Basketball Tips – Introduction to Defence

Continuing in our series on playing the game – more tips from Lindsay Gaze and Betterbasketball –

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The era when a team expected to win with offence alone has passed. The only way to win consistently is to play alert, restricting defence. Defence is the great equaliser, the instrument that enables the underdog to rise to the heights against athletically superior opponents. It is the chief characteristic of the champion and the trademark of the underdog. Defence wins championships.

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If a player is sound defensively he can contribute to the team effort by containing his man. He must work conscientiously all the time and put a maximum effort into the defensive drills, which must be practiced regularly.

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More coaches these days spend more time working on defence than ever before and a greater variety of defences are used to combat improving offensive skills and team tactics. Teams may vary tactics from passive and conservative to aggressive and pressing. Young junior teams often choose to retreat close to the basket with only modest pressure on the ball-handler, relying on opponents not to shoot a high percentage. Others may choose to extend their defence well over the centreline to force errors or to disrupt the opposition’s offence.

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Before any team can use complex tactics to upset their opponents they must remember that a good team defence will depend on two qualities: the mental and the physical. Players must have a firm desire to play defence, they must concentrate totally and believe that saving a basket is just as rewarding as scoring a basket. Each player must be convinced of his ability to contain his man, to pressure him into making mistakes and to harass him to the point of desperation throughout the entire game. Many games are won when a sound defence forces opponents into errors that lead to steals and morale-boosting easy baskets.

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There are two basic defensive tactics: man-to-man and zone. In man-to-man defence each player sticks to his man, aiming to prevent him receiving a pass or harassing him continually if he has the ball. It may be desirable in certain man-to-man situations to switch opponents, particularly when the offence sets a screen. This requires good stance and positioning as well as good communication between the players.

With a zone defence each player is responsible for defending a particular area of the court. A zone defence usually allows the taller players to defend the area close to the basket and quicker players to defend around the perimeter.

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My advice to coaches of young teams is to stick with man-to-man defence until their players are thoroughly familiar with the execution of the defensive fundamentals. Many young teams get away with using zone defences because their opposition lacks skill and the ability to create easy scoring opportunities. But when they progress to tougher competition they often find their lack of defensive fundamentals will prevent them from improving.

One-on-one defensive drills should be run from all positions on the court: the forward spots on the wings, the point at the top of the keyway, the low and high posts and full court. Defensive drills are very physically demanding, but there are big rewards for those who work at them.

Source: betterbasketball.com.au

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Basketball Tips – Hook Shot

Since the advent of the jump shot fewer players are spending more time on developing the hook shot. But the hook shot is still and effective shot when taken close to the basket. Whilst it is usually a favourite weapon of the taller players all players should work on the skill so they can take full advantage of opportunities which otherwise might be wasted. A smaller player will often succeed with a hook shot, whereas a jump shot is more easily blocked by a taller opponent.

Perhaps the most famous exponent of the hook shot was Kareem Abdul Jabbar who, at over 217cm tall dominated the sport through his long career playing with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA after winning three NCAA championships with UCLA. Kareem exploited the NBA rule that prohibited the use of zone defenses and in one on one situations became almost unstoppable using what commonly became known as “the sky hook” No player has taken over the mantel of hook shot specialist since Kareem retired although there are many players at all levels of the sport still using the hook shot effectively.

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In cases where a team is lucky enough to have a tall player who is being covered by a smaller opponent, it is a worthwhile tactic to set up the tall player close to the basket and let him work on his hook shot. If he is able to convert a high percentage, which he should if defended one on one, then you have a valuable asset. However it is more likely that the opposing team will call for defensive help against the tall player using double teaming tactics. This should open up opportunities for passes to team-mates and uncontested perimeter shots.

When making the hook shot the object is to receive the ball as close as possible to the basket and then keep the body between the ball and the defender. If the shot is taken with the right hand the shooter jumps off his left foot and keeps the ball close to the body with his elbow bent as he is jumping. The balance hand is used to protect the ball but will be released from the ball before it gets to about head height. Although the shot is normally commenced with the player’s back to the basket you should be facing the ring at the completion of the shot and upon landing be ready to follow the shot for a possible rebound. The hook shot may also be used following an offensive rebound. After recovering the ball from a rebound the player makes a strong cross-over step turning his back to the defender and then pivoting toward the basket while protecting the ball for the hook shot.

