May 22

Walking Behind the Back Crossover Dribbling Drill

If you ever really study the best ball handlers in the game you will see that they are not only able to control the ball and put it where they want it to go, they are also really good at changing up speeds and selling their moves.

The more you can; freeze a defender, sell a move, and then read them, the more you will be able to do whatever you want and go wherever you want with the dribble. This ball handling drill is going to work on the behind the back crossover move, but it is really going to emphasize all of those keys as well.

 

 

Drill Name: Walking Behind the Back Crossover Dribbling Drill

Similar Drills: Walking Between the Legs Crossover Dribbling Drill

Drill Goal: Work on selling the behind the back crossover move and really changing up speeds.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball.

Tips: Stay low in a low athletic stance the whole time. Don’t be a robot with your movements, really look to pause, sell your move, and change up speeds as you go through the drill. Keep your eyes up as you do the drill and also use your eyes to sell the move.

Directions: The player is going to start on the baseline with a basketball. The player will take a stationary dribble (the only one during the drill), pause, and then make an explosive behind the back crossover move leading themselves forward with the move. Without taking any stationary dribbles in between, the player is going to pause again and then execute the same move. Continue this pattern all the way to the free throw line and then retreat dribble back to the baseline. Repeat the same action, but this time starting with your other hand.

 

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May 22

Five Lessons I Have Learned from Coaching

This article was written by University of South Alabama Graduate Assistant Andrew Steele

 

From my earliest memories, I knew I wanted to be a professional athlete when I grew up. Whether it was a basketball or football player was pointless, just as long as I was going to be able to play the game that I loved. However, for my first serious Career Day at school in 5th grade, I dressed up as a coach.

Not an NBA or NFL player, but a coach; football coach to be exact, wearing a Clemson hat (tough to admit that now considering this past football season, but it will ALWAYS be Roll Tide!). I guess I got it honestly, because my dad was a longtime high school basketball and football coach. Throughout this story, I will talk about the five lessons I have learned in coaching. Discussed in no particular order, these are lessons that I feel will help anyone aspiring to get into the coaching business:

  • Have Faith
  • Take a Risk on Yourself
  • Work Extremely Hard
  • Love Your Players
  • Find Good People to Work for and With

Fast forward to my redshirt sophomore season at the University of Alabama in 2010-11. After missing a majority of the previous season due to a stress fracture in my ankle and the first 13 of games that 2010-11 season, I had a lot of time to view the game in a different way. It absolutely killed me to not be able to play for over a full year, but what happened during that timeframe has changed my life forever.
 
It was during that period, one of the hardest of my life, that I discovered my true passion in life: coaching. I was typically a leader on all the teams that I played for, not because I was always the most talented, but because of my ability to connect seamlessly with my coaches and teammates. I considered myself a coach on the court, and I took tremendous pride in that role. So, it came as no surprise that once my college eligibility was up, the natural step would be to transition into coaching.
 
After my I finished playing in 2013, my plan was to stay on at Alabama as a Graduate Assistant. I had constant conversations with my coach, Anthony Grant, about my future after basketball because we thought that day had come a lot earlier than it actually did. The short story is that I had a concussion near the end of the 2010-11 season, and after constant monitoring throughout that following off season and summer, the symptoms never got better.
 
Thus, I decided to move into coaching, getting invaluable experience as a student assistant to start the 2011-12 season. In January 2012, I finally healed well enough to return to playing, but the coaching seed was already planted in me. So, when my eligibility was done, I knew what the next step was. At least I thought I knew.
 
Instead of becoming a GA, I took a job as a marketer with a nonprofit dental company, and traveled throughout the state of Alabama talking to kids about the importance of doing the right things. Part of my talk would be for me to incorporate my basketball experiences, and the talks would end with me playing basketball with the kids and signing pictures from when I played at Alabama.
 
I was never far away from basketball, even when I thought I wanted to be. The biggest blessing that happened was that my boss decided to keep me stationed in Birmingham at the last minute, instead of moving me to Huntsville as originally planned. That decision allowed me to be an assistant coach at my alma mater, John Carroll Catholic High School, and that experience as a coach furthered my conviction that coaching is what God is calling me to do.
 
