Basketball is one of the hardest sports to master due to the simple fact there are so many skills each player must master. Regardless of the position played, players must have basic footwork skills, be able to play one-on-one defense (this is an essential regardless of whether or not the team defense being played is man-to-man or zone), shoot lay-ups and free throws, dribble the ball at least twice, pass and catch and move effectively.
If that is not enough, players still need to learn position specific skills, even if they play in a motion type offense where players are highly interchangeable. The foundation for position specific play are the foundational fundamental skills all players must master. The rest can vary by position. if you developing basketball skills make sure you have basketball court and basketball gears like adjustable basketball hoop, basketball shoes, basketball sleeves and rack as well.
Point guards must be able to handle under pressure, initiate and offense, lead a team and create scoring opportunities for their teammates. Perimeter players must be able to drive, pass, shoot and feed the post. Post players have the difficult task of playing with their backs to the basket and executing finesse based skills while playing an extremely physical position. Of course, all of this is what makes the game so fun.
Change of Pace
Players often make the mistake of not changing speed when executing a v-cut. Moving at a constant speed, even when combined with a change in direction, is much easier for the defense to react to than a change of direction combined with a change of pace.
When executing a v-cut, players should enter the cut moving at a slow speed and then accelerating quickly immediately after the change of direction has been made. Walking is an acceptable form of entering the v-cut slow and players need to be aware of this.
Standing still is a form of change of pace, particularly when the player who is about to change direction is running at full speed. In order for there to be the required change of pace as well as change of direction, the player must stop, and stand still. Standing still and then changing direction forces the defender to guess when the cutter will move and even with good anticipation the defender will lag behind the cutter, producing the desired space for the cutter to receive a pass.
The ability to stop is as important as the ability to initiate movement. For shooters, the ability to stop with excellent balance and no extra motion, forward or to the sides, is essential.
Whether stopping off the dribble, filling a lane on the fast break or cutting off a screen, great shooters are ready to stop with balance, catch the ball, face-up in triple threat and shoot the ball in a smooth, fluid and controlled motion.
Basketball players have two methods of stopping quickly, the jump stop and the stride, or one-two stop using a step-plant. The jump stop is executed by taking a final long, low step, jumping in the air a few inches off the ground and landing on both feet at the same time with the knees bent, back straight, chin level and head centered. The advantage of the jump stop is the player can pivot on either foot if in possession of the ball.
The stride stop, or step-plant method, is often easier for female players and is appropriate for any player when already faced up to the goal and stepping into the pass for a shot or picking up the dribble for a shot.
The skill is executed by stepping on the inside (towards the middle of the court) foot first using a heel-toe plant followed by planting the outside foot. After planting the inside foot first, if necessary the shooter must face-up before putting the plant foot down. The knees must be bent, back straight, chin level and head centered.
Concepts For Point Guards
Players all too often catch the basketball and immediately begin to dribble the ball. Doing so eliminates two of the three threats the triple threat position. When a player has the use of the dribble still and is in triple threat position, the player can shoot, pass or drive. By dribbling, the player has eliminated two of the three threats without any pressure from the defense.
Good defensive teams work very hard to pressure the offensive player with the ball to put it on the floor and then dribble it to an undesirable offensive location on the court. The offensive player should only dribble when he has a clear purpose and destination in mind and dribbling is the only way the ball can be moved to that location.
There are only three reasons to dribble a basketball. They are to drive the ball for a scoring opportunity, to improve a passing angle to a teammate and to advance the ball up the court, if the ball cannot be advanced by passing it up the court.
Four Dribbles to the Rim
Ball handlers should always be as efficient as possible with the use of the dribble. Just as the ball handler should drive from the 3-point line to the rim in one dribble, the ball handler should advance the ball up the court with the fewest number of dribbles possible.
An aggressive ball handler running at maximum speed can advance the ball up the court in four dribbles. Players who are not able to do this should work to develop this skill. Ball handlers who can advance the ball with just four dribbles are extremely difficult for the defense to stop in the open floor. This minimalist approach to advancing the ball with the dribble is not only difficult to defend, it creates numerous scoring and passing opportunities. Weaker ball handlers, high school girls and middle school players should set an initial goal of five dribbles.
Use an Arm Bar
Ball handlers must protect the ball at all times. The best way to protect the ball while dribbling is to combine the use of an arm bar with placing the ball handler’s body between the ball and a defender.
The ball handler should not use the arm bar to push a defender’s hand away from the ball. Instead, the arm bar should be rigid. When the defender reaches for the ball and comes into contact with the arm bar, the effect should be like bumping into a wall. The rigidity of the arm bar serves to keep the defender away from the ball.
If the defender increases the pressure against the arm bar, the ball handler increases the force required to keep the arm bar stationary. The ball handler does not push back in this instance. The photos below demonstrate the proper positioning of an arm bar to protect the ball. Note in both examples the ball handler has positioned her body in such a way that her body will be between the ball and the defender with the arm bar serving as additional protection for the ball.