LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Trinity Episcopal Day School’s Tommy McCoy reaches for another ball as he does a quick shooting drill during practice.

Love, hate relationship: Local teams use a variety of drills to get better on the court

Published 12:05am Sunday, December 16, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Trinity Episcopal boys basketball team gets excited when head coach Edwin White tells them to get out the basketball rack and begin one of their favorite practice drills.

In what amounts to a three-point shooting competition, the players take turns taking five shots from one spot on the floor, each time grabbing a new ball off the ball rack.

The players turn it into a competition, but there is a lot more that White gets from the drill than he lets his players know.

“They think they are having fun, but I am getting what I want out of them,” White said.

White pushes his players to get shots up quickly, and the drill helps the players focus on form, quick release and maintaining both of those things when they get tired.

Guard Garrett Vinson said the drill is real beneficial to him, because he spent his fall throwing footballs as the Saints quarterback.

“It just helps me get more shots up,” he said. “Right now I am still in football mode, and this helps me get my shot.”

The Saints like to turn the drill into a competition, but guard Tommy McCoy said it does not get too heated

“It’s a competition, but it’s a team competition,” he said. “Everybody on this team is like brothers, and we want everybody to do well, because we’re a team at the end of the day.”

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Tanner Cage goes up for a shot as teammate Dre McCoy stands nearby as they do the shooting drill that requires players to get up five shots as quickly as possible. Trinity head coach Edwin White said the players enjoy the drill, but he likes that it enforces shooting form and shooting under pressure.

11-man drill

The Cathedral High School girls team enjoys the up-tempo 11-man drill head coach Randy Smith puts them through.

Alternating between the two ends of the court, two defenders take on three players on offense, with one end of the court being used at a time. After a basket is made, the player serving as point guard dribbles down to the other end of the court with two defenders and two other players on offense waiting on her. Players off to the side sub in and out, making 11 total players that participate in the drill.

Smith said the drill teachers rebounds, making outlet passes, filling in lanes and working on offense skills against defenses. It’s also as close to a simulated game as you can get, Smith said.

“While you’re doing this, you’re running, thinking and playing different spots,” Smith said.

Cathedral guard Taylor Beesley said the drill helps the team stay in shape, but it doesn’t feel like a workout.

“It’s actually fun, because we’re all playing,” Beesley said.

Guard Sallie Stout also said she enjoys going against her teammates in such an up-tempo drill.

“It’s like a mini-scrimmage, because you have to pay attention to every more people are making, and you’re changing positions constantly,” Stout said.

17-sprint crosses

When Lisa Abron tells her Ferriday High School girls, “OK, 17,” the reaction is always the same.

“They go, ‘Ugh,’ because they have to keep doing it until they get in a certain amount of time,” the Lady Trojans head coach said.

Abron is referring to the 17-spring cross, where her players line up on one sideline and sprint across to the other sideline 17 times. If they don’t do it within a certain amount of time, the drill starts over.

Abron said the drill helps build up speed and endurance, which is important in basketball.

“It gets the calves and thighs ready for all of the transitions we do in basketball,” Abron said.

Despite the collective groans, the Ferriday players said they understand why Abron has them do the drill.

“It forces you to get in shape,” junior Shakeria Kelly said.

Freshman Jaba Griggs said she’s been able to adjust to the drill after being sluggish while running it at the start of the season.

“I wasn’t really in basketball shape (at first),” Griggs said. “I haven’t played since junior high, but now I’m use to it. It’s a lot of running if you’re not in shape, but you get used to it.”

Natchez High defensive slides

Natchez High School basketball player Derrian Johnson only had one thing to say about the defensive-slide drill the team does each practice.

“It burns,” the senior said.

The drill requires the players to stay in a defensive stance for long periods of time, while coaches shout out which direction the players should move.

It’s a drill that no player looks forward to, but Johnson said he knows it has benefits.

“We know it makes us better, and we don’t really complain about it,” he said.

Natchez High head coach Mike Martin said he knows the drill is tough on the players, but it is supposed to be.