My plan was to go back to UA as a grad assistant, but the head coach I worked under at JC retired and I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. I was offered my first head coaching job at the age of 23, and it was at my alma mater of all places. The same place that helped mold me into the man I am today would be the same place that launched my coaching career.
 
In the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted to coach in college, but the opportunity to be a head coach was simply too good to pass up. There are times that I question if I made the right decision, wondering if those two years at John Carroll slowed my progression through the college ranks. But, those two seasons as a head coach will stay with me for the rest of my life.
 
The lessons that I learned, both good and bad, both easy and hard, will undoubtedly help when I am someday a college head coach. It will surely help me when I am promoted to Assistant Coach, and it has definitely helped me in my current role as a GA. As painful as it was to leave John Carroll, I knew it had to be done if I were to ever fulfill my dream.
 
As I excited as I was to start a new chapter, I was equally sad about leaving my old one behind. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would get so attached to my high school kids, but I truly love each of them like the little brothers I never had. From coaching those kids, I learned firsthand that they do not care how much you know until they know how you care.
 
I know it is a coaching cliché, but kids can tell when you are genuine and when you are not. That group gave me everything they had, and I believe that a coach can ask for nothing more of his team. No matter how far I hopefully go in my career, that group will always hold a special place in my heart.
 
In taking this job at South Alabama, I have grown even more as a coach and person than I could have ever hoped to in such a short period of time. A major part of that is because of my wife, Brittany, who has been so supportive that words cannot do it justice. Without her, I would not have a great shot to be successful in life, much less coaching, so I can never fully repay her for what she has done.
 
My time here at USA has shown me so many things that go into running a college program that it even shocked me, and I considered myself an insider. Again, I would not trade these experiences, as I know all the things I have learned and the truly wonderful people that I have worked with will stay will remain relevant factors in my life going forward.
 
My advice to aspiring coaches would be to take a risk on yourselves and follow your dreams. No one on this earth has the ability to see into the future, so I believe that faith is extremely important. I am not one to quote Bible verses at the drop of a dime, but my relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in life.
 
That belief in His promise is what drives me every day, so I know that I am in good hands all the time. So, while faith is important, faith without work is dead. If you want to be successful in this business, you cannot be afraid to take risks. And if you are blessed enough to land a job, work as hard as you can at the job you have.
 
Your work in the job you have is your best indicator of your potential in a future job, and you only get one chance to make a first impression. I believe that “luck” is when hard work meets opportunity, and there is so much beauty in that concept. We can control the hard work, but we cannot control who opens the doors of opportunity. The good thing for me is I know who does control those doors of opportunity, and He has yet to let me down.

 

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May 18

Hesitation Pull Up Shot

This type of move is more of an end of clock situation move, or when you are able to get a mismatch with a slower player guarding you. It is a more difficult shot, but if mastered it can be a really good move. Russell Westbrook is probably one of the best examples of a player that has really mastered this move.

The quicker and more explosive you are, the more the defense has to respect the blow by. So if you can really be a double threat to either blow by the defender or pull up, you will have the player guarding you at your mercy. Add this move to your basketball training and start developing your off the dribble shooting.

 

 

 

Drill Name: Hesitation Pull Up Shot

Similar Drills: How to Do a Euro StepHow to Do a Rondo FakeHow to Do a Pro Hop

Drill Goal: Work on selling that you are going to attack to the basket, but then really pulling up into a shot.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, dummy defender (optional).

Tips: Stay low and athletic and really try to sell that you are going to blow by the defender. Stay balanced on your shot and hold your follow through.

Directions: The player is going to start with the basketball out above the 3 point line and begin attacking forward with the dribble. The player is going to hesitate to sell like they are going to blow by the defender, and as the defender backs up, they are going to pull up into jump shot. Work on both mid range and 3 point shots.

 

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May 16

Ball Protection Finish Drill

Being able make an explosive move to the basket is just one part of the equation. You must also be able to protect the ball against an on ball defender and any help defenders that may try to get their active hands in the play. It is important that you are spending time working on ball protection when working on finishing.

