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The Winning Sports for Girls Series
Winning Basketball for Girls, Fourth Edition Winning Lacrosse for Girls, Second Edition Winning Soccer for Girls, Third Edition Winning Softball for Girls, Second Edition Winning Track and Field for Girls, Second Edition Winning Volleyball for Girls, Third Edition
BasketBall For GIrls WINNING Fourth Edition Faye Young Miller Wayne Coffey .
without permission in writing from the publisher. p. Because of the dynamic nature of the Web. GV886. institutions. — (Winning sports for girls series) Includes index. including photocopying. Winning basketball for girls / Faye Young Miller. associations. — 4th ed. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means. recording. or sales promotions. I.com Text design by Erika K. paper) ISBN-10: 0-8160-7759-2 (hardcover : alk.323082—dc22 2008039752 Chelsea House books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk quantities for businesses. All links and Web addresses were checked and verified to be correct at the time of publication. some addresses and links may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. electronic or mechanical. or by any information storage or retrieval systems. cm. Arroyo Cover design by Alicia Post Photos by Patrick Shanahan. Faye Young. You can find Chelsea House on the World Wide Web at http://www. Title. unless otherwise noted Illustrations by Accurate Art Printed in the United States of America Bang Hermitage 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 This book is printed on acid-free paper. 2002. .Winning basketball for girls. Coffey. Wayne R. fourth edition Copyright © 2009.M48 2009 796. paper) ISBN: 9780816077595 (e-book) 1. Please call our Special Sales Department in New York at (212) 967-8800 or (800) 322-8755. II. 1992 by Faye Young Miller and Wayne Coffey All rights reserved.chelseahouse. For information contact: Chelsea House An imprint of Infobase Publishing 132 West 31st Street New York NY 10001 library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Miller. Wayne Coffey. Basketball for girls. ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-7759-5 (hardcover : alk.
Y. Ithaca High School. who are my grandparents too. Manhattan College. and in the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL)—the New York Stars and the New Jersey Gems. Peace College. And to my former players—Fairview High School.. and Mrs.wQ t A i j opS d Tk P To my husband. M. who always made sure I got the chance to play. Cornell University. with love and in memory of my mother Irene. Willi. and my daughter. Much love. Lastly to my former coaches—my love for this game is a direct result of your sharing it with me. my son. C. —W. and Cortland State. Samuel Peter. Matthew Peter Miller. In loving memory of my grandparents. North Carolina State University. Chaney Elizabeth. To my former teammates—at Bunn High School. and for Mr. Upstate Ladies (AAU). . Sr. —F. Edward J. Georgia Tech.
How do you get it? You act enthusiastic until you make it a habit. who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst. —Theodore Roosevelt. —Gordon Parks. who strives valiantly. the great devotions. who errs and comes short again and again.Pk dSojiAtQw Enthusiasm is the electricity of life. taking the initiative. but who does actually strive to do the deeds. author and film director It is not the critic who counts. because there is not effort without error and shortcomings. who knows the great enthusiasms. if he fails. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. who spends himself in a worthy cause. at least he fails while daring greatly. Enthusiasm is natural. seeing the importance of what you do. whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. 26th President of the United States . giving it dignity and making what you do important to yourself and to others. so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. it is being alive. or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles.
wQ t A i j opS d Tk P ConTEnTS Acknowledgments IntroductIon legend for IllustrAtIons 1 A look At the gAme 2 gettIng stArted 3 PrePArAtIon for success—gettIng In shAPe ix xi xvii 1 7 11 4 BAll-hAndlIng—develoPIng A feel for the BAll 28 5 footwork—the foundAtIon of good BAsketBAll 6 Your Best shot 7 PAssIng—the heArt of the gAme 8 drIBBlIng under control 9 develoPIng IndIvIduAl offensIve skIlls 34 43 65 78 91 .
Pk dSojiAtQw 10 workIng together—teAm offense 11 PlAYIng tough defense 12 under the BoArds—how to get reBounds 13 All ABout Zones 14 PArtIng thoughts glossArY BAsketBAll resources Index 102 117 136 147 155 158 162 164 .
to Patrick Shanahan. too. Very special thanks to my brother. Y. and to Gerry Helferich. to Faye Young Miller. His writing expertise and early efforts to get this book started is still greatly appreciated. Lastly.wQ t A i j opS d Tk P ACknowlEdgmEnTS Thanks to my sisters—Margie. for sharing his expertise in the “Preparation for Success— Getting in Shape” chapter. C. who was as cooperative as a collaborator as she was committed to making this book the best of its kind. especially to James Chambers. Cathy. assistant athletic director for athlete performance and head of strength and conditioning coach at Cornell University. who made basketball season a very special and much-awaited time. for publishing this book! —F. Special thanks. photographer. and my daughter Chaney—all young players we can expect to see on the court. M . Katie. and Kaye—for their love and support. Special thanks to Thomas Howley. for his patience and excellence in getting the photos taken. ix . Molly. to the girls of the Horace Mann basketball teams (1979–83). whose care and deft editorial hand were the book’s shaping forces from the outset. Thanks to Wayne Coffey for his collaboration in the very first Winning Basketball for Girls. —W. Jocelyn. Thanks to some awesome coaches for their quotes used to introduce the chapters. an estimable basketball coach and mentor. thanks to Facts On File. who taught me the finer points of shooting lay-ups and sneaking into gyms. Dacia. Frank. Thanks to my Ithaca models—Taylor.
Thom O’Connor .
It was the first time the school had a team. The number of summer camps seems to double annually. It “boomed” for me right from the start. college. It has exploded. . the number of girls playing interscholastic basketball has skyrocketed. and the pros. North Carolina. Youth leagues have sprung up everywhere. it was love at first shot .P k T d Spo j i A t Qw InTroduCTIon Women’s basketball hasn’t grown. right through high school. Being dedicated was easy for me. two on defense. Only the rovers were free to roam all over the court. and I badly wanted to keep that tradition going. Kaye. not only was it what I wanted to do. In the last four decades. We went 8-0 that season. as a result. in some parts of the country you were allowed only two dribbles before getting rid of the ball. and girls are playing at younger ages than ever before. . which was in seventh grade on my junior high school team in Bunn. and the coach was scouting the corridors and classrooms for possible recruits. and for both of us. and asked us to try out. . More players are being recruited to play in college. and there are more professional opportunities for players after college. and pass. He took one look at my twin sister. In addition. the powers that be finally saw the folly in such a setup. The women’s game has been booming ever since. I practiced two to three hours a day. and two rovers. When I started playing. women’s basketball bore little resemblance to what we see today. Maybe you’ve gotten hooked xi . and Kaye and I haven’t strayed far from the hard-wood since. There were six players to a side—two on offense. year round. . and me. Fortunately. we also had a terrific high school team. . and dribble . More and more colleges are developing big time programs. noted we were 5-foot-7 (pretty tall for seventh-graders). . some 40 years ago. Worse still. a rule that did little to encourage all-around basketball skills. and in 1971 a rule was passed allowing girls to play under rules which are more comparable to the ones the guys play under. . We did. getting more media exposure? I’ve experienced the game’s progress firsthand. more women officiate and coach at all levels. The other four players had to stay in their designated offensive or defensive area. Is it any wonder that players are getting better and better and.
and two.) North Carolina State University Sports Information Department . and I think that’s great. My years of coaching and playing have convinced me that in basketball the “whys” are as important as the “hows. bottom row. But it’s even more valuable when the movement is explained. no doubt about it. We could spend a practice session working on how to dribble.xii Winning Basketball for Girls right away. in a way that’ll give you a better feel for the reasons behind what you’re doing on the court. That’s valuable. and it would be time my sister kaye and I were cocaptains of north Carolina State (1977–78). Whether you’re an eager beginner or a seasoned high school veteran. as I did.” You’ll often hear coaches talk about “muscle memory”—constantly repeating a particular drill until your body is programmed to perform it correctly. to “talk” basketball with you in a broad sense. to give you specific. straightforward instruction—pointers and drills for improving every facet of your game. you must have the basketball bug by now if you’re reading this book. I’ve written this book with two aims: one. players and coaches alike. And that’s only good for all of us. so you understand why it’s so important to execute it in that way. the better the women’s game will get. (That’s me. The more girls that play. the state champion and third-ranked team in the nation. third from the right. Or maybe your interest has come along more slowly.
Any coach can tell you how important attitude is to a player’s development. It’ll keep everybody closely knit. the more fun it’ll be. If you’re not enjoying yourself or you feel as though you’re being mishandled. She’ll want to know. The way you approach the game will have a big effect on how well you play it. One of the greatest satisfactions. . Show enthusiasm when you play. Such insights will increase your feel for the game. and lift you up when you’re not having one of your more memorable practices or games. The point is that getting to know the game better as you learn to play it better will make a huge difference in your rate of improvement. for whatever reason. but don’t forget that the most important guideline of all is to enjoy yourself when you’re playing. That. Enthusiasm is a state of mind. Enthusiasm is contagious. presumably. As long as basketball is fun. foster a spirit of cooperation. and where and when it should (and shouldn’t) be used. grumble about practice. Don’t bad-mouth other players. After all. or complain publicly about the coach. when we talk about the dribble as an offensive weapon. Say “Nice try” if a teammate attempts a move that doesn’t work out as planned. This book is intended to be a means to that end. the better you play. on the other hand. talk to your coach about it. It can spread through a team in no time. Play with spirit. xiii Be enThuSiaSTic In this book. you’ll naturally be enthusiastic about it. One of the biggest frustrations for a coach is having a talented player who. do-that approach. So much the better. we’ll talk a lot about working hard and improving. So will having the right attitude. and that makes any experience more fulfilling. is why you picked up the ball in the first place. And the best thing about it—besides how much it enhances your enjoyment—is what it does for others. though. Admit your mistake when you’ve missed an open player or made a bad play. The best players aren’t those who go out there with a mechanical. Praise unselfish play—the pass or the screen that can easily go unnoticed. but those who develop a court sense of how and when to move and react on the floor in different situations. Not everybody is suited to the rah-rah stuff. and that’s important.Introduction well spent. Support the others and pick them up when they’re down. and why you’re continuing to play. Congratulate your team-mate when she makes a nice play. is seeing a girl of limited natural talent work hard to become the best basketball player she can be. doesn’t concentrate or push herself to improve. do-this. You don’t have to be a full-time cheerleader.
you must love what you do. passion. You must be accountable to your teammates and you need to expect them to be accountable. to run. girls at the middle and elementary school levels have started to play and compete earlier than ever before. If you haven’t. it has become even more important to develop solid fundamentals at an early age. the “Getting in Shape” chapter has been rewritten with new information. And. It is much harder to break bad habits and relearn skills. little me. to change direction. To play the game. “We are [insert team name]. please take it on faith that being positive and showing enthusiasm will make your basketball experiences infinitely more rewarding—as a player and as a person. to start and stop. and hard work. Basketball requires commitment.” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Basketball. often on athletic scholarship. photos. but since the stakes are higher. to rebound. and illustrations to help you to get ready to play. This new edition was updated with these changes in mind. In addition. You must be able to move efficiently—to jump. The team must be bigger than the individual. Due to a “trickle down” effect.xiv Winning Basketball for Girls If you’ve played on a team where enthusiasm was the watchword. national teams. you must be comfortable handling the ball. Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competition and summer basketball camps give young players further opportunities to develop. No argument here. This means that high school players have more motivation than ever to play at higher levels. New photos and illustrations have also been added to provide a more up-to-date backdrop for explaining fundamental skills and techniques. to defend. we are one!” Believe it! . Title IX has continued to create more opportunities for women to play collegiate basketball. the game. you must communicate—on and off the court. Learning the fundamentals the right way the first time is a great idea. Preparing your body for each practice or workout and for each game and season is critical to help you play your very best and to help you stay on the court by preventing or limiting injuries. hasn’t really changed much. women’s basketball has grown at an even higher rate. Most of all. You need to understand individual and team defense. WhaT’S neW Since the initial publication of Winning Basketball for Girls. and college programs—have increased dramatically. “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. BIG TEAM. You must be comfortable shooting and passing. none of this is news to you. You need to grasp concepts such as spacing and court balance. Playing opportunities at the upper levels of basketball—the WNBA.
growing. Playing.Introduction You will find other minor changes that reflect my evolving perspective. I’ve played. establising relationships. developing—enjoy it all! Now. color-commentated. As a player. New York xv . coached. competing. I see the game in a whole new way. and officiated. let’s hit the court. Sure. Things look and feel different. —Faye Young Miller Ithaca. and as a coach. and now I’ve watched my children as they go through the world of athletics. enjoy the little things. winning is fun but it’s not the ultimate goal. I feel differently about the game than I did when the book was first published.
Thom O’Connor .
Also. I have worked with so many awesome male coaches—no slight intended. This is done only to simplify the writing. I hope some young male players will read this book! .lEgEnd For IlluSTrATIonS Note: Throughout the text. players and coaches will be referred to as she or her.
a physical-education instructor named Dr. In the game’s infancy. clean in mind. and seven persons played on a team. a person had to sit atop a ladder to pull the ball out of the basket and toss it back down to the players. Let’s get a quick overview of that game before we go into our deeper discussion of specific skills and instruction. 1 . There wasn’t even an open basket. James Naismith was looking for a game that could be played indoors in the cold winter months. Massachusetts. there were no backboards. —Dr. He fastened two peach baskets to the gymnasium balcony and told his students to try throwing a soccer ball into the baskets. James Naismith. College courts are the same width. the father of basketball 1 Just over a century ago in Springfield. A basket. is located at either end of the playing area. consisting of a rim (a steel hoop 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet from the ground) and a backboard (a rectangular piece of Plexiglas or wood measuring 42 x 72 inches). but 94 feet long. lofty in ideals”. The courT Most high school basketball courts are 84 feet long by 50 feet wide. Gradually changes and refinements were made until the game evolved into the one we know today.A Look at the Game “Be strong in body. Thus was basketball born. No dribbling was allowed.
2 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 1-1 .
The first occupied spaces—left and right—closest to the hoop are for the non-shooting team. They are usually quick and agile players who are good at handling the ball. On many teams. and two guards. shooting from range and passing the ball. where a player shoots an uncontested shot after an opponent commits a foul. The point guard is still somewhat defined as the primary ball handler and the “playmaker” while the other perimeter players can be interchanged. some play a 3-out. two forwards. so named for a rule that prohibits any offensive player from staying in it for more than three seconds at a time.A Look at the Game The court is divided by a midcourt line. Traditionally. and the footwork skills to play today’s game. players do not always fit the traditional roles regarding positions. Center Now Point Guard Perimeter #2 Perimeter #3 “Big”/post “Big”/post Today. All players must develop shooting—inside and outside. one player is still designated as the point guard. A 12-foot-wide area between the foul line and the basket (it’s usually painted) is known as the “key. or three second area.” free throw lane. Different offensive sets require different positions. where the official tosses up the ball to start the game. Traditionally. 3 The PlayerS Basketball is played by two teams of five players each. The free throw lane is marked off on the sides with spaces three feet wide. 1-in pattern. used for the non-shooters to line up when a free throw is taken. Point Guard 2. The other guard is called the shooting guard and is . Many of today’s college teams introduce their players as post—2 “bigs” as we call them and 3 perimeter players. and is marked off by baselines (at each end of the court) and sidelines. as shown in Figure 1-1. Shooting Guard 3. Power Forward 5. The basic positions include a center. Small Forward 4. the guards or perimeter players set up farthest away from the basket. 2-in and some play a motion offense with players switching positions during the offensive possession. Some teams play a 4-out. At the center of the court is a jump circle. ballhandling. the offensive positions are numbered and broken down as follows: Then 1. who handles the ball most of the time and is the “quarterback” of the offense. Some teams play all 5 players on the perimeter—dribble drive motion style. Players must be versatile. Fifteen feet out from the backboard are the free throw or foul lines.
the three-point line is 19 feet. based on your size or speed. learn to shoot. and play tough defense. These shots are called field goals. Again. dribble off your foot or whatever. The forwards. a player must be fouled in the act . a player must be behind the three-point line when she releases the ball or leave the floor from behind the line if she is airborne. being versatile. however.4 Winning Basketball for Girls relied on for perimeter shooting and passing. 9 inches from the hoop. Two or three points are awarded for a successful shot. Having the ability to shoot the three-point shot—taken from behind the semicircular line drawn 19 feet. and opens up the inside area when the defense has to move out to defend against the three. Not all fouls result in free throws. Both forwards have to rebound. being able to do many things well. but you will learn by doing. a shot taken from the free throw line after a foul by an opposing player. the other is the defensive team. Again. will get you in the game! Don’t limit yourself or allow others to limit you. depending upon where it’s taken from. You will make mistakes. To get credit for three points. sometimes the tallest and most powerful player. Depending on the team offense.throw lane. the power forward may post up around the lane with her back to the basket. One point is awarded for a successful free throw. which is why the game flows up and down the court. The center typically plays with her back to the basket before receiving the ball and she has to be a good rebounder and passer. and you will get better. setting up in the area of the free. in the first lane space area “on the block.” she’s known as a low post. If the center is positioned near the free throw line. It is especially important for you to handle the ball as a young player. if she’s positioned close to the baseline. Each team can score only by shooting at the opponent’s basket. The more skills you develop. 9 inches from the basket—gives the perimeter players an added offensive weapon. sometimes known as the wings. sometimes at the free throw lane extended. hoW The Game iS Played The team with possession of the ball is known as the offensive team. play outside the lane usually to the sides of the basket. the more time you will be on the floor. generally stays closer to the basket than the other players. and the small forward may pop out wide on the baseline facing the hoop. Points are scored by shooting the ball into the basket being defended by the opposing team. she’s known as a high post. Learn to handle. The center. To go to the line. regardless of your position. or foul shot.
regardless of where the shot is taken. blocking. some teams live and die by the “press” throughout the game. in which each player is assigned a player to guard. as it’s called. holding. There are an equal number of offensive strategies that a team might use to get through the defense and gain good shots at the basket. the defensive team wants to stop the offense from even attempting a shot. she gets to shoot three free throws if the field goal is missed. The shot clock varies in high school depending on the state. Full-court defense is often employed late in a game when the defensive team is losing and needs to catch up in a hurry. A successful field goal and a foul result in one free throw. When a player is fouled from behind the three-point line. the better the chances that it will go in. Whenever a shot is missed. Some teams play a combination of these two defenses or switch from one to another during a game. At this 5 . in which each player is assigned an area of the court to defend. When one team fouls seven times in a half. the other team gets possession of the ball. they go on offense and the other team goes on defense. The coach makes a decision. However. an offensive team has 30 seconds in which to attempt a shot.A Look at the Game of shooting. Ideally. The defensive team’s objective is to protect the basket by keeping the offense as far from it as possible. she gets a second shot. The next best thing is forcing them to take a difficult or low-percentage shot. to press or not to. and hitting a player’s arm as she’s shooting. In women’s college and professional basketball. referred to as a “press” is to guard a team over the full length of the court. The attempt must hit the rim. Common sense tells us that the closer to the basket a shot is attempted. For example. If they fail to do so. the other team is allowed a one plus one opportunity. or fouled intentionally. based on her overall team philosophy. or it might play a zone defense. the opponent gets a double bonus. players on both teams compete to get the rebound. Once the defensive team gets possession of a rebound. After five fouls. If the shooter makes the first. instead of just as they approach the basket. The objective of the offensive team is to advance the ball so as to get the best shot that it can. Common fouls include pushing. or two shots. Another defensive option. a team might play man-to-man defense. There are only two ways the ball can be advanced—passing (throwing it from one player to another) or dribbling (bouncing the ball as you move in any direction). If a team has fouled 10 times. a player is disqualified from the game. which is dictated by the talents of her players. Many complicated strategies and playing patterns are involved as the offense and defense try to accomplish their goals. The other instance when free throws are taken is when the defensive team has surpassed its allotted number of fouls—over the limit.
And that’s where we’re headed for the rest of this book. What is important is to get a basic understanding of the game and of what you need to do on and off the court to play basketball as well as you can. .6 Winning Basketball for Girls point it’s not important for you to know the technical ins and outs of various playing schemes and patterns.
and you turn the ball over fewer times. Let’s look at what you can do to make as much of it as possible. You pull down more rebounds. What kind of defense is being played? What are the players doing to get open? Which team is taking the higher percentage shots? Is one team dominating the play under the boards? Look at the players other than the one with the ball. As your command of the fundamentals gradually gets better. Never lose sight of what you really want to accomplish. You make more shots than you did the month before. You can.” —Dawn Staley. and you want to continue striving for more. Take in as many games as possible. There will come times when you think you can’t push any harder. you feel good about your accomplishments. DON’T. You can too. There will come times when you want to walk away. BaSkeTBall 101 I learn something new every time I watch a game. whether it’s the pros on TV or the JV boys in the next gym. Making progress keeps you going. Try to analyze the strategies involved. University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball Coach and three-time Olympic gold medalist 2 Seeing yourself improve provides one of the biggest satisfactions in basketball. You play better defense. Are they 7 .Getting Started “Always set your goals and expectations high.
Break down the game into categories and take notes on each. more intelligent game for you. take an inventory of yourself as a player and jot it down. It’s a terrific way to learn why you shouldn’t waste your dribble. slowly but surely. but you’d be surprised how many players don’t work on their weaknesses. You get the idea. I’m not denying it’s a lot more fun to practice what you’re already good at. Unable to dribble under control with head up. what is she doing to get free for her shots? Where are her shots coming from? What fakes is she using? Watching basketball is the next best thing to playing it. Even if you’re just starting to play. You’ll get a much clearer perspective of the game by watching others play—and that’ll translate. Say you’re watching a game in which a guard continually puts the ball on the floor the moment she gets it. Chart all progress. and a man who appreciates the fundamentals of the women’s game (“the . what are they doing that you might emulate? Is there one player doing most of the scoring? If so. as well as to chart your progress. one day off. and winds up getting stuck—tied up or double-teamed by the defense because she no longer can use the dribble to get away. Check back periodically. Measure how effective your practice has been in improving your problem areas. poor from left. Take a Self-invenTory You know your own game—your strengths and weaknesses—better than anybody else. Outside shooting very inconsistent—one day on. form and accuracy from left. Goal should be 70 percent. it’s the only way you’ll really know how you’re progressing. Here’s the way it might look: Dribbling: Right hand pretty good. Keep a notebook. This might seem obvious. Write down what you need to work on most. probably the most respected basketball coach of all time. This is a good way to emphasize what areas to concentrate on. Be honest. Be honest. Need to work on shooting the same way every time.8 Winning Basketball for Girls moving or standing still? Are they making the defense work? What about the tempo of the game? Is one team fast-breaking and the other playing deliberately? Look for good free throw shooters. Left hand needs a lot of work. Shooting: Lay-ups pretty good from right side. into a crisper. need to work on improving speed and control from right. But it’s also fun to improve. Foul shooting averaging out at 50 percent. GeT The moST ouT of PracTice Time John Wooden.
maybe you’ll arrange a shooting contest between two imaginary teams. “I want to hold Sam to three goals defensively during our game. Concentrate on doing things right. This doesn’t mean it has to be totally structured. Or set specific shooting goals and try to meet them. Playing “up” forces you to push yourself. Get your little brother and follow him around as you dribble with your head up. Be imaginative. 15-2. Make the most of your practice time. and playing up is that incentive. but vary them so you keep it interesting.” or more specific. The best practices are fun and constructive. it’s going to carry over into your games. and it’ll give you insights into what you have to do to take your game a notch higher. On another day.” If you play halfheartedly and develop sloppy habits in your driveway or schoolyard. Pay attention to how she does it. the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competition provides the opportunity to compete at a higher level. If you’ve never been able to steal the ball from the girl you’ve been guarding. It offers a close-up view of how better players shoot. dribble. “I want to play with the boys in the park and hold my own. Chart goals in your notebook. Develop your own routines. to work a little harder and play a little smarter. But at the same time. Another way to play up is to raise the level of competition by attending an individual or a team camp. Dribble down your driveway with your left hand and come back using your right. Maybe you’ll designate one day as “Dribble Day. inject some twists and games into your routine so your time on the court is always interesting and challenging. Use two balls. play defense. but what do you really get out of that? Complacency is big trouble for any reasonably competitive athlete. Work all the different skill areas. We all need an incentive to keep working at it. give yourself another goal to shoot for. pass. Keep pushing to improve. It’s great fun to team up with a friend and whip two younger girls down the street.Getting Started purest basketball is played by the collegiate women’s teams”) once said. but playing slightly over your head will work wonders for you. she must be doing a good job of protecting the ball. In . I only mean you have to practice diligently if you want to improve. As soon as you do. Also. cut. “You play the way you practice.” Give yourself something to reach for. Set up obstacles and dribble in and out of them. One day maybe you’ll aim to make 10 of 20 eight-foot bank shots. You have to want to continue improving. In general. 9 Play “uP” The surest and fastest way to improve is by playing with better players. Dribble them at the same time. It may be discouraging at first. and so on. It gives you new goals to shoot for and will help you reach a higher skill level.” and you’ll put a special emphasis on controlling the ball.
particularly those you admire. aSk QueSTionS Be curious about the game. and shows them you’re eager to learn. as a freshman JV player. Also ask questions of other players. Say. But how she improved! She began that season as a reserve on the JV.10 Winning Basketball for Girls AAU basketball. she was a starter on the varsity. Knowing the reason for performing certain moves makes it easier to remember them. . “What’s the big deal? I shoot with my arms. not my legs. ask her about it. If you don’t understand your coach’s advice or instruction. Most coaches like questions because it forces them to refine their own thinking. A year later. Maybe you’re thinking.” But when you ask her. I know a girl who. (“How do you make that crossover dribble?” “How often do you work out on your own?”) Every little insight you collect will contribute to your improvement. She was taught a lot of hard lessons for a while and went home discouraged more than once. for instance. she explains that much of the power needed to get a shot smoothly up to the basket is generated by the legs. the coach says to get “more leg” into your shot. stayed after practice every day and played with two of her coaches and a varsity player. the overall talent level is higher than what you play with and against in high school. and that’s why it’s important to bend them before you begin your shooting motion.
known as “catching your second wind. stop. change directions. jump. Good conditioning enables you to recover more quickly and helps you to maintain proper form even when you’re tired. There is no better feeling than the one you get when you see your opponent bent over gasping for air when you feel as though the game is just beginning.” —Percy Cerutty 3 Basketball is a game of transition that demands nearly continuous motion from all 10 players on the court. Conditioning enables the best players to play the last minute as hard as they played the first. and change speed. If you’re not in good shape. the game won’t be as much fun because you won’t be as effective. At the final buzzer you will have run nearly three miles—virtually all of it in quick demanding bursts.” is nothing more than the feeling you’ll get late in the game when your conditioning enables you to play at a high level while your opponents seem to 11 . This phenomenon. A well-conditioned player is confident in the fourth quarter (or late second half).Preparation for Success— Getting in Shape “Thus I urge you to go on to greatness if you believe it is in you. The better-conditioned team will typically win a close game. There’s no way around it. you will continuously start. Think deeply and separate what you wish from what you are prepared to do. You must be in good physical condition to play basketball. During the course of a typical game.
and speed. but do you have to pay that much? Not at all. My advice is simply to do your homework and to invest in a good pair. This is the era of the $100 (and up) basketball shoe. If you’ve had any ankle trouble and don’t get your ankles taped. . which means you’ve got to take good care of them. a well-cushioned arch. Even a slight irritant like a bunched up sock or moist area can result in a painful blister. Plenty of quality shoes can be purchased for less. Cheap brands are not only a bad investment—they’re potentially dangerous. agility. In this chapter we will describe specific ways to make you a better basketball player by improving your strength. Neglecting your feet can hamper your performance all season long. That’s where basketball shoes are most likely to tear. You can also use ankle braces for extra support—to prevent injury or to give you support in recovery from an ankle sprain. let your feet be the judge. TreaTinG your feeT Well As a basketball player. For most athletes. It’s also important to keep your feet dry by wearing good athletic socks. which give extra support.12 Winning Basketball for Girls be slowing down. Conditioning is the process of preparing your cardio-respiratory (heart and lungs) and musculoskeletal (muscles. They may not be built for heavy-duty basketball wear and may not give your feet the support they need. Try on several different pairs and see which feels best. I can’t recommend a brand name because different shoes fit each foot differently. In order to play well you must condition well. Good conditioning also lessens the likelihood of some injuries and speeds recovery when you do get hurt. As with most everything else. Make sure to pull your socks all the way on and smooth out places where they’re bunching up. and strong construction along the edge where the sole meets the body of the shoe. Conditioning your body is challenging—it requires consistency and dedication. you’ll only be as good as your feet and ankles feel. Look for a sturdy sole. missing shots. training two or three days per week is sufficient to prepare their bodies for the demands of intense competition. and bones) systems. We begin with some basic ideas about caring for your hands and feet. you get what you pay for. There are no shortcuts. Otherwise. endurance. which is a common basketball injury. tendons. with basketball shoes. Begin caring for your feet by putting them in a good pair of basketball shoes. and making bad passes. Check with your coach for a team price—some stores will offer a discount when the team all buys from the same store. get high-cut shoes.
dribbling. Drills and exercises for conditioning the hands are covered in the following chapter. practice. and walking must be transitioned to muscles that will be sprinting. and jumping. standing. passing shooting. WarminG uP Flexibility is the range of motion in a joint or combination of joints. and rebounding. You’ll hang onto tough rebounds that other players might lose. The dynamic warm up should include elements of running.Preparation for Success—Getting in Shape 13 condiTioninG your handS A former colleague of mine always told his players. “Your hands and your feet are your career. Touch allows you to shoot and pass more accurately. which causes muscles to work harder than they need to. cutting. This must be done in a progressive manner and requires much more than “static” (in-place) stretching. controlled pace and gradually move to a more intense level during the warm-up. skipping. For the nonstationary exercises. The stronger your hands are.” He is so right. Your shooting range will be extended. and handle the ball better. Some examples are given below. begin on one sideline and finish across the court at the opposite sideline. Strength and touch come into play in almost all facets of the game: catching. Developing a soft (or sensitive) touch for the ball is equally important. Over the past decade the traditional slow. Poor flexibility causes poor movement. Give yourself some space. Muscles that have been used throughout the day for sitting. rotating. Perform each movement in a controlled manner and always use proper technique. We’ve looked at a few basic ways to care for your feet. and with your hands. Taking time and care to warm up and to cool down improves your flexibility and decreases your chance of injury while increasing your body’s efficiency. traditional warm-up stretches tend to relax your muscles instead of energizing them. controlled stretch that preceded workouts. . but feel free to create your own activities. the more crisply you’ll be able to play. dribble with more control. Begin at a slow. there are two important considerations—strength and feel for the ball (touch). Use the width of the basketball court. This in turn causes a greater loss of energy and hinders your performance. or games has been replaced by a process known as a dynamic warm-up. While stretching is a critical part of proper cooldown. Many athletic injuries result from improper warm-up or lack of flexibility. Your passes will be sharper. which may include basketball drills and skills. A warm-up should prepare your joints and muscles for more vigorous activity by gradually acclimating them to a higher level of readiness. and bending the joints in order to increase the body’s core temperature and prepare the connective tissue (ligaments) for more substantial stress.
