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  • Jack Fleming

Damian Cotter - Guard Development

Damian Cotter is the Chicago Bull's newest assistant coach, an ex junior National Team Coach with time spent in all facets of basketball from being a junior coaching director to an assistant at the Olympics to a Head coach in the G-League.

Here are some notes from an international clinic in Bulgaria from 2015 on guard development. Damian is an unbelievable sharer of the game, and somebody who has worked extremely hard at his craft to reach the top level of game despite many challenges like any coach faces throughout a tough profession.

Congrats to Damian on the new job.

Building Blocks

Break the game down into parts, to make it simple for you to teach.

Components of a Shot

  1. Base stance

  2. Start point

  3. Finish point - arm between the roof and the rim.

  4. Line of vision

  5. Shot line

Components of Guard Play

  1. Short (finishes)

  2. Mid

  3. Long

  4. Run and Shoot

  5. Pick and Roll

Components of Run & Shoot

  1. Well conditioned

  2. Take the path of least resistance

  3. Change of speed & direction

  4. Low man wins

Co-ordination/Warm Up Drills

- Ball skills: pound hard, pop the floorboards, see corner-middle-corner

- All drills done with the dribble

(a) Short skips

(b) High knees

(c) Butt kicks

(d) High Skips

(e) Lunges - dribble through the legs

(f) Jump Stops & Forward Pivots

- Smaller steps to get moving.

- Grab the floor with the front foot, push the heel with the back foot.

Wing Leads

- We don't want false pivots, pivot like your toe is under a nail and lift your heel

- Cutter: foot between the body or above your defender, run through the catch

- Pivots: swivel with your foot

- Get eye contact before you lead, voice and hand.

- Play it 1v1, until somebody scores. Defender must box out, get 1 shot to score or else they stay on defence.

- 2 pivots to see the rim.

"At your practice how do you get integrity of effort plus one?"

- Build it up to 2v2: get into pick and roll, DHO, post play etc.

- The higher the level the more you need the reverse pivot.

Run and Shoot

- Start with the pressure of 1v0 moving at maximum speed.


(a) Cutting, catching from the coach and shooting

(b) Shot on the coach command - working on sitting in stance.

(c) Shot with defender holding ball above their head contesting

"If your players move around like cows in a paddock, that's on you."

- Shoulders into hips to separate.

- Don't forget to work your lay ups and free throws, most important shots to practice.

"Self correction is the highest form of discipline."

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