Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Improving Your Move Repertoire - Repeat and Expand

This is a topic I've been meaning to delve into for some time now. The idea of "moves" is that in game situations like breaking the mark, cutting to get open, and running a dump cut we have an internal set of moves that we use to succeed. Today I'll look into what to do with your moves, but first an example.

For example, when I cut for a Berkeley (reset from the sideline) against less experienced defenders, I cut up the line until they look away, reverse the cut back with an exaggerated step (maybe an arm shoots out), and then reverse again continueing up the line for an easy lead pass. I've mastered this move and use it regularly in a certain level of game. Defenders can get completely beaten by this move and end up running multiple steps in the opposite direction I'm cutting.

That's a great move to have, but that move only works a few times until the defender adapts. Then I have to adapt and use another move, and so on, and so on. Hopefully, over a game I'll get different defenders so that I don't have to adapt too much, but as teams get better and people learn your moves and play better defense you need to find more.

Note, the move I describes sounds very rigid, but incorporated in a move is options based on reading the situation and working with your teammate. For example, the above described Berkeley cut is only executed based on a more preliminary setup (I'll discuss this in another article).

The three groups of moves that I allude to at the start of this article are related to a start drill I like to run at practice - Lotto. The problem with teams that I've helped coach is this drill becomes repetitive and the players become bored and go through the motions instead of taking advantage of the practice.

However, the approach you should take to make the drills interesting is to run through your moves similar to classic dribbling drills in basketball or the start of Martial arts sessions (where artists go through standard punches and kicks to perfect each skill). Some suggestions for looking at drills you find boring include:

  • Use drill repetitions (i.e. one through three) to practice your classic moves, and use later repetitions (four and five) for new experimental moves.
  • Use the X repetitions where each repetition builds on the last to set up your defender. For example, on repetition one of three man throw a flick. On repetition two throw a flick again. On repetition three know that the defender will, likely, over play the flick and use that to set up a nice backhand.
  • Drill with the same defender or top quality players so you can't get away with your classic moves.
  • Try using a move over and over to perfect it questioning how has the defender adapted, and what does that adaption open up in new opportunities.
First, you need to identify and establish basic moves (hopefully, your coaches and experienced teammates can help). Next, you need to practice and refine the moves you have learning when to adapt, and finally, you need to creatively, depending on the read, transition between moves. The larger and better your repertoire of moves, the better you'll be on the field.