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“The Court is Too Small”

Travel Basketball Team Prep Camp

Over the past two weeks, I ran my yearly travel basketball team prep camp for a couple of towns near where I live in New Jersey. The focus of the camp was to prepare these players for their upcoming travel team basketball seasons. To do so, we focused a ton on fundamental basketball skill development in the mornings. Then in the afternoon, we broke down the game into three on three, instructing the players on offense and defense with breakdown drills. Finally, there was game play at the end of each day, in order to let the players showcase their individual basketball skills and incorporate what we learned in the three on three instruction into an actual game. Due to large number of players at the camp and me not wanting anyone to sit too long, we ran the 5 on 5 full court games on the smaller side courts instead of the main court. As I encouraged the players to work on the passing, cutting and screaming skills that we worked on I had one common response in both weeks…” The courts are too small.”

Small Courts Make Better Basketball Players

Clearly these kids have never seen the courts on West 4th NYC dubbed “The Cage” or the famed Rucker Park. Both courts are notoriously small and known for producing and hosting some of the  best basketball players that the city has to offer. Learning how to play on a smaller court can only make you a better player. With only tighter spaces to work with, basketball players must learn to move more efficiently without the ball in order to get open. The timing of passes need to be on point or its a dunk at the other end. Ball handling and dribbling moves need to be tight or the ball will get taken. And, you need to learn how to get your jump shot off quickly and accurately and finish at the rim with a variety of finishing moves. Do skills like efficient cutting and screening, well timed passes, a tight handle, and accurate shooting and finishing sound like skills the pros have? You bet they do and they all develop these basketball skills by training in situations that are harder than the game.

Basketball Training in Tight Spaces

Playing on tighter courts is just one “harder than the game” situation that basketball players can put themselves in to hone their skills, but how can one simulate these tight spaces using basketball drills? One such drill that I use with my players at Elite Basketball Training is the tight cones drill. Setting up the cones in a variety of ways but only about two feet or less apart forces the player to make their dribble moves in smaller spaces. Another great drill that we use when there are two or more players at a workout and we did last week at camp was Full Court One on One Tight Spaces. The players are tasked with playing full court one on one but need to stay within the lane lines. If they go out, its a turnover. This drill forces to players to execute their changes of direction and change of speeds in a smaller area against a real defender. It also makes them finish at the rim or with their jumper in a much smaller area forcing them to be efficient in both situations.

There is no doubt that training and playing basketball in tight spaces will make you a quicker, more efficient, and overall better basketball player. Interested in finding out how we train at Elite Basketball Training? Take a look at a list of our fall and year round programs on our training page.


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