Whole-Part-Whole Method

"It's not the play, but how you execute it that counts!"

It is best to employ the "Whole-Part-Whole Method" when introducing a teaching a new offense or play. This is a basic principle of learning. The "Whole-Part-Whole" method of teaching involves introducing it, breaking it down into its components, and then executing it in its entirety. Players cannot be expected to run a play successfully without a working knowledge of its individual parts and fundamentals.


Introduce and explain the offense or play, using visual means when available. Next, on the court, walk through the offense explaining and demonstrating all of the options along with their basic defensive reads and counters. Then, on the court, have the players walk through all then reads and their counters.

CAUTION: Do not take it for granted that players can readily flip sides. Be sure to demonstrate and practice both sides of the court. Flipping sides on offense requires not only opposite footwork, but for the entire brain to reverse everything as well.


Break down the offense or play down into its components with the use of breakdown drills. Get your teaching done during breakdown drills, insist on proper footwork and execution. Cover only one or two of the basic reads per practice until all reads and counters have been covered.

Review the breakdown drills only as needed during the rest of the season.


Go live, motor skills must be learned at game speed. You want to practice against good defense. Don't wait until game time. Motivate the defense. For example, have the defense make 5-6 stops (combination of defensive rebounds, offensive turnovers, and steals) before they can go to offense. No dummy defense! The toughest defense you face all season should be in practice. The offense will probably struggle at first. However, players will learn to adapt to the importance of creating leads and attacking defensive pressure.

Learn More Motor Skill Learning


The Game Within the Game

Individual offensive skill development and improvement should be an integral part of every practice. In addition to early time (before practice) work, each player should, personally, have one or two individual fundamental techniques to work on during the course of a practice. The specific skill or skills will vary from player to player and can be assigned by the coaching staff or determined by the players themselves. As a reminder, the skill(s) should be written down on a 3 X 5 card and give it to each player prior to practice.



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