• skips: Skip (forward and backward) across the court. until your toes are at about eye level. one at 75 percent of max. and then one at full speed. Example of a dynamic warm-up: • • • • Jog for two to three minutes Walking knee hugs Walking tin soldier Slide left at 50 percent . gradually increasing the length of your strides.14 Winning Basketball for Girls • Walking knee Hugs: Step with one foot and raise the opposite knee as high as you can toward your chest. Perform 6 to 10 repetitions in each direction. Bend and rotate your torso and touch a hand to the opposite foot. • slides: Perform defensive “slides” or shuffles. Keep the down leg as a “base. Come to complete recovery between repetitions. • Windmill: Start with your feet apart. • backpedal: Run backwards at 75 to 100 percent of your maximum speed. one at 90 percent of max. • shoulder rotations: Roll your shoulders forward and then backward with your elbows slightly bent. Perform 6 to 10 repetitions in each direction. Alternate knees. Repeat as you travel across the court. Place your hands on the “up” knee and gently pull it toward your chest and hold for one second. • Walking lunge: Take long strides forward with your torso upright and “lunge walk” across the floor. • Walking tin soldier: Step with one foot and slowly kick the opposite leg (with a straight knee) up. rotate your torso in a controlled manner as far as you can in each direction keeping your elbows away from your sides. You may perform them slowly or at a faster pace. standing upright.” Repeat across the floor. one repetition at 50 percent of your maximum speed. “Frankenstein” style. • build-Up runs: Perform several repetitions of sprints at gradually increasing intensity levels. Then return to the starting position and step ahead with the other foot. Alternate. alternating legs. • trunk twisters: While standing upright with your feet about shoulder width apart. staying low and taking lateral steps across the floor. Take a big step ahead with one foot and lean forward until your knee reaches a 90-degree angle and your rear knee is parallel to the floor. It is important that you keep your front knee behind your toes and that you do not let that knee rotate inward. Repeat 6 to 10 times for each side. For example.
.Preparation for Success—Getting in Shape • • • • • Slide right at 50 percent Windmill 8 times each way Walking lunge Skip forward at 50 percent Skip backward at 50 percent 15 walking knee hugs walking tin soldiers Figure 3-1 dynamic warm-up exercises.
.16 Winning Basketball for Girls walking lunges (front and side angle) windmills Figure 3-1 (continued) dynamic warm-up exercises.
D (forward. Players must be able to sprint. which will take 12 to 15 minutes. Train to move in all directions. and running style. Feet together A. 5. jump. B Repeat drills 1 and 2 using one foot at a time . repeating each set of drills two or three times per workout. C. “line” drills These drills consist of jumping over straight lines on the floor. You are born with some of these qualities. and coordination. Practicing staying under control and moving your feet in multidirectional patterns will enable you to perform better on the basketball court. slide. Referring to Figure 3-2. Make sure that you keep your jumps low and quick. and backpedal—often while controlling a ball! This is a very demanding set of skills that requires balance. backward as quickly as possible) Feet together counterclockwise A. intense movement in all directions. the line drills in increasing difficulty include: 1.Preparation for Success—Getting in Shape • • • • • • • • Shoulder rotations 8 times each way Trunk twisters 8 times each way Backpedal at 75 percent Build-up run to 75 percent Slide right at 75 percent Slide left at 75 percent Backpedal at 100 percent Sprint at 100 percent 17 The percentages are in terms of effort—where 100 percent is maximum effort. imProvinG your SPeed and aGiliTy Basketball is a game that requires fast-paced. Your body is prepared to work harder and to handle more stress. D. you can greatly improve your speed and agility. Examples of drills that I have used with my teams are given below. but by performing drills that focus on change of direction. Perform each drill for 8 to 10 seconds. D Feet together clockwise A. 3. cut. B (side to side as quickly as possible) Feet together A. 4. 2. acceleration. Not much of basketball is played running straight ahead. body control. you should be ready to go. C. Upon completion of your dynamic warm-up. B. Quick. reflexes. sudden bursts require fast feet and a low body position.
hop sideways over each cone. Keeping your feet together. Keeping your feet together. Reverse direction. lateral Hops—Place the cones 1½ to 2 feet apart. forward/backward Hops—Place the cones 1½ to 2 feet apart. lateral “figure 8”—Trace a figure 8 pattern while moving laterally. 4. 2. cone drills Perform each drill for 8 to 10 seconds. Just five . 3. Two to three sets are recommended per workout. Reverse direction.18 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 3-2 line drills. Jumping rope Jumping rope is a very good total body workout and can be done anywhere with the investment of a good rope and a short amount of time. forward/backward figure 8—Trace a figure 8 moving forward and backward. Cones should be approximately six inches tall. 1. hop forward over each cone. Make sure to step quickly and stay low.
Arrange the cones in a rectangle. you are moving around the perimeter of the rectangle always facing the same direction.Preparation for Success—Getting in Shape 19 Figure 3-3 Cone drills. Establish a rhythm and have fun with it! more cone drills These drills focus on changing speed and changing direction. single leg hops. As with all drills. which is sometimes lacking in young women who are just beginning to play basketball. backpedal—In this drill. slide. Focus on keeping your center of gravity low. master the technique first. Different patterns to try are double leg hops. and then work toward increasing the speed 1. We typically use half the basketball court. Begin by . which are necessary skills if you want to play basketball at a high level. Jumping rope also helps to develop upper body strength. minutes three times a week will help you to develop better footwork and coordination and will also give you an efficient cardiovascular workout. and alternating jumps. sprint.
linear Speed improvement While change of direction is important. tight turns—This drill consists of running full speed to each cone in a figure 8 pattern. Gradually work up to one and a half or two miles. When performing these quick. Running is a skill. Use the notebook I suggested in . you must have adequate stride length (powerful force production) and stride frequency (rapid foot contacts). can be improved with practice. and like any skill. Focus on making the turns as tight to the cone as possible and on sprinting hard between each cone. Make a full revolution around each cone before proceeding to the next.20 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 3-4 more cone drills. When running sprints remember to maintain long strides. sudden turnovers. explosive movements. and to run all the way through the finish line—gradually coasting to a stop. Depending on your condition. Backpedal down the left hand side to the third cone then slide laterally to the right—back to where you began. 2. Reverse directions to work on turns to the left. you might start with a half-mile or mile. distance running Run long distances at least once a week. Keep track of your times. and any transitioning on the court. sprinting up the right-hand side to the first cone. Then slide laterally left to the second cone. the ability to “burst” in a straight line is critical for basketball success during offensive fast breaks.
Preparation for Success—Getting in Shape Chapter 2 for a self-inventory. Keep the heel of your front foot on the floor to help stabilize your knee. . pass. and ankles. Some simple strength-improvement exercises using manual resistance are described below. bend your knees to 90 degrees. The ability to run.. Step forward with your left leg until your knee is bent 90 degrees. you’re doing great. Keep your feet hip-width apart. and shoot rely heavily on a basketball player’s strength. Step back to the standing position and repeat with your right leg to complete one repetition. this prevents overextending your ligaments and tendons. Your torso should be comfortably erect with your head up and your eyes looking straight ahead. knees. strength is critical to injury resistance. feet slightly wider than shoulder width. In addition. 21 imProvinG your STrenGTh The foundation of all athletic skills is strength. hips. Your left thigh will be parallel to the floor while your upper right leg is perpendicular to the floor. you’ll find that you can maintain a faster pace. Weight training is a more advanced option when proper supervision is available. particularly in the shoulders. Simple exercises using manual resistance (such as your body weight) are suggested for young players. If you can run two miles in 16 minutes or under. • step Ups: Stand with good wall sit posture facing a tall step Figure 3-5 Strength exercises. Do not bend your knee more than 90 degrees. • Wall sit: Place your back against a wall. • lunges: Hang your arms straight down at your sides. particularly to stabilize the knee and ankle joints. because of the extensive cutting and changing of direction involved in basketball. As you get in better condition. sustain for 30 to 60 seconds. core (abdominals and lower back).
22 Winning Basketball for Girls Step ups Pushups Figure 3-5 (continued) Strength exercises. .
Lower your body slowly until your chest lightly touches the floor. Try not to bend your back. Keep your palms fixed at the same position and your body straight. Keep your head up. Straighten your arms as you push your body up off the floor. to come up on top of the box. Then bring the opposite knee up. Do 8 to 10 repetitions. palms flat on the floor and no more than shoulder-width apart. step down. Make sure to push down with the left foot (especially the heel). . with your feet together. Exhale as your arms straighten. Try not to bend or arch your upper or lower back as you push up.Preparation for Success—Getting in Shape (such as a bleacher) or box (approximately 15 inches high). Keep your feet positioned about two feet in 23 Swiss ball slides Figure 3-5 (continued) Strength exercises. and your toes tucked under your feet. especially as you initiate the step-up. With your back straight use your left leg and lower body to “step up” onto the surface. Change legs. Repeat. your legs straight. keep your right leg passive. step up with right foot completing 8 to 10 repetitions. • swiss ball slides: Start with a large exercise ball (commonly known as a Swiss ball) resting just below your shoulder blades against the middle of your back. Use your left leg only. Keep your knees off the floor. and inhale as you bend your arms. • Push-Ups: Lie chest-down with your hands at shoulder level. straightening your leg.
These muscles basically make it possible to stand upright and move on . front of your hips. Alternate sides and repeat for 8 to 10 repetitions on each side. Hold the squat position for 8 to 10 seconds before returning to the start position. Your lead foot should be pointed slightly to the left. Step sideways. Begin by bending your knees 30 to 45 degrees into a squat. bending your left knee and keeping your right leg straight.24 Winning Basketball for Girls lateral squats Figure 3-5 (continued) Strength exercises. making sure that your knees remain behind your toes. start to lean to the left and push your hips back at the same time. Make sure you keep the knee on your “working” side behind your toes. flat on the floor. developing core Strength Your “core” consists of many different muscles—not just your “abs”—that stabilize your spine and pelvis and run the entire length of your torso. • lateral squats: Standing with your feet just wider than shoulderwidth apart. so that all your weight is on your heels. Push off your left heel back to the starting position. Keep the lower leg perpendicular to the floor. Keep your opposite leg straight and your chest up.
3. 1. Three basic corestrengthening exercises are described below. so that your arms are crossed over your chest. raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds. Turn sideways holding your body up with one bent arm parallel to the floor. Push off the floor. 2. . Hold the position for a second. 25 Elbows and toes Figure 3-6 Core conditioning exercises. Slowly bring the torso back to the floor keeping your back slightly off the ground. They are crucial for controlling many of the movements that are important in basketball.Preparation for Success—Getting in Shape two feet. By developing and maintaining a strong core. Keep your abs tight for 20 to 60 seconds. lower and perform 3 to 5 repetitions. “elbows and toes”: Lie face down on the floor. resting on your forearms. Slowly lift your chest and shoulders toward your knees. Perform 3 to 5 repetitions. Place your hands on opposing shoulders. side bridge: Start by lying on the floor with your legs straight out. palms or fists flat on the floor. Sit-ups are the standard method for building abdominal strength. exhaling on the way up. Tighten your abdominal muscles by gently drawing in your belly button toward your spine. Keep your back flat. There are many variations. you will enhance your chances of playing at a higher level. Repeat for 30 seconds or 20 repetitions. sit-ups: Lie down on the floor on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air.
The object of cooling down is to slowly transition from a high level of activity to a lower level. your perspiration rate goes down (which causes the skin to feel cool). your muscle temperature decreases. A typical cooldown period should take 8 to 10 minutes and should include activities such as slowly jogging or walking. coolinG doWn Just as a basketball player benefits from warming up. During cooldown. aBouT WeiGhT TraininG Every college basketball program in the country employs some form of weight training in its conditioning program. your heart rate goes down.26 Winning Basketball for Girls Side bridge Figure 3-6 (continued) Core conditioning exercises. When warming up. Weight training programs that are well-planned and properly supervised can have a significant positive impact—even with . I supervised my teams at Manhattan College and Georgia Tech through rigorous programs and the results were tremendous. along with traditional static stretching exercises. and your respiration rate returns to normal. your body transitions from rest to activity. Cooling down after a workout can also help prevent muscle strain and soreness. she can also benefit from cooling down just after the workout is over.
But I’ve always been able to hold my own because of one simple fact: I could run and I was always in good shape. Even if you can’t hit a 20-footer or put on a dazzling dribble display. 27 a final noTe Take it from someone who knows: It pays to be in shape. Ball skills are critical. I’ve played with people with more basketball ability than I have. The time commitment doesn’t add up to more than a few hours a week. when everyone else is dragging. I recommend weight training. take advantage of it. It can be even be downright dangerous—especially with younger players. dribblers. At just about every level of competition. and passers. I’ve seen it happen. players who were better shooters. Work on the exercises I’ve outlined above. I worked hard and got into good condition. Many health clubs have well-equipped weight rooms and personal trainers who will assist you—even design weight training programs for you. But being in top shape can make up for a plethora of deficiencies. If you don’t have a trainer or even a good workout partner. If you have access to a weight room and someone who can design and supervise your workouts. and it paid off. . there are many simpler options to weight training. weight training can be less than effective. no question about it. and the benefits will last all season. such as the manual exercises discussed previously. starting and stopping. If that is the case at your health club. Without supervision and planning. you’ll find a spot on your team if you keep on running and jumping.Preparation for Success—Getting in Shape high school players.
The best way to get comfortable with the ball is to use it. Then pound it back to the hand you started with. SQueezinG The Ball “Squeeze” the ball by holding it up just above your shoulder in your right hand. Your hands should be slightly cupped.” —Conor Gillen Developing a feel for the basketball is critical to your development as a basketball player. and go back and forth 15–20 times. Once you are comfortable with the exercise.—Repetition Elevates Personal Skills. Concentrate on feeling the ball as you pound it into your receiving hand. There are many ball-handling drills that can help you to develop strength and touch if done on a regular basis. All the exercises listed must be done with the knees flexed. Keep the elbow soft—not locked—and slowly bring your fingers 28 . You should break a sweat—in fact these drills are a great way to warm up—to get ready to play. make sure you work with intensity. feet comfortably spread and head up.4 Ball-Handling— Developing a Feel for the Ball “R. Hold the ball near your shoulder in one hand and “pound” it firmly into the other with a forceful overhand throwing motion. PoundinG The Ball Here’s a good way to get your hands familiar with the ball.S.P.E. Some of my favorite exercises are listed below.
This won’t take long and is a terrific way to build strength in your hands and wrists. your waist. . in one hand about 15 times. 29 finGerTiP conTrol drill Hold the ball in front of you about waist-high and quickly tap or make “baby” passes back and forth between the hands.Ball-Handling—Developing a Feel for the Ball together. anywhere. until the ball is almost directly overhead. Take the ball in your right hand and carry it around behind your head until it’s almost Around the world. Gradually raise your arms. Do this 15 times and then repeat with your left hand. “volcano style. using the fingertips and the pads of your fingers. Your arms should start almost straight (keep a slight flex in the elbows) and stay that way throughout the drill. Switch hands and squeeze out another 15 times. hard. holding it with both hands. causing the ball to pop out of your hand. Keep passing and slowly bring your arms down to the original position. lightly passing the ball as you go. and your knees. Repeat five times.” Another way to “squeeze” a ball can be done anytime. concentrating on developing a good feel for the ball and on maintaining good control. move the ball as quickly as you can around your head. Use a tennis ball or some other sponge-rubber ball about that size and just squeeze it. around The World Start with the ball at head level.
take the ball “around the world” in the other direction. Keep track of your repetitions and measure progress. Change this drill by using the fingertips more and dribbling with more touches on the ball—say at least 10 baby dribbles each side. Do not lean or bend from the waist.30 Winning Basketball for Girls to your left ear. bring the ball inside and behind your left knee. and keep going until you’ve done 15 Figure 8’s. This enables you to do this more efficiently. Swing the ball around in front and then back between the legs to behind the right knee. Next time. It is important that you develop a rhythm. onetwo-pass. that you “sit” down and not bend forward from the waist. head. Dribble 15 Figure-8s. Can you do more in one minute than you did two weeks ago? driBBle fiGure-8 Dribble the ball in and out of your legs in the same Figure-8 pattern as used above. butt down! fiGure-8 drill Flex your knees and move your feet out so they’re at least a foot wider than your shoulders. This helps condition your legs to play defense. waist. at about knee level. and hand it off to your left hand. Next. Swing it around front again. Pass the ball around your head 15 times. Last. At that point. Then take the ball around your waist 15 times. where you shift the ball back to the right hand. one-two-pass. knees and then back up. use the body position shown in Figure 4-2. pass the ball around your legs 15 times. Then. Start outside your right foot and dribble with your right hand twice (or more) and then pass the ball between your legs back to front to your left hand. Then reverse direction and do 15 more. Concentrate on developing a good feel for the ball and on maintaining good control. switch the ball to your left hand and carry it around back to your right ear. Make sure when you pass the ball around the lower legs. . (Baby dribbles are low dribbles. or time yourself—go for 30 seconds. begin with it between your legs.) . with the hand touching the ball more frequently and the ball only rising 6–8 inches off the floor. for example. Keep your head up and don’t bend from the waist. Holding the ball with both hands. . or time yourself. put the three together . Dribble outside the left leg with the left hand and pass the ball back to front between your legs to the right hand. Head up.
.Ball-Handling—Developing a Feel for the Ball 31 Figure 4-2 Figure-8 pass.
back.32 Winning Basketball for Girls driBBle v’S/SWeeP PaSS Start with the ball on your right side and “sweep” the ball front to back and back to front. put the ball back in your right and “sweep” the ball out front. back. After 10 side “sweeps” with your left. then bring your arms behind you and dribble right. Work on touch and try to increase your speed. Complete 10 and do the same with your left hand out front. Bring your arms back to the front and start over. your left. Using two balls at once speeds up your progress and makes going back to one seem easier. front. Figure 4-3 Spider dribble. Pull the ball back by cupping your hand and by changing your hand position on the ball. TWo-Ball drillS Invest in a second ball or partner up with a friend who has one so you can work on ball handling with two balls. dribble left. Front. SPider driBBle Stand with your legs spread about shoulder width. Complete 10 and switch the ball to your left hand. left behind you. Start with the ball in the middle of your stance. still from behind. side to side. Drop the ball in front of your stance and baby dribble it with your left hand. right in front. Bring your arms back in front and start again. . again dribbling a “V” on the court. then your right. dribbling a “V” on the floor. The ball stays in the hand you are executing the “sweep” with start to finish. Next reach behind you and dribble with your right hand and then.
using two balls. Once you are comfortable with two balls. . one-ball-high dribble and then switch the low and high hands. Then dribble the balls in a crossover pattern in front of you. dribble them at the same time in a relaxed control dribble style. add a one-ball-low. Start in a stationary position and then dribble either while you walk or jog up the floor. do this drill in a stationary position or while on the move! Using both balls. Next dribble both balls in an alternating rhythm.Ball-Handling—Developing a Feel for the Ball 33 Figure 4-4 Two-ball drills. dribble them at the same time and then alternate.
react—all the moves you must con- 34 . I can’t think of anything more important than having good footwork. getting good rebounding position. and the best part is that it can be learned. sharp cuts. Keep your knees flexed. and the way to do that is to maintain a ready position. and your feet spread comfortably apart. with maximum control and minimum wasted motion.5 Footwork—the Foundation of Good Basketball “Whether it’s making shots. All the basic skills we’ll be talking about in this book spring from your ability to move quickly and sharply. Whether you’re on offense. your center of gravity low. playing tough defense—each of these basketball basics demands good footwork. setting screens. getting open for a shot. With your knees bent and your body well balanced. playing defense or just about anything that helps you be a better player . this stance will increase your quickness tremendously. your weight distributed evenly on the balls of your feet. you can cut. you’ve got to be able to move at an instant’s notice. University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball Coach Good basketball begins with good footwork. . Basketball is a game of angles. Beating an opponent with the dribble. defense.” —Geno Auriemma. cutting to the basket. and quick starts and stops. . or going to the boards. sprint. BeinG ready To move Since basketball places such a premium on quickness.
Maintain the ready. Every moment is critical in basketball.Footwork—the Foundation of Good Basketball tinually make on the court—much faster than when your knees are locked. Prove to yourself the value of the flexed-kneed stance the next time you’re on the court. A direct line (as shown) is the shortest and fastest path to your destination. Being poised to move makes all the difference. keeping her away from the boards. On the court you want to be able to do the same thing. or when your movement is uncontrolled. she tries to cut it as tightly as possible. Feel how long it takes you to react and hit full speed. Think of the stance an animal takes when it’s alarmed or on the alert. Toss a ball 15 feet away or so. bracing to move and react instantaneously to danger. Then try it with your knees bent. whether to beat an opponent or to stop her. 35 avoidinG The circle rouTeS Think for a moment about a softball player running around the bases. and first make a cut from a straight-legged position. You’re moving instantly because your legs are set to go. flexed-kneed position at all times. when you’re bending at the waist. stopping her from getting past you when she has the ball. . Immediately it coils into a crouching position. beating your opponent on a drive. As she approaches each bag. each fraction of a second you cut off the time it takes you to move or react increases your chances of getting free for a pass. Doing this Figure 5-1 Avoid “great circle routes” on the court.
She knows that failing to make good. Run in straight lines. thus increasing your freedom of movement. they’re wasted motion and make things easier for the defense because they take you out of the play. almost as if you were jumping to your landing point. There are two basic stops used in basketball: the jump stop and the stride. it won’t do you a lot of good on the court if you aren’t balanced when you stop. The Jump Stop In the jump stop you break your momentum by landing with both feet simultaneously. One. Figure 5-2 To execute the jump stop. but so are quick. stop. and learning the proper ways to stop will help you achieve this. after sprinting all out or shuffling quickly. No matter how fast you run. plant both feet simultaneously. Concentrate on making your court moves economical. it allows you to use either foot as a pivot (see Figure 5-2). and helps generate upward momentum for your shot. Smart basketball players try to do the same thing. SToPPinG Quick starts are important. and those few out-of-control moments can take them right out of the play. This offers several important advantages.36 Winning Basketball for Girls reduces the distance she has to run. Your aim is to be under control at all times. Their body weight gets too far forward or to the side. The jump stop allows you to use either foot as your pivot foot. Avoid the great circle routes or “banana cuts” to your destination. Make sharp cuts. tight turns will slow her down because she’ll wind up running in a looping path that’s much less direct. or two-step. become off-balanced when they try to stop. keeping the knees flexed for good balance and readiness. controlled stops. Many inexperienced players. . Two. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line—that’s the route you want to take.
it’s a traveling violation. so it’s good to use in the open court or when you’re moving quickly on the perimeter. Remember to keep your knees bent when jump stopping. The disadvantage with this stop is that you can pivot only on the last foot to make contact with the floor after you receive the ball or pick up the dribble. steady base for your shot. under control and with no wasted motion. . Plant your feet firmly. or Stride. since it allows you to stop and go up for a shot quickly. It may take some practice for you to feel comfortable jump stopping. so you’re able to apply the brakes quickly and smoothly. 37 The Two-Step. The stride stop can be executed from a higher rate of speed than the jump stop. This helps cushion the impact and improve body control. Work on both of these stops. plant both feet at the same time. It involves simply putting down one foot after the other. and you’ll find you can stop your forward momentum on a dime. stop (also called the 1-2 step stop) from the time we began playing basketball. again bending the knees to keep your momentum from carrying you off balance. or stride. with the knees flexed. keep your knees bent. roughly shoulder-width apart. more than likely you’ll keel right over. Remember. but keep at it. Pointing them inward or outward adds unnecessary stress on your knees. It’s particularly effective close to the basket and on the fast break. And three. To execute the jump stop properly. Figure 5-3 on the stride stop. it gives you a good. but you’re not taking a flying leap before landing. If you try it with straight knees. too. pulling your weight back slightly and making sure to flex the knees as you land. If you use the other foot. Also. and a turnover. you’re off the ground a small distance. Stop Most of us have used the two-step. Here. leaving you well balanced with your weight on the balls of your feet. keep your toes pointed straight ahead. you put your feet down one after the other. The jump stop doesn’t actually involve a jump.Footwork—the Foundation of Good Basketball it breaks your forward momentum. It’s a great way to stop quickly and in a way that leaves you ready for whatever comes next.
