Rick Gorman is the founder of the B.S.T. Basketball Training program. I went to a workout last week and then talked with Rick as well as Steve Boudreau (Boudah) afterward. I am documenting the details of the workout in this post and tomorrow will document the details of Rick’s vision and goals for the program.
Part I: Dynamic Stretch
This was led by Boudah. It is something of a pride issue for him, and so not surprisingly it seemed like the dynamic stretch had a much larger purpose to it. In every dynamic stretch I have ever seen, the players have gone from baseline to baseline. Large numbers (about twenty-five players) incentivized B.S.T. to go from sideline to sideline. Initially, players did standard warm up exercises. Jog, butt kickers, high knees, but also some basketball and strength motions that I liked.
Toward the end of the Dynamic Stretch, Boudah had players do a variety of dribble moves and then had them kill the dribble (get it no higher than your shin). He had them doing foot fire into defensive slides. Next the ball came out. Every player was pivoting for about twenty seconds. Third, they had a ball and were flipping out and landing on two feet. Fourth, he had them working in rip moves and jab steps out of this. Between everything the players would transition with three ball pushups (hands were on the ball as they did a pushup). All of this took place in what I would consider “stretching time,” but conveniently fundamentals on offense and defense were included as part of the “stretch.”
Stations from Hell
There were seven stations.
- One-ball push-ups. Players had to alternate their hand on the ball and on the gym floor.
- Rip and finish from the wing. There was a coach contesting the lay-up and a huge emphasis on finishing.
- Ladder strength exercise. Crawl through the ladder with your feet outside the ladder. Backpedal back to the start.
- One knee rips with five pound weights. Rip was actually happening over the knee.
- Weight based running. High knees with the medicine ball going from the chest to over your head as you run.
- Taps drill. If the ball hit the floor, everyone in the small group would need to do five pushups.
- Sliding pushups. They used a disk on the gym floor and pushed one arm out as if the shoulder was basically coming out of its socket.
Each player went to each station twice. This enabled them to work on the opposite hand with what they did on stations two and four. There was great energy throughout the entirety of the stations from each group. The loudest and hardest working teams (as judged by the coaches) were rewarded by not doing an extra conditioning activity that the rest of the group did.
Not surprisingly after the seven stations, there was a tired group of players in the gym. The players did basic shooting drills. The players got in two lines and worked through a very basic shooting contest. Here was the progression:
- A line in the wing passed to the top of the key for a shot.
- Once they made the quota of shots necessary it went from the wing to a skip pass to the other wing.
- Top of the key ripped and kicked to the corner once they got to the elbow.
One big teaching point that was stressed was that players needed to do the work before the catch. Too many players were taking too long to load their shots. Throughout the shooting component, players competed on the two different hoops to see which team made the most shots.
Basketball Training Stations
Next there were three offensive skill based stations. Each was supervised by the three coaches.
One on One High Five
The key points of emphasis were:
- Players needed to play with game-like urgency and go hard.
- They needed to be efficient with their use of the dribble (three or less was the rule).
One v One Toughness
The big point of emphasis here was to be tough with the ball when a defender is in your face. Players come to expect foul calls and wilt when there is a little contact. The defender is trying to foul the offensive player. The offensive player should use jab pivots to create space and then rip through with a straight line attack at the rim.
The rip moves connected back to the dynamic stretch. Instead of only the footwork which centered on avoiding travel calls, now players also concentrated on finishing. To eliminate traveling, players were coached to roll the ball to themselves and catch in a jumpstop so either foot could be used. From there, players went through jab steps and rip moves using both hands. Anytime a player’s footwork was a violation, the coach corrected them and had players attempt it again.
After the offensive skill work, the players were drilled on defensive skill work. They began with basic closeouts. All 25 players lined up single file across the length of the gym and did foot fire into a close out moving left then moving right. During that time, the coach was initially unsatisfied with everyone’s technique. When his initial frustration went uncorrected on a second attempt, he owned it instead of continuing to get on the players.
Gradually the technique improved and the expectations increased. Players were asked to go from foot fire, to a defensive slide, to a close out instead of just foot fire into a closeout. Next, they partnered up and incorporated a box out with the aforementioned sequence. In terms of the workout it really seemed like it was just a transition between offensive skills and actual competition. It took only a few minutes of time, and from a sequential learning standpoint I thought it was invaluable.
Last in the defensive drills was what I’m calling Kobe Slides because that’s where the drill came from. It was my favorite part of the basketball training workout. Players had to closeouts and then guard a new offensive player continually for 90 seconds. In the illustration below, the defender is guarding four different players. The drill simultaneously built stamina and defensive skill. As Dick DiVenzio put it, the more defenders are encouraged to pressure every dribble, the more likely a turnover will ensue.
2 on 2 Competition
Utilizing the four side hoops, they went to a two on two competition with two rules:
- No ball screens.
- Game played to 1.
Defensive Benefits of 2 on 2
Two-on-two highlighted the skills that they had been building up to in the previous ninety minutes. Defensively it allowed the coaches to circle back to three concepts. First, in a two-on-two game, the defense is always one pass away. This created an easy opportunity to work on and coach closeouts in a live situation. Second, players did not have to pass it in, so a straight line drive exposed the defense. Third, given that there were only two defenders and no potential for transition since it was played on side hoops, boxing out and secure the rebound took on extra importance.
Offensive Benefits of 2 on 2
Offensively there also were three benefits to this format. First, players no longer had a three dribble limit. After all, this was probably the condition that they would find themselves in actual games. Coaches watched and gave feedback for players that did not use the dribble to improve offensive outcomes. Second, I saw a variety of effective rips and jab steps. These were enhanced and in higher quantity because of the teaching that had taken place earlier in the workout. And third just as the defense needed to box out, the offense needed to SOFO (spin off first obstacle). As they were coached in the one on one toughness drill, players needed to finish through contact.
I probably played my first two on two game twenty-five years ago, but you lose track of how impactful this method of basketball training can be from a teaching perspective. There is an increasing demand for players with the skill of a non-stop motor. This format for two on two incentivized players to acquire this difficult to teach skill. Not to mention it can be competitive and fun for the players.