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Basketball Fundamentals - Offensive Tips

By Dr. James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook... lots of great basketball stuff. Come on - join today.
1. Practice, practice, practice shooting. Work with your shooting form, the "platform", "L", "hinge" and "gooseneck" so that you learn to shoot with your fingertips and get back-spin on your shot ("rotation"). You may not be strong enough yet to do this, but most good shooters eventually learn this.

To perfect your shooting technique, practice shots within just a few feet of the basket, every day. Then practice lay-ups, free-throws, 2-pointers, even 3-pointers, and eventually learn to shoot a jump-shot. Don't be afraid to take a good shot. Look for a chance to shoot. But don't force bad shots. See Teaching/Learning How to Shoot.

2. Become a good dribbler and ball-handler. Dribbling and ball-handling are the foundation skills for almost any offensive move with the ball. Practice dribbling drills and moves for 15 minutes every day (see Dribbling, Stationary Dribbling Drills, and Sideline Dribbling Drills)

attack with the dribble

3. Learn the "triple-threat" position, the proper stance so you will have the option of being able to shoot, pass or dribble. See "Guard Moves and Skills".

4. Be a good passer. Bad passing and turnovers will destroy a team faster than anything! Make good, short, quick, crisp passes...they're hard to intercept. Avoid long cross-court passes, unless your teammate is wide open. Learn to use your peripheral vision and avoid throwing the ball to your opponent.

Make a good pass that your teammate can easily catch. A really good passer can pass to a teammate without looking directly at her. Avoid telegraphing your passes (more in practice). Learn how to make good bounce passes. Learn when not to pass and avoid passing into a crowd.

5. Court awareness. Always know where the ball is, don't turn your back on the ball. "Survey" the court. Look for the open teammate with your peripheral vision. Look to the "weak side" of the floor for an easy "back-door" pass and lay-up. Learn to "cut" and find an open area on the floor, where your teammate can pass to you for an easy shot.

6. Except for the point guard, go hard for the offensive rebound. Many easy baskets are scored on second and third chances, if you can get the rebound (see Rebounding Tips).

The point guard, O1, should stay back out on top to prevent the other team's fast break (if they get the rebound). If O1 drives to the basket for a shot, O2 (or O3) should stay back.

Also, get in the good habit of following your own shot after you shoot. Many times, if your shot is too short or too hard, it will come off the rim right back toward you. Expect this when you shoot, and go get it! You may get a second chance to make that basket.

Three of the five players should always go hard for the offensive rebound, one is half-rebounding and half-preventive mode, and one is always back to prevent the opponent's fast break.

7. Get the ball down the floor quickly, fast-break whenever possible and beat the defense down the court. But play under control at all times. Don't try to go faster than you are able!--you'll lose the ball or make a bad pass. It's difficult even for high school kids to learn how to play with quickness and speed, while still staying under control. Remember: "You must be quick...but never hurry."

learn to beat your defender

8. Avoid too much dribbling as this just allows the defense time to reset. Quick passing and cutting is the secret. But never give up your dribble without being able to pass or shoot the ball. John Wooden, the legendary coach from UCLA, told his players, "You should always end your dribble with either a pass or a shot." Don't stop your dribble until you can do either. Learn how to jump stop at the end of your speed dribble (see Learning the Jump Stop).

9. Post-up players (O4 and O5) must learn the basic post moves, the drop-step, the jump hook, and up and under moves. Ask your coach to teach you these moves. After learning these basic moves, you can develop other variations of these moves. See Post-Moves.

10. Move without the ball. Don't stand still. Set picks, make cuts through the paint, or "back-door". Be ready to rebound. (See Moving Without the Ball, Cutting and Faking).

Helpful DVDs:

Coach K and Johnny Dawkins teach guard play!

Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball - Developmental Drills for Perimeter Players
with Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University Head Men's Basketball Coach.

Price: $44.99

Coach K and Chris Collins teach you how to play the point guard position.

Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball - Developmental Drills for Point Guards
with Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University Head Men's Basketball Coach
and Chris Collins, Head Coach Northwestern University, former Duke University Assistant Basketball Coach.

Price: $44.99

Perimeter moves and drills from Coach Wright of Villanova

Jay Wright: Attacking Footwork Drills for Perimeter Players
with Jay Wright, Villanova University Head Men's Basketball Coach.
Price: $39.99

Steve Alford's Ultimate Guard Development Drills

Steve Alford's Ultimate Guard Development Drills
with Steve Alford, Nevada Wolf Pack.
Price: $39.99

Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: The Perimeter Player

Five Star: Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: The Perimeter Player
with Five-Star Basketball Coach/Instructor and Memphis Grizzlies NBA Scout, Scott Adubato.
Price: $39.99

Coach K teaches post play!

Mike Krzyzewski: Duke Basketball - Developmental Drills for Post Players
with Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University Head Men's Basketball Coach; and Steve Wojciechowski, head coach at Marquette University.

Price: $44.99

Pete Newell's Big Man Moves and Skill Development

Pete Newell's Big Man Moves and Skill Development
with Pete Newell, Basketball Hall of Fame, former coach at University of San Francisco, Michigan State University, and the University of California - Berkeley; and Mike Dunlap, Loyola Marymount University Head Coach.
Price: $39.99

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