Game: Simon Says

Such a classic. And with good reason too.

Simple, adaptable, and fun – Simon Says is one of the most successful group games ever. Not only that, Simon Says is ideal for developing dribbling and footwork, and all anyone needs to play is a basketball.

The best part of Simon Says is how easy it is to adapt the game. One day you could play Simon Says with 5-year-olds to introduce the basics of dribbling, and the next day you could be using the same game with elite high school players to develop reaction time and decision making with the ball in their hands.

The best advice with Simon Says is to make the game yours. Adapt it to your audience, use it to achieve specific goals, and get creative with your calls.

Simon Says

DESCRIPTION Have all players grab a ball and space out at one end of the court, facing the coach. Call out an instruction, using the precursor “Simon Says”. Players follow along until a new instruction is given. If players follow an instruction without the coach calling “Simon Says” they are eliminated, or perform some exercise to reenter the game. Continue calling instructions, increasing the speed and challenge for players.
SKILL FOCUS Ball Handling, Footwork
AGE (STAGE) Ages 6+ (FUNdamentals & Learn-to-Train)
EQUIPMENT 1 basketball (per athlete)
Get wild and wacky with your instructions! The more you have fun with it, the more the players will enjoy the game. Try to think like a kid – or even better, have players take the role of the leader and come up with their own crazy “Simon Says” instructions.

Have any brilliant Simon Says instructions to share? Show off your stuff in the comments below!

Transition drills are great for more developed athletes. By mimicking the game situation of hustling back on defense or offense, not only do you develop a specific skill but you will improve physical conditioning as well.

Tennessee Transition Shooting is a perfect example. By adding a transition element, players must look past their fatigue and focus on proper execution to make their jumpers.

Tennessee Transition Shooting

DESCRIPTION Start with 3 players spread along centre court, and 3 players spread along each baseline – all players on the baseline start with a basketball. The players at centre run straight towards a basket, receive a pass from the baseline, take a jump shot, and collect their rebound. The baseline passers then sprint the floor to the opposite basket, receive a pass from the baseline, take a jump shot, and collect their rebound. The drill continues with players rotating from passing to shooting positions.
SKILL FOCUS Shooting, Conditioning, Passing
AGE (STAGE) Ages 8+ (Learn-to-Train)
EQUIPMENT 6 basketballs
Add some competition by challenging the team to make a minimum number of shots in a set amount of time. Have a coach/volunteer under each basket to count the number of makes, adding up to a total for the game. Note the team record, and challenge players to better their score with each attempt at the drill!

Can you think of additional variations to build into this transition shooting drill? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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