All Access Basketball Practice with Mick Cronin


  • Develop a pick-and-roll offense using break-down drills in a competitive setting
  • Learn how to use 3v3 and 4v4 drills to teach the intricacies of your offense
  • Teach players to effectively convert from offense to defense using advantage/disadvantage transition drills
  • Learn how to force turnovers and control tempo with the “50” full-court press
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Mick Cronin, University of Cincinnati Head Coach;
Mick Cronin gives a rare peek into the practices that have slowly built his Bearcats into a national powerhouse. Coach Cronin’s practices are all about developing physical and mental toughness. Filmed over a three-day period, you’ll see how Coach Cronin implements important details like powerful square-ups, strong finishes in the paint, and attacking full-court pressure. You’ll also get a unique lesson in how to be a teacher and mentor to young players. One reason that the Bearcats are tough at both ends of the floor is that each practice includes a significant focus on disadvantage drills. Teams get accustomed to defending with one less player, as well as attacking a press that outnumbers the offense.

Practice 1:
Coach Cronin introduces breakdown drills for his potent pick-and-roll offensive attack. Every offensive action is broken down into a 3-on-0 drill, and later carried out in a 3-on-3 setting. He also runs the team through several offensive sets in a 5-on-0 setting. This is where he shares details special actions known as Two-Down, Bump, Fade and Smash.

On the defensive side of the ball, the coaching staff puts players through the in-line series of drills that focus on positioning, close-outs and boxing out, as well as proper footwork and stance to deal with fakes from the offensive player. Coach Cronin finishes practice with drills that emphasize defensive scramble situations where the defense has to deal with being outnumbered in transition. This is an important skill for defenses that like to trap.

Practice 2:
Coach Cronin and his staff continue building their screen-and-roll offense through 3-on-0 and 5-on-0 breakdown drills. They use a 1-4 high formation to enter the offense from transition, using the “smash” and “flop” calls when the wing entry is denied. They also implement a high-post entry called “smash and pop,” which provides scoring opportunities for a good shooter off of the secondary break action.

Transition offense and spacing are taught in the 4×4 press drill, where the offense must beat four defenders in the back court in order to face four new defenders in the front court. Coach Cronin emphasizes transition offense and defense as a major part of team philosophy. He builds this mentality in his players with drills that create situations where the defense or offense is short-handed, as well as drills that deal with offensive conversion into the press.

Practice 3:
Coach Cronin and his staff emphasize offensive fundamentals in position groups. Post players must complete a series of drills emphasizing footwork in the low post as well as attacking from the perimeter. Guards do drills that emphasize relocating on the perimeter when the ball enters the post area.

Defensive fundamentals are also taught through position drill work. Defensive footwork is emphasized with 1-on-1 drills in the post for forwards as well as on the perimeter for guards. Rebounding is a major emphasis; boxing out is an aspect that is incorporated into nearly every drill and becomes a part of the competitive nature of practice.

Coach Cronin continues his focus on transition defense and conversion with a 3-on-3 full-court transition defense drill that has two teams squaring off against one another. To teach his players how to beat the press defense, he uses drills that teach the offense how to beat defensive traps even when they are short-handed.

Practice concludes with a 5-on-5 controlled scrimmage that incorporates the offensive and defensive strategies that have been taught. Coach Cronin and his staff continuously step in on dead-balls to offer their insights and to correct mistakes that players make during the scrimmage. A conditioning drill that incorporates free throw shooting is utilized at the end of the scrimmage.

This video is a great example of high intensity, competitive practices that prepare players for game-day situations by encouraging them to put forth their best efforts during practice.

388 minutes (3 DVDs). 2014.

All Access videos are designed to allow viewers from all over the world to see how successful coaches run their practices in a “live” practice setting. All Access videos allow viewers to see the practices un-edited and in real-time. You will see how top coaches run their drills, interact with their team and staff, how they motivate their team, the cue words they use, the atmosphere of the practice and how practices are structured from day to day. Many coaches visit successful colleges and high schools to watch practice. But if you live out of state or out of the country, visiting another coach’s gym can be costly. That’s why we created the All Access Practice Series of videos — to bring the practices to you!