Why take three steps to stop when you can do it in one? PivoTinG When you have the ball. These moves are called the forward pivot (when your chest leads the way) and the reverse pivot (when your rear end leads the way). . because it makes it almost impossible to keep your foot stationary. pivot away from defensive pressure. Once you’ve begun pivoting on one foot. enabling you to move freely in whatever direction is necessary. or improve a passing angle to a teammate. You’ll use each of these Figure 5-4 The chest leads the way when making a forward pivot (right). and you could pivot all day! forward Pivots and reverse Pivots It’s important to learn to pivot comfortably in both directions. use your body to protect the ball. the rules permit you to step in any direction with one foot as long as the other. turn to face the basket. This freedom allows you to execute fakes. be sure to maintain your bent-knee “ready” stance for maximum balance and agility. Keep these simple guidelines in mind when pivoting: • When you have the ball. Stay off your heel! Pivoting on your heel is a sure way to get your legs all twisted up and to invite traveling violations. you cannot change your pivot foot. The rear end leads when making a reverse pivot (far right). Just pick up your heel. among other things. This allows for maximum range of movement. it’s a violation to pick up that foot and begin pivoting on the other.38 Winning Basketball for Girls economy of movement is what you’re after on the court. called the pivot foot. weight on the ball of your foot. As always. • Use the ball of your foot when pivoting. is held in the same position.
make stride stops. establish position. To change direction properly. 39 chanGe of direcTion We’ve talked about how basketball is a game of angles. • Rotate your hips and shoulders in the direction you want to go. When you change direction this way. On the way back. push off with your planted foot.Footwork—the Foundation of Good Basketball moves dozens of times in every game. When you change direction. shift your weight. Being in the ready position shortens the time necessary to make the change. you should pivot on the ball of your foot and with your knees bent. it is also important to change speed. you have to change directions constantly. go from (for example) a 6 to a 3 and then to a 7. On offense and defense (and in transition from one to the other). and how well you do this has a lot to do with how well you play the game. sharp angle. . one where you don’t make a distinct change of direction. box out. you can make turns quickly and eliminate wasted motion. rotate the hips quickly to the left. Running with your knees well bent. Think of your speed in a measurement from 1 (slowest) to 10 (fastest). Rest and repeat. Do the same at the next two markings. square up to the basket. and in lots of other ways. push off hard on the right foot and accelerate to full speed. with your knees flexed. is not much better than no cut at all. When changing direction on the court. Say you want to make a sharp change of direction to the left to receive a pass. and pick up the pace with an explosive start. In every instance. as always. whether executing the forward or reverse pivot. not circles. follow these guidelines: • Run. • Plant your outside foot firmly to slow your momentum. plant your right foot. with and without the ball. A lazy cut. Changing direction and changing speed will enable you to move more efficiently on the court! fooTWork drillS Start and Stop Measure a distance about the length of a court and mark it off into thirds. Sprint the first third and execute a jump stop. The key is to cut at a good. Pivots are used to change direction.
then sprint another 10 yards and change direction again. Rest. After pivoting. Make a forward pivot. getting yourself accustomed to the freedom of movement a simple pivot allows you. Push hard off the foot opposite to where you want to go. then come back with a reverse pivot. Change to the left foot as your pivot foot and repeat the exercise. Pivot Drill Holding the ball and using your right foot as the pivot foot. Execute one more sprint and change of direction. making sure to lift your heel. . and execute a reverse pivot with your left foot as the pivot foot. Knees flexed! Run and Pivot Measure a distance of about 10 yards. make a jump stop. flat area of about the same length.40 Winning Basketball for Girls Diagonal Run On a court or other wide. Sprint to the line. and repeat on the way back. your point of contact with the floor being the ball of your foot. explode with a hard first step. sprint diagonally about 10 yards. make a sharp cut. pivot in different directions. rotating the hips and shoulders and staying in a bent-knee position. Sprint back Figure 5-5 Concentrate on making sharp stops and turns in the diagonal run.
is great for footwork and conditioning. execute small steps (defensive “shuffle” style) in an X-shape by sliding down to the baseline/lane line intersection. first making two reverse pivots. considered a defensive drill.Footwork—the Foundation of Good Basketball and repeat the reverse pivot off the left foot. run to the line. short steps back all the way to the opposite elbow. can be done in the three-second lane on the basketball court. executed properly. then two forward pivots. drop step or reverse pivot and slide down to the opposite baseline/lane line intersection. but this time make a forward pivot off the left foot at both stops. or in your basement or driveway using about the same space. Do five of these X’s or do the drill for 30 seconds. Stop and start back up in the same direction. around waist level. This drill. Rest. maintaining a good defensive posture. Halfway back. Execute quick. Head should face the midcourt line at all times. Knees flexed and hands up and out. Start at the elbow (where the free throw line intersects the side of the lane line). and repeat the exercise with the right foot as your pivot. . You should face the same way at all times. 41 X-out Drill The X-out drill. Start again. Figure 5-6 X-out drill.
above all. hard stops and quick changes of direction. and that’s why. But without proper footwork even the most polished ball skills will be of limited value. . If you do. you won’t just be able to keep up with the pace . Many coaches and players are so intent on developing the ball skills— shooting. you may be setting it. .42 Winning Basketball for Girls a final ThouGhT Footwork is one of the most neglected phases of basketball instruction. Pay attention to your footwork. passing. . Be ready and stay ready. Strive to make your court movements as efficient as possible. The feet are the foundation of the body. running in straight lines and not circles. Make good. dribbling—that they fail to appreciate the importance of footwork. Nothing on the court should be done standing up straight. Quickness and control are what you’re after in basketball. Change your speed. you have to remember to keep your knees flexed and your weight evenly distributed on the balls of your feet. Work on making sharp cuts. and footwork is the foundation of basketball. It’s what allows you to put your other skills to their best use. Learn to pivot smoothly and comfortably—off both feet and in both directions.
It’s the easiest skill to appreciate. That’s not the type of player you want to be. In soccer they use the term “finisher” to describe a goal scorer. But as a coach. the description is not accurate. That’s why being a good shooter can take you a long way.” While it’s true that some players have better hand-eye coordination and seem to have a naturally soft touch. If you can finish your team’s offensive sequence. The term applies to basketball as well. A lot of fans may not notice whether you’re adept at boxing out or making a bounce pass. a Born ShooTer? Often basketball people talk about a player as a “great natural shooter. you will be a valuable asset indeed. because he or she is capable of finishing the play by putting the ball behind the goalkeeper. I’ve seen players with glaring weaknesses in other facets of the game who guaranteed themselves playing time simply because they were so good at scoring. No matter the playing level. because the best players are those with all-around skills.” —Joe Ledbetter. you’ll get the glory if you can put the ball in the hoop. I know shooting ability is tough to overlook. Shooting is the most glamorous part of basketball. Think shooting is important? You bet it is. Every 43 . But knock down five jumpers in a row and you’ll have the place buzzing. High School Coach 6 Every basketball game is won by the team that scores the most points.Your Best Shot “You miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take.
but it certainly pushes you in that direction. pass. The shooting hand should be spread open. Practice may not make perfect. So don’t put too much stock in the natural-shooter talk. fingers up. Having done that. knees Figure 6-1 Triple threat position. The player is ready—and in good position—to shoot. This allows for a quick release and saves you valuable time in getting the shot off. with the hands already in good position.” enables the shooter to catch and shoot quickly. positioning yourself so you’re facing the basket. The first thing you should do is square up. The proper hand position. TriPle-ThreaT PoSiTion You’ve received the ball from a teammate. If you want to be a good shooter. called “block and place. . or dribble. to block the pass while the guide hand is placed on the side of the ball and is kept in place until the release of the shot. caTchinG The Ball You should catch the ball prior to the shot in a particular way to be more efficient. and that’s all there is to it.44 Winning Basketball for Girls great shooter I’ve known has achieved that skill by taking hundreds and hundreds of shots every day. you have to practice shooting. you now need to establish triple-threat position: body low.
“Arm” shooters tend to hoist the ball. One. one option is shooting. Also be sure to keep your knees flexed. Triple threat means you have the options of shooting. your body will be off balance. Let’s look at how to give yourself the best shot at scoring. and that makes her job much more difficult. which will greatly reduce your accuracy. will be off target. Your weight should be evenly distributed. Always face the hoop and look at the rim when you square up. is it? If you don’t flex the knees you’ll wind up shooting with only your arms. You elect to put it up. Your feet should be staggered (with the foot on the side of your shooting hand a few inches ahead of its mate) and roughly shoulder-width apart. it makes you prone to committing an offensive foul by charging into a defender. you may get an uncontested shot. This is very important. lean forward and wind up drifting in toward the basket as they shoot. and supply a great deal of the power and lift required to get the ball up to the basket. Nobody is in better shooting position and you’re not being closely guarded. which creates two problems. wanting to get something extra on the ball. lacking the necessary soft touch. passing. How should she play you? Should she back off and play you soft? If she does. Otherwise. Be a triple threat! 45 Balance Good shooting begins with good body balance. on the balls of your feet. Flexed knees improve your balance and body control. keePinG your head STill The position of your head is another key element to good balance. more than likely. It’s not easy. and two. Should she guard you closely in a hard defensive closeout? Maybe. Many young players. Which is precisely what you want when you’re on offense. the defender can just play drive or pass. but then you may be able to drive right around her and get an easy shot at the basket or a good passing angle to a teammate. with no bend. So . Feet should always be pointed to the basket. you give the defensive player a lot to think about. or be able to make an easy pass to a teammate. The defender has to be on the lookout for all three options. With all these options. and the shot. it throws the shot off because of the forward momentum. or dribbling. so you look for an opportunity. Try shooting a 15-foot shot stiff-legged. If it’s moving around or off to the side when you’re trying to shoot.Your Best Shot bent in ready position. After receiving the pass and squaring up. Don’t lean backward or forward.
and shooting hand. Don’t make any move. in line with the basket and before shooting. If you let the elbow drift outward. and that’s something you want to eliminate completely in shooting. Moving it is only wasted motion. as the photograph shows. which causes you to push the ball. Don’t let your elbow drift out away from your body. the dart (or ball) will go wide. Here’s where it should be: • Directly under the ball. it’ll go straight. Every extraneous movement is another chance for something to get messed up. Avoid the “V” shape. with the underarm parallel to the floor. no matter what else you do right. bent in an L position. that isn’t contributing positively to your shooting motion. Elbow position is an important ingredient in good shooting. or legs. • In a straight line with your foot. Keep it simple. now would be a good time to go get one. arms. making sure it’s lined up with your foot. your shooting won’t be consistent. The slightest wandering of the elbow leads to inconsistent shooting. a common mistake that throws the shot off. knee. It’s the same as when you’re throwing a dart. hip. Having a ball will help you get a feel for what I’m talking about as we go along. If the elbow’s aligned properly. whether it’s with your head. Figure 6-2 keep your elbow directly under the ball when shooting. and hip.46 Winning Basketball for Girls work on keeping your head straight up and still when you’re shooting. mindinG your elBoW If you don’t have a basketball at your side. if the elbow is out to the right (for a righthander). knee. .
Fingers should be slightly cupped. The shooting hand should be in the middle of the ball. Notice the sliver of space between the shooter’s hand and the ball. place the ball on your hand. hand (the one you’re not shooting with) is directly on the side of the ball. spread your shooting hand fingers wide and. To check for the right hand placement. making it easier to control and shoot straight.Your Best Shot 47 imProvinG your Ball conTrol You need a soft touch to be a good shooter. Now your grip or hand placement is correct (see Figure 6-3). with your palm facing up. You get it by controlling the ball with the pads of your fingers. Your off. . If you don’t have that space. cock your wrist (you should see the “wrinkles”). holding the ball firmly but not tensely. Turn your hand over. you lose the sensitivity needed to shoot well. Look at Figure 6-2. If you let the ball sit in your palm. The palm is your arch enemy in shooting. or guide. comfortably spread. you’re going to have less “touch” and you’re going to score fewer points. that’s how you know you’re holding the ball properly. when preparing to shoot. and place your guide hand on the side of the ball. Figure 6-3 Hand placement. your hand should be spread comfortably on the ball.
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releaSinG The Ball
The elbow acts as a hinge when you shoot a basketball. You release the ball by lifting or extending your elbow toward the goal, springing your forearm forward, and snapping the wrist. Don’t push the ball; it’s hard to have any kind of touch shooting that way. As the ball leaves your hand, it should roll off your fingertips with a smooth, even backspin. The backspin enables you to get “the roll,” softens your shot, and increases the chances of the ball going in—even when it’s not perfect. If the spin is to the side, you know your hand placement is wrong. Pay close attention to the alignment we discussed: The elbow should be lined up with your foot, knee, and hip. And remember to maintain the elbow in that L position, which will ensure that you don’t release the shot too low. Some beginning players feel more comfortable shooting from below their chest, but avoid getting into this habit. It’s not good form, and it makes your shot much easier to block.
Why arc iS imPorTanT
You have greater margin for error when you shoot the ball high than when you shoot it as a low line drive. That’s why you want to arch your shots so they go well over the rim, whether you’re shooting for the backboard or
Figure 6-4 It’s basic physics: You have more of the basket exposed to the ball when you shoot with a high arc.
Your Best Shot
straight for the basket. As the ball descends, it has more rim to land in. (In fact, if you stood directly over the rim, you could fit two basketballs side by side inside the hoop.) A high-arching shot is also much softer, so you’ll increase the chances that your shot, if not perfect, will roll off the rim and still drop through. Line-drive shots have to be nearly perfect to score.
One of the most neglected aspects of shooting is the follow-through, and that’s unfortunate, because a good finish to the shot is almost as important as the shot itself. The follow-through is crucial to having a soft touch. If you pull your hand downward after shooting, or if you pull it back almost as if you’d touched a hot stove, the ball tends to hit the rim harder, making it bounce away rather than drop. You lose a feel for the shot, as well as the backspin that occurs naturally when the ball rolls off the fingertips. Finish every shot. For a good follow-through, keep your hands up after the shot, your arms fully extended, and pretend you’re looping the index and middle fingers of your shooting hand just over the front edge of the rim. Your wrist should be loose and flexed forward for a nice fluid finish to your shot. In this way your entire motion is flowing forward, as if it were guiding the flight of the ball. A good follow-through also lets you check your shooting technique. If the shooting hand is turned inward or outward, you know you’ve released the ball with a twist—extra motion that you don’t want. In practice, get in the habit of looking at your shooting hand after the shot is finished. If you’re not shooting as well as you’d like, the position of the hand may tell you why. Guide hand position is important too. Your guide hand should finish precisely as it started—fingers up and thumb pointed back above your forehead, hand relaxed.
eyeS on The hooP
Keep your eyes on the basket at all times when shooting, from the moment you’re preparing to shoot right to the end of your follow-through. Don’t look at the flight of the ball and don’t watch the defender’s hand. These are common mistakes, and big ones. There’s no way you can shoot well if you’re not concentrating on your target. Where precisely to focus the eyes depends on where you’re shooting for. On a bank shot, your eyes should be riveted to the area of the board you want to hit. For straight-on shots, my suggestion is to focus on a spot just past the front edge of the rim. Concentrate on shooting the ball up and over that edge. That’ll give you some leeway if your shot is long. Looking back, we’ve discussed balance,
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elbow in (under the ball), eyes on target, and follow through. B-E-E-F is a good way to remember these key points, and can help you correct mistakes you make while practicing shooting.
The shooting guidelines we’ve discussed apply to a variety of shots. Now let’s look at the most common of them, and how to get the best possible results.
The lay-up, a shot taken using the backboard in close to the basket, is the most basic shot in basketball. It’s the first one you should master. Let’s assume you’re right-handed. Stand to the right of the basket, about two feet from the hoop. With your left foot planted, bring up your right knee and shoot the ball off the backboard. The leg movement may feel awkward at first, but keep at it. Using this footwork helps get the ball up to the basket, allows you to release the ball at a higher point, and is essential when taking a lay-up on the move because it allows you to shoot with greater control. While shooting a lay-up your feet and shoulders should be square to the backboard because that is where you are shooting the ball. The opposite leg from the hand you are shooting with is planted and the knee on the same side as your shooting hand is the one you are lifting to give you motion to get off the floor. Once you feel comfortable taking the shot from there, back up a couple of feet. Next take one step with your inside foot (the one closest to the rim) and then release the ball—right hand, right side of the basket and left hand, left side. Then take one more step back and use a dribble (with the hand on the outside—away from the defense). On the right side of the basket, take one dribble with your right hand, plant your left foot, bring up your right knee and shoot for the backboard, just as you did before. Don’t worry too much about speed when you’re first learning to shoot a lay-up. Just work on keeping your body well balanced and in control, planting your left foot, coordinating the knee and shooting motions. (On the left side of the basket, it’s the right foot that’s planted and the left leg that’s brought up.) Whether you’re left- or right-handed, you must learn to shoot the lay-up with either hand, keeping the inside foot, the one closest to the basket and the foot opposite the shooting hand, planted. A few other important things to keep in mind when shooting a lay-up:
Your Best Shot
• Practice shooting the lay-up at a 45-degree angle to the basket. That would be close to the second lane space, right around the block. The block is the 8 x 12-foot area of the free throw lane, low post area. • Aim high on the board. Your lay-up should hit the backboard at least a foot over the rim at the top corner of the square painted on the backboard. This height will improve your chance of making the shot. • As you reach the lane, don’t get too far under the hoop before you shoot. A common problem for beginners is taking an extra dribble and getting almost directly beneath the basket—not a good shooting angle. Plant your opposite foot and go up for your lay-up when you’re still a couple of feet out from the basket. • Until you’re set to shoot, keep the ball just outside the hip that is away from the basket. This protects the ball from defenders and makes it easy to get the ball up into shooting position. • As you jump, GRIP the ball tightly with both hands. The defense will try to knock it away and the tighter your grip on the ball, the more you can control it. • Go up straight. The biggest flaw of all among inexperienced lay-up shooters is attempting the shot with a flying forward leap, resulting in out-of-control shots, bad shooting percentages, and lots of headaches for coaches. The lay-up isn’t a broad jump. Get into the habit of driving hard to the basket, but then pulling up and going up straight toward the basket; in other words, with upward momentum and not too much forward momentum. You will land just beyond the backboard if you go hard. • Concentrate on the board. Pick out the spot on the backboard you want to hit and keep your eyes fixed on it throughout the shooting motion. Of course, you’ll be able to do this only if you’ve been working on dribbling with your head up. • Keep your nonshooting hand on the ball until the moment you release the shot. Taking it off too soon makes it difficult to control the ball. • Use the backboard on most close shots, no matter what angle you’re taking them from. The only exception is when you’re shooting from the baseline and there is no board to shoot for. Using the backboard softens your shot and improves your percentage of shots made, especially when you are shooting over or even through the defense. The backboard is your friend. As you get more proficient at the lay-up, work on getting high off the ground with your push-off step, and in going up hard toward the basket.
bring your left knee up and jump straight toward the basket. . Get the footwork down first. or if they try. and then build up your speed. Having a good. Few lay-ups in games will be uncontested. power your way toward the hoop. strong lay-up is a must for every player. And if there’s contact. Every player needs to be able to shoot with her right hand on the right side of the basket and with her left hand on the left side.52 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 6-5 Taking a left-handed lay-up. The two points might wind up being three if you’re fouled. Go up for the lay-up with confidence. increase the likelihood you’ll be fouled. It’s a frequently taken shot—one you’ve got to be able to make a high percentage of the time. Plant your right foot. under control. continue through with your shot in spite of it. with either hand. Defensive pressure will be coming from the middle of the court most of the time. you’ll discourage most defenders from stopping you. Try to get as high as you can. by taking yours with authority. and think of it as a sure two points. Jump high. make sure the jump is vertical. in order to play successfully.
• Use a one-step motion. straight release on your shot. the shooter comes back down at the spot she left the floor. a jump shot (or jumper. Important points to keep in mind regarding jump shooting include: • Square your shoulders and your feet to the basket. but shooting a jumper that way will result in a push more than a shot. giving her a great opportunity for the offensive rebound. and you need the power of the legs to get the ball to the basket. As you go up. a jump stop and a lay-up give the offensive player a chance to “gather” herself before releasing the ball. it has emerged as the most popular and important offensive weapon in basketball. The center of your body should be perpendicular to the spot you’re shooting for. The Jump Shot The jump shot has made up for lost time. you improve your sight line and invite a smooth. A couple of extra inches on your jump is not worth that. A jump shot should be a smooth. Why? Because jumpers often are taken from 15 or 20 feet out. In close you can get by without much bend in the knees by relying on upper-body strength. then try to coordinate the jump with it later.Your Best Shot 53 Power lay-ups A power lay-up is used in a situation where there is less space from the defense or when the offensive player feels either defensive pressure or a lack of control. The power lay-up is also a great tool used to make the defense foul. Though it didn’t become widespread until the 1950s. I’ve worked with a number of young players who’ve gotten the mechanics of their shot all twisted up by thinking too much about the jumping and not enough about the shooting. as well as up and over your defender. effortless release. A lot of players use their “strong” hand—the one they are most confident with. The shoulders are square with the backboard. As with every other shot. Either hand can be used to shoot. as it’s often called) is a shot released after you jump—ideally. You can’t get either distance or control by pushing the ball. As the name suggests. especially when a ball fake is used. flowing shot in which all the movements are well-coordinated. Typically. parallel to the baseline when shooting a power lay-up. It’ll take a little time to get this . In these situations. at the peak of your jump—making it difficult to block. Master the shot first. the power from your flexed knees is smoothly transferred to a smooth. By facing the basket. But don’t worry too much in the beginning about shooting at the top of your jump. the legs are critical to your being a good jump shooter.
Imagine a little tingle. Follow through (right) by keeping your hands up as shown. which starts in your toes and slowly goes up your legs to your upper body and then out your extended arms and last exits through your fingers.54 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 6-6 when taking a jump shot. A jerky shooting motion disrupts your rhythm—and will do bad things to your shooting percentage. strive for a smooth. and falling forward will usually make the shot too strong. as though you’re hooking the fingers of your shooting hand just up over the front edge of the rim. You should land slightly ahead of the spot you left. flowing motion down. flowing motion and consistency of form. It should feel the same every time. . Fading away will make it difficult to reach the basket. you’re shooting from too far out. If you can’t reach the basket without jumping forward. but it’s time well spent. notice how the legs are bent and the foot on the side of the shooting hand is slightly forward (left). arching path to the basket (middle). Jump straight up and release the ball on a soft. Keep it smooth! • Go up straight. Don’t drift when you go up for a jumper.
55 The Bank Shot The backboard is often the shooter’s best friend. soft arch. the higher on the board you should aim. that means when you’re anywhere in close or when you’re at about a 45-degree angle to the basket. The farther out you’re shooting. We’ve talked about it already. Get in the habit of using it when you’re in a backboard spot. as a rule. It’s critical that you keep your hands up so the shot lands softly and that all your movement is flowing in the same upward and forward direction. giving you more rim to hit when the ball skips off the board. It gives you more margin for error on the shot than the rim does. you should generally shoot for the backboard instead of the rim.Your Best Shot • Don’t forget the follow-through. but it’s worth a reminder here. Remember to concentrate on the spot you want to hit and to shoot the ball with a nice. Figure 6-7 when in the shaded areas. . because the follow-through is more important on a jumper than any other shot.
There’s no need to rush. . • Get comfortable. flowing shooting motion—and without jumping. set different goals. this is just unnecessary motion that complicates the shot. with the foot on the shooting-hand side lined up with the middle of the hoop. but not jumping will improve your consistency in the long run. The knees. Few things in basketball are as frustrating as outplaying your opponent and scoring more field goals. Have a contest if you’re shooting with another player. Here are some other foul-shooting hints: • Take a deep breath before shooting. Stand with your feet in a staggered position (for right-handers. as always. Pretend each shot is a one and one. Or perhaps you’ll stick with it until you make 10 out of 15. which you want to avoid if you possibly can when free throw shooting. Proper foul-shooting form is the same as with other shots. Try to develop a routine to go through every time you take a free throw. so the shooting motion will come naturally to you. It’ll help a lot when it comes time to take them under the pressure of games. Bounce the ball. step in closer in practice situations. I know this is difficult for many smaller and/or younger players. Work on injecting an element of pressure into your free throw practice sessions. Rather than jumping. . This exhalation helps you relax. even with the knees flexed. . The idea is to make the whole process as familiar as possible. the right foot slightly ahead of the left). you have a full 10 seconds to get the ball off after the official gives it to you. until your shooting range improves. especially down the stretch or when playoff time rolls around. are flexed. If you’re practicing alone. bend your knees—do whatever makes you feel comfortable at the line. tug at your jersey. Maybe one time you’ll keep shooting until you make five in a row. and you’ve got to be relaxed when you’re taking any shot. when you have to make the first shot to get the second. Making free throws is often the decisive factor in close games . even in a pressured game situation. only to lose because you sank 5 of 14 from the line and they went 16 for 20. The feet and shoulders should be square to the basket.56 Winning Basketball for Girls The free Throw As both a player and a coach. I’ve been on the short end of games in which the failure to make free throws. about shoulder-width apart. or foul shots. was the cause of defeat. • Create some kind of pressure when practicing free throws. • Use your legs! They make it much easier to get the ball to the hoop with a smooth.
hinTS for BeTTer ShooTinG • Be patient. As a player. She had little confidence in scoring and was happy to leave the shooting to others.Your Best Shot • Practice free throws when you’re tired. (You will be forgiven if the shot clock or game clock is about to expire. Keep setting new goals. 57 WhaT’S a Good ShoT for you? Often you’ll hear a coach criticize a player for poor shot selection. but also by not taking shots you should. . provided she is generally accurate from that range. and strive for improvement every day. • Your free throw shooting motion should be the same as your regular shot. no matter how good a shooter you are. It’s not much use being completely wellrested when practicing free throws because you’ll almost never be shooting them under such conditions in a game. too. Just remember to take full advantage of the luxury of not having a defender to contend with. regardless of the results. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not pouring in the points. because smart defenses quickly realized they could just about ignore her altogether. She’ll let you know when and where she wants you to be looking to shoot. Timing is critical. If you’re not sure about what shots you should be looking for. But what she had to learn was that her unselfishness was hurting the team. ask your coach. If you’re a sixfoot center and you rarely shoot more than a few feet from the basket and you throw up a three-pointer. To be a complete player. Even the best shooters have a tough time making over 50 percent of their shots. get set and make yourself comfortable. If the other team has scored 15 straight points. and the basket. I coached a player once who practically never looked at the basket. Under such circumstances. What determines whether a shot is a good or bad choice? It depends on the player and the circumstances under which the shot is taken. such as after running sprints or at the end of practice. your aim is to slow down the game’s tempo. you must be willing and able to put the ball up. You hurt yourself and your team if you don’t—not just by hastily firing up low-percentage shots.) The same shot for another player. take the edge off their momentum and work the ball around to force them to play defense. Take your time. may be just fine. the ball. it’s vital to know what shots you should and shouldn’t be taking. that’s not a good shot to take. the last thing you want to do is come down fast and throw up a 15-footer right away. however. It’s just you.
take a big step back away from the basket and shoot again. • Build your confidence. from feet to fingertips. • Just about everybody has favorite and not-so-favorite shooting spots. Go up with confidence. as will getting stronger by conditioning your upper body or by maturation due to growth. every shot should begin to feel the same. the distance from the basket from which you can shoot successfully. whatever.” ShooTinG drillS On-Your-Back Drill This is a good way to develop shooting form. the less chance there will be that you’ll lapse into the wrong way. but it sure seems to be true that if you expect to get good results. being conscious of maintaining the same proper form. No sense trying to run a marathon before you can run a mile. Your body. You can determine this by starting in close with form shooting (shooting for the swish and exaggerating the mechanics). let your elbow stray from your body. Believe in yourself and your ability to make a shot. The more you practice. Shooting running one-handers from midcourt can be fun. “I’m going to put this ball in the hoop. and put in extra practice time at them. Practice and using your legs more will help you to increase your range. Get comfortable taking shots from all spots on the court. • Know your range. Tension can destroy the soft touch needed to shoot well. Keep track of the spots where you’re having trouble. that defines how far out you shoot comfortably. After you get the hang of proper shooting technique. Think positively. • Increase your range. but it’s not going to do much to improve your shooting. After recruiting someone to retrieve the ball.58 Winning Basketball for Girls • Don’t waste practice time. I can’t say I know why. not used enough leg in the shot. the more natural your shot will feel. Tell yourself. • Stay relaxed. you will. lie flat on the floor and hold the ball in shooting position: . Shoot for touch first and worry about range later. The more tuned in you are to the right way. Once you miss three in a row at any spot. right? Begin practicing your shooting technique in close. Practice the shots you’ll most likely be taking in a game. Once you swish three. Keep at it so you’re able to feel when you’ve done something wrong—not followed through properly. should feel loose and fluid throughout your shooting motion. • Strive for consistency of form. • Start close to the basket and work your way out. then gradually work your way out.
With a regular. If you are shooting by yourself. ball on the pads of your fingers. Follow through. If you’re shooting properly. Keep at it until each of you has hit the tape five times. find a wall and play wall ball—work on your form and finish by releasing the ball. Shoot the ball as you would at the basket. high-arching shooting motion. . snapping your wrists and rolling it off your fingertips so it will come back down to your hands. lying flat on your back with a spotter standing as shown. Repeat the exercise until the ball has come back to you 10 times. elbow in. aligned with your foot. being careful to maintain good form. go back to the basics and find out what’s off. this will show you very clearly if you’re doing things correctly. Like the prior drill. guide hand on the side of the ball. and the ball above your shoulder. Line Drill Put a piece of tape on the floor between you and another player.Your Best Shot 59 Figure 6-8 on-your-back drill. knee. your alignment is off somewhat. then you’ve got the right shooting form. If it doesn’t. who’s about 10 feet away. If it does. shoot the ball directly upward. trying to make the ball land on the tape. If the ball’s not hitting the line. about 10–12 feet high on the wall. the ball will fall right back into your hands. you’re doing something wrong. your arms extended. and hip. practice “shooting” the ball back and forth to each other.
remember?) Feel the ball roll off your fingertips and check for the desired backspin. During this drill. Intensity Lay-Up The shooter (A) starts with the ball near the foul line as shown in Figure 6-9. Once you have mastered form shooting with your dominant hand. Pass the ball to the wing. finishing with a snap of your wrist. top). or just don’t place it on the ball to start with. fake away. roughly six feet out. Concentrate on your form and getting a good soft feel for the ball. Hold your follow-through until the ball hits the floor. (Got to think positively. Player B returns the pass at the point shown. try your other one. bottom). taking a dribble if you’re too far away to go up without one. . Player A goes in for a lay-up. Try not to touch the rim with the ball on this drill. extend your arm and follow through. After your teammate makes a pass back to you. Release the guide hand before you shoot. you can shoot with one hand. dribbling Figure 6-9 Intensity lay-up. Take 10 shots maintaining sound form. then cut hard to the basket (next page.60 Winning Basketball for Girls Touch Drill Stand in front of the basket. Concentrate on making every shot perfect. just out from the hoop. go up strongly for the lay-up (next page. then cuts sharply to the basket. fakes away from the ball. Bend your knees. Player A sends a crisp chest pass to Player B. and as you spring up to release the shot. keeping your hand up until the ball drops through the net. getting the ball well up and over the rim so it will fall cleanly through the iron.
