With the off-season signing of Steve Nash with the Lakers and multiple requests for articles related to many Steve Nash qualities, I figured it was time to drop some knowledge.
Nash has long been a favorite player of mine because he does so many things well on the basketball. In part 1, I’m going to break down some of his skills.
Make sure to check out this video first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdqH0ZPJCjk
Here are 3 tips that you take away from Steve Nash’s skills.
1) Ability to Finish. Being a guard one of the most important skill sets you can have is the ability to finish around the rim. Steve Nash is a master of using a variety of angles, speeds, and finishes to score around the rim. One of the first things you’ll notice early in the video is that he uses such a wide variety of finishing moves that it’s impossible to predict when and where he will score.
One of the first things I do with athletes is start using variations of the Mikan Drill with my players. Typically, each skill session will start with a variation of the Mikan Drill along with some form shooting. By using the Mikan drill early and often (every time!) you are developing the skills while you’re fresh and your focus is high (before you fatigue). I typically recommend 10 shots for each hand on each shot; you can check out my video on finishing moves here: http://youtu.be/g9nUHv65u80
As you are developing the skills to shoot a variety of shots around the rim I start to have my athletes integrate the shots into a variety of drills at game speed with different angles. This is where the important transition is made from taking a shot you can make in practice to being able to take a shot that you can make in a game. As you become more skilled and you’re more comfortable with finishing you will want to make sure your level of play matches that of which you’ll need in your games.
2) Creative Handles. Nash really has it all when it comes to ball handling. He can use the speed dribble in the open floor to race the ball; he can use short, change of direction dribbles to manover in a small amount of space in the half court; and he can change speeds with virtually any combination of the above.
Having said that, I start all of my athletes with stationary ball handling drills and progress them into more and more integrated “game-like” drills (just like above). I spend about 25% of my court time with athletes working on ball handling (minimum). This means that if you are going to spend an hour a day playing basketball, I recommend focusing at least 15 minutes on ball handling alone. I recommend spending about 1/3 (5 minutes) of that daily ball handling to be stationary work that will develop and improve on dribbles and combinations that you are weak at. *If you are spending 30 minutes a day ball handling, spend at least 10 minutes doing a variety of stationary ball handling.
You can see a nice progression which can be used for a variety of dribbling combinations by checking out my YouTube video here: http://youtu.be/Jey7_4knzNo.
After developing the ball handling skills you’ll want to integrate those new moves and dribbles into more game like situations. I recommend practicing a variety of combinations and situations from: pick & rolls, pull-ups, full-court, half-court, in-bound plays, etc.
3) Ability to Pass from All Angles. Not only can Nash create space for his teammates, which is the first step to becmonign a better passer, but he is then able to get them the ball (right where they want it, I might add).
If you want to lead your team from the point, or even be a shooting guard who isn’t just one dimensional, learn to pass the basketball. And I’m talking about learning to pass it from a variety of ways: behind the back, wrap around, bounce, chest, over-the-top, step-through, over the shoulder, etc.
Keep in mind that having the skill to do these passes is just the first step to actually using them. The second step is actually being in a situation where you need to use them. There is no reason to throw a behind the back pass if you don’t need to. However, there are numerous times where a regular, more conventional pass may not work and you need to use a more creative pass. That is where this comes into play.
Just like with other drills and skills, I recommend learning the pass first and then learning ot throw it acurately from a variety of positions, angles, and at different speeds. If you try to complete a pass in a game that you can’t even complete in practice, you’re costing your team an opportunitey to score. Make sure to check out my Steve Nash passing drill here: http://youtu.be/h2w0DlvpsmE
In this piece I wanted to cover some of the skills that it takes to be as good as Steve Nash. In part 2, I will cover some of the basketball IQ it requires and how to create the opportunities that will allow you and your team to be more successful.