One drill that I like to use to teach the value of each possession is the one possession game. If we can get our teams to improve their concentration and execution on one possession each quarter of the game, that could be as much as an 8 to 12 point swing in the final score. I also think that if you teach during practice and remind during the games that if there is under a minute to play in a tight game, that your players have been through that scenario often in practice.
Hopefully you might be able to find a way to makes some adaptations and use it with your team.
My rules for the one possession game is as follows:
If you have two 5 player squads that are equally split, start with a jump ball (give you a chance to go through your jump ball situation). Team that gets the jump ball has one offensive possession that is played like a game. At the end of that possession continue to play like a game. The team that started on defense now has the ball whether they got a defensive rebound, had to inbound after a basket or a turnover, or got a steal.
The winner is whoever has more points after each team has had the ball once. If it is a tie, continue to play live like a game until one team has a lead after both teams have had the same number of possessions.
If you have a team with your five starters superior to the second unit, let the second group have the ball to start, so that the first group must get a stop, score at least two points on their possession, and then get another shutout before they win. So, they must get two stops and score at least two points to win. If they fail on any of those three possessions, they lose.
Of course, you are going to want to set your own parameters, but here are a couple of rules that I think are good. One is that on every foul, play it like the double bonus plus the ball back. That way if the first team scores, they can’t foul the worst free throw shooter on the other team to preserver a win, or at worst get a tie. You might want to wait until they figure that one out to make it a rule. Depending on your philosophy and the situation, you might want to foul late to preserve a three point lead. Decisions like those will be based on what you want to get out of the drill.
You might also want to consider awarding all jump balls to the defense. You will want to limit the number of timeouts, but I think that it is important to allow timeouts if you like to use them late in the game to preserve possession.
I like competitive drills and you can decide what consequences the losers suffer or rewards the winners get. I think that this drill teaches players to compete, to value every possession at both ends, and gives them some confidence when the game does come down at the end to getting a stop and then getting a score.
If you have a manager or an assistant write down the score of each one possession games and how many possessions each one lasted, you have a way at the end of the week to show what a quarter is like when you value every possession and at the end of the month to show how valuing every possession every quarter builds up for 4 quarters. I truly believe that kind of teaching point helps players understand what you mean by the importance of each trip at both ends. Then, once they understand the value of that mindset, it is a matter of building the toughness to play each possession as if the game depends on it, because it does.
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