Posts Tagged ‘fundamentals of basketball’
The jab step is a simple move but I believe it is underutilized in the college game. If used at all, it is often a token move without any benefit for the offensive player. Which is why I was happy to see Kawhi Leonard show such a strong jab step in the game against Gonzaga. As I talked about earlier, Kelly Olynyk is going to be matched up against quicker offensive players alot of the time. He is guarding Leonard in this clip and is at a major disadvantage on the defensive end.
It’s an understatement to say that free throw shooting is an integral part of the game. It is a chance to add 1-3 points for your team with no defense trying to stop you. Many players have trouble with this simple play and today I will show you some reasons for this. Often, it is a small mechanical issue that takes repetition and focus to correct.
First, let’s take a look at a great free throw shooter: JJ Redick. I am sure you know what a good free throw shooter looks like but let’s review some of the key points. A good free throw shooter bends their knees, has a fluid motion through their shot, keeps his elbows straight and follows through with his wrist.
That is really nice form from Redick. He hits all the fundamental points, from bending his knees to the perfect follow through. It looks easy but some players can really struggle with free throws.
Fans have been known to become irate when a player cannot consistently make free throws. Theoretically, it should be easy points every time someone steps to the line. Some players, however, struggle with mechanical issues that prevent them from being good free throw shooters. Let’s take a look at them.
Poor follow through
Notice where the fingers are pointing after this shot. On a good free throw, fingers will be pointing down at the target. On this shot, the wrist is hooked to the right and his fingers on not on line with the rim. This causes his shot to be off to the right and bounce off the rim.
Here is another example of this where the follow through is tilted to the left, causing the shot to miss to the left. It is key that you follow through at your target, or you rely on the rim too much to give you a generous roll.
Improper use of legs
Getting the ball to the rim on a free throw is more about bending your knees and using your legs to generate power than using your arms to throw the ball at the rim. Ekpe Udoh, in this shot, does not bend his knees and generates no power on his shot.
The ball ends up on the front of the rim and never had a chance to go in. His shot was at the rim, however, and would have gone in if he would have used his legs to generate power to get the ball over the front of the rim.
Hesitation in shot
The shot should be one fluid motion from start to finish. From the bending of the knees to the follow through, any hitch in the shot will throw off the timing and negatively affect the shot. Here, right before the release, watch as Dallas Lauderdale pauses before the release. This messes up his timing and causes him to miss the shot.
Falling away from the line
This to me is a confidence issue that says the player does not want to be at the free throw line and does not believe they are going to make the shot. Watch as JP Prince puts up the free throw and leans back off of the line. This throws any attempt of a fluid motion off and he clangs the shot off the back rim.
It is imperative that the shooter stay balanced on the line as the shot goes up and they follow through. Any extraneous motions can hinder the shot and any chance it has of going in the basket.
Some of these are mechanical issues while some are confidence issues. Some of these issues (lack of follow through, poor use of legs) can be fixed by a good coach who notices them and repetition in practice. The others are mental (non-fluid release, falling off the line) and are more difficult to fix, as it is up to the player to focus while he is at the line.
We already talked about how to defend the post before the post man has the ball. Now we are going to look at how to defend the post once the post man has the ball and is ready to go to work. We talked earlier in the post about DeMarcus Cousins (see here) about some of the post moves that an offensive player can have. Now we have to talk about some methods to defend formidable offensive post players.
Post defense starts with scouting and knowing the tendencies of the offensive player: What is their dominant hand? Are they good passers out of the post? What are their go to moves? Knowing some tendencies of a post player will give the defense the upper hand in stopping the offensive moves.
This is the first in a two part post looking at how to effectively defend the post. It’s not always easy, especially going up against an opponent with good footwork. It’s a team effort and everyone can do a part to help defend the post.
This post will touch on what players should do when the ball is in the post. While sometimes it is fine to stand and watch the post man go to work, some off the ball action can give the post player more options and more openings to create for himself.
There are basically two options that offensive players have once the ball is entered into the post: Dive from the high post or relocate to a new spot. Let’s look at these after the break.
The secondary break is effectively pushing the ball up the court after a made shot or a defensive rebound. It differs from a fast break in that it is usually a 5 person break, instead of a 1-3 person fast break after a turnover.
The key to this break is seeing the court and knowing what spots are to be filled. Often, the guards and forwards can be interchangeable, but they need to see the court in order to fill the proper spot. I have two examples of basic secondary breaks, so let’s take a look.
Inevitably, you will play against a great shot blocker or have your favorite team face one during the season. Today’s post will feature tips and strategies for how to effectively attack a shot blocker. You need not be scared of this player and these tips can help you get the last laugh, and a basket.
We have talked at length about defense and there is one more general topic (at least) I want to touch on in the offseason. While last week we talked about seeing ball-you- man, this week we will touch on positioning and how it is important in help defense (ball-you-man means little if you don’t have proper positioning, as you will see). Like I said in an earlier post, too many college players (freshmen especially) don’t have the basketball knowledge they need since they relied on their athleticism to get them through high school and in college.
Many players in college have the same athleticism, so playing smart be more powerful than just being athletic. Playing proper help defense is one of those times. It’s inevitable that at some point, a defender will get beat off the dribble and the wing defenders (or baseline defenders) need to be in proper position to cut off the drive.
We have one more post this week on fundamentals of defense this week (see the earlier boxout and closeout posts) before we move back into scouting some players for next season. This post will be discuss the catchphrase I was taught for defense which is ‘ball, you, man’. Basically, those are the three things you should be able to see at all times when you are on defense off the ball. Lose sight of one of these things and a defensive breakdown is more likely.
Today we are going to look at how to properly closeout on a jump shooter. This is a crucial skill in college basketball, as the average team last season shot around 19 3′s per game. There are several keys to a good, fundamental closeout:
- Cover ground quickly
- Stay on balance
- Challenge shot with opposite hand
Let’s go to the video to see a bad, average and good closeout.