Your Best Shot 61 .
This drill hones three important skills—stopping quickly. Player A passes to B. She gets her own rebound. If you make a shot. The rules are simple. square your shoulders to the basket by bringing your outside foot around and go up for the shot. and repeat until you’ve taken 10 shots. dribbles back to the foul line. After a miss.62 Winning Basketball for Girls if needed. you can also play a two-person (or more) version of Around the World. Shoot first off the pass and then off a hard dribble left and then right. Around the World Set up five spots along an imaginary semicircle. straight and strong. depending on where she receives the ball. return the ball to the partner. Cut and Stop Similar to the Intensity Lay-Up Drill. you continue on to the next location. If another player is available. just toss the ball out to yourself. you have two choices: You can stay at that spot and let the other player begin her turn. jump stop and forward pivot on your inside foot. If you have no partner. back and forth over the five spots two times (nine spots in all). or just dribble out to the elbow or three-point line and take the ball hard to the rim with no “pass. but the object here is to be the first player to go “around the world” twice—that is. and getting a shot off after a quick movement. and repeats the drill. Do as many lay-ups as you can in 30 seconds. meaning take another shot from the spot you missed from. adding a backspin so you can catch it and go. Start on the far side of the lane. you move to the next spot and keep moving until you miss. each about 12 feet from the basket. Add a strong drive left and right for a lay-up or baby bank shot to vary your shot. then repeat the drill on the other side of the court. it’s all the way back to the beginning when it’s your turn again. But if you miss. come hard toward the ball and have her throw a bounce pass to you when you reach the middle of the lane. This game is a lot of fun. Finish Around the World with a made three-point shot from out top. except here the shooter pulls up for a baby jump shot. As you catch it. Switch roles. or you can “risk ” or “take a chance” shot. Follow your shot. then repeat the drill on the other side of the lane. If you make it. squaring to the basket. and gives you some practice in shooting under pressure. Take 10 shots from each spot. then cuts sharply to the basket.” Inside the Lane Set up a partner with the ball about 15 feet out on the wing. . left hand on the left. and keep track of your record. The spots remain the same. Dribble and shoot with the right hand on the right side.
the ball won’t either. If you don’t go straight. then switch. Square your shoulders to the basket. They’ll both increase the more you work on this drill. or if you’re at a 45-degree angle. Remember to jump stop and plant your feet solidly before going up for your shot. Take 10 shots from a spot. 2½ Minute Shooting Drill Get someone to rebound and set up about 15 feet out. You don’t need a coach or teammate. Take as many shots as you can in 2½ minutes. Concentrate on releasing the ball quickly while maintaining sound technique.Your Best Shot Player B feeds Player A with a pass. Continue switching until each of you has taken ten shots from five different spots. then runs at Player A to contest her shot (not to block it). Do this 10 times from five spots. Contest the Shooter Player A starts in the corner. shoot a “baby banker” using the backboard. shooting as quickly as you can without sacrificing good form. Player A follows her shot. Then repeat but use a shot fake and one dribble before taking the jumper. Be creaTive One great thing about shooting is that you can do it anytime and just about anywhere. Step into the ball as the rebounder passes it to you so you’re prepared to shoot the moment you get it. and A goes up for a jump shot from about six feet from the hoop. and go up straight. All you need is the . get a pass from the rebounder. Player B passes to Player A. which is a good way to work on getting your shot off quickly. It’s important to step into the pass (meet the pass) and to catch the ball ready to shoot. 63 Rapid Fire You’ll need to recruit a rebounder for this drill. Use the “block and place” technique discussed earlier in Chapter 6. Player B starts under the hoop with the ball. that’s the whole secret to doing this drill right and learning to shoot off a cut. Set up about 10 feet out with the ball. Take a shot. and go up again. Switch with the rebounder after your 2½ minutes are up. Use the same spot up areas as in Around the World. Keep track of the number of shots taken and the number of shots made. rebounds and passes to Player B. Shoot for the rim. or to the backboard if you are shooting a bank shot. shooting 10 shots from five different spots. who spots up for her shot. so you rebound and feed her.
and the better shooter you’ll become. . convince your parents or save your allowance to buy a “tossback. Before long you’ll notice the ball is dropping a lot more often. . Take a shot. . say 10. Shoot a quick 50 when you’re on a break from your schoolwork. maybe sometime soon that buzzing from the crowd will be for you. Here’s a brief sampler of possible games: • Beat the Clock. the more you’ll do it. Squeeze in 25 before gym class starts. . You might set a flat number of baskets. • Station to Station. and set goals to meet before you move on to the next spot. • The Buzzer Game. Pretend the clock is winding down as you shoot. if you keep at it. Take as many shots as you can every day. and the more you shoot. • Mix it up. and. and this time shoot after a jab step or change-of-pace dribble (we’ll look at the best way to execute these moves in Chapter 8). If you don’t have a passer. Follow your shot. Record the results. Another great thing about it is that you’re limited only by your imagination. It’s the only way to become a good shooter. thus passing to yourself to mimic receiving a pass. who knows. and stay put until you hit that percentage. .64 Winning Basketball for Girls ball and a rim. Or if you lean toward perfectionism. Designate various shooting stations on the court. two . You can also spin the ball out in front of yourself. Five . Work on other areas of your game while working on your shooting. . make yourself hit five in a row before moving along. . . You’ll get results if you follow the fundamentals we’ve discussed. the bottom line when it comes to shooting is to get out there and do it. as your goal. dribble back out. and move around to different spots. Keep mixing things up. the more fun practice is. rebound it. There are only so many clever ways you can practice dribbling or rebounding. Practice making all your moves going both ways and taking shots after cutting in different directions. four . the faster the results will come. as though the outcome of the game depended on your shot. or you might make it 10 of 20.” a net which will “pass” the ball back to you. three . Make up games that’ll stimulate your interest. . execute a crossover dribble. Whether you make up your own games or follow the drills I’ve outlined here. not so with shooting practice. Keep track of time—30 to 60 seconds is a good range—and count how many baskets you make from one shooting spot. then pull up and shoot again.
A good passer is unselfish and smart. 65 . what could be nicer? A few seconds of work and your defensive duties are over. because you never know where the ball will go next. basketball really is a simple game.” —Muffet McGraw. You can never relax against an offense like that. And you do that by making good passes. the better your chances to win. The better the shots that you take (ones that are more open and closer to the basket). The more confident you are with your handle the more comfortable you will be keeping your eyes on your teammates. The key is knowing when your teammates can be most effective and to deliver the ball to them at exactly the right moment. there are some teams I like going against and others I don’t. You have to go out and get them. make a pass or two. Not so nice is when a team constantly keeps the ball in motion. My favorites are teams that come down. Stripped to its basics. From the defender’s standpoint. You must be able to see the whole floor and to anticipate when someone is about to get open. The ability to see the whole floor can be improved by becoming a better ballhandler. passing it around until they get the shot they want. But those shots don’t just materialize by themselves. fire up a shot and call it a possession. Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Coach 7 When I’m playing or coaching defense.Passing— the Heart of the Game “To be a great passer one must have great vision.
but that will last only for a moment before someone picks her up or you lose your angle to get the ball to her. That’s why it’s important to know where the ball is at all times. iT TakeS TWo To PaSS Rule no. It works the defense and creates scoring opportunities. if she’s caught off guard and fumbles it. Another way to let your teammate know you’re open is to call “ball” with your hands up to give her a target. Advantages in basketball—such as having an open teammate in scoring position—only last for a fleeting moment. Either you pass or the advantage does. Clearly. It’s as important to learn how to catch a pass as it is to learn how to throw one. Dribbling simply can’t compare as a way to move the ball. Not only does this make your team harder to defend against. Another key is gaining a sense of where and when you’re a likely target for a passer. This depends on two factors—the position of the ball and the position of the defender nearest you. too. but also it’s much more fun to play that way because everyone feels like an integral part of the action. Learning the basics of passing will make you much more of a threat. because good passing is like enthusiasm—it’s contagious.66 Winning Basketball for Girls aPPreciaTinG The PaSSinG Game Passing at its best is truly an art form. Why is passing so important? Because it’s the fastest way to move the ball around the court. and to keep your hands up at waist level so you can catch a pass at split-second notice. Not knowing where the ball is or not being ready to catch it is all it takes for a perfectly good pass to bounce away from you. Say you’ve got the ball and you spot a teammate cutting to the basket. Even if you’ve threaded a behind-the-back bullet right into a teammate’s hands. 1 of the passing game is that a pass is good only if it is caught. the opportunity will be long gone. To watch a player like Sue Bird. and your team’s as well. She makes herself an ever-present threat to the defense because she’s capable of passing to any teammate on the court at any time. It’ll raise the level of your game. if you’re only eight feet from a teammate and you’ve got a wide-open lane to the basket. crisp passing game. You must be alert to both. The defense can never rest against a good. is to see a master at work. She’s open. If you dribble toward her and then try to pass. But other times it’s not so obvious. who passes as though she has two sets of eyes. . the pass has done your team no good at all. A teammate may see a passing opportunity that you don’t. chances are good you’ll be getting the ball.
the ball will bounce away from you. but because the receiver takes her eyes off the ball. You have to “come to the ball. Most missed passes are fumbled not because of defensive pressure. often your feet will be stationary. Don’t stand there waiting for the ball to come to you. As the ball is passed. • Do one thing at a time. By slightly shortening the distance the ball has to travel. If your arms and hands are rigid and tense. whenever you can. Follow the ball right into your hands. the chances are good that she may get a piece of you instead of the ball. this small effort is often the difference between a completed pass and an intercepted one. but that doesn’t mean you should be passive.Passing—the Heart of the Game 67 meeT The PaSS You’re about to receive a pass. receivinG a PaSS What happens when you drop a ball onto a hard floor? It bounces. If you keep them loose and give with the pass. You’ll fumble the pass if you try to rush downcourt before having firm possession of the ball. Your thumbs should be pointing toward each other. Here you must take your hands to the ball and not wait for the ball to come to your body. It’s also a good way to draw a foul on your defender. the more you can control it. • Look the ball into your hands. It’s not always possible. position your body so it’s directly behind the ball. Pull the ball in close and keep your elbows out so it’s well protected. extend your arms out from your body and hold your hands with the fingertips up. it’ll settle comfortably and safely into place. The same distinction holds when you’re catching a basketball. • Get behind the pass. • Always catch the ball with two hands. In the post position. Here are some pointers when you’re on the receiving end of a pass: • Give your teammate a good target. if you meet the pass and she tries to steal it. What happens when you drop it onto a pillow? The impact is cushioned. Basketball is such a fast-paced game that it’s easy to get caught up in the action and hurry too much. But haste makes waste—and turnovers. and the ball settles softly into place. It’s like an infielder .” as we coaches like to say. • Bend your elbows and give with the ball as it arrives by bringing your hands in toward your body. but. Especially in transition. chances are it never will. catch the ball first! Then go. with your fingers spread comfortably so they’ll touch as much of the ball as possible. The more “hand” you have on the ball.
The chest Pass This is the most common pass in basketball. close to your body. While it’s not difficult to execute. it’s a pass many players get lazy with and execute sloppily as a result. Here’s a rundown on the most common passes you’ll need to make. Your fingers should be spread.68 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 7-1 (left) It’s important to be ready to catch a pass. If you move so that you’re squarely in line with the ball. with the ball on the pads of your fingers. Begin with the ball at chest level. fingers spread comfortably over the ball. relaxed. with your fingers spread so you have more of your hand available to catch the ball. keep your hands up and thumbs together. Keep the elbows in. your thumbs pointing toward each other. you can still play it off your body even if you don’t field it cleanly with your hands. Step toward your . Getting behind the pass gives you insurance against losing possession. This is especially important in the post position where you should square your shoulders to the passer. in baseball. BaSic TyPeS of PaSSeS Different situations call for different passes. Figure 7-2 Proper hand placement for throwing a pass: Thumbs close together. elbows in.
as shown. and release the ball with both hands using a quick snap of the wrists. thrust your arms outward. shift your weight from the back foot to the front and finish the chest pass with a good follow-through: arms fully extended. as they must be in a game. and good rotation. The Bounce Pass The bounce pass is a valuable offensive weapon in several specific situations. It’s a must when you want to hit a cutting teammate on a fast break. target. This will give the ball extra zip. Follow through with palms facing out and thumbs pointing down (right). Lazy passes give the defense more time to stay with the ball and greatly increase the chances of an interception. Thrown anyplace else. Step toward your target (left) and snap the ball off quickly by extending your arms. .Passing—the Heart of the Game 69 Figure 7-3 The chest pass. thumbs pointing down and palms facing out. accuracy. As you release it. a snappy chest pass can be difficult to handle. Aim for the number on your teammate’s jersey. Work on making your chest passes crisp.
about waist high. when you have to maneuver the ball past a taller player (who may have trouble getting down to deflect it). except for the direction of the ball and follow-through.70 Winning Basketball for Girls when a defender is standing up and/or waving her arms overhead. Your hands should be up. Figure 7-5 Aim for a spot two-thirds of the way between you and your teammate when making a bounce pass. slightly cupped. knees flexed. Bouncing the ball too close to you results in a high pass that’s easy to intercept. Aiming for a spot twothirds of the distance to her. The bounce pass is similar to the chest pass. with the fingers spread over the ball and the thumbs close together. and in tight spots where a maze of arms and bodies makes a chest pass too risky (as is usually the case in the post area close to the basket). following through by extending Figure 7-4 like the chest pass. The bold line shows the correct distance. . the bounce pass begins with a step toward the receiver. snap the ball off crisply and follow through by extending your arms toward the floor. Step toward your target. and snap off the pass with an outward thrust of your wrists. bouncing it too close to your teammate makes it too low for her to handle easily. Start with the ball near your body.
The ball should bounce up to your target between the knees and the waist. with the off hand slightly lower and in front. On the other hand. if you bounce it too close to the target. Draw the ball back a little more. 71 The Baseball Pass When you want to hit a teammate far upcourt. . draw the ball back behind your shoulder (left). it’ll reach her at about calf-level and be tough to handle cleanly. Place your throwing hand behind the ball. Figure 7-6 The baseball pass is the best way to advance the ball a long distance. the pass will be an easy steal or deflection for the defense.Passing—the Heart of the Game your hands toward the floor. Aim for a spot on the floor two-thirds of the way between you and your target. Take the ball with both hands and pull it back over your throwing shoulder. But for throwing the ball long distances it’s definitely the pass of choice. making sure to follow through by bringing your arm in front of you at shoulder level. It’s not effective in heavy traffic because it takes more time to release than other passes. third from left). It’s a good idea to put an arc on the ball so it will carry farther and be easier to catch. use the baseball pass. If it comes up any higher (and it will if you hit the floor halfway between the two of you). release your guide hand from the ball and throw it as you would a baseball or softball toward your target. Follow through to add zip and accuracy to the pass (right). then bring your arm forward and release the ball as you would a softball or baseball (second from left.
and thumbs close together near the bottom of the ball. Hold the ball with two hands just above the top of your forehead (keep the ball in your sight). Be careful not to bring the ball back so far that you lose sight of it. or trying to lob the ball to the low post. following through with your arms extended—as with a chest pass. thus “skipping” over the player[s] in between). Be sure to grasp the ball firmly. . step toward your receiver (left). or when you want to get the ball to a taller teammate inside. shift your weight from back to front and release the ball with a snapping movement of your elbows and wrists. when you’re throwing an outlet pass to begin a fast break. only higher. with fingers spread. Figure 7-7 The overhead pass.72 Winning Basketball for Girls The overhead Pass The overhead pass is recommended when your opponent is short or in a deep defensive stance. Step forward. Holding the ball with two hands. and release the pass with a forward snapping of the forearms and wrists (right). use the overhead pass when you are attempting a skip pass. pull it back over your forehead. an outlet pass. with elbows bent. when you’re making a skip pass against a zone (a skip pass is a pass thrown to a teammate two or more players away. wrists cocked for extra snap.
Passing—the Heart of the Game The degree of “snap” depends on how you’re using the pass.” to pass softly. most probably bouncing it to your teammate (Figure 7-8). Ball fakes The best way to get off a pass when either you or your intended receiver is closely guarded is to use a ball fake. such as to a teammate about 10 yards away. When attempting a sharper pass. Pitch passes can also be used in the half-court set when a player penetrates and pitches to an open teammate who is spotting up on the perimeter. useful when being closely guarded. you must be able to execute this pass with your right and with your left hand. The pass is a two-handed pass that comes from your chest and is passed with a little arc to clear any defenders and hit your teammate as she transitions up the court. A ball fake consists of a quick motion with the ball in which you “pretend” you are making a pass. you can pass to a teammate by using your body to “step around” the defense and use a little hook pass. 73 Step-around Pass When closely guarded in the half-court set. . arching it over the defense to your teammate. To lob it in to the post. This fake either freezes your teammate’s defensive player or invites her to go for the interception which allows you to then pass to your wide open teammate. The ball shouldn’t spend too much time in the air—use the advantage of having open teammates ahead of you on the court. the forward snap should continue until your hands are almost parallel to the floor. Pitch Pass The “pitch” pass is a pass used in the open court to advance the ball to an open teammate. It is important to be able to make this pass with your left and with your right hand! Figure 7-8 The step-around pass. you want to use “touch.
keep the defense guessing. • Be careful when attempting to pass cross-court. or lanes. • Pass crisply. you can pass safely while closely guarded. Or you might fake a bounce pass and then throw an overhead. you cause the defender to shift her attention.74 Winning Basketball for Girls When you are closely guarded. Faking is the best way to counteract a gambling or overplaying defense—a team that’s always trying for steals. a ball fake enables you to get the pass safely around your defender. An alert defensive team will make you pay for every telegraphed pass. By looking away. are above each shoulder by their ear. allowing the defense to react to the fake. anywhere other than directly at the person you’re passing to. or just the opposite: pretend you’re going over the top with it. They’re so intent on getting the ball that every little deception puts them out of position. • Fingertip touch. creating openings for attack. Keep your palms off the ball whenever possible. . then slip it past the stretched-out defender on a bounce. is also a good way to avoid telegraphing. Here are some other passing tips: • Pass away from the defense. Direct your passes to the side of your teammate away from the defender. The four zones. sometimes through defenders. Lazy passes usually don’t get there. helPful hinTS for BeTTer PaSSinG Don’t telegraph your passes. at the basket. That’s basketball jargon for letting the defense know your intent by looking directly at your target the whole time you’re preparing to pass. Fake low. Otherwise you risk an interception. and by their right and left hip—by their sides. see your target and make the safe pass. It’s dangerous trying to throw the ball so far and with no angle. Basically. Once the defender shifts. The ball should rest on the pads of the fingers to ensure accuracy. One of the most dangerous passes to make is a pass where you and your teammate are in a straight line. regardless of how quick they are. or when you have a clear opening for an overhead skip . then quickly pivot and pass to another. pass high . Faking. The simplest is by looking away—at another teammate. By faking high with the ball. How can you avoid it? Lots of ways. You might fake a pass to one player. the defense has four vulnerable passing zones. Only when a teammate is wide open. . It keeps the defense constantly off balance because they can’t be sure where you or the ball is going. and then passing low with the bounce pass. as we spoke of above.
to keep the defense from stealing or deflecting the pass. Check the defense and the positions of your teammates. Reel off 10 passes and catches from there. and also may cause you to miss an open teammate. Always pass when a teammate is in a better position to score. should you even think about passing cross-court.Passing—the Heart of the Game pass. Size up the situation before making your pass. during a fast break.” Stay low and have a firm base or foundation so that you are balanced and can take the pass back (that is. Look the ball into your hands when receiving. Don’t dribble before every pass. It’s called hitting the open player. Don’t dribble unless you’ve got a plan in mind. Who’s open? Can you safely get her the ball? Is anybody cutting to the hoop? Whatever you do. . do the sets as fast as you can without getting sloppy. Get in the habit of praising the pass that leads to the basket—called an assist—as much as the basket itself. If you get a good pass from a teammate. For maximum benefit. use the dribble to create a passing angle. makes it easier for the defense to stop you. Make sure you catch the ball properly. Starting a play over or going to your next option is a lot better than causing a turnover. Quickly scan the court for passing opportunities. you’re both going to be very successful. then move back a foot and do 10 more. 75 • • • • • PaSSinG drillS Intensity Passing Stand about three feet from a teammate and snap off chest passes back and forth. don’t force the ball to a teammate just because a planned play calls for the ball to go to her. You couldn’t have gotten the points without the pass. It only takes a moment. and if you and your team can do it consistently. Finish with another set of 10 from about six feet apart. This accomplishes nothing. you set yourself up to commit a traveling violation. concentrating on making them crisp and chest-high. It slows the team’s flow and ball movement. Encourage unselfish play at all times. not make the pass) if the defender steps in front of your intended target. Otherwise. This is especially true in transition. It’ll do wonders for your teamwork. Don’t make “automatic” passes. tell her so. Otherwise. Acknowledge a good pass.” Always pass from a “position of power. Rule of thumb: “your dribble must take you somewhere. Some players bounce the ball before they do anything else.
making sure you keep a constant distance between you while you’re moving. make crisp chest passes back and forth as you run straight ahead for at least 30 yards. the other the chest passer. Hold the follow-through until your pass is caught. then give a target—hands up above your waist. each of you with a ball. Using one ball. Follow through. Line up opposite a teammate. Repeat the exercise using the bounce pass. then switch roles—the bounce passer becomes the chest passer. and make them fast. execute a fake. and give your teammate a good target. about six feet apart. bounce-pass the ball by her. Make 15 passes each. Defender in the Middle Two offensive players stand about 10 feet apart. Communication on the court is a necessary part of the connection teammates need to have. Make your respective passes simultaneously. and builds strength in your wrists and forearms. and be sure to watch the ball you’re receiving all the way into your hands. or gym. During this drill. The passers then use whatever pass necessary to get the ball past her. which will freeze the defender or put her out of position to deflect it. Two-Ball Drill Position yourself about eight feet from a teammate. This is a valuable drill on several counts. timing them so they arrive at about the same time. with a defender in the middle. keep your hands out after releasing the ball on your follow-through.76 Winning Basketball for Girls and exaggerate the form and follow-through to ensure that your movements are correct. This drill is very good for improving your catching and passing while on the run. go over the top. Whenever you’re not sure you can pass safely. Passing on the Move You’ll need some space for this one—a driveway. and is replaced by whoever threw it. and vice versa. Return to the starting point in the same fashion. One of you is designated the bounce passer. To exaggerate catching during the drill. The defender remains in the middle until she touches a pass (she doesn’t have to gain possession). improves your hand-eye coordination. call the name of the person you are passing to. It works on your chest-passing technique. If she’s low. with your arms extended and hands up. Complete each pass with a good follow-through. If she’s waving her arms trying to defend against an overhead pass. Concentrate on getting them in and out of your hands as quickly as possible. . skills that are essential to the game. park.
Practice throwing all the passes we’ve discussed. Get rid of the ball quickly. as we’ve seen. so you’ll spot defensive weaknesses instantly and see how to improve your passing position. Be smart with the ball. Catch it cleanly. which is precisely the position you want to be in. which lead to good ball movement. Make them work. Concentrate on your passing game. Keep them moving and keep them guessing. which leads to good shots. Keep alert and see the floor. And that. Spread your hands on the ball. and make it as hard as you can for them to stop you. the best way to move the ball on the court. you’ll need them all at some point. Get in the habit of faking your passes so the defense is kept off guard. They won’t know what to expect. can often lead to winning. . Do it with good. The more “hand” you have on the ball. The more passes you can execute effectively. the more problems you’ll give the defense.Passing—the Heart of the Game 77 a final ThouGhT Crisp passing is the heart of offensive basketball. the more control you have. Good passes lead to good catches. sharp passes. and make your pass as easy to catch as possible.
such as a corner of the court or anywhere the defense is pressuring you. The dribble should be used when you want to: • Get away from a tight area. but because it’s necessary. Far too many players (and coaches. It’s the only legal way to do it. too) pay little attention to this aspect of the game. When—and When noT—To driBBle Before getting into the specifics of how to dribble. and their performances suffer for it.” —Michael McConnell. let’s look at the dribble as an offensive weapon. if you bounce the ball at the wrong times you’re hurting yourself and your team. So if you’re not an adept dribbler and can’t keep the ball under control. former basketball coach Mastering the art of dribbling is vital to your development as a basketball player. you’re at a huge disadvantage.8 Dribbling under Control “Dribble not because you can. and you don’t have an open teammate to pass to. You’re bound to commit turnovers. you have to dribble. The reason is simple: If you have the ball and you want to move from Point A to Point B. including when it should and should not be used. Even if you’re a dribbling expert. have the ball stolen from you and wind up spending a lot more time than you’d like sitting next to your coach. 78 .
before you’ve sized up the situation. • Take advantage of a sloughing defense by moving the ball closer to the basket. The dribble should not be used: • The moment the ball comes into your hands. and thus safer. Always get into triple-threat position first. or move closer to her so you can make a shorter. square to the basket. Then decide. • Beat defensive pressure. . 79 Figure 8-1 one good use of the dribble is to improve the passing angle to a teammate. again provided there isn’t a teammate open farther upcourt. • Improve your passing angle to a teammate. • Play “keepaway” from your opponents when you want to maintain possession and/or take time off the clock. particularly man-to-man pressure. pass. • Drive to the basket. • Balance the court when too many players are on one side.Dribbling under Control • Advance the ball on a fast break.
They get the ball. applies more pressure against the pass and shot. if you’re not penetrating the zone. Save the dribble for when it Figure 8-2 giving up the dribble counts—and when it can really reduces your options and allows the work to your advantage. particularly inexperienced ones. Others do it habitually before they shoot. What you don’t want is to become less of a threat by eliminating one of your options. • Indiscriminately. even though it often gives a defender time to get close enough to contest your shot. or dribble. do it out of nervousness. Some players. the first thing you do is dribble once or twice and then pick up the ball and hold it. If you don’t have a plan in mind when you’re about to bounce the ball. You move into triple-threat position. Others do it because. using her arms and making it difficult for you to shoot or pass. . • On a fast break when a teammate is in the open ahead of you. improving a passing angle. don’t bounce it. so you’re ready to shoot. and the defender. defense to apply pressure. keep your options open Let’s assume you’ve just gotten the ball in your offensive area. they got into the habit and never got around to breaking it. not having to worry about your driving around her now. pass. they’re a little bit tight. so they bounce it. What has happened? You’ve wasted your dribble.80 Winning Basketball for Girls • When you have an open teammate closer to the basket. Suppose you’re in a game situation. It’s natural. or attempting to exploit a defensive weakness. You’ll take a giant step toward offensive improvement if you work at not wasting your dribble. at any time. Without a thought. well. This tendency to dribble automatically the moment you get the ball is probably the most widespread bad habit in basketball. • Against a zone defense. Immediately the defensive player is all over you. You receive a pass 15 feet from the hoop.
penetrating a zone defense. Let’s take a look at the best way to perform each.Dribbling under Control 81 The danGerS of overdriBBlinG Another important thing to keep in mind about dribbling is that it’s a much slower way to move the ball than passing. I especially see problems with young players who “back in. the better the chance the ball will be stolen or mishandled. my pass will get there a lot faster. Think before you put the ball to the wood. Dribbling with your palm reduces your control and tends to make you slap at the ball. And once movement away from the ball stops. Soon you’ll be able to recognize almost instantly the right and wrong times to dribble. for a specific offensive purpose such as driving for a lay-up. The key point to remember is that the dribble can be a terrific weapon when used selectively. The first key here is having a good feel for the ball. Maintaining control of the dribble isn’t easy.”—dribble on the perimeter with their backs to the basket. the moral here is: Whenever you have a choice between dribbling and passing to advance the ball. Since so much of a team’s offensive success hinges on quick ball movement. particularly when you’re being closely guarded. Another hazard in overdribbling is simply that the more you dribble. the offense loses its flow and allows the defense to concern itself only with stopping the player with the ball. and that means handling it with the pads of your fingers. It also tends to make the players who don’t have the ball stand around. Slowing down ball movement isn’t the only problem caused by too much dribbling. always pass. using the dribble to excess eventually will get you into trouble. I don’t care if you’re a world-class sprinter. It’s the dribble you’ll use most of the time. if you dribble to Point A and I pass to Point A. This gains no advantage and stops any kind of continuity on offense. improving a passing angle. The riGhT Way To driBBle How you dribble depends on the circumstances. . Keep the ball away from your palm. or moving the ball into a more threatening offensive position. There are two basic kinds of dribbles—control and speed. The control dribble The control dribble is used when you’re being closely guarded and you want to keep the ball well-protected and under complete control.