“It’s difficult,” he said. “But it helps us in the games. Defense is half the game.”

Natchez assistant coach David Haywood said he remembers doing the same drill under Martin when he was playing at Natchez more than 10 years ago.

“You are required to stay in a stance for long periods of time,” he said. “It’s hard on the thighs. It helps build up strength, and it’s real important in high school ball, because there is no shot clock, so you might have to stay on defense for a minute at a time.”

Johnson said the drill is toughest at the end of practice when the players are already tired, but that translates to late-game situations.

  • Anonymous

    I just have to ask this question one more time.. I’ve never received an answer. Trinity is predominantly a white school. It is intergrated just as all schools are now. But WHY is it that every time there is a picture for sports….it’s always black team members. Are you trying to just show the “token” blacks?>? I just don’t get it. There are many, many talented white players too. And in upper middle class schools, you usually don’t see players or anyone else with their shirts off. That’s just pedestrian and common looking.

  • Anonymous

    You’ll never get an answer from the media . California liberalism has swept the entire country . What they do never makes sense . That’s why California is screwed up !

  • Linda Smith

    If you don’t know by now, MONEY TALKS. Blacks can afford to send their children to any school of their choice. As for the young man with his shirt off, he is at practice. If you go to football, basketball or other sports practice, you will see blacks and whites with their shirts off. The photographer is wrong because their were many pictures to select from and he decided to give you something to discuss. It is against the law to take a picture of an underage child without the proper clothing and publish it in the paper. So, don’t blame the child, blame your kind who wants to downgrade blacks.

  • Anonymous

    I have news for you…. yes, blacks CAN afford to send their children to private school, but the WON’T pay the tuition. If there are ANY blacks in private schools playing sports, you can bet their tuition is being “scholorshipped” by an unknown person. And white boys DON’T practice with their shirts off…leave that to the neighborhood courts. This is what comes from having BLACK COACHES in WHITE SCHOOLS…What’s up with that??????????

  • Linda Smith

    Well. You need to go to Trinity and check with the Headmaster to see who is paying his fees. If you decide you want to pay someone tuition just go to TRINITY. While you are there, ask someone how to spell SCHOLARSHIP :). To say that whites don’t walk around with their shirt off is an understatement. Try to attend a practice at LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama or any other SEC school and see how many people out there with their shirt off. I have notice white people jogging with their shirts off. So you need to let the black and white issue go. Anyway, why is everything a BLACK and WHITE issue?
    Other nationality attends Trinity, ACCS and Cathedral. It is praying time for every ethnic group.

    One of reasons Trinity has an African American head boys’ basketball coach because of people like you who didn’t get an education like him and just sit back and criticize everything (To be like him, you must get your master’s degreein Mathematics). Go get your GED. Remember, you didn’t pass at Trinity.

  • Anonymous

    SEC SCHOOL..Not a private parochial school. Leave that shirtless crap in the hood. uh, excuse me? I did graduate from Trinity with a 4.0 average. Now what have you got to say? And I’m certain the coach doesn’t have a Masters Degree. Everything isn’t a black/white issue…it’s mainly a Black issue. That’s the problem with the’s not even in black and white…it’s in BLACK…..:):) The point I’m trying to make is the blacks want everything but don’t want to pay for it. I went to Ole Miss too. I saw the blacks getting full scholarships for sports, music , etc. But at EVERY game, they all wanted free tickets to everything for mudear. I’ve been there so I know what I’m talking about. The M club at Ole Miss is down $50 million for last year. Why? Because the whites pulled out so ya’ll can be Black bears, no Dixie, etc. And I can count the number of blacks in the M club on one hand. Merry Christmas.

  • Linda Smith

    If you are not black and I believe not, you can not say we want everything for FREE. That young man parents (mother and father) pays his tution. Speaking of black and whites, research proves more whites receive Welfare, Food Stamps and CHIPS than Blacks. Now, may the Lord bless you can keep you. Have A Merry Christmas.