This drill that we offer in our basketball training groups is going to work on protecting the ball against an over aggressive defender, and a help defender that doesn’t quite get all the way in the help to take a charge but is looking to strip the ball as you drive to the basket.

 

 

 

Drill Name: Ball Protection Finish Drill

Similar Drills: How to Do a Euro StepHow to Do a Rondo FakeHow to Do a Pro Hop

Drill Goal: Work on attacking the basket and the protecting the ball as you go to finish.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball, dummy defender (optional)

Tips: Bring the ball over top with both hands to remain strong on the move. Feel the defenders weight against you and when you feel that their momentum is making them out of control, use your body to step across and change the angle and finish.

Directions: This move is going to be used in two types of situations. The first is against an on ball defender, and the second is against a help defender reaching in.

Against an on ball defender that is beat but staying connected on your hip, you are going feel their body weight against you and when you get to the spot on the floor that you want, you are going to change direction, bring the ball over top with both hands, put the defender on your back, and then finish at the basket.

With the help defender you are going to recognize that they are stepping up in the gap, but are still allowing a small space to sneak through. You want to bring the ball up over top with both hands to prevent the help defender from having a chance to strip the ball.

 

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May 16

Walking Between the Legs Crossover Dribbling Drill

If you look at any of the great ball handlers out there you will quickly realize that they are great at changing up their speeds and really selling their moves. Most of them are also very quick, but they are playing against other quick guards, so it is the way that they use their quickness that makes the difference.

This ball handling drill is going to work on the between the legs crossover combo move, but it is going to more importantly work on setting up your defender with the pause, selling the move, and then making an explosive attack move. Regardless of the move that you use, you should be working on these three areas when executing a combo move.

Checkout our Basketball Training Groups to get a workout specifically designed to help you become a better ball handler.

 

 

 

Drill Name: Walking Between the Legs Crossover Dribbling Drill

Similar Drills: Crossover Rhythm Dribbling DrillBehind the Back Rhythm Dribbling Drill

Drill Goal: Work on developing your ball handling, change of speed, and selling the between the legs crossover move.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball

Tips: Really work on changing up your speeds and sell the move every time with your face, eyes, and body positioning. Stay in a low athletic stance as you go through the drill and don’t raise up when you are making the move.

Directions: Start on the baseline with basketball in your right hand. Moving slightly forward you are going to take a dribble, pause, and then make an explosive between the legs crossover combo move attacking forward on the move. Without taking another stationary dribble in between you are going to pause to set up the move, and then make the same explosive between the legs crossover combo move. Continue forward to half court and then switch to your left hand and repeat. Or you can go to free throw line and then retreat dribble back to the baseline before switching hands and repeating.

 

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May 16

Walking Between the Legs Crossover Dribbling Drill

If you look at any of the great ball handlers out there you will quickly realize that they are great at changing up their speeds and really selling their moves. Most of them are also very quick, but they are playing against other quick guards, so it is the way that they use their quickness that makes the difference.

This ball handling drill is going to work on the between the legs crossover combo move, but it is going to more importantly work on setting up your defender with the pause, selling the move, and then making an explosive attack move. Regardless of the move that you use, you should be working on these three areas when executing a combo move.

Checkout our Basketball Training Groups to get a workout specifically designed to help you become a better ball handler.

 

 

 

Drill Name: Walking Between the Legs Crossover Dribbling Drill

Similar Drills: Crossover Rhythm Dribbling DrillBehind the Back Rhythm Dribbling Drill

Drill Goal: Work on developing your ball handling, change of speed, and selling the between the legs crossover move.

Equipment Needed: 1 basketball

Tips: Really work on changing up your speeds and sell the move every time with your face, eyes, and body positioning. Stay in a low athletic stance as you go through the drill and don’t raise up when you are making the move.

Directions: Start on the baseline with basketball in your right hand. Moving slightly forward you are going to take a dribble, pause, and then make an explosive between the legs crossover combo move attacking forward on the move. Without taking another stationary dribble in between you are going to pause to set up the move, and then make the same explosive between the legs crossover combo move. Continue forward to half court and then switch to your left hand and repeat. Or you can go to free throw line and then retreat dribble back to the baseline before switching hands and repeating.

