When a ball needs to be entered into a game or drill, how is that being done? I’ll ask that again by way of an example.
Let’s say you’re running the game Baseball, which features a lot of free balls initiated to one side. Do you, as coach, send those free balls to the receiving side? Or instead do you toss a ball to the opposing side and have them send the free ball over to the receivers?
If you’re doing it, I’m guessing you’re thinking about control. You control the tempo and you control where the free balls go. Sound about right?
Certainly there are advantages to that.
There are also disadvantages, however. One of them is probably that the free balls always come from the same area – usually off the court somewhere. Not all that realistic.
The other is that is you’re the one doing the free balling you take the opportunity for learning and development away from the players who could be doing it instead. The freeballers can be learning where they should be trying to target the ball and otherwise how they can make things challenging for the other team.
You get two benefits this way. The players become better at sending free balls over if they have to do it and the receiving team gets more realistic balls coming at them.
Plus, you can still control the tempo of the game. You still need to feed the ball in, after all. It’s just to a different side. And of course you can put the freeballers in any kind of situation you like.
Where can you make a shift?
Think about other games and drills where the ball needs to be initiated from the sideline. I can think of a few. Bingo-Bango-Bongo comes immediately to mind as it is like Baseball in terms of the free balls.
There’s also 22 v 22. That’s a wash drill which features a second ball initiated to the winners of the first rally. I personally have usually done that by way of a standing ball “attacked” at them. Depending on what you want to do, though, it would be easy enough to toss an attackable ball to the losing side for them to hit over. More realistic than a standing ball from the coach, right?
Give it some thought. Shifting the initiation like that adds a developmental layer.
It’s worth noting that if you have the extra bodies you can have players feed the initial ball in, allowing you to keep your attention where you want it.
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