Your elbow is in. close to your body. however. If you are dribbling to your left. To shield the ball from the defense. unprotected. The head is up. note how the knees are flexed for better balance and to keep the dribble low. This enables you to not “expose” the ball to your defender. with your hand slightly cupped. I’ve seen a lot of girls whistled for offensive or player control fouls for this. and dribble the ball no higher than several inches above your knee to reduce the time the ball is out of your hand. Feeling the ball on the finger pads. Keep the ball on your right side when dribbling with your right hand. Keep your legs flexed and your back straight.82 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 8-3 The control dribble (left). because that is just asking the defender to steal it. whether there was real contact or not. use your left hand to dribble. Not much force is necessary to sustain the dribble. and the off arm is used to protect the ball from the defender. push it to the floor with a flexing motion of the wrist. so avoid slapping at the ball or pushing it too hard. can be higher with fewer touches.) The ball never should be out in front of you. (Be careful. . Spread your fingers loosely over the ball. used in the open court when you are not closely guarded. not to thrust your arm so far out that it appears you’re warding off defenders with it. The speed dribble (right). it’ll only make it harder to control. and your forearm is roughly parallel to the floor. and the left side when dribbling with your left. If you are dribbling to the right always dribble with your right hand. hold the arm you’re not dribbling with away from your body.
Few things are as exasperating as blowing a wide-open lay-up because the ball bounces away from you. Thus you have the luxury of dribbling the ball higher and pushing the ball farther in front of you. protecting the ball in such a situation isn’t so important. you won’t be aware of the passing opportunity. . There are fewer touches on the speed dribble.Dribbling under Control 83 Figure 8-4 Push the ball well out in front of you when speed dribbling. however. Many passing options are there for only an instant before the defense recovers. yours and theirs. If your eyes are fixed on the ball. when a team-mate is open after making a sharp cut past her defender. and let the ball come up to waist-level. Players. The Speed dribble When dribbling on a fast break or downcourt ahead of the field. as shown by the bottom set of arrows. and that means you have to be able to see the court at all times. go get it and continue your dribble. There’s a lot happening on the court at any given time. keeP your head uP It’s very important to keep your head up when you’re dribbling. for example. where the ball moves almost straight up and down). the control dribble (top) is maintained close to the body and is directed almost straight downward. and you must know where they are. that it’s out of control. are constantly moving. you want to go as fast as you can so the defense can’t catch up to you. For better ball protection. After you push it out. shift your hand back on the ball so you’re able to dribble at an angle well out in front of you (as opposed to the control dribble. You may be dribbling downcourt. For maximum speed. Just don’t let the ball get so high. Since you’re in the clear.
As you get older and move from level to level. (And if she tries to do it with her right hand. Work on developing a better feel for the ball. that is. she’s not going to be able to execute this maneuver. The first time you thread a perfect backdoor pass to a cutting teammate. The defender clearly is giving her the baseline. dribbling with your head down is most easily stopped before it becomes too ingrained. dribbling. it happens to everyone. be sure to give at least equal time to your weaker hand. passing. shooting.) Being a one-way dribbler hurts you in another way as well. Suppose an offensive player has the ball near the left corner. But be patient—this is a difficult aspect of the game to master. the ball probably will be stolen since she would be leaving the ball unprotected by dribbling to the left with her right hand. To be an effective dribbler. Strive for improvement with each practice. and the less you’ll need to have your eyes glued to the ball in order to control it. but it’s true: They’re only cheating themselves. leaving enough room to dribble toward the basket via the baseline. Keep practicing with your weak hand until you’re comfortable with it. your satisfaction will make all the practice worthwhile. The more you do it. If the offensive player can’t control the dribble with her left hand. There are countless situations where you’ll need your weak hand to drive to the basket or to get out of a tight spot. you must be able to beat your opponent either way—with the right hand or the left. If you can’t go that way without kicking the ball into the third row. You’ll lose control frequently. It’s a cliche. Don’t cheat yourself. so don’t get too frustrated. Whenever you practice dribbling or ball-handling. it gets . I’ve seen players who are so uncomfortable dribbling with their off hand that every chance they get—when the coach looks the other way—they cheat and use their strong hand. forcing you either to go with your weak hand or not to go at all. you’re really only half a player. in short. and a great chance to score will have been missed. the more comfortable you’ll become with it. a player who forces the defense to be wary of many different things.84 Winning Basketball for Girls Like most bad habits. When you work at your dribbling. concentrate on keeping your head up as much as possible.” and overplay you in that direction. Keep reminding yourself to keep your head up. Dribbling with your off hand will feel awkward at first. GoinG BoTh WayS Talk to any good defensive player and she’ll tell you the hardest opponent to guard is one who can beat you a lot of ways—driving. A smart defender will detect that you’re “all right” or “all left.
Dribbling under Control harder to play the game or make the team if dribbling is not mastered with both hands. the guard often gets stuck because the defense can “swarm” and the half-court offense can never get started. Have a plan before you pick it up! moveS off The driBBle Once you’re controlling the ball fairly well. As the defender begins to relax—and she almost certainly will once you’ve stopped your hard drive—push off hard on either your left or right foot. missing badly. This is a very basic move—all you’re doing is going from high gear to low gear and back to high gear—but it works remarkably well. Going only moderately fast to . Just like putting the ball on the floor with no plan. She won’t have time to adjust. as though you’ve decided to give up on the drive. picking up the dribble before you know what to do with the ball will limit your options and slow down any type of team offense your coach has implemented. Expecting one pitch and getting another. Just make sure your change of pace is abrupt and distinct. the batter is caught off guard and swings early or late. Let’s take a look. Each of these moves must be mastered with both hands. and each involves a change in direction and/or a change in speed. The defender is staying with you well. 85 don’t Pick it up A common mistake made by younger players is to pick up or end the dribble before they know what to do with the ball. push the ball out and take off again at high speed. How can you shake her? Try a changeof-pace dribble. change of Pace In baseball you’ll often see a clever pitcher completely fool a batter by changing the speed of his pitches. depending on which direction or which hand. also called a hesitation or stutter step dribble. Say you’re dribbling hard to the basket with your right hand. As she ends her dribble. In a similar way. This mistake especially occurs as a young or inexperienced point guard brings the ball over half-court. giving you room to drive or pass or get free for a shot. Slow down abruptly and pull your head and shoulders back ever so slightly. and you’ll explode right past her. you can fool a defender by changing the speed of your dribble. it’s time to begin working on several control dribble moves with the ball that will enable you to shake the toughest defender.
change your speed from a 7. slow down and pull back your head and shoulders a little— just enough to make her think you are pulling up. the defender must think you’re dribbling all out. On a scale of 1 to 10. Then when you slow up. As you approach her (top). she’ll momentarily relax and you’ll leave her behind when you explode into full speed. moderately slow isn’t going to fool anyone. explode past her with a big step (bottom). When you begin your move.86 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 8-5 The change-of-pace dribble is a good way to catch a defender off guard. As she relaxes and stands up. back to .
since it’s unprotected as you’re switching hands. Remember. To crossover from your right hand (left) to your left. the ball stays in the hand it starts in. Make sure the crossover dribble is low. quickly bounce the ball diagonally in front of you. . Basketball is a game of cuts and Figure 8-6 A crossover dribble is a good way to change direction and shake a defender. let’s say it’s your right) from the top slightly to the outside of the ball—just a matter of a few inches toward the right. A few things to keep in mind: The change in direction must be made sharply. shift your dribbling hand (in this case. and shift your weight quickly. and accelerate quickly after the crossover has been executed. always dribble away from the defender to protect the ball and use the same hand to dribble with as the direction you’re headed. and the best and fastest way to lose your opponent. Pushing hard off your right foot. 87 crossover The crossover dribble is the fastest way to change directions when you’re dribbling. below knee level. and explode past her (right). Keep your knees flexed as you cut. plant your right foot. hard dribble right in front of your body to your left hand (center). The dribble is a control dribble. make a low. As you approach the defender (or when the defender forces you to change direction). Quickly shift your weight to the left and change your direction. then a speed dribble during the accelerated step. keeping your shoulder low for extra protection. passing it over to your left hand. low dribble. and cross your right foot over just in front of the defender as you control the ball with your left hand.Dribbling under Control a 4. Make the crossover with one hard. and then explode into an 8 or 9! During this move.
plant your left leg and reverse pivot. The spin is very effective one on one in the open court. unlike the spin. Quickly shift the ball to your left hand and explode past the defender with the left-hand dribble. being careful not to carry it. Sit up and continue the dribble with your left hand down to your feet. Repeat 10 times. This allows you to “cut off her legs” and get past her before she can react. Other moves to use in this situation are the between-the-legs dribble and the behind-the-back dribble. Lie down again. you want to have as many options as possible to beat your defender. Switch the ball to your right hand and dribble back to the right hip. because a defender is too close to risk crossing the ball over in front of her. Sit up and continue to dribble. Spin at a tight angle. but at the start it’s okay to take two or three dribbles. bringing your right leg around behind you.88 Winning Basketball for Girls angles as we’ve discussed. keeping the dribble alive. Spin dribble This move should be used when the crossover cannot be. Don’t forget to work on spinning using either hand. Dribble low. Not long ago I watched a high school point guard leave behind a trail of defenders all game long. Mastering the crossover will allow you to get out of just about any tight spot and get by almost any defender. keep you facing the basket and don’t allow the defense to trap as easily. following the lead of your right shoulder. with the ball now in your left hand to your left hip. . Once you’ve got it down you’ll be able to execute the spin with one dribble. as you dribble (right-handed) facing the defender. Be sure to come hard at the defender before beginning the spin. driBBlinG drillS Sit-up Dribble Drill Lie down on the floor with the ball in your right hand beside your right hip. control dribbles. She had only one move—the crossover dribble—but she had it down so well it was all she needed. During the reverse or spin dribble. These two moves. pull the ball back toward your right hip. the more success you will have eluding your defender. and worry about speed later. and the sharper and more precise you make yours. the defense has time to recover. Work on technique first when practicing the spin dribble. taking the ball with your right hand around your feet (you may have to pull your legs in a little) to the left side and continue dribbling. If you go too wide. and make the pivot as sharp as possible. Still dribbling with the right hand.
Repeat four times. the ball stays in the hand it starts in and you are changing your speed—fast to slow to fast! Dribble down with the right hand and back with the left hand. pushing the ball far in front of you. Dribble two balls while kneeling on one knee and while lying down (see above drill). again at the same height. Spin Drill Perform three spin dribbles. Repeat the drill starting with your opposite hand. Full-Court Speed Dribble Dribble the length of the court as fast as you can. Start slow and build up speed as you improve. Try to establish a rhythm. making sure to change directions sharply with a hard and low crossover dribble. Remember. Circle Drill Each player (you can play with any number you like. the more you will play! Crossover Dribble downcourt and make four distinct crossovers. Do the same on the way back. If you deflect . Hesitation Make three change-of-pace dribbles as you move the length of the court. Pay attention to form and concentrate on making the changes clear-cut. The object is to keep control of your own dribble (protecting the ball with your off arm and by dribbling to the side of your body with the knees flexed) while trying to flick away the ball of the other players. The better you can handle. but the more who play. and go in for a power lay-up after your final run. then repeat. following the form we discussed. allowing it to come up about waist-high and then moving fast to go get it. Dribble them both at the same height at the same time. the bigger the area must be) has a ball in a circle or other defined area.Dribbling under Control 89 Two-Ball Dribble Drill Use two balls. Then dribble the two balls at alternating times. Dribble with your right hand when going down the court and with the left hand when returning. one in your left hand and one in your right.
Continue the drill until one player remains. . That way you’ll be able to react quickly when a scoring or passing opportunity knocks. Keep the dribble alive until you see that teammate on the wing who’s open after a V-cut or that post. a ParTinG ThouGhT on The driBBle Players tend to dribble too much at almost every level of basketball. Remember this golden rule of basketball: Look before you dribble. Resist the temptation to bounce the ball the moment you get it. this slows down the offensive flow and often results in other players standing around waiting for the dribbling exhibition to be concluded. or when there’s a momentary defensive lapse.90 Winning Basketball for Girls another player’s ball she is eliminated. Check all your options. And when you do use it. Use the dribble selectively. All good dribblers are heads-up players—literally and figuratively. not the ball. As we’ve noted. Do you have a teammate closer to the hoop to whom you can pass? What cuts are being made? What might open up in a moment or two? Are you in good shooting position? Is there room to drive? Are you being guarded by a player you can beat with the dribble? Is she overplaying you in any direction? Don’t pick up the dribble until you have a plan. make sure your eyes are on the court. then begin again. who is open because she has the defender on her back. Work on your court awareness so you develop a sense of when and where to use the dribble most effectively.
What “scoring position” is depends on the player. BeinG in PoSiTion To Score The first guideline in making yourself an offensive threat is always to try to receive the ball in scoring position when your team has the ball in its half court set. scoring position is usually closer to the basket unless. but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. take to heart what you will read and strive to perfect the basic skills! ‘Greatness is not in doing extraordinary things. should be geared toward this end. An offensive player’s execution of sound fundamentals will help them take their game to the next level. In this chapter we’ll look at some basic ways to make you more difficult to defend against. and thus a more effective offensive player. like Lisa 91 . if you’re a center.’” —Kay Yow. Everything you do offensively. You want either to be in a position to score yourself or to make a pass or set a screen that will allow a teammate to score.Developing Individual Offensive Skills “Establishing a firm foundation in individual offensive skills is a must to achieve great success! The basics should be practiced and repeated until they become second nature. with and without the ball. North Carolina State Women’s Basketball Coach 9 Your goal as an offensive player is to be as much of a threat as possible to the defense. If you are a serious student of the game.
92 Winning Basketball for Girls Leslie. The idea is to set up or get open in a place that’s within your shooting range. Again this gives you time and space to receive the pass. The arm Bar When being closely guarded and trying to gain space in order to receive a pass there are several techniques you can use to free yourself to receive the ball. this move can also help to free you from your defender on the perimeter. In this situation. This isn’t always possible. That means you’re going to need to work to get open in the areas on the floor where you want the ball. it could well be 20 feet out. The v-cut Suppose the ball is at the point as shown in Figure 9-1. Fake a step out toward the perimeter. Let’s look at a few of the best ways to go about it. The arm bar—placing your forearm on the defender (above her waist and most likely around her chest or shoulder area)—and then timing your movement to step to the ball as your teammate passes it away from the defense is my favorite one. you should always be aware of where you are on the court and how you might receive the ball in a scoring position. You can also use a step through move where you use your foot (the one away from the passer) to “step through” the defender to free space so you can catch the ball safely with the defender now on your back—almost in a box out or post up position. of course. A third technique would be a “post up” move where you would step closer to the defense and then reverse pivot to keep the defender on your back and away from the passing lane. You’re on the left wing and your defender is denying you the ball. A teammate might get trapped or be in trouble and you’ll have to move 25 feet out to catch a pass from her. One good way to get open is to execute a V-cut. you are a threat from three point range. You just take or hold that space long enough to allow the pass to come toward you. a spot from which you are a threat to score. Nevertheless. Their goal is to keep you and your teammates in a non-threatening position—to take away open space. if you’re a guard. Used a lot in close to the basket. holding out . GeTTinG oPen No good defensive team is going to let you simply station yourself in a position where you are a real threat to score. you can’t extend your arm and displace your defender by pushing off. In such a situation helping her out naturally takes precedence over getting the ball in scoring position.
. If you’re open. foot. the point guard will pass you the ball. V-cuts may be used anywhere on the court. your hands as a passing target with your shoulders and body open to the passer. But let’s say she is a very good defender and has managed to stay with you. make a quick change of direction. so called because your two cuts—one in. abrupt changes of direction and changes in speed. pushing hard off your right foot. or baseline. They’re very effective for getting free when executed properly with good. That’s a V-cut. so you plant your left. It is very important to get open at the wing position because most offensive patterns start with an “entry” pass to the wing. and cut in toward the basket. Keep your hands up so you’re ready to catch the pass. one back out—resemble the shape of the letter V. You’re still not open for the pass. Hold your hand out as you cut to give a target to the passer. push off hard and pop back out on the wing at a good angle to receive the ball in a scoring position. As the defender edges out to continue denying you the ball. and you will have made a successful backdoor cut.Developing Individual Offensive Skills 93 Figure 9-1 The V-cut is a good way of faking an opponent and getting open for a pass. meaning you’ve cut in back of or behind a defender to get free. Make sure you’re ready to catch the ball.
To get free. . the offensive player executes a V-cut. V-cuts are especially important for players on the wings. and she has her hands out to give the passer a target. then stopping.” This involves moving in a straight line. since most offensive patterns will be started with a pass to them. then pivoting and popping back out (bottom). Look at Figure 9-3. pushing off with your feet. As you can see. In the first photo (top left) the defender is denying her opponent the ball. cutting in sharply toward the basket (top right). And it’s essential for the wings to get open.94 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 9-2 The V-cut is an effective way to get yourself free to receive a pass. and making a 90-degree turn. note how her cut has given her room to catch a pass. l-cuts Another useful way to shake free of a defender is to “square off. who often are denied the ball by the defense.
because you can’t see all your passing options. Why is it so important to square up? Because once you’re square to the basket. and where you want to receive the ball. where the ball is. shooting foot slightly forward. Nor are you in very good passing position. A lazy. can be made starting outside and cutting in toward the free throw lane or starting inside the lane and cutting out toward the perimeter. move into triple-threat position: knees flexed. So in effect. pivot so you’re directly facing the basket. hard turns when “squaring off” or executing the l-cut. Positioned in this way. or dribble. use these moves to get free of a defender anywhere on the court. sometimes called L-cuts. As with the V-cut. and the ball well protected. and the defense must respect all three. pass.Developing Individual Offensive Skills 95 Figure 9-3 make sure you make good. failing to square up takes away two of your options—and makes the defender’s job much easier. you’re in good triple-threat position— ready to shoot. You can turn left or right. a move known as squaring up. tucked in near the hip of your shooting hand. Give a target and be ready to receive the ball as you cut—hands up! SQuarinG uP As soon as you receive the ball. square-off cuts. You’re not a scoring threat if you’re standing sideways to the basket. and explode out of the turn to create extra distance from the defense. weight evenly distributed on the balls of your feet. . depending on where you are. Concentrate on making your cut hard and sharp. As you square up. the success of this move depends entirely on how well you execute the change of direction and the change in speed. curving turn isn’t going to fake anybody out. you’re able to exercise any of your three options.
. so that you are ready to pass. and on the left side of the perimeter. you are not in a triple threat position—ready to pass. a right-handed player would reverse pivot on the right side of the court and forward pivot on the left. shoot. On the right side. or dribble. Keep the ball down low. The goal here is to see as much of the court as possible. left foot for right-handed players and right foot for left-handed players. it would be your left. to pivot and square up with. or dribble. If your body isn’t squared up. tucked in if heavily guarded. the foot closest to the baseline. In order to square up when you receive the ball you can do either of two things. square your shoulders and feet so you’re directly facing the basket.handed player using her right foot as her permanent pivot would do the opposite—forward pivot on the right side and reverse pivot on the left.” which means you use one foot. avoid making the mistake of standing with the ball above your head. A left.96 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 9-4 Before shooting. You can execute what some coaches refer to as the “permanent pivot. In this case. shoot. Once you receive the ball and square up. this would be your right foot. depending on your coach’s philosophy or upon your individual preference. Try not to turn your back to the hoop! The other way to square up is to use the inside foot.
playing you “soft. The Jab Step Let’s say you’re right-handed. your defender is effectively out of the play once you’ve beaten her that way. one-on-one offenSive moveS These moves are ways to gain the upper hand on your defender. Perhaps there is no glaring opening.Developing Individual Offensive Skills 97 look Before you move It’s important to size up the offensive situation before deciding which option to employ. It gives you a big advantage for several reasons: one. go for it. you’re going to need ways to fake your defender into poor position. unless the other defenders react very quickly. Or maybe she is playing you too close. or dribble. By all means. The closer you get to the hoop. because it’s difficult for her to recover before you get to the basket. say you’ve squared up and you see that the defense is out of position and there’s a wide-open lane to the basket. Both factors have a big bearing on what you may want to do. take it. you’ll have a lane to drive all the way to the basket. Once you’ve gotten the ball and moved into triple-threat position. pass. Maybe she’s laying way off you. Again.” and you have a great opportunity to drive past her. two. After assuming triple-threat position. But when there is not an obvious advantage. but you notice you’re just a few feet from the baseline and the defender is leaving you just enough room to drive that way. Whenever you see room to penetrate toward the basket. check where the defense is. That’s what these moves are designed to do. too “hard. because you’ve penetrated the defense. you’re probably going to have one or two teammates open underneath. with your shooting foot slightly in front. don’t pass it up. Establish your left foot as your pivot foot. take it. Anytime the baseline is open to you. you might not need any move at all. If you’re going up against a poor defender.” and you’ll have all the room you need for an uncontested jump shot or the pass that enables your teammate to score. and three. and make sure you know exactly where you are on the court. For example. the right foot is . Whenever you see such opportunities. by all means take them. even if someone does move over to stop you. then exploit it. (For left-handers. your aim is to find or create an advantage. the better your chances for making the shot or your team’s chances for scoring a basket. Now let’s look at some moves you can make with the ball that’ll help you shake the toughest defender. freeing you to shoot. The point to remember is that you have to be alert to exploit advantages such as these.
notice how the defender responds to the fake. the pivot foot and the left foot leads. After the jab step. That’s good for you.98 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 9-5 The jab step. you can go right up for the jumper without bringing your foot back. Let’s say (and this will usually be the case) she drops back a few steps when you make your jab because she thinks you’re driving to the basket. So now you’re going to take advantage and make the drive for real. the offensive player gives herself room for a shot (right). that should tell you one thing: you can beat her with a drive. with a short.) This staggered stance is important because it puts you in a ready position to shoot. if the defender backs off you. you’ve already faked a drive with your jab step. . To execute a jab step. just move your foot slightly forward. After all. which gives the defense time to recover. do exactly as the name suggests: take a short. It’s important that the jab be short. quick jab directly at the defender with your right foot. Her retreating leaves you room to go up for a jump shot. almost as if you were trying to kick a dime up off the floor. That way. quick jab step with her right foot. give a quick fake with your head and shoulders. What happens? How does the defender react? You’ve got to use your court sense. But what if she doesn’t react and holds her ground? The rocker fake If she doesn’t budge. Keep the knees flexed and make the jab convincing—you want the defender to think you’re driving hard to the basket. because what she does will determine what you do next. and she didn’t react.
assuming you’re a right-handed player). . The key is giving a good head-and-shoulders fake the moment you see she hasn’t gone for the jab step. This will cause her to tighten up on you or to go up to defend against your shot. give a quick rock backward with your head and shoulders. take a big. since the defender is lined up in your path. It’s important to “cut off her legs” in this fashion. quick step. Pause a moment and let the fake do its work—then explode. Stay “crouched. and then exploding past her with that big. try the rocker fake. the defender will not even have had time to be fooled. This simple fake works very effectively to freeze the defender so you can drive. the drive off the rocker fake won’t be available. The crossover Sometimes you go against a defender who is overplaying you to the strong side—the side you have the ball on. After making the jab step (left). quick first step with your right leg (again. keep your base (lower body) low. pulling them upwards and back slightly to make the defender think you’re going up for a shot. Go right toward her legs and drive hard past her. because if you make your drive wide of her she may have time to recover. After she reacts. When this occurs.Developing Individual Offensive Skills 99 Figure 9-6 If the defender doesn’t back off when you jab step. or that you’ve decided to stop the drive. When executing the head and shoulder fake.” and be ready to move. If you begin driving the instant you finish the headand-shoulders fake. Just be sure to allow the defense time to react to the fake before driving. then explode past her with a big first step (right).
Using our same example. This is often called the “swingthrough” or “rip-through” move. She either has to foul you or let you go. Remember to make the fakes . she bursts past the defender with a left-hand dribble. Work on them against teammates in practice so you can develop a feel for the different defensive reactions to expect. Just make sure you begin your dribble before you pick up your pivot foot to avoid a traveling violation. let’s say you have the ball in triple-threat position. The offensive player makes her jab step (left). and your left foot is the pivot foot. Staying low. cut close to her so she won’t have a chance to catch up to you. It’s time for the crossover. keeping your shoulders down to help edge past her. planting it right next to the defender (right). which is valuable when the defense is overplaying you on one side. Quickly pick up your right leg and take a big step directly next to her inside (in this case. Once you’ve cut off her legs and planted the first key step at her feet. You see she’s overplaying you to the right. explode past her with a lefthand dribble. An effective move against an overplaying defender is the crossover (not to be confused with the crossover dribble. then crosses over quickly in front of the defender with a big step with her right foot.100 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 9-7 This sequence shows the crossover move. you know you’ve got her. right) foot and cross the ball over from your right side to your left to protect it and keep it away from the defense. As with the rocker fake. Practice these moves until you can execute them quickly and sharply. You try a jab step and she doesn’t react. though they accomplish the same thing—a quick change of direction). With a strong step. so it’ll be very hard to beat her that way.
Once you master these moves. If she’s overplaying you. remember to practice at game speed and to put yourself in game-like conditions or these concepts will not help you to be your best! The more ways you have to beat your defender. or dribble. remember to square up to the basket so you’re ready to shoot. Don’t allow the defense to rest. go to your offensive moves. and once you’ve got it. give a good rocker fake and explode past her. And the one-on-one moves pick up from there. execute the crossover. Look for any and every opportunity when you get the ball. Always try to get the ball in scoring position. If she retreats. beating the defender so you can get a high-percentage shot or a good passing angle to a teammate. and to pause just long enough for the defender to be out of position before trying to beat her. or at the very least have more room to pass once you have received the ball and are facing the basket. the better will be your chances of scoring. go up for a jumper. 101 a final Word The moves we’ve looked at in this chapter are designed to make you more of an offensive threat by two basic means: one. The V-cut and the square-off are simple cuts enabling you to get free to receive the ball within your shooting range. If she holds her ground. giving you ways to fake the defender out of position so you can shoot or drive to the basket. When you’re driving. Once your shoulders are even with hers. pass. you have the advantage. cut right at the defender so you can explode past her in a direct path to the hoop. Try the jab step and go from there. Make them play you. and two. . receiving the ball in scoring position. Learning the moves we’ve looked at in this chapter will give you more opportunities to put the ball in the basket.Developing Individual Offensive Skills good and convincing. Is there room to shoot? To drive? Is the defender out of position? If no opportunities are readily available. depending on how she plays it.
North Carolina State defeated Houston. The moral is that to be a good player. Let’s find out how. Few people gave “the Wolfpack” a chance (I did. and you don’t want 102 . passing—all of them must be mastered if you want to be a complete player. don’t ever give up. One of the greatest things about the game is that the team with the best players will not always win. the players who mold their talents into the best team will. But that doesn’t mean that these skills alone will make you a good basketball player. shooting.10 Working Together— Team Offense “Don’t give up. you have to be able to play the game as a part of a team. former North Carolina State Men’s Basketball Coach Individual skills are a vital part of the game. and that means getting the best shot you can every time you move up the court. PlayinG The PercenTaGeS Your goal as a team is to score on every possession.” —Jim Valvano. The 1983 Men’s NCAA championship game is an excellent case in point. They won’t. Dribbling. because basketball is the ultimate team game. but they won because they played great team basketball. a team with an awesome collection of talent. since I was rooting with my heart for my alma mater). You don’t want to take a 30-footer if a teammate can take a better shot.
