Teaching the Euro Step using a games approach is an effective method for developing players’ skills in a dynamic, realistic and engaging way. A games approach has been the bread and butter approach for teaching basketball for decades in Spain.
The games approach involves creating game-like scenarios that replicate the specific skills and movements required in basketball, providing players with the opportunity to practice in a context that is both relevant and challenging. This approach encourages players to use critical thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.
The following is an step by step guide that I saw out in Spain on how to teach eurosteps using a games approach:
Step 1: Introduce the Euro Step
Before introducing the Euro Step, players need to have some experience of the fundamental skills required in basketball, including dribbling, passing, shooting, and footwork, however, please do not think that this is an advanced move for experienced players only.
I saw this move introduced to 10 year olds using a stepping stones game, with “stones” being placed in different places around the basket and the players could use any spot to get across the river/finish at the basket (please feel free to get in contact for the progression as this game had its limitations and was scrapped after this session). This approach helped the players learn that they have one or two steps to score and that the steps didn’t have to be in a straight line. This exercise alone opened up the players minds and the more able players were able to apply the idea to a game situation almost right away
Step 2: Incorporate the Euro Step into Games
The next step is to incorporate the Euro Step into game-like scenarios. This involves designing drills and exercises that replicate the specific situations in which the Euro Step might be used during a game. For example, set up a three-on-three game where players can gain extra points if they use the Euro Step to get past a defender and score.
I often saw coaches “hide the vegetables in the pasta sauce” i.e. put an emphasis on one area of the game hoping to see development in another area. For example, giving points for taking a charge or stopping players getting into the key, this may provoke the use of Euro Steps unbeknownst to the players!
Step 3: Allow for Creativity
Encourage players to be creative with their use of the Euro Step. While there are certain fundamental principles that must be adhered to, such as protecting the ball from defenders during the steps, or the changing of direction during the steps, players should be encouraged to experiment with different variations of the Euro Step to find what works best for them. For example, I watched players protect the ball by hugging it or gripping it with one arm against the body and holding a defender off with the other arm. In addition, players can finish with either hand or jump in any direction of that last step, e.g. to the basket, fade away, laterally away from the defender or into the defender they avoided to draw a foul. Check out some examples on the Hoops Europe YouTube Channel by clicking here.
Step 4: Emphasise Decision-Making
Of course, the above will come into play when you emphasise decision-making which is one of the key benefits of using a games approach. Emphasise the importance of making quick, accurate decisions when using the Euro Step. Players must be able to assess the situation, decide when to use the Euro Step, and execute a good read.
Note that I said “execute a good read” and not just “execute”. I often saw turnovers, missed shots, passes that went out of bounds BUT the decision was correct and the coaches would praise the good read. Coaches wanted players to make a good read and knew that over time the shots/finishes would drop and the passes would land on target on time if they kept trying to make good decision.
Step 5: Provide Feedback
Provide feedback to players on their use of the Euro Step. This could be a chat on the sideline between reps or a full time out during practice if there is a common theme amongst all the players. Feedback is crucial for players to develop their skills and make progress.
The Euro Step is everywhere these days, but teaching players to read the situation to use it well is not always easy. I had a shock to the system after seeing the Euro Step taught out in Madrid. I had always taught 1v0 and hoped it would appear in 5v5. It did for some but it was not the best way for those who needed some steps in between.
I saw in Spain that teaching Euro Steps using a games approach was an effective way to develop players’ skills in a dynamic and engaging way. By introducing the Euro Step in a step-by-step manner, incorporating it into game-like scenarios, and providing players with feedback, coaches can help players to develop the necessary skills and decision-making abilities required to be successful on the court. By allowing for creativity, and emphasising decision-making, players can continually improve their skills and develop their overall game.