Skills without Drills – Part 2

Players- Here’s the situation: Season has begun and you find yourself wanting to bring something to your team that can immediately affect the outcome of the game. But you don’t time to acquire a new skill like shooting, or point-guard-dribbling-abilities, or ten more pounds of muscle. (Those kind of things take time – usually off-season time.)

So, what can you bring RIGHT NOW that does not take time, training, and repetition to acquire?! What can you bring to today’s practice or today’s game simply by making a focused effort to actually “bring it”?

Here’s something you can do right now, without weeks or months of training: THINK ON DEFENSE. Think – don’t react!

Perhaps a better way to put it is: ANTICIPATE instead of reacting on defense. If you react, you’re waiting on the offense. And if you wait on the offense, you’ll always be a step behind – “a day late and a dollar short!” This is especially true when you are guarding AWAY from the ball.

“OK, then what am I supposed to think about?”

Glad you asked!

Instead of waiting and reacting, flip your approach and ask yourself some questions like these:

  1. “What would I do if I were on offense?”
  2. “Where is the ballhandler going with the ball?”
  3. “What does it look like he/she is going to do?”
  4. “Are they trying to get the ball inside?”
  5. “Are they setting up a pick and roll?”
  6. “Is my man/girl about to flash to the ball?”

The odds are if you see it and you’re thinking about the NEXT OFFENSIVE ACTION that’s about to occur, so is your opponent! This is the essence of ANTICIPATION! This is what your coaches mean when they command you to ANTICIPATE!

When you’re on defense, don’t think like a defender! Think like the offense and you’ll be a step ahead of their next action. You’ll be in the right position to help a teammate. Just as importantly, this kind of anticipation might prevent you from being beaten on a cut, a flash, or a slash by the player you’re guarding!

This is not a skill that takes months and years to acquire. You can THINK this way right now!

In case you missed Part 1 – CLICK HERE!

Defense Determines Offense

Every athletic contest boils down to “who is going to force who to play who’s game?” But I think using the word FORCE is misleading. Here’s what I mean:

When your opponent is bigger and more physical than you, meaning, if you play that type of game, you’re going to lose, then you need to be able to change your offense to one that searches and hunts for non-physical scoring opportunities: Spread the floor, stay away from screens, and take advantage of spacing. Continue reading…

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