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Monthly Archives: November 2017

Block More Shots In Basketball

Increase Your Vertical Jump

When I was in High School I used to rely mostly on my athleticism to get blocks. At first I didn’t think much of it, but I realized that blocking shots will earn the respect of your teammates and your competition. The opposing team will think twice about throwing up a weak lay-up when you’re lurking around just waiting to send the ball to the other side of the court.

A high vertical jump allows you to get more blocks without having to focus too much on timing and patience. For the average guy, getting a block requires great timing and focus, but when you have hops, you can get blocks despite a lack of focus or timing.

When you can jump out of the gym, getting blocks becomes inevitable. As long as you take defense seriously, you will find yourself getting blocks left and right.

Timing/Patience

There are two ways to block a shot; in a 1-on-1 situation and in a help defense situation.

In order to get blocks in any of the two situations you need to have good timing. Good timing requires you to play disciplined defense and it requires you to be patient.

Don’t jump until the offensive player’s feet leaves the floor, or the ball leaves his hands. Don’t be a jumping machine, you can get blocks without jumping if you play good defense. I can’t tell you how many times I blocked somebody without even jumping.

Basketball rewards disciplined players who take defense serious, so if you want to get more blocks, you need to be patient and focused on defense.

Experience

Blocking shots requires you to anticipate what the offense is going to do. So basically, you need to be able to read and react to what the offense throws your way.

This means you need to get in the right place at the right time and rely on your past experiences and your opponent’s previous behaviors to dictate where you need to be in order to make a good defensive play.

Improving Spikes in Volleyball

Focus on a fast arm swing

Many players fail to get the most out of their hits because they think “hit hard” rather than “swing fast”. Power in a spike comes from the speed of the hand at contact. A good arm swing starts with an open torso (which should come from proper approach mechanics) as power begins with twisting through the core with the elbow drawn back. That then carries through the shoulder as the elbow comes forward. It finishes with the arm extending at speed to ball contact. Players get into trouble when they swing from the shoulder, not just in terms of inefficient spikes, but also in increased likelihood of injury.

Contact at full extension

Execution of a proper fast arm swing as mentioned above will see the player strike the ball at the highest possible contact point. This is critical in many ways. Obviously, it creates the best possible attack angle. Players, however, will often drop their arm. Not only is this less efficient, it also leads to a lot of hitting errors. This is particularly noticeable when hitters are trying to hit down the line and when they have no block.

If you can get your hitting mechanics working properly, that alone will make you a much better hitter. From there you can then work on being able to mix things up. Good hitters have the ability to change speeds and to hit to all areas of the court, especially in terms of being able to show a cross-court hit and do a line shot or vice versa. Those skills all require a strong mechanical foundation, however, so start with that and you’ll find yourself progressing nicely.

Volleyball Warm Up Drills

When I say the context, I mean the type of team you have and the priorities you have for them. Warm-ups for a group of 12-and-unders will be considerably different than for elite college level athletes, for example. The kids won’t need all that much to get them physically ready to go, but the college players may. Similarly, warm-ups for a team whose focus is primarily on development might be quite different from those in a mainly competitive environment. A developmental team can use warm-ups to help skill development while for the competitive team may want to simply have the most efficient way to prepare players’ bodies for the rigors of gameplay and perhaps work on tactical elements.

As for purpose, what I mean here is what your warm-up is intended to accomplish. Is it to get players ready for training or for competition. Is it mainly physical or mental, or both? Using the example above, while a physical warm-up for 12-and-unders probably isn’t really necessary, a mental one could be quite important to get them focused at the start of a session. Likewise, getting ready for a match could be quite different from getting ready for practice.

Make sure you have a good handle on both context and purpose as you plan your team’s warm-up. As for the sorts of drills you can use, here are some ideas.

A dynamic warm-up will probably be a good starting point. Basically, a dynamic warm-up is one which gets the body ready for action through various type of movement. You can find examples by searching YouTube. The old jog & stretch routine is increasingly being shown to be ineffective, if not down right detrimental to performance because of the impact of static stretching on the muscles. You’ll want to avoid that.

The dynamic warm-up is quite good as a general physical warm-up and doesn’t take all that much time. If you have specialized needs, you’ll want to address them, of course.

What follows the dynamic warm-up – or perhaps even replaces it, depending on your circumstance – depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to incorporate skill development in the warm-up, you could do something like ball-handling drills that keep the players moving and active, but also works on their fundamentals. If you have more tactical needs, you can put the players through low-intensity versions of game-like drills by taking out the jumping and/or hitting elements. In the case of a pre-match routine, you’ll want something that is consistent and not only physically prepares the players for play, but also puts them in a good mindset (think high success rate drills).

Player Refuses to Lose

Taylor Deserves Some Respect

Vince Taylor was one of a small number of players who served under both Coach Bill Foster as well as Coach Kryzewski-playing two years for each. Kryzewski had switched him from wing guard to point guard in 1981, but he was able to adjust to the change seamlessly. You may not see Vince Taylor’s name on elite lists of Duke stand-outs but he deserves genuine recognition. Taylor’s final year at Duke was a great one: he shot over 50% from the floor and led the ACC in points per game at 20.3.

Over Taylor’s Dead Body

It was senior day, Taylor’s last home game for Duke, and his teammates had never seen him so psyched. The game was a killer from the first minute. The score seesawed throughout and no team could establish a sizeable lead. The only other Duke player who scored significant points was Chip Engelland with 16. It became essentially a test of Vince Taylor’s will. Every time it looked as if Clemson might make a run, Taylor put out the fire with a score. Regulation ended in a tie, then the first and second extra periods ended dead even. Taylor must have given his parents fits with that stubborn streak-he simply refused to lose.

Final Minutes of a Great One

By the third overtime, Taylor had to be dog tired. He had played close to 50 minutes and connected on 16 of 25 shots. With 3:33 remaining in regulation Clemson’s Mike Eppley hit a 20-footer to tie the score at 70. Duke’s Tissaw sank one of two free throws to put the Blue Devils ahead, but Fred Gilliam countered with a jumper at 2:05 to make it 72-71. Taylor missed a jumper, then fouled the Tigers’ Vince Hamilton with 51 seconds left. However, he snagged the rebound when Hamilton missed the front end of a one-and-one. Taylor hit a final jumper with 27 seconds remaining. Hamilton tried to juke his way downcourt and score single-handedly but Taylor slapped at it and in the wild scramble Hamilton was whistled for a fatal traveling call. The game was over-Duke had won it 73-72. Vince Taylor walked off the court having scored 35 huge points in the win, along with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals.