Intelligent Drives : Training Dribble Penetration : Intro

Intelligent Drives : Training Dribble Penetration : Intro

As a coach, I have experienced frustration many times when a player drives to the basket at the most inappropriate time, drives at the correct time only to drive in the wrong direction and directly into a helping defender, or freezes, and does not drive, when there is a clear path to the basket to score.   It was only after reflecting on it that I realized that my frustration was not my player’s fault.  It was my fault as a coach.  Just like training circle movement, training players, when, where and what direction they need to drive in needs to be a drilled into a daily habit.

It is important not to confuse Dribble Penetration with Layer 4 Circle MovementLayer 4, Circle Movement, teachers players, without the ball, the reactions that need to be taken when the ball handler drives to the basket in a certain direction.   Dribble Penetration is training players with the ball to recognize good driving opportunities and to take advantage of them.  You can train Dribble Penetration with any layer of the Read and React, but you cannot have Circle Movement without Dribble Penetration.  The spacing, player movement, and ball movement that is created from the layers and actions of the Read and React Offense create large, open spaces where there are brief moments of no help defense.  We refer to these large, open spaces as “Real Estate”, and players need to be taught how to read “Real Estate”, so they recognize not just when it is good time to drive, but where and which direction (which hand) to drive with.    In the video, Action C : Spacing for Layer 1 : Pass to a Perimeter Teammate (Pass East-West) , Coach Torbett does a very effective job of explaining “Real Estate” and “Draft Drives”. 

“Draft Drives” occur when a player with the ball drives to the basket behind a teammate that is cutting.  The cutter is taking the first natural help defender with them.  This action is called a “Draft Drive”, because it is very similar to a race car drafting another race car.  The first race car is creating less air resistance for the second car that is drafting them.  In basketball, the resistance being removed is the help defender that would stop the drive from getting to the basket.  There are 2 easy ways to create “Draft Drive” opportunities:

  • Drive after  teammate passes to you and they cut
  • Dribble-At a teammate and drive after they cut

In part 2 of this series, we will go into more depth of drafting a teammate that passes to you, and we ill diagram a drill that creates even more “Real Estate” than normal.  This exaggeration will help your players to start making intelligent drives.  In part 3 we will discuss Drafting after you Dribble-At at a teammate, and we will diagram a drill that utilizes Double Dribble-At to create over-sized “Real Estate” in which to drive.

About The Author

Loren Tillman has been coaching for over 15 years at all levels of basketball.  Coach Tillman started running the Read and React 8 years ago with a 4th grade boys AAU team.  He has installed it with great success as a Girls High School Head Coach and for the last three years as a Boys High School Head Coach in the Seatlle, WA area.  Coach Tillman is also involved with PGC Basketball, most recently as a basket instructor for their summer courses.

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