from the wall your ability allows. Let's just say near half court.
2. What you would do is pick up 1 card from the picture pile, and 1 number card.
3. The picture card tells you which box on the wall you have to hit, and the number card is where you have to make the pass from.
4. Even numbers = right hand pass and odd numbers = left hand pass, you cannot make the same type of pass twice in a row. First pass might be a push pass, second one might be a pocket pass dependent on skill level.
Example = you pick up a king and a 7, therefore you would attack the 7, play off it like a screen/defender and you must make a left hand pass trying to hit the king off the dribble.
If you hit the target give yourself a point, put on some music and see how many points you can get in one song!
Creativity is King
These are just some ideas, apologies I don't have any video but if some players I coach have a go I will definitely post it up.
Even in isolation without defenders we want some discovery, some repetition without repetition and finding ways to make it a game to keep athletes having fun and engaged throughout the learning process. We can all do better than 50 right hand dribbles, 50 left hand dribbles and make 5 shots from 5 spots. Well we can try our best to anyway!
If you've got more creative variations I would love to hear them, don't hesitate to reach out on Twitter, write a comment here or send me an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope those not in lockdown are loving it! It was nice while it lasted in Melbourne.