Source: betterbasketball.com.au

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The Jump Shot

When a player is a strong driver and can advance the ball quickly up the court defenders will tend to retreat away from the driver to prevent him from going all the way to the basket for an easy lay-up. The counter move for the offensive player is the jump shot. In recent years the jump shot has become the most potent weapon for the offense. Players have extended their effective range to well beyond the three point line making it even more difficult for the defense to counter the offensive strategies.

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When learning the jump shot remember to practice within comfortable range of the basket. And then gradually increase the range only after high percentage accuracy is achieved from the shorter distance. Once again it is very important that the correct footwork is used. It makes no difference if you are a left handed shooter or right handed the player must stop on the foot opposite to the dribbling hand. It is desirable to commence this shooting drill standing close to the basket as demonstrated for the set shot, but this time the pivot foot stays on the floor while the other steps into it to gather momentum for a jump. The player carries the ball up to the crown line of the head as he is jumping and then at the height of the jump releases the ball with one hand for the shot. The drill is repeated from both sides of the basket using the foot closest to the centre of the court as the pivot foot.

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After the player is able to make a high percentage of shots from close to the basket the drill is repeated from close to the free throw line except this time the player starts with a dribble. Regardless whether the player is right handed or left handed the footwork will be the same. Start close to the edge of the free throw line facing the basket with feet about shoulder width apart. The object is to take just one dribbler as the right foot hits the floor the ball hits the floor. Take possession of the ball as the left foot hits the floor then bring the right foot back to about shoulder width apart coming to a quick stop. The player should remain in a crouched position with the knees well bent and the back almost straight up. The eyes should be focused on the “target” all through the routine and after coming to a quick stop jump vertically releasing the ball with one hand at the height of the jump. In the same way as practiced close to the basket, the ball is raised to about the crown line of the head quickly during the jump. When making the dribble the player should be moving laterally to get used to squaring off to the basket with shoulders virtually parallel to the baseline at the point of release. Do not try to jump too high as this might unbalance the shot and when trying to jump too high the player is likely to raise the ball too high above his head and therefore reduce his effective shooting range.

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The drill is repeated from the other side of the keyway starting the dribble with the ball hitting the floor at the same time as the left foot hits the floor and this time stopping on the right foot for the quick jump shot. When the player is able to execute the shot after taking one dribble in either direction and stopping on the correct foot, it is then time to use more than one dribble. The emphasis is on always stopping on the inside foot, that is the foot closest to the center of the court, coming to a quick stop after squaring off to the basket, making a comfortable but aggressive vertical jump and releasing the ball with one hand at the height of the jump. Common mistakes are releasing the ball after the player has reached the height of his jump, leaving the non shooting hand on the ball for too long thus making the shot almost a two handed shot, releasing the ball too early and shooting off the wrong foot. The work spent on a young player getting the technique right in the early stages will pay good dividends for the rest of his basketball career.

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Playing an ‘Offence’ game in Basketball

Here are some very good tips on Offensive strategies for Basketball teams. Playing on Sprung Timber Sports flooring creates a fast moving and very exciting game. Be ready for it . Practice the right moves as a team. For the next few weeks we will continue with more game tips as space permits.

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Implementing an offence can help your team with its structure, balance, performance and results. By offence, I mean an offensive structure or set play that is used to get players open for good shots.

There are many offences in the world of basketball, though several seem to have been in the game forever and have certainly stood the test of time.

I will discuss some of the standard offensive plays. If some of these patterns are learned they will provide a good basis for a team offence. I will devote more detail to what has become known as the Melbourne Tigers Shuffle but also include other well-known methods that have brought success to many teams over many years.

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Coaches should be encouraged to develop their own philosophy within the context of a thorough understanding of the game. While the following examples of standard offences have been tried and tested over the years, you can adjust them to suit your players and your philosophy so your chances of success will be improved.

The development of an offence takes time and requires considerable patience. There are no short cuts to success. The first step is to select a style of play that will suit the team and your own philosophy. The whole picture of the offence should be clear to the coach and he should make sure the players understand it. Once this is established the offence should be broken down into its parts that can be drilled. Two-man drills and three-man drills are used to develop the elements of the offence and then advance to four-on-four and five-on-five.

