Running an offense – any offense – isn’t just about having players run from A to B and set a screen for C. It’s about enabling players to run the offense to their best ability by developing their fundamentals and planning how to teach the different parts of the offense.
With the Dribble Drive motion there are some options that are easier for the players to run than others – but at the same time the easy options will make the offense very predictable. That’s why the easy options should be taught last, to enable the players to familiarize themselves with all the other options first.
Over time a staggered teaching method will make the offense run better – and we all know it’s the last month of the season that counts, not the first.
In- and Out-of-Season Player Development
I think there are two kinds of player development: In-practice and out-of-practice development. In-practice the Dribble Drive is really good – out-of-practice it’s excellent!
The in-practice development can be very good no matter which offense you run, but I will maintain that a lot of work on systems takes time away from teaching fundamentals and skills. If you can run a system that teaches fundamentals and reads at the same time you’ll have more development.
The dribble drive is such an offense – offenses like Bill Self’s High/Low, Majerus’ Utah offenses, the Flex and many others are not. Majerus’ offense is so complicated and hard to learn that some op-tions were not available for Freshmen to run. It just takes so much time to teach, that development easily suffers.
Out-of-practice the strength of the Dribble Drive is that it shows the players which skills are needed, and if they want to play they go work on these skills. I’ve run screening offenses before, and it wasn’t clear in the same way to players what they had to work on. Say in the flex, do you go practice screens in the summer?
To me, working with the Dribble Drive has shown how the offense has really proved effective in player development. Players who a year ago were shooters have developed their driving skills, players who were penetrators have spent the summer in the gym shooting threes, and players who were playing in the post when they were younger have developed a perimeter game.
The strength of the offense is that it shows the players which skills are needed, and if they want to play they go work on them.
Tell them early on in the year that the penetrators who can shoot and shooters, who can penetrate, will play. You’ll notice that in the few months before the season there’s every chance that they will improve out of sheer hard work!
As far as having no shooters: Are you encouraging the kids who can’t shoot to stay that way by running an offense where they don’t shoot the ball? If they can’t see how the skill of shooting will benefit them they’ll stay bad shooters. If they knew in March that to play next year they’d have to be able to shoot they might be shooters by then.
I think it comes down to inspiring players to improve on their own, and not least getting across to players what they have to work on to get better. I do think the dribble drive has an advantage here.
I truly think players adapt to what their coach expect of them. If the coach wants them to penetrate they will develop that skill far faster than you’d expect!