Wild Card Drills Create Winning Hand
As coaches we always encourage our players to work on developing their skills. Many states have restrictive out-of-season coaching parameters. Without supervision and feedback off-season skill development erodes into games of 5-on-5 pickup basketball.
“Wild Card Basketball” is a simple and effective way to get your players to work on skill development communication thinking skills and most importantly 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 complicated as designing your own elaborate set of cards on your 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 will now be looking for teammates making the extra pass and helping other players get open. It also facilitates communication both on offense and defense. Your players will 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 up 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.”
“Continuous” is an excellent conditioner and develops tremendous offensive and defensive transition skills.
• “3 5 7.” The back of the card reads:
“5-on-5 full-court game played up 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 hit.”
This game puts pressure on all players and increases defensive responsibility by forcing teams to extend their defense to the 3-point arc.
• “Discontinued Dribble.” The back of the card reads:
“5-on-5 full-court game played up 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 really 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 up 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 player’s passing skills (an often overlooked skill) 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 up 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 up 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 any 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 a skill you want to emphasize such as bank shots could also be eligible for reward points.