I've been recovering from laser eye surgery the past couple of weeks which would account for my lack of updates recently. Over on the X's and O's forum, a coach had posted an interesting observation from this youtube video below, and how they use towels to emphasize the proper positioning of their hands during their shell drill,

I've never thought of using towels or skipping rope as another coach had suggested but I think it would help alot in reinforcing the proper position of the hands, palms out, pistol at ball, thumbs pointed in.

I love any little trick like this to help in reinforcing concepts. If you're interested in the video above from Coach Pat Summitt then definitely check out Pat Summitt's All-Access Practice DVD. Coach Summitt is the head coach of the Lady Vols of the University of Tennessee and winner of 8 NCAA championships.

We all know one of the keys of great Man-to-Man defenses is teamwork and help defense. This is where your players' basketball IQ will be tested defensively, being in the right position defensively for help but not losing sight of their man. Went through some notes from the NIKE clinic this past spring and Bob Huggins has a couple of good teaching points on help defense that might help reinforce the concept.

Tape a “help” line on the court every day
o From rim to rim, middle of the court
o Guys need to straddle the help line
o If they’re not at the help line, they go to treadmill

2v2 Sprint to Help Drill
o Coach up top
o Player at each wing (offense & defense)
o Pass to one wing, other wing must sprint to help line
o We do this every day during practice
o If they don’t sprint and straddle the help line, they go to treadmill

I'd like to experiment with treadmills in practice someday. I always hate it when we do sprints and suicides and there is always someone who is loafing. You can't cheat the treadmill. For more great practice ideas for M2M defense, check out the Bob Huggins 2-pack DVD which includes his M2M defensive philosophy and intense practice drills. Coach Huggins is the head coach of the men's basketball team at West Virginia University.

We all know that free-throws are important, and in games, its the first one you take that often is worth more in a one-and-one situation. I came across this great competitive team drill for free-throws from Coach Duane Silver's newsletter the other day. It is a drill developed by Washington State women's head coach June Daugherty. Hope y'all are enjoying your summer, and enjoy...

By June Daugherty

Coach Daugherty uses a free-throw drill with the following rules: The players start with eleven points and shoot one-and-ones. If they make the first shot, subtract two points, and if they miss the first shot add two points. If they make the second shot, subtract one point, and if they miss the second shot, add one point. The first player or group, depending on how you divide it up, to reach zero points WINS.

If you're always on the lookout for more great practice drills, check out Bruce Pearl's New All-Access Practice DVDs. Coach Pearl is the head coach of the University of Tennessee.