 

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May 16

10 Fundamentals Every Player Should Master

This article was written by Basketball HQ co-founder Kyle Ohman

 

I saw this article the other day and the title was, “Learn 100 Signature NBA Moves” (or something along those lines) and I thought to myself, “Why are kids being taught NBA moves, let alone a hundred different NBA moves when most kids still struggle with the fundamentals of the game?”

Today’s game places so much attention on one on one moves, that people lose track of what really makes a great player. If you really watch and study the high level NBA players, you will see that not only are they able to make some very difficult shots and moves, they do all of the little things well (the fundamentals).

Before they spent time working on the high level shots and finishes, they mastered the fundamentals of the game to give themselves a strong foundation. You can’t leap jump the fundamentals and expect to be a great player. Even high level players are constantly spending time working on the fundamentals and reemphasizing good habits in their game.

This article is going to breakdown what you should be spending your time on as a player. And, if you really commit to spending time mastering these 10 different fundamentals you will have a chance to be a great player.

 

Shooting

  • Down Ready
    • Get your work done before the ball gets there.
    • Show your palms to give the passer a target.
    • Get your momentum moving towards the basket on the catch.
    • Make sure that you are squared up to the basket on your shot.
    • Don’t raise up out of your athletic stance as you come into your shot.
  • Form
    • Get the ball loaded in your shooting pocket before you start to bring the ball up into your shot.
    • Keep a smooth fluid motion coming into your shot.
      • Stephen Curry isn’t the biggest or strongest player in the game, but his range is so great because his motion is so smooth.
    • Use your legs to help get the ball to the basket, don’t push with your arms.
  • Follow Through
    • Snap your wrist straight down.
    • Leave your hand in the basket .
    • Land on your toes and don’t be falling backwards.
    • Hold your follow through until you make or miss.
  • General Shooting Rules
    • If it is a good shot, shoot it with confidence.
    • Great shooters have a short memory.
    • Stay mentally tough even as you get fatigued.
    • Work on your shooting at game speed and practice shots you will get throughout the course of a game.

 

 

 

 

Passing

  • Chest Pass
    • Make your passes on a straight line.
    • Use your body to help snap the pass.
    • If passing to a shooter, hit them right in their shooting pocket.
  • Bounce Pass
    • Bounce closer to the receiver so that the ball stays low away from defensive hands.
    • Know who you are passing to. Most post players can’t handle the same passes as guards.
  • Defended Pass
    • Fake a pass before you make a pass.
    • Use your pivot to create a better passing angle.
    • Be strong with the ball and then step through to make the pass.
  • Off of the Dribble Pass
    • Don’t scoop the pass, push the pass.
    • Stay low in an athletic stance as you make the pass.
    • Don’t stare down the receiver.
  • General Passing Rules
    • Don’t leave your feet to pass and get stuck up in the air with no where to go.
    • Be careful of making cross court passes.
    • Don’t stare down the player you are making the pass to.
    • The longer the ball is in the air, the more high risk the pass is.
    • Know who you are passing to and what types of passes that they are able to handle.

 

 

 

 

Rebounding

  • Boxing Out
    • Locate your opponent with your forearm before turning to box out.
    • Keep your arms up and wide on the box out to keep the offensive player from getting around you.
    • Stay low and in an athletic stance and use your legs to drive the offensive player back.
    • If the offensive player has inside position, use your lower body to help drive them under the basket so they don’t have a good rebounding angle.
      • Don’t extend your arms as you drive them under.
    • Locate the ball on the miss as quickly as you can.
    • Go up and secure the rebound with both hands.
    • Don’t wait for the ball to come down to you, but go get it.
  • Offensive Rebounding
    • Locate the ball off of the miss as quickly as you can.
    • Read the player boxing out and use one of these 3 moves.
      • Spin Move: fake like you are going to angle past them on one side, and then when they slide to box you out, spin off of them using their momentum to angle past them on the other side.
      • Swim Move: If the player boxing out doesn’t have a wide strong base with one of their arms, come on that side of them and use a downward swimming motion with your arm over top of theirs and use that motion to help angle yourself past them.
      • Under the Basket: If the player boxing out is too tight to the basket, use your lower body to help drive them under the basket so that they will not have an angle to the ball when it hits off of the rim.
  • General Rebounding Rules
    • You must have a stronger desire and fight to get the rebound than anyone else.
    • Quickest to react to the ball usually gets the rebound.
    • Use your body and legs to help create a space for yourself to rebound the ball.

