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Basketball Drills and Their Value to Players and Teams

One of the most dominant big men of the NBA in history, Shaquille O'Neal, was famous for a lot on the court. His dunking, rebounding and defense were second to none in his prime. But Shaq was also famous for giving out nicknames. He named Paul Pierce, formerly of the Celtics, "The Truth," and he also called himself many names that stuck. Perhaps his most apropos name for a player, however, was when he dubbed Tim Duncan of the Spurs the "Big Fundamental." Duncan will go down as the greatest power forward in history, and not because he's more athletic or has freakish hops. It's because Duncan does all the little things that are important to an all-around game. He is perhaps the most fundamental player of the modern era, passing, dribbling, shooting and boxing out just as coaches teach in drills.

Many of today's youth want to run around and jump like crazy, allowing their athleticism to put them over the hump. But as we constantly see with the league's top players, from Duncan and Michael Jordan to Larry Bird and Magic of yesteryear, the best players excel at doing those fundamental things that make for a great team player. Basketball drills are a great way to prepare players for a fundamentally sound game. The players you see getting all the attention in the NBA and NCAAB are faithful to drill conditioning. The oddsmakers are also paying attention to who is working hard to be the best, using conditioning results demonstrated on the court to contribute to the betting line odds for those enjoying legal basketball betting.

How Basketball Drills Prepare Players for Competition

If you have a player who can run faster and jump higher than everyone else on the court, then what can drills teach him to improve his physical game? It might not seem like it, but fundamental drills are the backbone of good basketball play. From basic dribbling through cones and practicing bounce passes to rebounding and doing layup drills, the basic drills help players to hone the softer side of their game. This is especially true for bigger, stronger, faster players. Imagine a player out there LeBron's size yet he doesn't understand how to dribble, and rather than trying to lay the ball up softly on the backboard, he continually tries to turn everything into a dunk. This leads to sloppy, selfish play. A player who goes through the drills and learns more about fundamentals has more finesse to his game. Not only can he handle the ball better in pressure situations, but he's also a better teammate. He can pass the ball better, and he has an actual skill-set to fall back on when his back's against the wall.

Basic drills might seem boring compared to the action of the game, but it's this preparation that allows for the best athletes to be great teammates. Often is the case fans of games can show up and find Kobe Bryant running layup drills hours before a game, or they can watch Chris Paul passing with his teammates for hours before tip-off.

Common Drills Used in Basketball

There are dozens of drills coaches have players run, from shooting and ball handling drills to rebounding and footwork drills. For instance, a very common drill is the catch-and-shoot. This is when a player sets up on the elbow or wing, and is passed the ball from a teammate. The aim is to catch and instantly shoot the ball. Another common drill would be the low-post drill. For big men, this is when players flip the ball down to the post, and the forward or center catches the ball and shoots a hook shot or a turn-around jumper.

Other common drills include basic ball handling drills, where players must dribble through cones and keep their handle. Or you may see various agility drills, where players run up and down the court, bend over to touch the baseline, and return as quickly as possible.

Believe it or not, you wouldn't witness the type of basketball played today without these common drills. They're actually the teaching tools that help mold today's star athletes into the players they are.

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