You may find it difficult to survey the court for passing opportunities. You may be under heavy defensive pressure. If you see that one area is crowded. With a little composure. Make crisp passes. Is the shot there? Is a teammate moving toward an open spot? Can you safely pass her the ball? Is your best three point shooter spotting up from behind the three-point line? Is there a defensive weak link you can exploit? Is there a mismatch inside (a tall player on your team being guarded by a much shorter opponent)? Can you beat your defender with the dribble? These are the kinds of things you must try to be aware of. you’ll be able to see where things might open up. The more you do it. Not every pass or move will lead directly to a basket. cut to another spot. You’ll attract defensive attention. But you’ve got to try. When you get the ball. Keep the offense spread out at all times. the easier it gets. Slow yourself down a beat if you feel yourself racing. Don’t panic when you get the ball. Try to maintain 12 to 15 feet of space between you and your teammates. This interrupts the offensive flow and enables one defender to guard several of your players. maintaining court Balance A common mistake among young players is getting bunched up so that two or more teammates are close together on the floor. And that’s the last thing you want the defense to do. and the result could be a scoring opportunity for a teammate. Take a good look around. Force the defense to work to keep up. keeping the Ball moving When the ball sits. This is the most basic rule of team basketball.Working Together—Team Offense to shoot from 15 feet if someone’s free for a lay-up. You’re bound to be keyed up when you have the ball in a game. or at the very least. better offensive movement. Drive hard for the hoop. always pass her the ball. but keeping the ball moving will gradually wear the defense down and increase your chances of getting a better shot. Sometimes four or five simple passes from player to player are all it takes to create that good shot you’re looking for. acting hastily usually yields bad results. the defense rests. which isn’t to say it’s easy to do. do something with it. . What can you do as a team player to help your team get the highest-percentage shot? 103 hitting the open Player If a teammate is open and in better shooting position. You’ll find that your court sense will grow rapidly as you gain more experience. Force the opponents to defend the entire offensive area.
It couldn’t be simpler: you pass (or give) the ball to a teammate. keep moving.104 Winning Basketball for Girls knowing your capabilities It’s important. and above all. with any two players. keep the ball in sight. some of the most effective offensive plays are worked with just two people. The play can be worked anywhere on the court. so are you. then quickly “go” to the . for your performance as well as the team’s. Good team players recognize situations where the plays can be used and execute the plays crisply. but not when you’re on the court. It’s a smart question. Clear out an area so a teammate has more room to move. make a fake away from the basket (as if you’re no longer involved in the play). You can hurt your team just as much by not taking a shot you should as by taking one you shouldn’t. it’s unwise to challenge the defense that way. Know which shots are “your” shots and which aren’t. They will tell you—and be glad you asked. to know your strengths and weaknesses. Keep your head up. If you have doubts about where and when to shoot. You’re only one of five players. Give and Go This is one of the most fundamental plays in basketball. meaning that roughly 80 percent of the time you will be playing without the ball. Set a screen to free a teammate. moving Without the Ball Just as the ball is easier to guard when it’s stationary. It’s amazing how some otherwise good players will play as though they’re no longer part of the offense after they’ve gotten rid of the ball. Basketball’s a great game to watch. If you’re not a good dribbler. Then it will be easier for you to execute them in the team setting or in the offensive set your coach has set up. Cut to the basket. It’s up to you to help the team by using that time constructively. They’re easy to learn and highly effective. go to the ball and give her a passing outlet so she can safely pass to you. TWo-PerSon PlayS To maSTer Though basketball is a five-person game. If a teammate is double-teamed or in trouble. Crash the offensive boards. Play two on two and three on three games whenever possible so you can practice these concepts. Do something to keep the defense occupied. Stay in the flow of things. ask your coaches.
Working Together—Team Offense 105 Figure 10-1 The give-and-go: After passing to teammate o2. Pause a beat or two. the move may look automatic and not fool the defender. o1 fakes away. . make a sharp fake away. basket with a sharp cut—ready to receive a return pass. then cuts hard for the hoop and gets the return pass. You’ll probably be open for only a second. and you must be ready to catch the ball. Make sure you look for the ball as you cut. What happens— and the reason it works so well—is that defenders tend to relax when their player gives up the ball. Give her a moment to relax once you’ve given up the ball. And that inattentive moment is all you need to explode past them. If you fake and cut immediately upon passing the ball. and give the passer a target by keeping your hands up above your waist. Timing and making a convincing fake are critical here. then change directions and go to the basket with an explosive burst. Again here. It’s your job as the cutter to set up the defense so you can get free for the return pass. the emphasis is on changing direction and changing speed—two critical components of playing the game well. make sure you’re ready to receive the pass as you cut.
take a step toward the outside passing lane as shown (this will draw the defender out with you). particularly if you disguise your intentions by setting them up with that step to the outside. Few defensive players will be able to keep up with you. try going backdoor on her—that is. note how the defender is overplaying the passing lane. (Sequence continues on next page) . cutting behind her back toward the basket. But see what she’s done by doing this? She has left herself vulnerable to a backdoor cut (a cut made behind the defender toward the hoop). so you’re set to catch the pass—usually a crisp bounce pass. If she’s that close to you.106 Winning Basketball for Girls Back door This is the move to use if the defense is really overplaying the perimeter passing lanes. it means it’s going to be easy to cut behind her into the open. Notice how the defender is trying to cut off the perimeter pass by edging into the passing lane between passer and receiver. The offensive player takes a couple of quick steps away from the basket to draw her opponent out. To make a good backdoor move. Figure 10-2 If a defender is denying you the ball. Look at the photos in Figure 10-2. The back door is a great move to try anytime the defense is pressuring you on the perimeter to deny you the ball. Keep your head and hands up as you cut. then change direction and cut right behind her for the hoop.
giving the passer a target as she goes (top). .Working Together—Team Offense 107 She then changes direction and cuts hard for the hoop. Her backdoor cut has freed her to receive a pass close to the basket.
The idea in screening is to free a teammate for a shot. “Use me” (verbal) or closed fist above your head (nonverbal). Screening away also helps maintain good court balance by keeping players spread out. You can do it by moving toward the ball or away from the ball. drive. sharp cut off the pick to get her defender off stride (“rub her off”). For it to work. Your feet should be wider than your shoulders to take up as much space as possible. For example. It’s hard enough to stop a player from scoring without having to fight through a block. Use verbal and/or nonverbal cues. which is all a screen is. both for protection (when you’re bumped by the defender) and to avoid blocking the defender with your arms. Figure 10-3 For best results when setting a screen. To set a screen (or “pick”). Keep your arms in. position yourself perpendicular to the defender. as well as improving the offensive flow. . she must make a good. Screening on the ball is simply moving toward your teammate who has the ball and setting the screen so she can “cut” off you using her dribble. You can screen anywhere on the court and anytime a teammate needs more playing room. Screening away is when you move away from the ball and set your screen for another player so that she will then be free to get a pass. which is a foul. since more players are moving and involved in the play. or pass. and the knees should be flexed to absorb the impact and maintain good balance after contact. That is an effective place to screen. and two.108 Winning Basketball for Girls Setting Screens A well-set screen makes things tough on the defense. making them easy to block so your teammate can cut into the open space. the defender will slip through without losing a step. keeping the knees bent and the legs slightly more than shoulderwidth apart. plant your body perpendicular to the defender (so her shoulder is lined up with the center of your body) and at least a foot away from her. she must occupy the defender and set her up for the screen by taking her away (as if she’s going in a different direction). If the teammate runs wide of the pick. Communicate when setting screens. the teammate must do two things: one. because many defenders relax when they’re playing off the ball.
and how her knees are bent for better balance (left). . giving a passing target and looking for the ball (right). o3 comes off the screen and receives a pass from o2. then moves away to set a screen for o3.Working Together—Team Offense Figure 10-4 Screening away from the ball. After setting the screen. 109 Figure 10-5 This diagram shows screening away from the ball. o1 passes to o2. she rolls open to the passer and toward the basket. After setting up her defender. note the wide stance that makes it harder for the defender to get through.
be sure to have your hands up to give the passer a target. Say a teammate is at the elbow (the corner of the free throw line and the side of the key). That’s when you should “open to the ball” and roll toward the basket. and try to use your body to keep your defender behind you. Just after o3 uses the screen. As she comes by. She takes her defender away.110 Winning Basketball for Girls looking for the roll Whenever you screen. o1 rolls open toward the ball. this maximizes your ability to screen her. Remember in setting a pick that you should align the defender’s shoulder with the middle of your stance. you’re in good position to receive a pass. When rolling. You move up and set a screen for her. As long as you maintain this position. who cuts hard to the basket. You Figure 10-6 rolling off a screen: o1 passes to o2. then screens away for o3. her defender gets bumped into you. trying to get open for a pass. then cuts sharply off you. Often you’ll be more open than the cutter because of the way the defensive assignments get messed up by the screen. always be alert for an opportunity to “roll” to the basket. almost as if the cutter had tossed a rope to you and was pulling you open like a gate. setting her up for the screen. giving a target and looking for a pass from o2. .
if a teammate is screening for you to your left. finding space to spot up and receive a pass for an outside shot at the basket. and leads to two good passing options: to the cutter or to you. Cutting wide is wasted motion that makes the play easier to defend against. It’s the cutter’s job to occupy the defender. taking her away from the screen so it will work more effectively. You can’t go wrong with it. set a screen for a teammate. when you’re the one using the screen. to cut off the pick as closely as possible. fake a move to the right to take your defender away. .” The pick and roll that we just looked at is a great option where the offense is looking for the 2 3 1 © Infobase Publishing Figure 10-7 Pick and pop option. The offensive player who sets the screen then pops to the perimeter. 111 Pick and Pop Another two-player option to use is the “pick and pop. Thus. explode to the left. as you roll toward the basket. then change direction. Also remember.Working Together—Team Offense won’t be able to screen her if you’re right alongside her. If you’re ever in doubt about what to do when you don’t have the ball. hip to hip. It’s difficult to defend against. Remember to talk—communication is important to team play. and run your defender into the screen.
the pick and pop allows the person setting the screen to “pop”—move out into open space on the perimeter to spot up—for a two-point look or for a three-point shot attempt. It’s a demanding style of play. that’s the one indispensable ingredient to being able to run the break consistently. The faST Break Few aspects of basketball are as dependent on good teamwork as the fast break.) Once your team has the rebound. first Things first You can’t run without the ball. Against a defensive team. A fast-breaking style can put points on the board and demoralize your opponents faster than anything. passing. Especially effective when the person setting the screen is a good perimeter shooter. and that means you should get a very-high-percentage shot at the basket. (You also can start a break after a steal or any change of possession. a pick and pop option is a good one to use. It must be made quickly so you can get the jump on the opponent right away. timing. but since rebounding is the most common way of gaining possession. forget about fast breaking. and second. This option can be used when screens are set either on the ball or off the ball.112 Winning Basketball for Girls teammate coming off the screen first. the next key is the outlet pass—the pass the rebounder makes to a player who is waiting in the flat (the area from the free throw line. The whole style of play is predicated on having one or two players who dominate the boards and allow other players to make the quick break. and quickness. To make a quick release of the outlet pass. . Ideally. how the Break Works The idea behind the fast break is simple: beat your opponent downcourt. you can run a play before they set up their defense. for the screener who rolls to the basket. to the baseline). If you don’t have a good rebounding team. a team needs good rebounding. who is moving to an open spot and giving a target away from the defense. the rebounder should pivot away from the basket and throw an overhead pass. I’ve watched games where three or four quick baskets off the break have changed the entire flow of the action. on a primary break you have a 3-on-2 or 2-on-1 player advantage. finding space. but its rewards are tremendous. Throwing a good outlet pass is critical to the break. extended. To make the break work. which “sags” or brings its defenders in close to the lane. If you do that. snapping the ball as sharply as she can to her teammate.
.Working Together—Team Offense 113 Figure 10-8 A diagram of a well-run fast break. o2 dribbles to the free throw line while o1 and o3 hustle downcourt to fill the outside lanes and o4 and o5 act as trailers or the first post down dives ball side and the trailing post sets up at the “junction” (the three point line just out from the weak side elbow). who passes to o2 cutting down the middle. o5 gets the rebound and makes an outlet pass to o1.
When you’re running an outside lane. This makes you a prime passing target for a power lay-up or an easy 45’er—a short jumper off the board (also called a baby banker). dribble second. Here are some important things to keep in mind to run it properly: • Turn. one defender can guard both you and your teammate in the middle. and speed is of the essence on the break. yell. If you edge in too close. or off the steal. The player in the middle needs someone to pass to. “Trailer. It is important for the rebounder to pass to the “outside” areas. sprinting from foul line to foul line to make sure the player with the ball has a good passing angle to you. since you can pass either left or right.114 Winning Basketball for Girls Bringing the ball down and throwing a chest pass wastes precious seconds and increases the risk of having the defense steal or deflect the ball. be sure to stay well away from the middle. • Always be ready to pass first.” If you’re open on the right.” running only a foot or so from the sideline boundary. then cut for the basket. . it’s more important than ever that they know where their teammates are. Do this by planting the outside foot and pushing off. away from the middle where the defense usually is—an ill-advised pass to the middle part of the court can quickly turn into a lay-up for the opposition. the break is initiated by the outlet pass off the rebound. “Right. • Stay wide. The slightest hesitation may be all the defense needs to catch up to you and take away your advantage.” Let your teammates know about every advantage you see. middle. changing directions and going toward the hoop at a 45-degree angle. • Fill the lanes. The defense has to work harder when you move the ball to the middle. get the ball to the center of the court. There are three “lanes” available—left. If a teammate is open ahead of you. so spread out and fill the left and right lanes flanking the middle. If you’re trailing behind the play. hitting high Gear Okay. • Communicate! When players are moving at high speed. and makes the defense cover more of the court. This gives you more attacking room. square. Get out on the break quickly. and right. We’ve seen that passing is the fastest way to advance the ball. “Ride the rails. then cut diagonally for the basket. Maintain this wide position until you reach the top of the key. • After the outlet pass. and look up court. That’s where you’re going (as quickly and safely as possible). yell. pass her the ball.
she has the option of taking a jumper. Hustle downcourt even if you’re not in the first wave of fast-breakers. she should pull up quickly with a jump stop and look to hit one of the cutters with a bounce pass. a bounce pass to a cutting wing). sharp cuts by the wings. you can receive a pass and get a look at the basket. If nobody picks her up. If she gets the ball back. Running it properly requires good passing (an overhead to the outlet. and be able to catch the ball on the move. If none of these is readily available. Leave that available space for the wings to penetrate or for the post players to fill. the middle player should cut to the elbow on the side of the lane she has just passed to. This option. a 45’er. Often the defense will stop the initial break. It’s primarily the responsibility of the middle player—usually the point or the 2 guard—to recognize when to keep breaking and when to slow things up. remember to present a good passing target. After making the pass. If someone does guard her. she stops. it’s much better to bring the ball out and set up the regular offense. or grab an offensive rebound and help your team reassert its advantage. 115 . This puts her in position for a pass if the wing is unable to get off a shot. reversing the court and passing to the wing on the other side. or pulling the ball back out and setting up the regular offense. used when the offensive advantage is no longer available. As she gets to the foul line. or a jumper from either the elbow or baseline (after reversing the ball from one wing to the other). she should drive all the way to the basket. enables a team to use a quick hitter—sometimes effective because the defense is still in transition and not matched up properly. because it means one of the wings must be open. Avoid “wandering” in the lane. rather than forcing the issue. If she’s pressured. reverse the ball. • Deciding whether to drive or pass is a split-second judgment the middle player has to make. you should get one of four potential shots off the break: a power lay-up. Her teammates must know where the ball is. but by following the play as a trailer. she goes to the hoop. the player with the ball in the middle must make the defense commit itself. When a fast break is run properly and you have a clear advantage over the defense. The trailer often is open at the elbow. or as she cuts down the lane.Working Together—Team Offense • Force the defense to react. The fast break takes a lot of practice to work smoothly. If she’s free. Some coaches use a “secondary” option before pulling the ball back out to set the half court offense. and a quick reading of the court situation by the middle player. • Have a trailer.
strong inside players. Only break when the opportunity presents itself. you need five players working together. Keep the ball moving. Crash the offensive boards. Is the defense spread out. try to give her the ball: You might as well go with the hot hand. For instance. otherwise the up-tempo style will do you more harm than good. If your team is fast and you also have a good rebounder or two. and because it is a style of basketball that is fun to play. Only good ball-handling teams should consider fast-breaking. Look for cutting teammates. it would be foolish to fast-break all the time. Learn to think in team terms about what you can contribute to make the team play better. . so that your team has more options. it is better to slow the pace down and play a setup offense so you can take full advantage of your inside game. A good team is much better than the sum of its parts—and a lot harder to stop than a collection of talented individuals. Teams should always play to their strengths. By playing alertly and unselfishly. and thus clear for a pass to the middle? Is it vulnerable on the baseline? Is it conceding the jump shot? Your goal—putting the ball in the basket—is simple enough. and keep your head up so you’re alert to defensive weaknesses. however. If someone on your team has hit four in a row. Keep the ball moving. Look to get the best shot you can. Teach your front line players to run. If you’re big and strong but slower. Take whatever the defense gives you. Set picks away from the ball. Make the other team work. If your center has a big height advantage over her opponent. Concentrate on always doing something constructive for your team—with and without the ball. keep feeding the ball inside until the opponents show they can stop her. a final Word Team basketball is all about playing to your strengths and taking advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses. Always go with the percentages.116 Winning Basketball for Girls Because it’s a high-speed offense. Sometimes. But to accomplish it consistently. keep active all the time. if your team has a front line of tall. though. use the fast break. Whatever you do. Cut for the basket. the fast break can be risky and increases the chance of a turnover. take your time and work it inside. you make yourself and your teammates more threatening offensive players. Look for give-and-go’s.
one of the finest shooters in women’s basketball. Nobody ever said you had to score a lot to win—you just need more points than the opposition. If you work at it. so stopping her depends on anticipating what she might do. The offensive player knows what she’s going to attempt to do and where she’s going to go. and plain old hard work. You’ll often hear coaches say. proper positioning. it’s either play tough defense or get beat. Will she drive? Pull up for a shot? Make a cut? Pass to a teammate? You don’t know. It also depends on quick reactions.Playing Tough Defense “Offense sells tickets. defense wins games. PlayinG aGGreSSive defenSe Too often defense is taught as a purely “reactive” part of the game. keeps you in games. “Defense. The slightest lapse in concentration can lead to two points for the opposition. had games when the ball just wouldn’t fall. good footwork. And when your shots aren’t falling. University of Tennessee Women’s Basketball Coach 11 There’s a great thing about defense: You get back exactly what you put into it. you react to what the offense does in order to stop them.” —Pat Summitt. not offense. That is. Alertness is a key ingredient to good defense.” Why? Because even Carol Blazejowski. defense will never take a night off. Good defense 117 . at Montclair State College in New Jersey and now president and general manager of the New York Liberty. That’s why the best offense is a good defense.
your back is straight and your weight is on the balls of your feet. on-The-Ball defenSe defensive closeout When your player receives the ball from her teammate it is important to “close out” to her. Your butt should be low. Denying the ball to your opponent. Let’s take a look at the right technique for both on-the-ball and off-the-ball defense and for the transition times from one to the other. Proper defensive stance is almost a seated position. Too. taking short quick steps. ready to take away penetration and to defend against the shot or pass. positioning yourself so that you can defend against the shot. To close out well. not the waist. with your head over your toes. making her change her course. you must talk—call “ball” so your teammates know you are aware and ready to play on the ball defense. Don’t play a passive defense of purely reaction. overplaying her so she must use her weak hand to dribble—these are just some of the aggressive actions you can take on defense that will force the offense to react. you can cause turnovers. By turning the tables in this way. the bend is at the knees. big and ready to take away vision from the offensive player. There are two basic types of defensive situations: on the ball and off the ball. . but it also involves quick and aggressive actions—moves that force the offense to react. you would settle easily into it. sure. the dribble. You can’t move nearly as quickly when you’re bending at the waist because it leaves you poorly balanced. and off the ball is when one of the four other offensive players has it. as shown in the accompanying photo. Be aggressive. Now that you are playing on-the-ball defense. disrupt the offensive flow and force the offense to take low-percentage shots. sealing off the baseline. Aggressive defense will shake their confidence. you must be ready to move quickly in any direction. make them play tentatively and shift their focus from what they want to do to what you might do. or the pass. making it hard for her to see the rim or open passing lanes. You can sprint out to guard your player but you must “break down” your feet as you get close to her. so that if I tucked a chair under you. The only other time you are on defense is when you are transitioning from on the ball to off the ball or from off the ball to on the ball. Your knees are flexed.118 Winning Basketball for Girls involves quick reactions. Your hands must be up. you must be balanced. On the ball is when the player you’re guarding has the ball. instead of the other way around. Take the initiative.
basketball wouldn’t be such a high-scoring game. foot position is to keep your and her hands are out to occupy the midline foot—that is. Foot position is also extremely important. It’s tough for her to fake you out with her tummy! 119 Shuffling Maintaining good. the foot passing lanes. always know where you are on the court. The shuffle consists of quick. Which foot is in front depends on which way the opponent is moving or which way you want to direct the offensive player. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart and staggered. Keep your eyes focused on the offensive player’s midsection. When playing on-the-ball defense. the better defender you’ll be. choppy sidesteps. which is critical to playing good D.Playing Tough Defense This position allows you to move with maximum quickness.) In this position. with the legs flexed (no . closest to the middle of the court—forward. Cutting off your opponent’s path requires covering ground swiftly and efficiently while still being able to change directions instantly. as well as force your opponent to the outside. well-centered defensive position isn’t easy. giving her a longer path to the basket and a less threatening offensive position. Force the ball to the sideline and keep the dribbler out of the middle of the court whenever possible. When she’s dribbling with her right hand. Doing all this calls for a kind of footwork that’s the heart of on-the-ball defense—the defensive shuffle. you’re able to move your feet quickly. it’s your right foot that’s up front. (Another er’s knees are flexed so she can move way to remember the correct and react quickly. not her eyes or the ball. Stay between your player and the basket. it’s your left the-ball defense. when she’s drib. the quicker you are. one foot slightly ahead of the other. note how the defendfoot that’s forward. If it were.Figure 11-1 The basic stance for onbling with the left. Basketball involves actions and reactions. Her back is straight.
or when you’re sprinting a long distance up or across court. use your regular running motion.120 Winning Basketball for Girls bouncing up and down—that’s wasted motion) and the head stationary and the feet roughly shoulder-width apart. It keeps you well-balanced and braced to move whichever way your opponent does because with the short steps your feet are almost constantly in contact with the floor. you’ve changed directions as quickly as possible and prevented your opponent from getting by you. knees flexed and the right foot slightly in front of the left. . Be sure to keep them short. You shuffle over and beat her to the spot. long. Pushing off with your left foot. so here you swing back your left elbow. use your elbow (in this case the right one) to pull you open in the direction of the drop step. executing the drop Step Suppose your opponent is dribbling to her right. choppy steps. since you need all the quickness you can get at that point to maintain good defensive position. make a drop step (we’ll see how in a moment) and keep shuffling with the same short. push off your front leg. From your defensive stance. No matter which way you’re pivoting with your drop step. you move the left foot out to the left and quickly shuffle your right foot in the same direction. The shuffle step is far more efficient. you must execute a move known as the drop step. sliding-type steps significantly slow your reaction time. For maximum explosiveness. But as soon as you get back into position. You’re staying with her in proper defensive position. Push off with your left foot and reach with your right foot to reestablish good on-the-ball position. When the change of direction is from left to right. For extra momentum as you open up. The momentum from the hard push-off helps get you going after the change. Say your opponent is driving to her right. your power source. For such straight bursts. Don’t cross your feet when you’re playing on-the-ball defense. Your left foot is up when you’re defending the left-hand dribble. the drop step involves the same movements in reverse. quickly open your hips by dropping your right foot backward. In order to maintain good defensive position. If she stops and cuts the other way. push off the right foot and open up with a drop step or reverse pivot. make sure the first step after it is an explosive one. The only time you should cross your legs is when your player has beaten you and you have to catch up. shift quickly into shuffling. Putting one foot over another is a slower movement that can easily leave you tangled up or off balance. causing her to change direction and go to her left. With this simple reverse pivot.
the defender is guarding her opponent in a staggered stance with the left foot back. If your opponent is quicker than you. and if your arm is up you’re . it discourages passes by filling space in the passing lanes and it leaves you ready to flick away the ball if the defender loses control.Playing Tough Defense 121 Figure 11-2 use the drop step to stay with a dribbler when she changes direction. you’re too far away. When guarding someone within her shooting range. the defender quickly drops the right foot backward (right) to reestablish good position. you should be within an arm’s length of your opponent. This is only a rule of thumb. you must constantly be ready to defend against a shot. Proper hand position is important. because that makes it too hard to move). when the dribbler changes direction. In the first photo (left). not only does it help maintain good balance. your hands are held thumbs up. fingers spread. the higher you should hold one arm (not both. Your goal is to stay well-centered in front of your opponent so the ball is aligned roughly in the middle of your stance. however. lay off her a little further to make it harder for her to beat you. defensive Positioning When your opponent has the ball well outside her scoring range. Do that and you’ll beat her to the spot she wants to reach and make her go the other way. If you can’t touch the opposing player with your arm held out straight. One point about the arms: the closer you are to the basket. As a general rule. a foot or so outside the waist.
Not only does this enable you to shut off the drive. In the diagram. it discourages her from making passes inside the key and it puts you in good position to contest a shot if she tries shooting from the outside. use both hands actively to pressure the shot and to take away the passing lanes. between her and the basket.122 Winning Basketball for Girls in much better position to do so. This also helps keep the ball out of the key by closing off passing lanes. Stay well-centered in front of your opponent. and force her to take a longer—and less threatening—route to where she wants to go. rather than one close to the hoop. Figure 11-3 Effective on-the-ball defense forces your opponent to take a longer route to the basket than she wants to. keeping your opponent away from the Basket The object of good on-the-ball defense is to keep the opponent as far from the basket as possible. . The key to doing this is cutting off her path to the basket. note how X has funneled her opponent away from the basket. You want to force her to take a low-percentage shot (or no shot at all). Once your offensive player picks up the dribble.
She could run over and set a screen away from the ball.” is critical in the transition from playing on the ball to playing off the ball.” retreat Step After your opponent passes the ball. a move known as a retreat step. She could do any number of things to help her team score. Think “ball-you-girl. Look at the accompanying diagrams. Since you’re sagging off. you should lay off her no more than a step. To maintain that desired triangle. This step. The best way to defend a player without the ball is with positioning we call ball-you-man (or girl). You have to keep track of both to play sound defense. is in the passing lane. One. Your exact position depends on where on the court the ball and your opponent are. and your opponent. As a rule. called “jumping to the ball. Thus. your opponent is not as much of a threat to get a pass when the ball is so far away. To stop her. See both. opening up your stance so you can use your peripheral vision to see both ball and man. so you don’t have to be as concerned about that. you must move away from your opponent. thus your positioning changes whenever either the ball or your opponent moves. the ball. This puts you in a position to defend against a cut to the basket. if the ball is only one pass (8 to 10 feet or so) away. She beats her defender and begins driving to the hoop. the closer your player is to the ball. Now let’s say the ball is on the other side of the court. the closer you should be to her. She could suddenly cut to the hoop and get a pass for an easy lay-up. See the Ball You must always know where the ball is when you’re playing defense. with the palm turned outward. Suppose you’re guarding one forward and the other forward has the ball in the corner. you have to keep an eye on her as well as an eye on the ball. the first thing to do is take a big step back in the direction of the pass. Two. you’re close enough to move over . edging toward the ball just a little and holding the arm closest to the ball out so that your hand. Just because she no longer has it doesn’t mean she’s not a threat. as well as to support your teammate in case she needs help. this “sagging off” puts you in a position to help out defensively in another area. Why do you set up farther away when the ball is cross-court? For a couple of reasons.Playing Tough Defense 123 off-The-Ball defenSe Defense isn’t over when your opponent gets rid of the ball. You want to set up so there’s an imaginary triangle between you.
as we call it. players accomplish two important defensive objectives: one. It’s important to remember that defense is a team game. the ball. and that means giving support. they’re able to guard the middle of the court by filling the lane so it’s difficult for the offense to penetrate for high-percentage shots. You wouldn’t be able to do this if you stayed close to your own opponent. position yourself to form an imaginary triangle between you. Proper off-the-ball defense enables you to accomplish both. and your opponent. This allows you to see both your opponent and the ball and to provide support for your teammates. You must always be aware of .124 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 11-4 when playing defense off the ball. By constantly supporting one another. they’re always in position to pick up an opponent threatening to score. or support. and two. This sort of helping out. and pick up the driving player and prevent her from going in uncontested. is a hallmark of a sound defensive team. The farther the ball is from your opponent. the farther you should sag off her. You have to think in terms of your team stopping their team. It doesn’t do your team much good if you shut out your opponent but some other player fires in 35 and you lose.
four defense) are used. Coach Kay Yow at N. State introduced this to me when I played there and I’ve used it ever since. If a player beats her defender and is moving in for an uncontested lay-up. The eight players set up in a box or 2-2 half-court set. or three passes away 125 Figure 11-5 deny your opponent possession when she’s only one pass away from the ball. On the other hand.Playing Tough Defense the most dangerous offensive threat: the player with the ball. Another way to teach or to help you understand off the ball defensive positioning is to use the “shell drill” concept. The three off-the-ball defensive players are either one. keep your arm nearest the ball slightly flexed and positioned so it’s in the passing lane.C. maintain the triangle we discussed by opening your stance and dropping off a couple of steps toward the middle. Be ready to give support at all times. A post can be added later. The ball starts in one offensive player’s hand and the four defensive players adjust their defensive positions to on-the-ball or off-the-ball. when the ball is cross-court. Remember that the closer your opponent is to the ball. and the tighter you must guard her. Good defense requires total effort by all five players. and position yourself so you can see both the ball and your opponent. make sure you keep your knees bent. Make sure when playing off the ball that you always know where both the ball and your opponent are. the greater the chance she will get it. seeing both your player and the ball. eight players (four offense. two. you’ve got to react quickly and get in position to challenge her. Basically. .