 

 

 

 

Dribbling

  • Ball Control
    • Handle the ball and put it where you want it to go.
    • Change up the speed of your dribble and use pauses to set up moves.
    • Use your dribble to go somewhere with the ball (don’t waste dribbles).
  • Change Up Speeds
    • Set up your dribbling moves by slowing down and then making an explosive move.
      • Don’t raise up out of athletic stance when you pause.
    • Be able to stop on a dime to change directions or make a scoring move.
  • Sell Your Moves
    • Use your entire body to sell your moves; eyes, body position, footwork, etc.
    • Read the defender before setting up a move.
    • The longer you can pause the defender before making a move, the better the move will be.
    • If you can get the defender off balance with a move, they will be more susceptible to a second move because they will be trying to play catch up.
  • Ball Protection
    • Keep the ball away from the defense and active hands.
    • Don’t be predictable with your moves.
    • Use retreat dribbles to stay out of congested areas.
  • General Dribbling Rules
    • Dribble the basketball with purpose.
    • Play at different speeds and don’t be predictable.
    • Stay in an athletic stance when you are handling the ball.
    • Be under control and don’t let the defense speed you up and get you out of control.

 

 

 

 

Moving Without the Ball

  • Hard Cuts
    • Always be a threat to score when you are cutting.
    • Set up your defender before you make your cut.
    • Keep your eyes up to see the passer on your cut.
    • Whether you get the ball or not, a hard cut can open up a scoring opportunity for a teammate.
  • Running the Floor
    • First 3 steps need to be a dead sprint.
    • Get your eyes up and be ready for the pass.
    • Catch the ball under control and make a controlled move or finish.
    • Stay in your lane as you run to help spread out the defense.
    • Sprinting the floor will help to open up shots and finishes for your teammates.
  • Spacing
    • Don’t allow one defender to guard you and a teammate.
    • Drift or fill on penetration to help create space and a passing angle.
    • After you drive and kick, don’t stand. Relocate to create space and an opportunity for another drive and kick.
  • General Moving Without the Ball Rules
    • Move with a purpose and know why you are in the spot you are, or why you are moving.
    • Read the defense and make them pay for over playing or falling asleep.
    • Cut hard and be a threat to score whether you are going to get the ball or not.

 

 

 

 

Finishing

  • Finishing Through Contact
    • If you have an angle on your defender, don’t avoid the contact but create it.
    • Finish with a strong base to help absorb contact.
    • Be strong with the ball and don’t expose it to the defender.
  • Crafty Finishes
    • Use the rim to protect the finish from the shot blocker.
    • Get the ball up on the backboard quickly so the shot blocker doesn’t have access to the ball.
    • Float the ball over the defender.
      • Make sure that you are under control of your body and don’t pick up a charge.
    • Use change of position finishes to shake the defender; Euro Step, Pro Hop, Kobe Pivot, Rondo Fake, etc.
  • General Finishing Rules

 

 

 

 

Receiving the Pass

  • Catching the Ball
    • Don’t wait for the ball to come to you, go meet it.
    • The higher the defensive pressure is, the more you need to shorten passes and meet the ball.
    • Catch the ball already in athletic positioning.
  • Two Hands
    • Receive every pass with two hands (if possible).
    • Catch the ball and bring it into a position of strength away from the defense.
  • Body Positioning
    • Use your body positioning to help create a passing angle against defensive pressure.
    • Show a target hand to the passer so that they know where you want the ball.
    • Don’t release your body positioning until you are going to meet the ball.
  • General Receiving the Pass Rules
    • The more defensive pressure there is, the more you need to help out the passer by shortening the pass and meeting the ball.
    • Don’t let an aggressive defender push you out away from where you want to receive the ball.
    • Catch the ball under control and stay out of trouble situations on the floor (the corners and other trapping situations).
    • Anticipate the defense before and as you are catching the ball, especially on closeouts.
      • If they closeout short, shoot the ball.
      • If they closeout tight, attack with a rip through.

