Shaka Smart’s 2013 Basketball Coaches Clinic


  • Discover breakdown drills that can be used with Shaka Smart's trademark “havoc defense”
  • Get a zone press defense to use as a secondary press to the havoc defense
  • Learn how to run a shell drill with intensity to build up your half-court man-to-man defense
  • Learn how to attack the 2-3 zone defense with plays that create penetration
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Shaka Smart, University of Texas Head Coach;
former Virginia Commonwealth University Head Coach;
2011 Clarence Gaines National Coach of the Year.
2011 Final Four appearance.
Four 27-win seasons (2009-2013).

See how Shaka Smart, one of the brightest coaches in the game today, builds a winning program. This presentation gives you access to an early season practice. Over the span of 150 minutes, the Rams run a fast-paced workout with a focus on individual and team defense, breaking down offensive skills and learning to execute their game plan in competitive scenarios.

Coach Smart’s teams are known for their intense pressure defense. In this session, they work on trapping and defending against pin down screens. They use 3-on-3 to develop their full-court defensive pressure skills. Players guard the ball, defend the ball side, help side, etc., focusing on foot fakes and jumping to the ball to understand that they are connected on the court and working together. The “Rapid Fire” drill works on closeout techniques, teaching correct form and building the habit of a correct closeout. Later in the session, players run a weak side closeout drill.

Coach Smart uses stations to emphasize various fundamentals of half-court defense. Stations maximize practice time by using assistant coaches to teach multiple skills in a short period of time. Assistant coaches run separate stations and teach defensive techniques that focus on defending pin down screens, help-side perimeter defense and guarding the weak side exchange. They run several different defensive shell drills for man and zone defense, and disadvantage drills to train players to think one pass ahead and to work on rotations. At the end of the session, they work on taking a perfect charge.

All skill development is done within the framework of the Rams’ high/low offense. Watch as Coach Smart teaches post players to steal and see the various low post moves that they develop. Perimeter players work on cutting and dribble penetration. From that they work on the shots and layups they get from the penetration. Various competitive shooting drills are run at different times throughout the practice.

Later in the session, players walk through their transition, zone and player-to-player offenses. From 5-on-0 to playing live 5-on-5, these settings are used to teach both offensive and defensive principles.

In the second part of the presentation, Coach Smart takes the floor and discusses the principles and core values of his program. He also explains why he believes his teams play so hard for him. He talks about the “havoc” style of play and how it starts on the first day of practice with full-court 1-on-1 and how he builds from there. All aspects of the VCU defense are discussed during a question-and-answer session . Coach Smart discusses a variety of topics, including the statistics tracked throughout every practice, the fundamentals of a defensive trap, building “winners” and building the defense from 1-on-1 up to 5-on-5, before demonstrating the rotations of the program’s three core trapping systems.

Produced at the 2013 VCU Basketball Coaches Clinic.

240 minutes (2 DVDs). 2014.