. Using the lane as a reference. and X4 is defending o4.126 Winning Basketball for Girls from the ball guarding their offensive players. then you would be in the passing lane. All these off-the-ball positions require the defensive player to know where the ball is. extending their arms in the direction of each. X2 and X3 are defending offensive players who are one pass away from the ball. the defensive players adjust their positions as follows: • One pass away—one step to the ball and one step off the passing lane (the imaginary line which connects the offensive player with the ball to their offensive player). This forces players to open and to close their stance depending on how far Figure 11-6 The shell drill. who is two passes away. where their offensive player is. • Three passes away—both feet in the paint. The best way for players to learn about positioning is to have them point to their player and point to the ball. and where the basket is. and X1 is playing on-theball defense. If your coach teaches you to fully deny. • Two passes away—one foot in the “paint” or the free throw lane. Player o1 has the ball.
and to stop her from going where she wants to go. Ball denial works by discouraging the offense from making the pass. While executing this shell drill. These defensive tasks are known as ball denial and lane denial. As your defense becomes more comfortable. In lane denial. So. 127 Ball denial and lane denial The best way to defend your opponent is not to let her get the ball. hard . it makes every pass impossible except for a lob. With quick actions and reactions and good. Staying in a good. the more important ball denial becomes. Switch the offense and defense. allow only the passer to make cuts and the other offensive players to balance the floor. And when you’re guarding a ball side low post (who usually sets up on or above the block at the side of the free throw lane) and the ball is on the baseline you must keep your entire body in the passing lane. The closer your opponent is to the basket. and as you can see. as shown in Figure 11-7. Once the defense handles the cutters well. Keep the palm turned out so you can deflect the ball if it is passed to your opponent. the passer will probably look for another target. add a post and work on post defense as a part of the shell. Once your team “gets” it. if you’re guarding a player who is working close to the basket. and forcing them to look for another option. you should get help from the weak side—the side of the defense away from the ball. hold the arm that’s closer to the ball away from your body but with the elbow still flexed (if you extend the arm fully you won’t be able to react soon enough when the ball is passed). If that pass is thrown. Teach the positioning a step at a time. set up so your hand is just barely in the passing lane—the imaginary line between the ball and the player you’re guarding.Playing Tough Defense their player is away from the ball. start slow. Why? Because if your opponent gets the ball three feet from the hoop she has a high-percentage shot. This is known as fronting your opponent. To deny your player the ball. three passes away and the stance flattens out. allow all the offensive players to move. you must set up so most of your body (not just your hand) is in the passing lane. as well as several open passing lanes. you’re trying to force your opponent to go where she doesn’t want to go. allowing the offense only the pass while defensive adjustments are made. or opens up. allowing all players to play both. One pass away and the defensive stance should be somewhat closed. You have made the offense look for other options and taken away part of their game plan. When you deny your player the ball in this way. well-balanced defensive stance. which is just what you want.
through is if the ball is lobbed over the we talked about how you want defender’s head. Cut off the shortest route to the ball. . that is. pivoting so you can see the ball as you feel behind you for your cutting opponent. thus forcing your opponent to cut out of the three-second (free throw) lane to a less dangerous part of Figure 11-7 As a general rule. and gradually their whole offensive rhythm gets disrupted. you can take away the lane she wants by beating her to the spot she’s headed for. the defense. execute a drop step. If she does. force her to go high. Another defensive technique the more important it is to deny her would be to keep your closed the ball. that’s exactly what you want to deny. If the ball is high. When they’re unable to go where they want and get the ball where they want. the the court where there is help. many players become frustrated. closer your opponent is to the basket. want. she’ll probably change direction and try cutting behind you. ing lane. to both the ball and the basket. On defense. Never let her have a direct path to the ball. Make the pass as hard as possible to complete. Where should you force her? Away from the ball (notice how everything in defense hinges on your knowing where the ball is). force her to cut low. It’s not easy. to make sharp cuts and take the shortest routes you can. above the foul line. Soon they’re taking poor shots and forcing their passes. but you’ll reap big dividends for your efforts.128 Winning Basketball for Girls defensive shuffling. meaning that she has set over one shoulder to the other to up so that she is entirely in the passsee the ball. Once you’ve cut off her path. If the ball is low. Opening up in this way allows you to continue denying the pass (or if it is thrown. That’s exactly what you. It takes great alertness and a lot of hard work. The only way a pass can get When we looked at offense. to intercept it). Here the defender is fronting defensive stance and look from her opponent.
You can do it by being smart and learning to anticipate when and where a pass might be made. 129 anTiciPaTe Quickness is a tremendous asset on defense. She tries to drive and winds up charging into you. You get the ball. force your opponent away from the ball. Or perhaps you’re guarding a player one pass away from the ball. or in which direction a play is going to be run. During the entire game their point guard has passed the ball to your .Playing Tough Defense Figure 11-8 To deny dangerous lane cuts when you’re on defense. your opponent might cut. when the ball is high (bottom diagram). You’ve anticipated where she’ll go and taken it away from her. moving a half-step to your left to take away her right-hand drive. make the cutter go low. She gets a foul. you overplay her. The next time she gets the ball. but it’s not everything. Say you’ve noticed your opponent has tried driving to the right three straight times early in the game. You can become a first-rate defensive player even if you’re not extremely quick. when the ball is low (top diagram). force the cutter to go high. as shown.
setting a block to free a teammate. occurs when a player plants herself next to a defender. Anticipating her opponent’s cut. moving quickly to recover it and dribbling it downcourt for an easy lay-up. making steals adds to the excitement of playing tough D. the defender reacts quickly and moves so that she doesn’t get rubbed off by the screen. Usually she’ll say. This is done by the player guarding the opponent who is setting the screen. you’ll remember. . opponent from the same spot. So you cheat a little. you uncoil from your stance and pick the ball off by deflecting it with your hand (which you’ve got in the passing lane. the defense. “Pick left” or “Screen right. defendinG ScreenS A screen. As the ball is passed. do? The first step is to make sure the pick is called out. with the palm out—just for this purpose).130 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 11-9 The screen is set. you edge forward to cover more of the passing lane. What do you. A good offensive team will set dozens of screens in a game. but the defender does a good job of fighting over the top. It’s always fun to gamble on defense. Knowing your opponent is a good bet to get the ball.” and this will alert you that the other team is trying to screen you. The steal is possible because you correctly anticipated where and when the pass would be thrown.
you will be able to “fight over” the pick. shuffle with your player as she moves toward the pick. “slide through” the pick by slipping behind it and moving laterally to guard your opponent when she gets to the other side of it. she probably will get a fairly open shot at the basket. the defender guarding the screen must allow space for you to get through. 131 Figure 11-10 when you can’t fight over a screen. . But better to concede that than to get bumped off by the screen and have your player receive a pass for a lay-up or short jumper. giving you a chance to slide through and cover her again before she can get free. If your opponent stops directly behind the screen. If you can’t fight over (sometimes it’s impossible if the cutter moves very close to the pick).” a move in which you and your teammate guarding the screen change assignments: She picks up your player after you’ve been screened off and you pick up the screener. The defender slides through between the screen and her defensive teammate. Reacting as soon as the pick is called. staying low and well balanced. maintaining a position between your opponent and the screen. To have room to do this.” This causes the offensive player to hesitate.Playing Tough Defense Ideally. Fight your way over it by picking your lead foot up and clearing the screener. who gives her enough space to slide through. She also should step into the path of the cutter to slow her down—a move known as “exposing” or “hedging. If you’re unable to fight over or slide through. your last option against the screen is to “switch. slide through it.
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It’s best to stay with your opponent by fighting over or sliding through a screen. Switching should be the last option, since it often leads to defensive mismatches. If you’re a 5-foot-4 guard who is screened by a 6foot center, and your center switches, you end up guarding a player eight inches taller than you, which a smart opponent will take advantage of. Of course, switching is better than letting your player go in for an easy lay-up, but the best defense is to react early, work hard and fight your way over the top or slide through between the screen and your teammate guarding her. Defending on ball screens requires the same communication and aggressiveness as defending off the ball screens. Many teams may jump or trap on ball screens, making it difficult for the offensive player to get open and taking away her pass to the screener who rolls or pops.
GuardinG aGainST The roll
When you’re the one guarding the screen, you must also be ready to defend the screener when she rolls after the cutter has used her. If she rolls to the basket, react quickly and stay with her, pivoting so you never lose sight of the ball. Move quickly so you can get a hand in the passing lane by fighting to stay between your opponent and the ball.
hinTS for BeTTer defenSe
• Know your opponent. Look for tendencies, habits, and weaknesses in her style of play, and try to make her change her game. If she drives only to the left, make her go right. If she only likes to drive, lay off her a couple of feet and make her shoot from the outside. The more you force her to do things she’s not comfortable with, the better the chance she’ll get off her game. • Don’t reach in. It’s very tempting to stick out your arm and try to take the ball away. It’s also bad defense, because the reach-in foul is probably the most frequent infraction whistled by officials. Reaching in is lazy and leaves you overextended and off balance—ready to be exploited by a smart opponent. • Move your feet and stop your opponent by forcing her away from the basket. Defensive positioning is important. Force your player to the sideline and work to keep her out of the paint (free throw lane). Be aggressive. Keep your hands out and flick the ball upward. Again, don’t reach or slap at the ball. Even if you don’t foul, it’ll look as though you did and will put you in poor defensive position besides.
Playing Tough Defense
• Shut off the baseline. When we looked at offense, we said you should take the baseline every time the defense gives it to you. On defense you want to deny it to your opponent for the same reasons: A player driving the baseline usually leads to a lay-up and/or a foul. When you’re near that part of the court, overplay toward the baseline so your opponent won’t have that option. • Watch the midsection. A good offensive player will try to fake you with her foot, head, shoulder, the ball, you name it. But she can’t fake you with her stomach. Wherever it goes, she’ll go. Don’t fall for all the fakes and pumps; zero in your attention on the middle of the body and you won’t be fooled. • Put your hands up in close. It’s okay to play your opponent with your hands relatively low (outside your waist, as we discussed) when you’re far from the basket. But when you’re within her shooting range, say 15 feet or closer, keep at least one hand at shoulder height. That way, if she attempts a shot you’ll be able to distract her. Remember to keep the elbow bent. This allows for quick reaction when a shot does go up, and it also can fool an opponent into thinking she has room to shoot by concealing a few inches of your reach. Fully extended, you may block the shot she thought she could get over you. If your elbow’s locked, however, you won’t be able to move your arm quickly enough to distract her. • Know the difference between a smart foul and a dumb one. A smart foul is when the score is close and an opponent is going up for a layup and you’re the only one who can stop her. If you foul her, so what? She gets two free throws, but chances are she would’ve had a sure two points anyway if you’d just let her go. A dumb foul is a reach-in, a needless bump, pushing off an opponent with your hand instead of moving your feet, or fouling a shooter who is taking a low-percentage shot. • Be aggressive, not reckless. A good defensive team really comes after the offense, guarding them tightly, playing the passing lanes, looking for steals. Work hard, concede nothing, play with aggressiveness, but make it controlled aggressiveness. You get only five fouls per game. You can’t afford picking up stupid ones by being overly physical. I’ve seen lots of players who hustle relentlessly but spend a good part of their time on the bench simply because they don’t know the difference between playing hard and playing recklessly. • Don’t leave the ground until the ball is in the air. If you’re continually jumping up and down, you’re not playing good defense. Every moment you’re off the ground is a moment for your opponent to get around you. Stay grounded, where you can stick right with her, and don’t leap until you’re sure she’s going up with the ball.
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• Use the drop step to change directions so you can stick with your opponent when she makes sharp cuts. • When the dribble stops, swarm. If your opponent gives up the dribble, you should be all over her. She can’t drive around you since she’s already used her dribble. Get your hands up and active, making it difficult for her to see. Let your teammates know to deny the passing lanes by calling “Dead” or “Used.” Take away space to prevent her from making an easy pass or taking an easy shot. • Talk. Good defensive teams communicate constantly. They’ll say, “Help” if their player gets by them; “Shot” when the ball is headed for the Figure 11-11 defending against a hoop; “Watch baseline” if they shot. The defender has her hand up, think the opponent is going to ready to contest a shot. note how the make a move there; or “Pick arm is almost straight up, not into the left” or “Pick right” when a shooter. screen is being set. It keeps everyone alert and makes for quick adjustments when the opponent is threatening. • Block, don’t swat. When you go up to defend a shot, hold your arm almost straight overhead as high as you can, and simply try to distract the shooter. That’s all it takes to make the shot miss. Don’t swat at the ball and swing your arm forward into the shooter. You may get the ball; you will also get a foul. • Know where you are on the floor. If you’re guarding a dribbler high (above the foul line), force her away from the middle so she must take the long way to the basket. If you’re near the baseline, seal it off and make her go another way. Always try to deny the offense the most direct route to the basket. If you’re playing off the ball close in, be ready to deny the ball by keeping part or all of your body in the passing lane. Force cutters to move away from the ball. Keep a hand up if your opponent has the ball within her shooting range. Know at all times where the ball is and where your opponent is.
or more. but it’s fun to play that way. They become tentative—and less effective. You get them flustered by preventing them from doing what they want the way they want. and they get tired mentally of having a hand in their face all game long. Defense keeps you in every game. pass. Fueled by your success in shutting down an opponent. Take pride in your defense. By working hard. than good offense does. Stopping another team from scoring gives you tremendous satisfaction. and it wins a lot of games. and that’s a great guarantee to have. Perhaps most important of all. Defense may not get acknowledged or applauded nearly enough. A top scorer always will draw more raves than a top defensive player. Good D is hard work. I’d say that’s a good return for your effort. run the offense—play the whole game with sharper concentration and better execution. It’s also fun. generating momentum for your offense. And as we’ve seen. You disrupt their offensive rhythm. . I’ll go with the team that plays the tougher defense every time. They get tired physically from having to work so hard for their points. It can provide a big lift. you tend to rebound. But good defense wins as many games. And you gradually wear them down. Good defense breeds other good things. It carries over into other phases of the game. they begin to have doubts about whether they can score on you.Playing Tough Defense 135 a final Word Defense isn’t glamorous. You get pumped up. you can never tell when your shooting touch may take the night off. It gets you in the flow of the game. and you know your efforts have paid off in a big way. you make the other team earn every point. In the final minutes of a close game.
The better job you do at defensive rebounding. Now let’s say you crash the offensive boards. Defensive rebounds result when your opponents miss a shot. because shots off rebounds are higher-percentage shots since they come from close in). There are two kinds of rebounds. If you take 36 shots in a game. If you shoot at the same 50-percent rate (and you’d probably shoot better. Say your team sinks 50 percent of its shots from the field. They need the ball to score and you’re reducing their time of possession. 136 . the better job you do at offensive rebounding. and get an extra 12 shots—totaling 48 for the game. offensive rebounds when your own team misses. or 36 points. offensive and defensive.12 Under the Boards—How to Get Rebounds “A great rebounder has one desire—get the ball. the more shots you have—and the more chances to score. that comes to 18 baskets. On the other side. the fewer shots the opponents get—and the fewer their opportunities to score. Fact: The team that grabs most of those misses—known as rebounds— will usually win. That 12-point increase could well mean the difference between victory and defeat. Gernatt Women’s Assistant Basketball Coach Fact: Most shots in a basketball game are missed. A great rebounder has one thought—every shot is a pass to me! A great rebounder is a must for any successful team!” —Theresa A. your point total is up to 48 points.
and that means they work harder to get it. there are few moments on the court that compare to the feeling of pulling down a rebound with authority. and positioning will help overcome physical limitations. and makes you feel as though you’re really a force on the court. A former player of mine at Manhattan College. this maneuver involves using your body to keep your opponent behind you so you’ll have the all-important inside position for the rebound. 137 Who WanTS iT? Good rebounders usually are tall. is a great example of how far desire goes under the boards. defenSive reBoundinG The easiest way to lose a game is to allow your opponents two or three shots at the hoop each time they move down the floor. It’s very tempting when you see a shot go up to forget about your opponent and simply go for the ball. don’t let the other player out-hustle you to the ball. They want the ball more than anyone else. If you don’t box out your opponent she has a chance to slip inside you and get first try at the ball. Everyone’s going for the ball. They are always players with desire. anticipation.Under the Boards—How to Get Rebounds Not only is rebounding a vital strategic element of the game. Sheila Tighe. Once you have inside position. it’s also fun. Sooner or later it’ll cost you. and GO GET THE BALL! keeping your opponent away When your opponent takes a shot. the first thing you should do is yell. if you’re 5-foot-1 you’re just not going to get it very often. Resist the temptation if you really want the rebound. At 5-foot-9. Sound work on the defensive boards is the only way to stop that from happening. Obviously certain physical limitations come into play here. No matter how much you want the ball. Sheila went up against a lot of taller players and better leapers. The key to defensive rebounding is boxing out. even if you’re just an average-sized player or only a fair jumper. “Shot!” This alerts everyone on your team that it’s time to box out. but you go up and claim it for yourself. Desire. Often they are fine jumpers. Release the box out. Also called blocking out or screening out. It gives you a sense of power and control. The important thing to remember is that you can be a good rebounder if you really want to be. But she always went to the boards hard—and always got more than her share of rebounds. For me. Once .
she’s doing you a big favor.) Use the “arm bar” to gauge movement and to slow her down. Then all you have to do is initiate contact. both to improve your balance and to obstruct her path to the basket. elbows wide. Your rear end should be down and your knees should be flexed so you’re prepared to jump when the ball comes off the boards. (If she’s not moving. Keep a wide base. As the offensive player makes a move to the basket (left). Always box out on defense. check your opponent to see which way she’s moving. ready to gain possession. Figure 12-1 Boxing out.138 Winning Basketball for Girls the shot is taken. execute a reverse pivot: leading with your backside. and keep your elbows well away from your body and your hands up in a “goal-post” position. use your left foot as a pivot and bring your right foot around so you wind up squarely in her path and facing the basket. Pivot chest first. Then go get the ball! . forward pivot with your right foot as the pivot. stepping directly into her path to keep her away from the basket (right). For the best position. bringing your left foot around in the same way. and get into rebounding position. If she’s cutting to your right. Maintain contact with your opponent as soon as you box her out so you keep track of where she is and maintain the inside position. If she’s cutting to your left. the defender establishes contact by using her forearm and makes a forward pivot. so you’re facing the basket and your opponent is behind you. move your feet at least a foot wider than your shoulders. pivot.
bringing it in toward your chin with both hands. Maintain a wide base and keep your knees flexed. take a hard dribble or two toward the sideline—a term we call “dribble bust-out”—and someone should move quickly into a safe passing range and angle. Timing is critical in rebounding. Explode upward from your coiled stance with a forceful push from the balls of your feet and extend your arms to their fullest. and look to make an outlet pass to a teammate in the flat—the area between the free throw line. Now that you’ve done the hard part and pulled in the rebound. taking up as much space as you can with a low. shuffling with short. Just be sure not to swing your elbows. Come down with your legs apart (it will give you more floor space once you’re down) and land on the balls of your feet with your body well balanced. Jump a second early or late and you’re not going to get the ball. Rushing the release of the ball is asking for a turnover. once you’ve delayed your opponent. As the ball descends. 139 The right Way to rebound Okay. go to the ball.Under the Boards—How to Get Rebounds If she’s a determined offensive rebounder. So you have to “feel” for her with your upper arms. Beat your opponent there. Stay on the balls of your feet and keep your feet moving. you’ve done a good job boxing out. back. choppy steps to cut her off whichever way she’s moving. you’re right. don’t panic. Don’t let her. When they’re already in motion it’s easier to get them off the floor quickly. it gives you the advantage to beat her to the ball. Grab the ball with authority. usually you have to maintain the inside position for only a few seconds before the ball is in someone’s possession. wide stance and with your elbows up and out. Avoid passing to the middle or across the court. even if they remain in more or less the same spot. Keep your feet moving to keep her behind you and away from the basket. That means you must be poised to jump the moment it comes off the rim. If you can delay your opponent for even an instant. If a teammate isn’t there. You’ve staked out your inside position. that’s a flagrant foul that could cause a serious injury. extended. and backside. Now it’s time to go and get the basketball. Pivot away from the basket. and the baseline. You can’t see exactly where she’s going because she is behind you and you’re now looking for the ball coming off the rim. she’ll continue trying to get past you. The ball rarely just falls into your hands. where it’s both congested and dangerous. Hold the ball tightly and keep your elbows out to discourage anyone from stealing it. You’ve established contact with your opponent and you’re ready to react. If all this sounds like hard work. these passes won’t get past an . time your jump so you’ll get to it at your highest jump level. Again. But it doesn’t last long.
She goes up strongly for the ball. Her knees are flexed. then pivots to the outside to throw an outlet pass (top of next page). She brings it down.140 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 12-2 Pulling down a rebound. The rebounder is in good position (top left). waiting for the ball to come off. reaching high and extending her body to its fullest (top right). and her hands are up. . she’s well balanced. holding it firmly with her elbows out slightly for protection (bottom left).
Under the Boards—How to Get Rebounds 141 alert defender. The flats. take a hard dribble toward the sideline until the person receiving the outlet is in a position to pass to. Figure 12-3 thrown. shown by the shading. You shouldn’t need more than one or two bounces to reach a safe area. Again. are where the outlet passes usually are .
Who doesn’t like an easy two? To be an effective offensive rebounder. If you do get boxed out. Anticipate when a shot will be released. and even if you don’t succeed in getting the inside position. Suppose your team’s best shooter has the ball and is wide open from 15 feet out. Go hard to the boards every time. and if you keep at it you’re going to get the ball a good share of the time. if you or your team doesn’t get the rebound. try to tip it in the air. If you don’t. transition to defense. only to have you sneak in. try to get around her. If that’s the case. and two. Be relentless. box out and get into proper rebounding stance on every shot. grab an offensive rebound and make an easy basket. Contest every rebound. you can sneak inside before she has a chance to box you out. you’re usually no more than a foot or two from the hoop. Make a sharp. but moving will. all your activity may distract your opponent enough to allow one of your teammates to get the ball. One. By getting a split-second jump on the defender. you’re farther from the basket. hinTS for Good reBoundinG • Assume that every shot is going to miss. On defense. forcing a missed shot. Lay-up country. Keep moving in any case. Aggressive offensive rebounding puts constant pressure on the defense. direct cut (if it’s available) to the basket. then another. Sometimes you may be able to touch the ball. then change direction and go to the left. Roll off her when she blocks you out. for two reasons. that way you know when to go to the boards. When you get the ball on a rebound. Watching won’t get you any rebounds. Don’t go over the back or reach in once your opponents gain possession. at least get beside her. you have to get around your opponent to get the inside position (whereas a defender usually has it). don’t get caught watching the flight of the ball. Keep it alive—and away from your opponent. Cut one way. Know your teammates and when and where each likes to shoot. On . and you’ve got to do it the moment you see that a shot is going up. you’ve got to go hard to the boards every time. Offensive rebounding is even harder. but not grab it with both hands. Once you work as hard as possible on the offensive boards. Fake that you’re trying to beat her to the right.142 Winning Basketball for Girls offenSive reBoundinG Defensive rebounding is hard work. If you can’t get inside your defender. But hitting the offensive boards is worth it for one very big reason. you’ll lose a few vital moments that may mean not getting the rebound. You know the ball’s going up so you go to the basket right away. She who hesitates is lost. Nothing demoralizes the opposition quite like playing good defense.
the rebound is going to be someone else’s. Defensive rebounding. What is that? Many players think it’s right under the basket. right. or if you’re not in a well-coiled stance. but if you get caught directly beneath the basket. 143 • • • • • • • • . Much better to move into prime rebounding position. Optimum position is about three to four feet—a giant step—away from the basket. Somebody once said that basketball is a non-contact sport. where the ball usually comes off. Watching can cost you that extra step which. Don’t watch the flight of the ball. the shooter is aiming in the direction of the goal. It does no good for two of you to be standing right on top of each other while another area is wide open. and go after it from there. Jump! If you’re flat-footed when the ball goes up. because it could well be her player who gets the ball. Be aggressive when you’re rebounding. to spring toward the ball with a powerful upward thrust. I promise.” which gives a team optimal position. Be aggressive. Don’t get too far underneath the basket. Defense isn’t over until your team has possession of the ball. Not true. Body contact is a part of the game under the boards. That somebody was wrong. You must be ready to jump. go to the boards until you see the ball go in or until the other team gets it. and middle—covered. We just talked about prime rebounding position. It’s a common mistake to follow the ball and hope it comes to where you’re standing. chances are very good it’ll come off to the right. Being three feet out is better than being 13 feet out. If three people work hard and box out properly. I guarantee you). and grab it with authority. When you’re going for a defensive rebound. the better the position. A valuable statistic to keep in mind: The ball rebounds to the opposite side of the basket more than 75 percent of the time. Thus if a shot is taken to the left of the lane. you’re not going to grab anything but the ball as it falls through the net. Don’t worry about making incidental contact with other players.Under the Boards—How to Get Rebounds offense. again. These three positions make up a “rebounding triangle. it won’t do the team much good if a fourth doesn’t. Unaccountably. figuring the closer you are. A good offensive rebounding team will destroy them. try to coordinate with your teammates so you’ve got the three prime areas around the basket—left. is a team responsibility. some teams seem to relax as soon as they see a shot missed (those are bad rebounding teams. could well be the difference between getting the ball and not getting it. especially. Go after the ball hard. Nobody can afford to take a holiday on the defensive boards.
which occurs when a player on the outside climbs on the back of the player in front of her. . • Keep your hands up and elbows out. but it’s effort well spent and it’s so much fun! reBoundinG drillS Box-Out A coach or player takes a 15. Jump up. Go up straight for the ball. hold the ball firmly and keep it moving close to your body. A shot is taken. Along with the reach-in foul. a favorite call among officials seems to be “over the top. They refuse to give up. Do anything you can to prevent the other team from securing possession. Three players take rebounding positions near the basket. Animal Drill A great way to work on rebounding aggressively and going up with power. if you can’t grab it. Great rebounders are relentless. If you’re too closely guarded to get off a good shot. go right back up with it—and go up strong.144 Winning Basketball for Girls • Don’t climb over anyone’s back. wait for them to begin coming down. it’s crowded and physical in there. Sure. if possible. tip it. • On the offensive boards. and you shouldn’t have any problem with the whistle-blowers. then go up for the shot. Good rebounding requires a lot of hard work. They’re constantly on the move. but you lose a big advantage if you take your rebound and dribble or pass out from the basket. since a dribble is likely to get deflected or stolen. not forward. They go to the boards every chance they get. • Stay with it. If the ball stays alive long enough. • When you get an offensive rebound.” a pushing foul. who are trying for the offensive rebound. pretending you’re going up for the shot. give a quick. • If you’ve pulled down a defensive rebound and don’t have a ready outlet pass. taking up as much space as possible. upward fake with your head and shoulders.to 20-foot shot while two or three (or even one) defenders turn and box out their opponents. Extend fully as you go after the ball. You stand a good chance of making an easy basket. The best way to stop the opposition from tying you up is by keeping the ball active. maybe one of your teammates will be the one to pull it out of the air and put it in. and a great chance of drawing a foul and possibly getting a three-point play. The defense has to get the rebound on three consecutive shots before the offense and defense switch. Put the ball right back up— and do it without dribbling. When the defenders go for the fake and leave the ground.