 

 

 

 

Triple Threat

  • Position of Strength
    • Catch the ball in a position of strength and don’t let the defender force you onto your back foot with pressure.
    • Hide the ball on your back hip away from the defender.
  • Sell Your Moves
    • Use your eyes, the ball, and your jab foot to sell your moves.
    • Read the defender and read how they are guarding you before deciding on your move.
    • Don’t be predictable with your moves (don’t be a robot).
    • Play at different speeds. Playing slow to fast will help to get the defender to relax before making a quick explosive move.
    • No wasted movements. The more unnecessary movements that you have, the more the defender is able to recover.
  • General Triple Threat Rules
    • Keep your eyes up and see the floor while you are playing from triple threat.
    • Only look to iso when it is part of the offense and there is spacing for you to make a move.
    • Go somewhere with your dribble. It doesn’t matter how good your move is if you don’t make the defender pay by going by them with your dribble after the move.

 

 

 

 

Screens

  • Setting Screens
  • Using Screens
  • General Screen Rules
    • Work together with the other part of the screen to make sure that the defense is put at a disadvantage.
    • Really look to read the defense to figure out the best cut or move off of the screen.
    • Give yourself good spacing so that the help defenders are not able to interfere with the screening action.

 

 

 

 

 Defense

  • Athletic Stance
    • Sit in an athletic stance (defensive stance) the whole time.
    • If you are standing up straight, you will have to load down to an athletic stance before being able to make an explosive move, and this makes you slower.
  • On the Ball
    • Know who you are guarding and do your best to force them to a weakness.
      • If they are a shooter, make them put the ball on the ground.
      • If they are a slasher, play off of them and bait them into a contested shot.
      • If they have a weak hand, play them to that hand.
    • Stay in an athletic stance and do your best to keep your chest centered with the offensive player and forcing them a certain direction.
    • Keep your hands active and mirror the ball if the player picks it up.
    • Trust your help defenders and be alert for calls on screens.
    • Use your chest to cut the defender off and angle them where you want them to go, keep your hands off the ball handler.
    • Get a hand up and contest every shot.
  • Off the Ball
    • Communicate, communicate, communicate.
    • Stay in an athletic stance and keep your head on a swivel.
    • Anticipate where the ball is going, don’t react to it.
    • Be there on the catch. You want to be closing out your man/woman as the ball is still in the air on the pass.
    • Always know where your man/woman is and where the ball is.
    • Don’t allow your man/woman to get below you and out of your sight or you will be susceptible to back cuts and lobs.
    • No free cuts through the paint.
      • Use your body to to block the cutter and force them below you while staying connected with your body.
    • Fight through all screens (unless game plan is to switch).
      • Communicate on all screens.
  • General Defensive Rules
    • Communicate your way through the entire defensive possession.
    • Understand what the offensive player is trying to do, and the force them to do something they are uncomfortable doing.
    • Don’t gamble unless it is part of team strategy. Stay disciplined and let your solid defense get the job done.
    • Fight and find a way to get it done.
      • Not every defensive possession is going to go perfectly, but it is your job to find a way to compete and get a stop.
    • Finish the defensive play every time with a box out and rebound.

 

 

 

Conclusion

There are a lot of different points in these 10 fundamentals, and some are pretty minor while others are very important. Regardless of what the point is though you should be evaluating your game and making a note to what areas you should be working on and spending time on.

The difference between the greats in anything in life is the details. If you really want to set yourself apart from everyone else, spend time locking in on all of these fundamentals and start mastering them.

 

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May 9

The Isolation Lie

This article was written by Basketball HQ co-founder Kyle Ohman

One of the biggest things that I see in today’s game and all over social media with different “Instagram Trainers” is the desire to breakdown and use different NBA players moves. Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, James Harden, or whoever else will make an exceptional isolation play, and then the next day everyone and their mother is breaking down the move and adding it to their workouts.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for isolation moves and some of these moves that are broken down will come in handy during the course of a game. However, the trap that a lot of younger players fall into is spending the majority of their time working on these moves and neglect so many other important areas of their game.

