The Stop the Shot Blocking Drill looks to help interior defenders and any player who wants to develop an understanding about blocking shots with their technique. Blocking shots is a very challenging activity, and one that is often overlook for various reasons. The Stop the Shot Blocking Drill looks to provide a high number of opportunities for a player to block a shot while also perfecting this very challenging skill.
There are a number of different reasons why specific teaching of shot blocking is not as readily taught as it could or should be. One of the obvious points is a lack of understanding about how to actually block a shot. Many players who are effective shot blockers struggle to express how they mastered the skill apart from practicing and refining their technique on the run.
For coaches shot blocking becomes a skill that because of its specific purpose during a game never gets trained because there are some many other skills to practice. Time therefore becomes a factor in the range of skills (not only shot blocking) being taught.
Finally, shot blocking is seen as a skill too hard to master and so players are often taught to practice on the side of caution, and just try to contest a shot only once an opposition player is in the air. In some cases, this is not even allowed and players are instructed to stay on the ground at all times so they can have a more effective boxing out position.
While all three of these reasons present some issues faced by poor execution of shot blocking, the affect a blocked shot can have on a game is only second to a dunk. Blocking a shot is an aggressive and assertive action that can shift momentum and force the opposition to second guess themselves when in the presence of an effective shot blocker. Psychologically challenging offensive players before they even attempt a shot during a game.
The Stop the Shot Blocking Drill starts with a coach in possession of a basketball on the foul line.
Two offensive players (Three and Four) are positioned below the double block with their heels just inside the keyway. Both offensive players are positioned so they are facing towards the basket.
A defender is then positioned on the front of the basket (Five).
The Shot Blocking Drill starts with the coach choosing to pass to one side or the other.
Five (5) reacts on the flight of the ball to move between the offensive player and the basket.
The offensive player who receives the pass catches the ball and assumes a Triple Threat Stance. The player has three options:
- Shot Fake
- Jump Shot
- Pass back to the Coach
The rotation of the ball if reversed back to the coach creates a very game realistic scenario. In many stages within a game, the shot blocker (typically an interior defender) is often found to be in a help position. In this position, players are often rotating to the ball and not necessarily guarding the ball handler who is about to take the jump shot. This situation will help a defender practice the skill of shot blocking on the run or at least while on the move which is a good game like aspect of the skill needing to be developed.
The offensive players cannot dribble initially, the activity must be very controlled to help the defender practice how to read the offensive players movements correctly so they can time when to jump to contest, and ultimately block the shot.
Once an offensive player shoots the ball the Shot Blocking Drill then becomes a one on one contest for the ball. Only the shooter and defender are involved. The other offensive player should take a couple of steps back so not to interfere with the contest.
The one on one scenario is very important as shot blocking does not always result in a blocked shot, but rather an altered shot, which misses and so the defender must therefore be very active when contesting a shot to finish in a good boxing out position or at the very least working to achieve one as quickly as possible.
Once the defender become less prone to jumping at shot fakes and starts to regularly block shots the drill can be varied so the offensive players can catch and utilise one dribble (still facing up to the basket).
As a defender becomes more competent with blocking shots of players facing up to the basket, offensive players can then be allowed to use back to the basket post moves.
The Stop the Shot Blocking Drill helps provide opportunities for a player to practice their skills in isolation. The Shot Blocking Drill is very specific, but this type of activity will need to be provided for a player to refine their skill with any real significance. Otherwise if left to during games to provide opportunities for the shot blocking to be practiced a player will need many, many months of work and still not be guaranteed of any improvement.