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Steps in developing Hoosier style basketball offense

Today, most young coaches attend coaching clinics, sitting through lectures, and demonstration of fundamentals. Most, I observe, patiently await famed coaches to wade into a discussion of his plays and team offense. Some seem to think, "the play is the thing." This is a terrible mistake.

Truly, the backbone of every successful coach's system is well taught and mastered. This is why this Web site stresses the basic fundamentals of passing and catching, rebounding, shooting, and dribbling taught within 8 basic plays. No team can be successful unless they are fundamentally sound.

If they practice the above mentioned fundamentals half-heartedly they are more apt to do that in a game. The best advise is to practice them exactly like you would in a game. Your team will be better off if they spend their time on fundamentals and less on complicated offensive systems. It is impossible to play a basketball game without mistakes and if you want to win, you better strive to make few mistakes as possible. Mastering the basic fundamentals eliminates many mistakes which, in turn, enables your players to execute a polished offense.

If you think there are coaches in the game who have secrets no other coach has ever heard about, you better quit kidding yourself. There is no such secret to winning. That is, unless you have fundamentally sound players with a strong desire to win. Branch McCracken developed the old Indiana offense with the following steps:

  1. Cover all the individual fundamental work and conditioning program. To develop individual ability practice 1 on 1 where an offensive player attempts to out-maneuver his defender in order to get a close-in shot using fakes, footwork, and dribbling. If you notice this is play option #1 of the 8 basic fundamental plays. Here is where you establish the two-step rule.
  2. This step is 2 offensive players against 2 defenders. The two offensive players practice on two-man play possibilities. Here is where they learn the plays, timing, and the fundamentals needed for proper execution. Some of these plays use, screens, give and goes, shots behind screens, double and triple screens, backdoor cuts, and many others.
  3. You progress deeper into team organization with this step. Here, you add a pivot player with 3 offensive players against 3 defensive players. The drill sets up your pivot post play with the two players timing their cuts off the pivot player. All the participants work on screens, deceptive passing, footwork, timing, and cutting. At the same time, they will be learning their basic movements.
  4. This is where you add the fourth player to the mix featuring the beginning of the movement. The 4 offensive players against 4 defensive players drill continues practice on the fundamentals of timing and basic two-man and three-man plays.
  5. Here is where special attention is given the whole movement by addition of the fifth player. Be sure to establish the proper tempo. Most players try to go too fast and lose sight of scoring opportunities. Coordinate the movement and basic plays that fit your personnel the best. In the early stages the defense should play normal positions and not too aggressive. That can come later.

The next step: Explains how to install an Indiana high school type basketball offense

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