The structure of some offences may be quite complicated so coaches should be cautious about trying to include too much. It is preferable to include fewer elements and execute them well rather than try to include too much and execute them poorly. It is not advisable to change the offence constantly for this may create doubt or confusion in the players’ minds, but it is also undesirable to be too rigid to allow modifications to be used. The coach should be prepared to move with the times and make adjustments as the players’ skills improve and athletic abilities increase.

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There are a number of drills that are applicable to almost every offence. Apart from individual fundamental skills, one-on-one moves and rebounding, the give and go is the most basic of all two-on-two situations and is inevitably a part of every offensive structure. One player passes to a team-mate and checks to see how the defence reacts. If the defender turns his head and loses vision on the passer momentarily, or maintains poor stance, then he can be beaten with a change of direction and pace with a cut to the basket. A complete offence can be built on the give and go principle with good spacing of the players around the court, good passing and cutting. It will of course need to include individual one-on-one options that allow the player with the ball to drive to the basket when the defenders give too much attention to the cutters.

Perhaps the oldest method of team offence is what is now known as a motion offence, but was once known as a give and go offence. In simple terms this means that after each pass the passer should normally make a jab step away from his defender followed by a quick change of direction and hard cut to the basket. If the cutter is open for a return pass it will usually lead to a shot close to the basket. If the first cutter is not open for a return pass the receiver will pass to another team-mate and make a similar fake and cut to the basket. With this style of play it is important that if the cutter does not receive the return pass, he should continue his cut and clear away from the keyway, leaving the area vacant for the next cutter.

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When a team is using a give and go offence it is common for the defenders of players without the ball to sag toward the keyway with the intention of blocking the cutting lanes. When the offence recognises this tactic, the players should be able to create opportunities for perimeter or short-range jump shots. The success of the offence will depend on the players recognising what the defence is doing and making good decisions on passing to open cutters, to players free for perimeter shots, or making strong one-on-one drives.

To be continued…

Source: betterbasketball.com.au

Basketball Tips – Handling, Passing, Shooting and Defence

Nellakir are the premium supplier of Sprung Timber Sports Flooring in Victoria and Tasmania.

Nellakir are strong supporters of both junior and Senior Basketball and to assist young players from time to time we will provide some handy tips from real professionals.

This week we provide advice on Ball Handling, Passing, Shooting and Defence.

We hope this helps some of you budding young champions and take your game to the next level.

The following tips address the basics of the game. Master these and we may just post a blog on ‘tricks’ so you can impress your friends.

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Basketball Shooting Tips

gallery_a gShooting is a critical part of the game and it requires excellent mechanics, unfortunately there are a lot of people giving bad advice online. Without proper mechanics you will shoot a low percentage and have a lot of your shots blocked.

Below are important tips regarding shooting mechanics:

  1. Hold the ball on your finger tips. In order to have proper control of the ball only your finger tips should be touching.
  2. Start small, end tall. At the start of your shot you should be small, your legs bent as if you were sitting (this is where your power comes from). Then as you continue through your shooting motion you are springing up, ending with your body straight and your hands high in the air, ending tall. (Starting your shot standing up straight is a common mistake that really hurts your shooting percentage. You need your legs to get the ball up, especially in a game when you are tired, don’t make your arms do all the work.)
  3. Middle to middle. Your elbow should be in, pointing to the middle of the rim. The same goes for your middle finger on the follow through, your shot should finish as if you were dipping your hand into the rim.
  4. Snap the elbow. As you reach the peek of your shot your arm should straighten out in such a motion that your elbow snaps back a little (this may feel weird the first time). The MOST COMMON MISTAKE amateurs make is not fully extending their arm.
  5. Elbow above your eyes. At point of release your elbow should be above your eyes. Many players learn to push their arm out towards the basket in order to get enough distance on the ball, this results in many blocked shots and a low percentage flat arc shot. Fix this by practicing close shots with one hand and starting low to make sure you get power from your legs.
  6. Follow through. You should always follow through, your arm finishing straight, your wrist loose, your fingers hanging down. Your fingers should be naturally hanging, not tight together or pointing.
  7. Hold your follow through. By holding your follow through you are engraining it into your muscle memory, making your mechanics come naturally without conscious thought.

