Learning the game of basketball comes down to being able to make quick decisions and execute using the skills of the game.
But how do we teach this to players?
Constraints Led Approach!
A constraints-led approach is simply designing a drill where the players gain an advantage or disadvantage to encourage the skill they want to focus on. For example, if you want to encourage driving into the paint to force a help defender to commit and leave his or her player wide open for a pass and shot, give the driver the advantage to get into the paint so the scenario will happen.
This strategy can be used for offense, defense, special actions, transition offense, defense, press break, and pressing…
Constraints help you and the players get higher-quality reps for the skill you want to improve.
Giving an advantage helps the players see what will most likely happen when this scenario occurs in a real game.
Here’s your job as a coach…
Offensive System Constraints. How can you build several constraint-led drills to encourage the actions you want your players to make decisions on the most?
Defensive System Constraints. Defensive comes down to positioning, effort, communication, and the ability to play well out of the system (scramble). What constraints can you build around your defensive system to help your players do these things well?
Constraint led approach for transition offense, and defense is so important. Players will always be forced to read very quickly in transition. Create several progressions to support your transition style.
Reading special actions from the offensive and defensive side of the ball. How do you execute pick-and-roll, get-actions, back-door actions, and so on? Build a constraint-led system to help your offense and defense execute versus different actions.
We can do the same for out-of-bounds, foul shots, and jump ball situations. Be ahead of the game by putting your players in the situations that often occur in your system through constraints.
To be even more ahead of the game, I encourage you to follow the Basketball Game Model approach. Its proven concepts are what our youth basketball players need to advance their skills in a positive, productive, and healthy environment.