I remember a few decades ago listening to Bob Knight speak at a coaching clinic and he spoke of the importance of coaches having an imagination. He said there was nothing more in the game he enjoyed than creating a drill to help his team develop. It has certainly been one of the parts of the game that I have developed as well. Which is why I enjoyed an article written by Pete DiPrimio of the Fort Wayne Sentinel who speaks of Indiana coach Tom Crean and his ideas for working on finishing shots against contact. You can read the entire story here but here are some excerpts that I took away:
Tom Crean has so had it with Indiana's missed layups and 1-foot shots, he's broken out the practice pads and gone against his don't-foul nature.
Will it make a difference? The first test comes Sunday against Illinois.
The Hoosiers (12-7 overall, 2-4 in the Big Ten) lost to Northwestern and Michigan State in the last week, missing nearly 30 layups in the process. They went a combined 21-for-58 on layups and tip-ins.
Yes, that gets you beat. So Crean has ramped up the practice intensity, having players try to make layups while teammates hammer them with pads.
“We worked on all the different ways to make layups,” he said. “We're working against pads and contact. I'm not big about practicing fouling, but for a couple of minutes there was some of that, that they have to play through.”
Layups come easy against non-conference opponents, but that ended like a fist to the jaw once Big Ten play started. Defenses concede nothing, and despite the rules changes designed to create more free-flowing offense, contact remains significant.
“There's a lot of contact at the basket,” Crean said. “You have to keep your concentration high, your fundamentals high. You've got to use the backboard. And, for us, it's taking one more dribble.
“What you can't do is throw the ball at the backboard or the rim and hope it goes in. We had a couple of those moves at Michigan State. Our intention of getting to the basket was good. The fundamentals of making the next pass wasn't as good. We have to out-grow that. It's youth and inexperience.”