Basketball Passing Tips

Passing is an important skill and there are a variety of different types. The key to passing is finding the open player and choosing the appropriate type of pass.

The two most common passes in basketball are the chest and the bounce pass.

  1. Chest Pass. Ball travels from your chest area directly to your teammate with little arc and no bounce. This is the most direct way to transfer the ball and is the easiest to catch.
  2. Bounce Pass. Ball travels from your chest or waist area and takes one bounce up into your teammates hands.  This is the most difficult pass to defend because the ball is bouncing near the defenders feet and they don’t have time to get their hands on it. This is why the bounce pass is very effective and popular.

Below are some passing tips:

  1. Pass with two hands. By putting both hands on the ball you have more control and can easily put backspin on the ball.
  2. Step into your pass. Put your weight into your pass to ensure proper velocity and control.
  3. Always follow through. Just like a good shooter, a good passer will follow through.
  4. End with your thumbs pointing down. Your thumbs should point down at the end of your follow through. This ensures there is proper back spin on the ball which makes it easier to catch.
  5. Make the pass easy to catch. Don’t put a lot of speed on the pass if you don’t need it, and always read the body language of your teammate, are they ready for a pass? Where are their hands?
  6. Pass away from the defender. Aggressive defenders will play passing lanes and knock away passes. Passing to the side of your teammate that is away from the defender will reduce tipped passes.
  7. Make the easy pass. Most turnovers that amateurs commit happen because they try to make a difficult or impossible pass. Just make the easy passes to wide open players, this will ensure your teammate can easily get it and your team retains possession.
  8. Pass to the hands of your teammate. If your teammate is squaring up for a shot, they will have their hands by their shooting pocket, make sure thats where you aim. If they are battling in the post with their hands up in the air, make a lob pass to their finger tips. If they are in the post reaching out low, skip a bounce pass in so it hits their hands.
  9. Only lead your receiver if required. Many passing turnovers are caused by over leading the receiver, often in times when there is no need to lead the receiver at all. If your teammate is wide open on a fast break don’t try throw the ball far in front of them, instead make a pass they will be able to get even if they slow down.
  10. Use trick passes with caution. Trick passes can look impressive when they work, but often result in turnovers. Using a trick pass just you had to try and fool the defence because you could not get them out of position.
  11. Do not jump. Once you jump, you are not allowed to land with the ball, if the passing lane disappears as you jump, you have no choice but to throw a bad pass.
  12. Pick a target. Don’t throw in the general direction of your teammates voice.

BONUS TIP: Play a practice game without dribbles. Find a few friends and play a game with no dribbling allowed (almost like ultimate frisbee), it will force you to focus on passing.

Below for receiving a passes:

1.    Catch the ball with two hands and grab it with muscle. By using both hands and your strength you are increasing your control of the ball incase it had more velocity than expected or a strange spin. It also lets you immediately get into your shooting motion or triple threat position.
2.    Come to the ball. If you let the ball come to you, you are giving the defender a chance to make a play. Once the ball is in the air, its your job as the receiver to get to it and make sure no one else can.

Basketball Ball Handling Tips

The importance of ball handling skills cannot be overstated. Whether you are a guard, forward, or centre, playing pickup, college, or professionally, ball handling is (and always will be) the most important skill in the game.  With good ball handling the rest of the game comes to you, passing and shooting become natural because the ball is always where you want it. When you don’t have to think about physically holding or dribbling the ball, you will have no problems reading the defence and finding your open teammates.

Playing in pickup games does NOT improve ball handling. Improving your ball handling only comes from ball handling drills. If you were going to learn guitar, you wouldn’t join a band, instead you would practice chords and rhythm at home, so neither should you play basketball to learn the game. One great thing about ball handling is that you can practice at home! Just a few minutes a day will result in huge improvements on the court.

