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Here's a little something to help turn the page from last night. As you know, Travis Outlaw has...

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Here's a little something to help turn the page from last night. As you know, Travis Outlaw has been rehabbing from a foot injury and is set to return within the next month or so. As has been reported, Outlaw has been working under the supervision of Assistant Coach Monty Williams. I thought I'd give you a diagram of one of the drills he was working on last week. In the picture, the orange dots are cones that Williams set up roughly 8-10 feet from the rim to represent a screener. The Blue figure 8 represents the path that Outlaw runs. The hard blue lines is where he would run and cut at full speed, the dashed blue lines is where he would go roughly 1/2 speed, as if setting up his man for a screen. The Black spots are where Outlaw would receive a pass, as he comes curling off a screen, and take the no-dribble shot. The coach serves as the passer stands at the top of the key. The beauty of this drill is its simplicity and versatility. All Williams needs is 2 cones, 2 basketballs and a ball shagger. No fancy equipment whatsoever. A coach might teach this to middle schoolers in less than 2 minutes. While simple, there are a number of benefits to this drill, especially for a player coming off an injury. First, there's the endurance factor. The coach can challenge the player to make X number of shots or continue through the drill for X number of minutes. As it is continuous movement a fatigue factor sets in, which is great for development. Second, there's the change of pace and footwork involved in navigating the cones as well as learning to naturally find the spot on the court. As the player runs through the drill a few times, the coach might insist that the player keep eye contact on the ball handler as he weaves through the drill rather than looking down at the cones or at his feet. Third the shots are taken in game-like situations and are taken on the move. Coming back from a foot injury can be as much mental as physical (trusting your feet in various situations). Regularly shooting on the move during practice helps build a player's comfort level mentally for game situations. Of course, the cones can be moved around the court to work (up towards the foul line or out towards the baseline) on specific areas of focus too. The Blazers coaches usually keep counts of how a player is shooting as he works through a drill like this. Generally they just count makes. Sometimes players are instructed to keep their own counts to make sure they maintain focus or are paying attention in group drills. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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