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Basketball Fundamentals - Player Instruction, Tips and Development

By Dr. James Gels, From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
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Tip: Basketball Coaching 101 - How to use this basketball playbook

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A former collegiate and NFL head coach once told me jokingly, "I was a better coach when I had good players." - of course, more wins!

It's much easier to win when you have good players. Great game-coaching cannot make up for poor talent and unskilled players. Players must be taught the correct fundamentals starting early in their development.

Youth coaches should spend most or their practice time (80-90%) teaching fundamentals and not worry too much about wins and losses. High school coaches will continue teaching fundamentals (about 50% of practice time) and also teach team skills, plays, etc.

Players must learn footwork, how to handle the ball, dribble, basic dribble moves, pass and catch, shoot correctly, play defense, rebound, cut, screen, etc. And don't forget basketball IQ, mental aspects, conditioning, training and nutrition that are just as important.

With over 25 years as an elite basketball trainer Ganon Baker now believes that the most important thing to teach players very early on is to go hard, fight and compete, and focus. See this video:

From Coach Gels: there can be a fine line between (1) encouraging young kids to fight and compete, and (2) bullying and pushing them too hard (we've all seen those parents and coaches). It has to be done in a positive, encouraging manner... the art of coaching!

Basketball Player Fundamentals

Point Guards:
How to Become a Good Point Guard... tips for point guards.

Seven Key Concepts that Every Good Point Guard Needs to Know... tips from All-American Dena Evans at PGC Basketball.

Perimeter Players (Guards):
Guard Moves, Perimeter Play... how to play on the perimeter, triple-treat, jab step moves, attacking the defender, cutting, etc.

Pro (Advanced) Guard Moves for Finishing Around the Basket... Rondo Fake Finish, Euro Step Finish, Pro Hop Finish, Jamal Crawford Finish, Kobe Bryant Pound Pivot Finish, and Steve Nash Back Leg Finish.


Post Players:
How to Become a Good Post Player... playing the low and high post, and short corner.

Tips for Short Post Players - Playing the High Post and Short Corners... "separation instead of confrontation", using the high post, and short corners.

Footwork Progression Drills for Post Players

Rebounding... box-out, defensive and offensive rebounding, free-throw rebounding.

Ball-Handling and Dribbling:
Ball-Handling... ball-handling tips and drills.

Dribbling and Dribble-Moves... all players must learn to dribble well.

Lay-ups and Finishing Moves... correct lay-up footwork and technique, reverse lay-up, inside hand lay-up, pro-hop finish, floaters, Euro step.

Shooting Fundamentals, Form and Technique... teach your players how to shoot correctly.

Shot Selection... the importance of getting good shots.

Individual Shooting Work-Out... individual shooting practice work-out for players.

Shooting Tips from NBA Coach Hal Wissel ... a series of shooting articles from an expert.

Jump-Shot... teaching how to shoot the jump-shot.

Hook-Shots... teaching how to shoot the classic hook-shot, the sky-hook and the jump-hook.

How to Become a Good Free-Throw Shooter... good free-throw shooting will win those close games for you.

Foul Shooting... tips from coach Ari Fisher.


More Offensive Skills:
Footwork Fundamentals... triple threat position, pivoting, defensive stance and slides, jab step, cutting, jump-stop, etc.

Passing Fundamentals... good passing is key.

Offensive Tips for Youth Players... basic, simple offensive tips.

Cutting and Faking... teach your players how to cut and fake and move without the ball.

Setting (and Using) Screens... teach how to set good screens.

Spacing and Movement - Moving Without the Ball... what to do when you don't have the ball.

How to Score, Even If You Aren't As Skilled as Your Opponent

Escaping from a Trap... how to avoid and escape a trap.

Transition Offense Fundamentals... teaching transition offense, the fast-break, 2-on-1, 3-on-2, etc.

Defensive Skills:
Defensive Tips for Players... some basic defensive tips for players are presented.

Defensive Close-Outs and Drills... how to close-out on defense.

Man-to-Man Defensive Techniques... teach on-ball defense, deny, helpside, etc.

Mental Aspects:
10 tips for great athletes

Mental Aspects / Other Stuff... listing of many articles regarding mental aspects.

Toughness by Jay Bilas... Jay Bilas has an excellent book that discusses mental toughness.

Mental Prep Playbook... how to become mentally prepared.

The Exceptional Player... what makes a good player great.

Guide for Serious Basketball Players

Keys to Becoming a Great Player... Roles, Training, Intelligence, and Determination.

Things Good Basketball Players Do... a list of tips for players.

Basketball Tips: Being a Team Leader... how to be a leader, by Lamar Hull.

How to Make the Team, Try-Outs... what coaches are looking for in try-outs.

Tips to Dominate Tryouts... by Ryan Thomas.

Things to Think About... a few things players should consider.

Attitude, the "Right Stuff"... having the correct attitude.

The Role Player... good role players who can come off the bench are a tremendous asset to any team.

Mental Focus - Stay in the Present... how to focus and stay in the present.

Play Big: Believe in Greatness!... how all players regardless of skill level can contribute.

Reading The Court - Mastering The Moment... how players should make decisions, how to read the court, the situation and the moment.

Imagine... challenge your players to imagine greatness.

Playing With Gratitude

Playing Smart... how to play smart and make good decisions.

Importance of a Strong Coach-Athlete Relationship

Other Stuff for Players:
How to Maximize Basketball Skill Development

How to Enhance Basketball Abilities off the Court

Top 5 Mistakes Players Make When They Workout

Academics and the Student Athlete... academics from an athlete's perspective, dealing with time constraints, fatigue, stress.

Make Your Mark - Selecting a College... how to select a college.

When Individual Basketball Instruction Goes Too Far... having your own individual instructor or trainer.

Smaller Basketball Players: Perhaps the Best Athletes of All... by Tom Emma.

Dealing with Lack of Playing Time... by Tom Emma.

Having a Practice Program... how to practice correctly on your own.

Seven Benefits of Playing Multiple Sports... from Adam Eyal.

Why Doesn't Johnny Practice Any More?... from Paul Hoover.

Don't Waste Your Time Getting Seen Before You Get Good

Individual Shooting Work-Out... how to practice shooting on your own.

Conditioning... get in shape to play the game.

How to Improve Your Vertical... improve your jumping.

Alan Stein's Training Drills... strength, conditioning, warm-up and more drills from training expert Alan Stein.

Basketball Speed Starts with Stopping... by "The Speed Guy" Lee Taft.

Nutrition, What To Eat... have good nutrition. What players should eat.

Food Supplements... about food supplements, growth hormone (HGH), creatine, andro, etc.

Why Wearing Proper Footwear Matters - by Aaron Connolly

Simple, Fun Driveway Games... here are several fun games that you can play in your driveway.

Basketball Terminology... learn the language of the game.

Basketball History... Learn about the interesting history of the game.