Below are the most effective drills:

  1. Tipping (do in your home!). Tip the ball back and forth from one hand to the next, starting with your hands straight up over your head. Then gradually move the ball down, while continuing to tip it back and forth. Go down to your chest, then your waist, knees, and ankles, and then back up again. Keep your elbows straight and only let the the ball touch fingertips, not the palms.
  2. Circles (do in your home!). Put your feet together and make circles around both legs. Then circle around the back. And then circle around the head. Then combine them and move the ball in circles around your head, then down your body, down around your knees, and then around your ankles (“candy cane”). Then come back up again. Try to only touch with the fingertips, not the palms.
  3. Around Each Leg and Figure Eights (do in your home!). Put one leg forward and move the ball in a circular motion around the leg. Then do the other leg. Finally, spread your legs out wide with the ball in front of you. Move the ball around through your legs in a figure-of-eight motion. Keep your eyes forward and don’t let the ball hit the floor. After 30 seconds, reverse the direction.
  4. Circle Dribbles (HIGHLY EFFECTIVE). Using only your right hand, dribble circles around your right foot with about 5 inch dribbles. Do ten clockwise then switch directions, then switch to your left hand and left leg.
  5. Figure 8 Dribbles (HIGHLY EFFECTIVE). Dribble the ball in and out between your legs in a figure eight motion, dribble should be about 5 inches high. When going between your legs your one hand will bounce the ball to the other.
  6. Power Dribble. Fifty power dribbles with the right hand, being sure to protect the ball with the off hand.  After completing fifty power dribbles the ball handler dribbles low for fifty more dribbles.  Then switch to the left hand and do fifty power dribbles and fifty low dribbles.
  7. Drops. Put the ball between your feet and grab it with both hands. Start with the left hand behind your left leg and your right hand in front of your right leg. Drop the ball and let it bounce once. Quickly, move your left hand in front of your left leg and your right hand behind your right leg, and catch the ball as it bounces up. Drop it again and switch your hands back to the original position (left behind, right in front) and catch it. Repeat this motion continuously. Finally, try catching the ball before it actually hits the floor.

Keep the following in mind when you practice:

  1. Head up, don’t look at the ball. You can’t afford to be looking down in a game, so don’t do it when you practice.
  2. Knees bent, back straight. The lower you are the safer the ball, practice as low as you can.
  3. Use your free hand to fend off defenders. Don’t forget that you are allowed to smack defenders away when they try to reach in, practice this when doing dribbling drills.
  4. Keep the ball on your finger tips. Good ball handlers control the ball with their fingertips, no palms.
  5. Increase your speed! Practice fast enough that you lose control, this will prepare you for game speed.

Why is ball handling important for all players? Ball handling skills are not just for players bringing the ball up the court, shooting guards, forwards, and centres all need ball handling skills. Ball handling even helps your shooting… many amateurs wonder why they can shoot well in practice and then miss easy shots in the game. This is usually because they are not great handling the ball, when they dribble into a shot they are not getting the ball on their finger tips or into their shooting pocket. And on a catch and shoot, they may fumble it slightly causing them not to get their fingertips in position, often causing an errant shot.

Like we mentioned earlier, the best way to improve ball handling is through drills. Practicing them every day will completely change your confidence on the court.

Basketball Defence Tips

Putting effort into your defence is the easiest way to impact the game. The key to good defence is staying between the hoop and your man, if they can’t get by you, they can’t score.

Below are some tips that will help:

  1. Keep your feet wide apart. Always be moving your feet but make sure you are in good position, never let your feet cross or get close together because your man will drive by you.
  2. Keep your legs bent. As if you were sitting on a chair, you should play defence from a low position. Staying low enables you to jump high, steel balls, and gain leverage in the post.
  3. Watch the player not the ball. Your opponent may try and get you off balance by using ball fakes, by watching their body you will not get tricked or off balance.
  4. Active Hands. Always be using your hands to get in the way of what your opponent is trying to do whether it be jabbing at the ball, filling passing lanes, face guarding.
  5. Always box out. Your job in defensive rebounding is to make sure your man does not get the ball, when you box out you are almost guarantying that they do not have a play on the ball.
  6. Don’t let your man drive baseline. If you are having trouble stopping dribble penetration then you should force the player to the front of the rim. There is more likely to be teammates there to help then if you allow them to go baseline for a potential easy layup.
  7. Never look away from the player you are guarding. It is good to keep an eye on who has the ball, but not at the expense of losing your man. Stand at an angle to that you can see your man and the ball without moving your head.

Reference:
http://basketballtipsandtricks.com/shooting/
http://basketballtipsandtricks.com/passing/
http://basketballtipsandtricks.com/ball-handling/
http://basketballtipsandtricks.com/defense/