‘Wild Card’ drills create a winning hand From Marty Cosgrove, head girls basketball coach, Sandwich High School, Massachusetts

We always encourage our players to work on developing their skills. Many states have restrictive out-of-season coaching parameters. Without supervision or feedback, offseason skill development erodes into pickup games of 5-on-5 basketball.

“Wild Card Basketball” is a simple and effective way to get your players to work on skill development, communication, thinking skills and team development. We created a deck of cards, incorporating skills we wanted emphasized in 5-on-5 full- and half-court games.

Creation of “Wild Card” decks can be as simple as purchasing a package of lined index cards, or as elaborate as designing your own set of cards on a computer. The name of the drill or game is printed on one side of the card, while instructions are written on the back. Here are several examples of the cards we use to keep our players thinking team basketball during non-practice times.

Sudden victory

The back of the card reads: “5-on-5, full-court game. No score is kept. All players on the team must score. After all 5 players score, the next point wins. In essence, a sudden-victory situation.”

The rationale behind this game is to get everybody involved with scoring. Your players look for teammates, making the extra pass and helping others get open. It also facilitates communication on offense and defense. Your players need to yell things such as “Who still needs to score?” and “We have to stop Suzie, she hasn’t scored yet!”

Continuous

The back of the card reads: “5-on-5, full-court game played to seven points. When a team scores, they stay on offense by getting the ball out of the net and attacking the defense in the other direction.”

This is an excellent conditioner, and it develops tremendous offensive and defensive transition skills.

3, 5, 7

The back of the card reads: “5-on-5, full-court game played to nine points. One point is awarded for all baskets, including 3-point shots. Teams may score from any area on the floor, however, on points 3, 5 and 7, the baskets must be 3-pointers. A team may score from inside the arc, but the score does not accumulate beyond 2, 4 and 6 until a 3-pointer is made.”

This game puts pressure on all players and increases defensive responsibility by forcing teams to extend their defense to the arc.

Discontinued dribble

The back of the card reads: “5-on-5, full-court game played to nine points. Teams may dribble without restriction if they are in transition. However, if a team is in a half-court situation, no one may dribble inside the 3-point arc.”

This game helps develop screening, scoring off the screen, and passing skills.

Postman

The back of the card reads: “5-on-5, full- or half-court game played to nine points. There are no restrictions on offensive play, except that before a team may score the ball must be entered to a post player.”

This drill improves post players’ passing skills (often overlooked) and forces teams to slow down, knowing they can’t score without a post entry.

Golden Child

The back of the card reads: “5-on-5, full-court game played to nine points. There are no restrictions. Each team has a player, who is selected as the golden child. All baskets are worth one point, however, the golden child’s baskets are worth two points.”

Defensive integrity and intensity increases on an individual and a team basis as the “golden child” simulates that opponent who “must be stopped.”

Lefty

The back of the card reads: “5-on-5, full- or half-court game played to nine points. All baskets are worth one point. All offensive entries must begin on the left.”

Lefty is a simple game but stresses the importance of utilizing both sides of the floor. Another added benefit is an increased comfort level of ball handlers working with their non-dominant hand.

Reward

The back of the card reads: “5-on-5, full-court game played to 13 points. All baskets are worth one point, as are ‘reward points’ for any skill a coach wants to emphasize.”

Our team tends to reward points for offensive and defensive rebounds, but deflections, hustle points (diving after loose balls etc.), or bank shots could also be eligible for reward points.




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P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
616.887.9008
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