Players buy into the lie that they need to be able to do everything off of the dribble and breakdown their defender to be great, and this leads to players that are streaky scorers who can shoot step back 3’s and all other kinds of difficult shots, but ultimately at the end of the day are shooting a low percentage. They are unable to run offense or get high percentage shots because they spend all their time developing their one on one moves.

That is why I decided to write this article and give you 5 reasons why you should spend less time working on isolation moves and more time working on scoring within the offense.

 

Shot Clock

In the NBA there is a 24 second shot clock and in college there is a 30 second shot clock. However, in most high school games there is no shot clock. Most of the time when an NBA player gets into an isolation situation it has something to do with the shot clock running down. They have already run their set and it was guarded successfully by the defense, so they are left to try and isolate to create for themselves, or for a teammate if a help defender over commits.

If you are a high school player with no shot clock, your end of clock situations are going to be very rare with four quarters in a game. In college you will get more chances with a 30 second shot clock, but as we get into some more of the reasons why you shouldn’t look to iso all the time, you will see that it still doesn’t work the same as the NBA.

 

Designed Isolation Plays

NBA coaches do an amazing job of taking advantage of mismatches and putting offensive players in a position where they can play to their strengths. A lot of the isolation plays that you see in the NBA are designed by the coach or happen naturally when the defense is forced into a switch on some sort of screening action.

So unless your coach is specifically running plays to get you isolation looks against a mismatch that you may have, you are going to end up trying to force the action. This doesn’t mean that you can’t recognize a mismatch in a game, but if this your primary response every time you get the ball, you are going to end up forcing and taking bad shots.

Your immediate instinct shouldn’t be to catch and isolate every time you get the ball. Keep the ball moving and learn to attack a poor closeout or bad defensive rotation and you will find a lot more success.

 

Help Defense and Spacing

This is the single biggest reason why isolation offense in the NBA works and most of the time fails in high school and college against a good defense. In the NBA there is defensive 3 seconds which keeps the help defense from being able to load up on the side of the ball in the paint and sit in the help. If desired, an offense can set it up so that the ball handler has an entire side of the court to work with.

This means that the offensive player has the option of shooting or attacking an open basket. In high school or college, if you are consistently looking to go one on one all the time the scouting report defense is going to load up in the help. The on ball defender will stay tight to you and force you right into the help.

Even if you end up hitting a couple of tough shots, overall the defense is happy to see you forcing shots because the percentages of those shots that you are taking are going to be so low that eventually it is going to favor the defense. Also, the other players on your team will not be able to get into a rhythm because the ball movement is so stagnant and will end up taking poor percentage shots as well.

 

Surrounded by Elite Shooters

Along with their being a defensive 3 seconds, when NBA player’s make an isolation move they are usually surrounded with players that are elite level 3 point shooters. This means that if the defense helps on penetration, they are basically giving up an open 3 point shot to a player that is pretty much automatic from a catch and shoot position.

In high school and college there usually ends up being a couple of non shooters in every line up. If the defense is good, they know this and will play scouting report defense on those players. They will choose to over help on the ball if a player is always trying to isolate.

The player isolating will not have any space to make a move, so they will end up having to pass out of it to a low percentage shooter and the defense will live with the shot and just rotate out of it.

 

Best Players in the World

Some of the moves and shots that NBA players make are so amazing that it just seems unfair sometimes (actually the majority of Stephen Curry’s shots). My point to this statement is that these players that are making ridiculous moves, shots, and finishes are the best players in the world. They have spent hours upon hours upon hours mastering their craft.

They didn’t just start out launching 3’s our making ridiculous finishes. They spent time developing their game with the basics and working up from there. So unless you have already spent hours and hours developing a certain move in workouts, you shouldn’t be breaking it out in a game. You need to earn the right to take and make difficult shots.

That doesn’t mean ignoring the other parts of your game though and only working on isolation moves. It means developing your game so that you are a complete player, and then also spending time fine tuning different more difficult shots.

