Posts Tagged ‘fundamentals of offense’
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.
A short post today but it is a concept that I feel is overlooked and underused at the collegiate level. It’s the process of the post player kicking the ball out to the wing player and reposting to gain better position when they initially have no room.
Watch as Raymar Morgan receives the initial entry pass but is hounded by Wayne Chism from his right and Scotty Hopson from his left.
He kicks the ball out to Durrell Summers who replaced the original passer after he cut through. Therefore, Chism is forced to follow him to the corner (away from Morgan) and Hopson has to play on ball defense agaisnt Summers (again, away from Morgan).
This allows Morgan to repost once the help defenders are pulled away and have more space to work. He takes adavantage of this as Brian Williams does not bring as strong of help defense, so Morgan has space to operate and he beats his defender and draws the foul.
Too often I see post men give up on the post open when they pass the ball back out. This kickout can catch the defense in a momentary lapse, which the offense can take advantage of and secure the better position. It can also open up space (as seen above) as the help defense shifts as offensive players cut through.
It can be somewhat frustrating to see these young players kick the ball out when they are not open in the post and give up on the play. They just need to learn to not give up on the play and keep fighting for position. Often, the action of kicking the ball out will lead to more openings once they get the ball back.
When this happens, it is a thing of beauty. It’s a simple concept but one that young players who have dominated weaker competition in the post up to this point needs to learn. They master this and they will become deadly in the post.
Today we are going to look at how a team can get a man open in the post. There are a couple ways to do this, outside of just having the player post up. Let’s get to it.
This is the most obvious way to get open in the post, as the player relies on individual work to seal off his man and get the ball. In the following clip, watch the Bradley player call for the swing pass and seal off his defender with his off arm. He does a good job of gaining position and keeping it as he gets the entry pass.
Kansas State is a chic pick to win the Big 12 this season and Jacob Pullen is the no doubt star of the team. You have to respect his beard and you must have more respect for his game. He is not flashy at anything but he is a hard worker who has a couple of ways to get some working class buckets. Let’s take a look at the player that is working hard to bring the Abe Lincoln beard back:
Finishing around the rim
Draft Express disagrees with me here but I think finishing at the rim is something Pullen excels at. He is not big enough to take it right at players but he recognizes the situation and can adjust his shot to avoid the block.
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.