Last week I received this message on Twitter – “What are some drills or ideas to improve team communication?” This is an excellent question and it sent me out to to get some information on basketball communication and some drills that can be done to improve this. In doing some research on this I found an interesting video on YouTube from Randy Brown. First off he mention something that I already knew – There aren’t many coaches who would tell you their team talks enough. It’s a battle we all face.
The second thing Randy Brown mentions that I liked is running a drill(s) where you don’t allow any communication from your players. The idea of this is to emphasize to them how frustrating it is to not communicate and how poorly your team will play as a result of it.
Randy Brown on Basketball Communication
The other thing that Randy Brown discusses in the video that we try and talk to our players about is non-verbal communication. On our cuts especially we talk about showing hands. This is really important for us because we utilize back cuts that can often result in turnovers if don’t communicate with our hands. I would almost take the idea of drills without talking a step further and use it to emphasize this idea of non-verbal skills. So while you’re stressing the importance of talking (by not talking) you’re also stressing the importance of basketball communication skills with your hands, eyes, etc…
In our practices we constantly try and stress the importance of basketball communication in everything we do. Whether it’s 3 man weave, our Wolves drill, boxout drills or anything else we do we always try emphasize the importance of communication. One drill we do very regularly is a 5 on 4 shell drill. Here is a video that demonstrates the drill (albeit slightly different than what we do).
5 on 4 Drill to work on Basketball Communication
This is one of my favorite drills for a couple of reasons. One, it’s very hard to be good at this drill without communicating. Since you’re always at a 5 on 4 disadvantage on defense you must communicate or you will get beat every time. So from a communication standpoint this is a tremendous drill. I also really like this drill from a defensive standpoint. It allows you to work on defending penetration (depending on your teams principles this may differ), defensive rotations, weakside help, etc… Overall drills like this are great because they not only help with basketball communication but also with several other important aspects of the game at the same time.
Regardless of what you do in practice I think it’s imperative to make communication a cornerstone of what you do. If you don’t show how important it is and make kids realize how important it is they won’t do it. Try a couple of these ideas/drills and see if they help improve your teams basketball communication skills and as always leave a comment if you have some other creative ideas or drills to help build this important skill.