 

Conclusion

The best time to attack is when you have an offensive advantage over the defense, and the best way to get an advantage over the defense is ball movement, player movement, and screening. If you can catch the ball and attack a closeout while the help defense is having to rotate and guard other actions (instead of sitting in the help), you are going to get a lot higher percentage look at the basket.

It is okay to spend some time working on isolation moves, but it shouldn’t be primarily what you spend all of your time on. Spend the majority of your time working on high percentage moves that you are going to get within the course of running your team’s offense. Really look to limit the number of dribbles that it takes you to score and how long the ball is in your hands for.

 

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May 1

Any Move Double Pin Down Diamond Drill

When dribbling through traffic in a basketball game you are not going to have time to plan out what move you are going to use to get through it. You simply need to be able to see what is going on in front of you, and then quickly react with the right move. It may be a crossover, a reverse between the legs move, etc.

That is why you need to be ready to make the right move at the right time with having to hesitate. This basketball drill is designed to be able to help you work on dribbling through traffic with any move. After you have finished off of the dribble though you are going to be required to score off of 2 pin down screens. This is all part of learning to move without the basketball and becoming a complete offensive player.

 

 

Drill Name: Any Move Double Pin Down Diamond Drill

Similar Drills: Reverse Between the Legs Double Pin Down Diamond DrillBetween the Legs Double Pin Down Diamond DrillBehind the Back Double Pin Down Diamond Drill

Drill Goal: Work on ball handling, scoring off the dribble, and scoring off of a pin down screen.

Equipment Needed: 2 basketballs, 6 chairs, and 1-5  partners.

Tips: Keep the basketball tight to your body as you dribble through the chairs, keep your eyes up, and stay low. Work on different cuts as you use the pin down screens. Don’t drift on your shot and focus on the proper footwork.

Directions: Place 4 chairs at the top of the key in the shape of a diamond and a chair on each wing about 12 feet from the basket. One player is going to start under the basket as a rebounder and the rest will start at half court with a basketball. The first player will dribble down to the set of diamond chairs and do any single dribble move at the first chair, right or left chair, and the last chair (one dribble in between each move). After that the player will finish at the basket with any move (unless specified by the coach) or shoot a pull up jump shot. After that the player will go under the basket, set up the imaginary defender, and then come off either wing chair for a shot. Once they shoot they will go under the basket one more time and then come off the other wing chair for a shot. After the last shot the offensive player becomes the rebounder for the next player in line.

** Coaches can predetermine the type of cuts that the players use (curl, straight, fade, loop, etc) and also the type of finish that player does.

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May 1

Ball Screen Split

For this ball screen split drill you are going to be working on splitting the defenders guarding the ball screen. You will use this move when the big man over shows, or the guard and big man don’t come all the way together. This usually will happen on a hard hedge or a trap situation, and it is because the big man is impatient and gets out too early, or the guard defender gets hung up on the ball screen.

The split is a very effective move if used the right way, and is one of the basketball fundamentals for using a ball screen. One of the big keys is staying low and being explosive when you make the move. If you are standing straight up and down, the ball is going to get tipped or stolen. Basketball is a simple game, this drill is all about reading the defense and taking what they give you.

 

 

Drill Name: Ball Screen Split

Similar Drills: Ball Screen Refusal, Ball Screen MismatchBall Screen Turn the Corner

Drill Goal: Practice reading a ball screen and learning how to split between the big man and guard defender.

Equipment Needed: 1 Basketball, 2 chairs, and a basket.

Tips: Don’t turn your back to the ball screen, get below the level of the ball screen, keep your eyes up and see the floor, and mix up your speeds coming off the ball screen.

There are four different types of split moves that you can practice; push through or crossover, Dwayne Wade move (reverse between the legs), push over the top crossover, and Steve Nash move (low crossover push through).

Directions: 

  1. Place one chair on either wing about free throw line extended and the other chair a couple feet wider and up towards the top of the key.
  2. Have the line of players start 4 or 5 feet above both chairs and towards the sideline.
  3. Have the first player dribble down the sideline below the ball screen chair.
  4. Set the imaginary defender up with a couple of different moves and then come off the ball screen.
  5. As you come off the screen you are going to use one of the 4 different split moves.
  6. After you make the split move finish anyway you want around the basket.

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