I've always been a big fan of Alan Stein's strength and conditioning videos primarily because everything he does is targeted specific to basketball. Sometimes when I watch kids go through off-season (or in-season for that matter), they're doing things that maybe relevant for say football, but basketball requires very specific skills.

After a long stint with Montrose Christian, Coach Stein has joined famed DeMatha as their strength and conditioning coach. If you're like me, you probably don't have the luxury of having a dedicated strength and conditioning coach on your staff, but thanks to the Internet, you can bring a little Coach Stein with you. Coach Stein has been starting a Youtube series focusing on a bunch of stuff he is doing with his team. You can follow them on his Youtube channel, or his blog.

In this clip here, he has his players go through a series of conditioning drills in a progression leading up to 100% and head to head. I love the idea of competitive conditioning drills. Setting goals, and having the kids go up against one another in practice. Take a look,

3-Peat for Phil Jackson?

It was a great Game 7, maybe not from an offensive, aesthetic point of view, but certainly from a coaching perspective. Who do you put on the floor, who should take the shots, when to call a timeout, how do we defend X, how do we respond if the other team does Y. I think Coach pretty much sums it up in the video below where he says Ron Artest's effort and Pau Gasol's post play in the 4th quarter put them over the top.

As for Phil Jackson coming back for a 3-peat? I can't imagine him not coming back. Of course there's his age and injuries he's been dealing with, but I think Coach is looking for a reason not to come back rather than reasons to stay. In other words, if he doesn't come back, it will be because physically his body just can't take it anymore. Well, we'll wait and see in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, congrats go again to the Lakers, back-to-back champs.

With the offseason upon us, I was going through some more individual skill development stuff and came across these notes from a Danny Hurley clinic where he was talking about ball handling. Definitely something you want to really hammer down during the offseason. For me, ball handling has always been addictive because as a small guy, it was important to have a good handle. But I know for other bigger guys it can get frustrating, so it's important to use drills that are flexible to allow players to work on different things. I like this drill because it allows you to do that (I've cut out the first part of the drill which is just up-downs using the same move, but you can start with that first before moving on), so without further ado, Danny Hurley...


Teaching point: Remember that your players must be focused on going hard at all times to get better at what they are working on. Shoot FTs to rest in between sets.

So you'll need 3 chairs, cones, or markers for the drill. Place the first 2 at halfcourt on either sideline. Place the third one at midcourt.

For each section of the drill, you will go down the right side of the court on the way up and back and then do the same thing on the left side of the court down and back.

Spin Move:

The first move to work on is a spin move. Speed dribble up to spot 3 with your right hand. Spin dribble at spot 3 putting the ball into your left hand. Defensive slide from spot 3 to spot 2 while dribbling the ball with your left hand. Once you hit spot 2 spin dribble back to your right hand and in 3 dribbles get all the way to the hoop to finish. Do this move up and back on the right and left sides. When starting on the left side you will use your opposite hand you used from the right side.


For the next 3 moves you will use the shuffle crossover, shuffle, between legs, and shuffle behind back. You will come from the baseline to the halfcourt spot doing shuffle, crossovers.

Once you hit the spot you shuffle cross to your left hand and move from spot 3 to spot 2 defensive slide dribbling with your left hand.

Once you hit spot 2 you will crossover from left to right and take 3 dribbles for a pull up bank shot, pull up jumper or pull up 3 pointer. Do this coming up and down the right and left sides. Use the opposite hand you used from the right side when doing the drill from the left. Next, do the same drill with the shuffle, between legs and finish with the shuffle behind back.

Teaching Points:

Like all drills this one must be done at 100%. Make sure and do every move low to the ground and work on snapping the ball quickly. When the drill is asking you to focus on handling and hand speed don't worry about sprinting, concentrate on improving you handle. Remember, you can add in things to this drill to make it fit your needs. You can also adjust it to be more or less intense based on your skill level and condition.

For more ideas on individual skill development and offseason drill work, check out the Brand new DVD by Derrick Rose and John Calipari on Point Guard Skills & Drills Series. Derrick Rose is the starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls and John Calipari is the Head Coach of the University of Kentucky.

An ESPN special on Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo talking about what he thinks about on defense in terms of steals, and how to steal the ball. I agree with him that to a certain extent, you can't really teach it, stealing the ball is just something that you have knack for, quick hands, good anticipation, and good coordination,

For more defensive info, check out Chris Lowery's DVD on transition and halfcourt defense. Coach Lowery is the head coach of Southern Illinois University.

When I think of Coach Wooden, I think of Integrity and Greatness. Instead of sadness, we should celebrate the 99 years of wisdom that Coach has given us not just in basketball but in being better human beings. I have several books from Wooden and I stare at his Pyramid of Success every day in front of my computer,

To the man they call "Coach", Well Done, Well Done indeed, Coach...

Just a great story about friendship and basketball from the NY Times about Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. There's a certain trust there that is evident. I don't know if it's just me but have y'all every noticed that somehow it's usually the best player on the team and a role player that develop that deep bond? It's funny how that dynamic develops. Logically, you would think it would be the 2 best players but it somehow rarely works out that way, probably because there is always that tension between the top 2 players as to who is better, whose team it is. But between the best player and one of the role players, there is a balance you could say which allows for that honesty to develop between the two.

Like all team sports, at the end of the day, its the relationships that matter most. Everything else fades away with time, but the memories of playing together, the stories you share, those are what will last a lifetime.

I think every coach has a way they coach free throw shooting, usually done towards the end of practices to simulate the fatigue factor. Here is one that I read from the Basketball BC website which is worth using to switch things up a little from what you might normally use.

Jay Wright Free Throw Drill

Divide the team into pairs and send each pair to a basket. The players will shoot free throws in this fashion: 3 in a row, 2 in a row, and 1. This will simulate the number of free throws they could get in a game i.e. fouled on a 3 pt. shot, fouled on a 2 pt. shot and fouled on a made basket. Total the number of free throws each pair makes. The losing teams may have a suicide, push-ups, etc. as a penalty.

If you like Coach Jay Wright, then check out Jay Wright's DVD on Innovative Late Game Sets. Coach Wright is the head coach of the Villanova Wildcats of the NCAA.