The pattern continues until each player has pulled down 10 rebounds. who breaks to the flat for the outlet pass. rebounds and makes the outlet to o3. . Play continues until someone puts in a rebound. makes an outlet to o2. then O1 dribbles in and tosses the ball way up on the board Figure 12-4 Three-way rebounding drill. tosses it up. Little bumps are allowed. tosses it up and rebounds in similar fashion. She turns to the outside and passes to Player O1. o3 follows her pass. O3 follows her pass. o2 dribbles in to the left side. gets her own rebound and snaps off an outlet pass to o1. o3 tosses the ball up on the board. only two dribbles are allowed. and o1 dribbles in to the right side of the lane. The girl with the ball must go straight up with it. 145 Three-Way Drill Player O3 tosses the ball high off the left side of the backboard (an intentional miss) and pulls down the rebound herself. Then bring the ball back out to the shooter and repeat the drill. playing until one player has five baskets. then follows her pass.Under the Boards—How to Get Rebounds and it’s every girl for herself. The two who do not get it immediately turn and must defend the player who did. and each player goes for the ball.
on the right side. You’re constantly going to be on the move. But technique alone will not get you the ball. and passes to Player O2 . coupled with the fundamentals we’ve looked at in this chapter. . but because she didn’t have the takecharge. Not because she did anything fundamentally wrong. you’re just going to have to go after it harder than anybody else. You have to want it. and extending your body as high as you can as you forcefully grab the rebound out of the air with both hands. the whole bit. and you have to go and get it. It’s competitive under there. jumping with power. This isn’t to say that the techniques and hints we’ve looked at are not important. But you know what? She wasn’t a great rebounder. they’re absolutely essential. a lot of people want that ball. that you won’t allow them to relax. and rebounding was no exception. She protected the ball well. this-ball-is-mine mentality that is the hallmark of a really good rebounder. gets the rebound. She boxed out effectively. Let the opposition know you’re going to fight for every single board. Run it through so each player gets 10 rebounds. who follows the same pattern. With this sort of attitude.146 Winning Basketball for Girls as O3 did. Let them know you’re not going to quit. low position. kept a good. made good outlet passes—everything was fundamentally sound. Work on planting yourself. you’ll be a rebounder to reckon with. and if it’s going to be yours. a final Word I once coached a player who always worked hard to do things the right way.
a zone defense quite often as you get involved in organized basketball. you sag in toward the lane to make it more difficult for the offense to penetrate the zone and to guard against players cutting into the lane to receive a pass. There are many different kinds of zones and an equal number of ways to attack them. 147 . enabling the defense to stop the players who are the most threatening at that moment. your assignment is not one player but a particular area (or zone) of the court. In a zone defense. When that player cuts to another part of the court. let’s look at how zones work and how to play them defensively—and attack them offensively—for best results. of course. whom you defend wherever she goes (and. your responsibility is to guard a specific player. The zone shifts as the ball moves from one area to another. You must guard any player who moves into the zone you’re responsible for. someone else must pick her up. to provide support to your teammates if they need it).All about Zones “The best man defense looks like a zone and the best zone looks like a man. Getting into the strategic specifics of each is not our concern here. WhaT iS a zone? In a man-to-man defense. when the ball isn’t in your area. As a rule. or play against.” —Mike Pendley 13 Chances are good you will play. Rather.
The less the zone has to worry about the outside shot. Why Play a zone? A zone defense offers several advantages. the more it can stay in tight and virtually shut off the area closer to the basket. That’s why a coach frequently will go to Figure 13-1 Three common zone defenses: the 2-1-2. Often a team must work the ball around to get a good shot against a zone. By packing five players in and around the free throw lane. Say you’re playing against a team with a high-scoring center. and the 2-3. 1-3-1. the zone can present huge problems for it. If the offensive team lacks discipline and doesn’t take the time to move the ball. In a zone. a defensive team makes it very difficult for the offense to penetrate for high-percentage shots. where the defensive responsibility isn’t on a single player. a coach may go to a tight 2–3 zone. • It can keep players out of foul trouble. if she does get it. Other advantages of a zone are: • It works well against an impatient team. Foremost is that it can be a good way to stop an opponent’s inside game. and three across the bottom of the key as seen in Figure 13-1. a defender isn’t as likely to incur that problem. which would position two players at the free throw line.148 Winning Basketball for Girls If a player can play good man or team defense then zones will feel natural because the same rules of on.and off-the-ball defense apply. Zones are especially effective against teams with poor outside shooters. The defense would collapse into the middle either to prevent the dangerous center from getting the ball or. . to make it as difficult as possible for her to score or make a threatening pass. To try to stop her. Consistently playing manto-man often results in a lot of personal fouls.
Sometimes you’ll see games where a coach opens up in a zone defense to challenge the opponent to shoot from the outside.” where it’s uncertain who has the defensive responsibility. because players are responsible for an area and not a single opponent. A zone generally will not be useful against a good passing team. which helps reduce fatigue. The inside areas that were so packed with defenders before become easier to penetrate by the offense. but most teams will be vulnerable in these areas. It can “hide” a weak defensive player. It can help a team establish good rebounding position. A skillful. it’s very difficult for the zone to shift quickly enough to stay well positioned. Because they remain in those areas there’s never a chance that one of your team’s main rebounders might be 20 feet from the basket. patient offensive team can simply work the ball around until the zone begins breaking down as players get tired or lose concentration. for instance. and her teammates can help her out more readily. A zone defense is a good defense to use when a team is flat out quicker and more athletic than yours. Usually a few quick passes around the perimeter are all that’s necessary to get an open jumper. there will be in-between areas.All about Zones a zone if a key player picks up a couple of quick fouls or is in danger of fouling out of the game. the triangle position we spoke of earlier. one that moves the ball quickly around the court. her weaknesses are not quite so glaring because she’s guarding an area of the court. A team that hits those shots forces the zone to come farther out. But when that defender is part of a zone. or “seams. If the team can’t make the perimeter shots the coach will stay with the . aggressive shifts. It can simply continue to pass the ball to the player being guarded by the weak defender. three players. A zone defense does not require as much movement. 149 • • • • diSadvanTaGeS of zone defenSeS There are also inherent weaknesses in zones. Against this sort of ball movement. Thus the opponents cannot take advantage of her in the same way. In the 2–3. already are stationed in good rebounding position. when in their normal defensive areas. The main one is that. but any zone set-up will be burned by a team of good outside shooters. as there is when she’s guarding someone man-to-man. A weak defensive link is very easy for a good offensive team to exploit in a man-to-man defense. Different zones have different weaknesses. First-rate zone defenses can counteract this problem with quick.
Zones constantly are shifting as the offense moves the ball. Stay low with your knees flexed and move quickly with short.150 Winning Basketball for Girls Figure 13-2 Each player has an area of responsibility in a zone defense. called the seams. usually the coach will abandon the zone and go to a man-to-man. This way you’ll be ready to stop the opposing team even if they try to fast-break. are where the zone is weakest and where the zone should be attacked. But if the opponent is accurate from outside. The areas between the defenders. choppy steps. Zones are weakened if every player doesn’t hustle into her defensive position.” “Coming your away. which will put more pressure on the shooters. All the principles we discussed in our chapter on defense still apply when you’re playing a zone. “I got her. zone. but probably most of all in a zone. You must keep moving. Keep your arms up to make it harder for the offense to penetrate and to see the passing lanes. • Some players play a zone as though it relieves them of all defensive responsibility. • Talk! Communication is vital to any defensive scheme.” “Pick her up. . and if you’re standing up straight you won’t be able to move as effectively. Always know where the ball is. ThinGS To keeP in mind When PlayinG in a zone Here are some important points to remember when playing in a zone defense: • Get back on defense and set up the zone quickly.” “Watch the cutter” are common ways of helping one another out. Keep talking to avoid confusion about defensive assignments.
Lane denial is as important in zones as it is in a man-to-man defense. Often the offense against your zone will send cutters through the middle. Try to slow them down by stepping 151 Figure 13-3 An example of how a 2-1-2 zone shifts when the ball moves. “pinch in” down low and tighten the zone to cut off easy passing lanes. This will help cover your area and reduce her passing options while still keeping the zone tight. your teammates might compensate by shifting a step toward you. is setting up in your part of the zone. • “Bump” all the cutters. a great outside shooter. making it difficult for her to get the ball anywhere near her shooting range. • Be aware of the offense’s habits and which players are the greatest scoring threats. Boxing out is just as important in a zone as in a man-to-man defense. Don’t let the ball get in the middle of the zone. You may play her in a denial defense. players X1 and X3 move outward to put more pressure on the ball. That’s where you’re most vulnerable because once an opponent gets the ball in there she’ll have a good chance for a high-percentage shot or have several open passing lanes to teammates. with the ball on the wing. . Suppose the opponent’s high-scorer. You’ll want to put extra pressure on her so she won’t get a high-percentage shot. while players away from the ball. because an offensive player is liable to slip into an inside position. • Keep the opponents off the boards. sag into the middle to keep the zone tight. notice how.All about Zones • Keep moving and play aggressively so the ball stays on the perimeter. With you playing farther out from your usual zone position. particularly X4. If the ball does get in the key. You can’t just turn and go for the rebound. Block out any opponent in your area before you go for the rebound.
where the zone is most vulnerable. Dribbling slows down ball movement. push the ball upcourt quickly. if it’s high. but even if you can’t go all the way to the basket. A good way to attack a zone is to do so before it gets set up. To reverse the zone. depending on where the ball is. penetrate. Reverse the ball from strong side to weak side. That way they’re always forced away from the ball—where it’s harder for them to receive it. If the ball is low. make them go low. making it easier for the zone to defend you. They can stay in the free throw lane for only three seconds. but especially when you’re in the lane—where you’re surrounded by defenders and the ball is easy to steal. or pass the ball inside. and should be successful against the zone. you’ll get high-percentage shots. • Don’t dribble unless it’s necessary. This rule applies all the time. Be patient. • Try to penetrate the middle. and the result will be better opportunities to shoot. Make them work to keep up with you. That’s playing into the zone’s hands. Don’t pass the ball once or twice and throw up a low-percentage outside shot. Work the ball around from side to side. Try to get the ball into the high post. ThinGS To keeP in mind When PlayinG offenSe aGainST a zone • Play up-tempo basketball. Probe for defensive weaknesses—players who are out of position or making improper shifts. • Reverse the zone. For instance. Fast-break if you have the chance. or need to get away from pressure. force them to go high. If you get the ball inside consistently. This means passing the ball in one direction. the wing might skip over the guard and throw an overhead pass to the opposite forward. forcing them either low (toward the baseline) or high (above the free throw line). • Keep the ball moving. Look for teammates cutting through the zone. Either way.152 Winning Basketball for Girls into their path. so you only have to bump them for a moment to disrupt their cut—and the flow of the offense. the left wing passes back to the point. As another option. this simple reversal frequently will catch the defense in transition and lead to . Before long you’ll see the zone isn’t moving as well. Keep the ball off the floor unless you’re driving to the basket. then quickly reversing the flow and going back the other way. who moves it quickly to the right wing. improving a passing angle. suppose the point guard passes to the left wing and the zone shifts over in that direction.
A skip pass in an overhead pass that’s thrown to a teammate two or more players away. It can make the entire defense overextend in the wrong direction. you move the ball so quickly that the defense can’t shift fast enough to stay in good position. By skip passing to either o2 or o4. particularly if the defense tends to overplay the ball. Make the defense respect all your options. o3 has the ball. then a quick pass to the left can have the same effect as reversing the zone. In the diagram. the skip pass probably will be open. By skipping over the teammate closest to you. . If the defense shifts a lot and overplays the ball. o3 may catch the defense in transition and create an opportunity for an open shot. Ball fakes are a good way to create weaknesses in the zone. • Look for the skip pass. particularly an aggressive one that is playing the passing lanes.All about Zones a wide-open shot. A good fake to the right. 153 Figure 13-4 The skip pass is an overhead pass made to a teammate two or more regular passes away from the ball. • Always face the basket and get into triple-threat position when you receive the ball. • Fake and pass.
play the passing lanes. and penetrating opportunities you are looking for. Reverse the zone. Gradually the zone coverage will break down. The better the ball movement.154 Winning Basketball for Girls • Stay composed. your top priority is to keep the zone tight and the middle wellguarded so you take away the opponent’s inside game. make them play you right off the bat. passing. . and keep the defense occupied with lots of sharp passes and cuts. a final Word The middle area is the key to a zone defense. Bump and slow down cutters through the zone away from the ball so they can’t hurt you inside. If you’re starting the offense. giving you a good opportunity to penetrate the middle of the zone. Stay alert. you often make the opposing team impatient and frustrated. because it’ll open up the passing lanes to begin your offense. • Use screens when playing against zone defenses. Force them to beat you from outside. and the result is that they’ll take a low-percentage shot or try to force the ball inside. Keep the ball moving. Work the ball around. throw crisp passes. otherwise the zone can stay tight. The idea is to challenge them. Screens set to free a teammate can be very effective in creating openings. and guard your four remaining players with its five players. the better the chance the zone will become overextended or out of position. • Always look to attack the seams of the zone. and the result will be the shooting. constantly looking for openings in the middle. Be patient. those in-between areas where it’s uncertain whose territory it is to cover. By moving well and keeping the zone tight. • The point guard who initiates the offense must force the defense to actively play her. Good ball movement often will create openings at the seams. look for the open player. often leading to a turnover. They can’t shift as fast as you can pass. you don’t want to fall victim to such impatience. then pass the ball off. When your team is using the zone. dribble toward the defense until they play you. and avoid unnecessary dribbling. Always remember: Good ball movement is the key to beating the zone. keep going to the basket or pull up for a short jumper. If the defense doesn’t pick you up. Move the ball. When you’re playing against a zone. Many teams lose because they shoot too quickly against a zone defense.
direct cut would be much more effective? Why make a bunch of halfhearted fakes when trying to get in for an offensive rebound. Concentrate on mastering the fundamentals. which is why I’ve stressed the importance of eliminating wasted motion from your game. looping path to the basket when a simple. Execute them with the proper technique. Some of the things we’ve talked about are complicated. who work on playing the game soundly and simply. when one sharp change of direction probably would do the trick? Why shoot with your elbow out from your body and compensate for it by spinning the ball from the side? Some players succeed with unorthodox shooting styles. Simplicity breeds consistency. knee. Keeping it simple will make your basketball more fun 155 . and hip as we discussed and release the ball directly toward the basket with a nice. It only complicates things. straight backspin.Parting Thoughts “Keep it simple—when you get too complex. Keep your elbow in line with the foot.” —Al McGuire. you forget the obvious. The best way is the simplest way. Keep it simple. Former Marquette Men’s Basketball Coach 14 keePinG iT SimPle We’ve talked a lot of basketball in this book. but they’re the exceptions. but if there’s just one more piece of advice I’d like to send you away with it’s this: Keep it simple. But the players who perform the best—and improve the fastest—are the ones who stick to the basics. Why take a long.
suggestions. Even the most spectacular plays are just extensions of the game’s fundamentals. Not everybody is cut out to be an all-American. and most teams carry at least 10 or 12. and go out the next day with a clear head so you can focus all your mental and physical energy on getting back on track. and give you a firm foundation for improvement. and if you keep that in mind they’ll be easier to handle when they come. Here are some other thoughts. When things aren’t going well. but don’t get down because you don’t attain it. The result is that often there isn’t enough playing time to keep everybody . You will. a bad habit that is tough to break later. GivinG iT your BeST Playing basketball has given me personal satisfaction as well as many great experiences. Sometimes you’ll feel as though you’re not measuring up to the challenge the way you want to. the best thing you can do is to learn from it. and not everybody wants to be. too. and let me travel extensively and write this book. Try your best and work your hardest. but you can’t worry about yesterday’s missed shot or fumbled pass. I recommend that you use a small ball—even smaller than the girl’s 28½-inch diameter ball if possible. make the time you put into basketball quality time. Your level of commitment to the game is up to you. Good niGhTS and Bad The best pros have bad games and practice sessions. push yourself to improve. and keep in mind that the challenge is what makes it fun. given me the opportunity to meet lots of people. Always strive for perfection. Whatever your goals in playing may be. If you are a young player. that’s the only way if you want to walk away feeling good about your effort and your accomplishments. Players without the necessary upper body strength and/or confidence learn to push or throw the ball at the basket. Aim high. This will help you use the proper technique. Maybe you aspire to play in a top collegiate program. GeTTinG PlayinG Time Only five players can play at once. Also learn to shoot on a basket that is lower than the 10-foot standard—an eight-foot should be the highest. or maybe you’re happy to have made the high school JV. and reminders about how to approach the game.156 Winning Basketball for Girls and your results more impressive. As with everything else you do. The game has paid my way through college.
from tryouts right through to the last game of the season. She doesn’t gossip behind anybody’s back because she knows how easily resentments and ill feelings can spread—and spoil everybody’s fun. even if she isn’t a star of the team. bear in mind that absolutely the worst thing to do is sulk about it. the good team player brings her enthusiasm with her every day. How enjoyable and satisfying your season is depends largely on how much everyone pulls together. Your basketball experiences will be more rewarding if you strive always to be a good team player. . She cares enough to share her enthusiasm. and she has fun as she’s playing the game hard. Keep working hard in practice. and is often heard saying. your place on the team and what fundamentals you need to improve. praising good efforts by her teammates and offering encouragement whenever needed. More than anything else. “Nice going” and “Hang in there. You’re the only one with the power to change your coach’s thinking about your place on the team. She also passes kind words. This isn’t easy when you feel slighted. 157 iT’S a Team Game How well your team fares depends on how the individual talents blend together into a cohesive unit. She works hard in practice and always gives 100 percent. She also knows the truth of something we touched on at the very beginning of this book. and that’s a good place to end: Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. She’s upbeat. If you’re not getting the time you’d like. Make your coach aware that your attitude and commitment to the team are solid.” She is able to admit when she’s at fault. she looks on the positive side. and the way to start is with a positive attitude and a lot of hard work in practice. That won’t do anything except alienate you from the coach and your teammates. and she knows when you give something positive to others it always comes back to you. asks questions and always listens to her coach.Parting Thoughts happy. She is positive and supportive. What is a good team player? She is unselfish. if you feel your abilities are not appreciated or are going to waste. but it’s the only way to go. Seek your coach out and ask for an honest appraisal of your ability. It’s also a good idea to let your coach know your feelings. on the court and off. She’s alert and attentive. What should you work on? What specifically can you do that might enhance your value to the team and get you more time? Most coaches will respect you for being mature enough and concerned enough to talk with them in this way. She passes up her own open shot to give the ball to an open teammate closer to the basket.
carry A violation committed when a player cradles the ball and momentarily holds it while dribbling. boxing out A blocking move a player uses to gain and keep the inside rebounding position by keeping her opponent behind her. back door A cut to the hoop behind the defender that a player uses when she is being overplayed. charging A violation committed when an offensive player runs into a stationary defensive player. basket The goal players shoot for to score points. baseline The line behind each basket marking the end of the court. Used primarily to advance the ball a long way down-court. a shot that goes through the goal. baseball pass A pass thrown with the same overhand motion used to throw a baseball or softball. Also. chest pass A two-handed pass thrown from the passer’s chest to the chest area of the receiver. Also called palming. The center normally sets up in the center of the court close to the basket.GLOSSARY assist A pass that results in a score by a teammate. backcourt The half of the court containing the basket that a team is defending. Area where the low post likes to set up. block An 8 x 12-inch rectangle found 7 feet from baseline outside both sides of the free throw lane. backboard The rectangular board behind the basket used for shooting bank shots. Also called blocking out. Also called the end line. bounce pass A pass that touches the floor before reaching its receiver. bank shot A shot in which the backboard is used. around the free throw lane (high post) or around the block (low post). 158 . center A position sometimes played by the tallest player and best rebounder on the team.
forward A position usually played by taller players who set up to the sides of the basket and relatively close to it. cut A sharp move made by an offensive player in order to get open or to beat a defender. double-teaming A tactic in which two defensive players guard one offensive player.Glossary closeout What a defensive player has to do when her offensive player catches the ball. defense The team that attempts to keep its opponent from scoring. where outlet passes are usually thrown. Worth two or three points. free throw lane See “key. 159 . usually the one with the ball. dribble The bouncing movement of the ball—the only way an offensive player is permitted to move with the ball. and then dribbling a second time. forecourt The half of the court containing the basket the offensive team is shooting for. give and go An offensive play in which a player passes to a teammate and cuts toward the basket looking for a return pass. foul A violation caused by illegal contact with an opposing player. A successful free throw counts for one point. can result in free throws for the opponent. flat The area of the court from the baseline to the free throw line extended. fast break A style of play in which a team moves the ball upcourt as quickly as possible after a rebound or steal in hopes of gaining a quick numbers advantage on the defense and getting an easy shot. drive A quick offensive move toward the basket with the dribble. combination defense A defense employing elements of both zone and man-to-man defenses. field goal A basket scored on any shot other than a free throw. double dribble A violation caused by starting to dribble. defensive rebound A rebound for your team at the basket you’re defending. Also known as the frontcourt. stopping. elbow The court area where the free throw line meets the side of the key. free throw An unguarded shot taken from the free throw line after an opponent has committed a foul. in order to transition from off the ball to on the ball defense. fake A body or ball movement used to draw a defender out of position. denial A defensive tactic used to prevent an opponent from getting the ball.” fronting Defending an opponent by positioning your body between her and the ball. Sometimes referred to as a “junk” defense.
usually painted a different color than the rest of the court. Normally a guard sets up on the perimeter. key The 12-foot-wide area between the free throw line and the baseline. paint The free throw lane. the right. one on one Any situation in which one offensive player attempts to score on her defensive opponent. Also called the free throw lane. Also. jump ball The procedure for starting play at the beginning of a game in which an official tosses the ball into the air. outlet pass A pass (usually an overhead pass to the flat) made by a rebounder to a teammate in order to start the offensive flow. when the ball gets into the middle of the court and the players adjust their position in toward the middle to cut off passing lanes. for left-handers. offense The team that has the ball and is attempting to score. usually with her back to the basket. the left hand. passing lane The imaginary path between a passer and her teammate. quicker players who are good ball handlers. For right-handed players. well away from the basket. overplaying defense An aggressive defense in which players gamble to steal the ball or deny it to the offense. Very important to a successful fast break. low post An offensive position near the basket played by a center. lay-up A close-in shot usually banked off the backboard. pivot Footwork in which a player swivels on one foot and moves the other forward or backward. overhead pass A two-handed pass thrown from over the head. to defend.160 Winning Basketball for Girls guard A position usually played by smaller. two opposing players jump up and try to tap it to a teammate. jab step A short. high post An offensive position around the free throw line played by a center or forward. off hand The weaker hand. helping out Assisting a teammate in defensive coverage. offensive rebound A rebound by your team at the basket your team is shooting at. jump shot An outside shot taken by a player after she has jumped into the air. perimeter The area of the court outside the free throw line. . quick foot fake used to set up a defender for a drive or shot. pinch in On defense. man-to-man defense A type of defense in which each player has a specific opposing player to defend.
possession A term describing when a team has the ball. Often results in an open shot or dribble penetration because the defense cannot keep up. Also called walking. the weak side is the right. Also called “jumping off the ball. triple-threat position A stance taken by an offensive player upon receiving the ball that gives her the option to shoot. strong side The side of the court where the ball is. retreat step The big step a defender makes as her player passes the ball. or dribble. when the ball is on the left. She usually brings the ball upcourt and handles it more than any other player.” reversing a zone Moving the ball against a zone defense quickly from one side of the court to the other.Glossary point guard The guard designated as the “quarterback” of the offense. rebound A missed shot that bounces off the backboard or basket. Also the act of taking possession of a missed shot. 161 . post up To get position on the defense by using your body to seal her and create a passing lane for your teammates. traveling A violation committed when a player takes steps with the ball without dribbling. usually a rebounder. turnover Any ball-handling error or violation (for example. Also called a pick. zone defense A type of defense in which players guard a particular area of the court rather than a specific opposing player. three seconds A violation in which an offensive player remains in the key for more than three consecutive seconds. roll A move executed by a player setting a screen in which she pivots open to the ball so that she’s in a position to receive a pass. making a bad pass or traveling) that gives possession of the ball to the opposing team. in order to transition from on the ball defense to off the ball defense. trailer An offensive player. squaring up A move in which a player pivots and squarely faces the basket after receiving the ball. skip pass An overhead pass that is thrown to a teammate two or more players away. who follows behind the play on a fast break. used to exploit a zone. screen A block an offensive player sets against a defender to free another offensive player for a shot or pass. weak side The side of the court where the ball isn’t. pass.
as well as the official AAU Girls’ Basketball Handbook. the Web site for the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). Click on www.ncaa. For more information contact: The National Collegiate Athletic Association 700 West Washington Street P. and how to register.org 162 . and NCAA tournament news.org.BASkeTBALL ReSOURCeS www. For more information contact: WBCA 4646 Lawrenceville Highway Lilburn. Also featured are NCAA-sponsored youth programs and basketball trivia for fans of all ages. Box 6222 Indianapolis. Georgia 30047-3620 Telephone: (770) 279-8027 E-mail: wbca@wbca. the WBCA National Convention. Indiana 46206-6222 Telephone: (317) 917-6222 Go to www. encompassing nine junior division age groups for players age 18 and under. The site provides information on membership application.aaugirlsbasketball. This site provides information on women’s college teams by division. The website provides information about AAU tournaments.org/ is the Web site of the Amateur Athletic Girls’ (AAU) Basketball program. To contact the organization.wbca. and other events sponsored by the association. which serves to inform and unify coaches on all levels. including schedules.com to view the official Web site of NCAA women’s basketball. the WBCA All-Star Challenge. scores. check the Web site for your local AAU Association Chairman’s contact information.O. teams.
as well as up-to-date league news and events. the official Web site of the Women’s National Basketball Association. to find information on WNBA teams and players. game schedules and stats. New York 10022 Telephone: (212) 688-WNBA 163 .com.Basketball Resources Visit www. For more information contact: WNBA New York Office Olympic Tower 645 Fifth Avenue New York.wnba.
106. 158g block and place 44 blocking out. 158g defensive rebounding 137. back door (backdoor cut) 93. 40. knowing 104 carry 158g catching the ball 44. 142 arc 48. 62 balance 45 ball (of foot) 38. 48 ball denial 127. 146 recklessness v. 45 ball control 47. 73–74. 128 ball fake 53. 138 offensive rebounding 142 rebounding drill 144 zone defense 151 breathing 56 build-up runs 14 Buzzer Game 64 A aggression and rebounding 142. 71. 55. 55 arm bar 92. 158g baseline 133. 158g baseball pass 71. 158g for inside-the-lane drill 62 for passing-on-themove drill 76 for two-ball passing drill 76 boxing out 138. 158g backpedaling 14 backspin 48. Percy 11 B baby banker 63. Page numbers followed by g denote glossary entries. 158g Cerutty. Sue 66 Blazejowski. 158g basket 158g Beat the Clock 64 “B-E-E-F” 50 Bird. See boxing out bounce pass 69–71. 114 baby jump shot 62 backboard 51. Geno 34 C camps 9 capabilities. 143. 48–49. 49. 66–68. 55. 29–30 assist 75. 32 squeezing the ball 28–29 two-ball drills 32–33 ball-you-girl 123 bank shot 55. 70.InDeX Italic page numbers indicate illustrations. 158g backcourt 158g 164 . 106– 107. 130. 153 ball-handling skills 28–33 around the world 29–30 dribble figure-8 30 dribble V’s/sweep pass 32 and fast break 116 figure-8 drill 30 fingertip control drill 29 pounding the ball 28 spider dribble 32. 138 around-the-world drill 29. 133 agility. 68 center 4. 158g athletic socks 12 Auriemma. improving 17 alertness 117 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) 9–10 animal drill 144–145 ankle braces 12 anticipation 129–130. 55. Carol 117 block 134.
83 cooling down 26 core strength. 40 direction. 75. 86–87 crossover dribble drill 89 crossover offensive move 99–101. 159g and defense 134 drills for 88–90 ending too early 85 head position for 83–84 moves off of 85–88 overdribbling 81 passing v. 2 court balance 103 cross-court passing 74–75 crossover dribble 86. 100 cut 159g cut-and-stop shooting drill 62–63 “cutting off ” defender’s legs 99. rebounding and 137 diagonal run drill 40. 100 against screens 130– 132. 82. 155 contest-the-shooter drill 63 control dribble 81–82. 20 confidence 58 consistency 58. 79 against zone defense 152 drills ball handling 28–33 dribbling 88–90 footwork 39–41 passing 75–76 165 D defender-in-the-middle drill 76 defense 159g aggressive 117–118 anticipation 129– 130. 66. 114 and rules of game 5 technique for 81–83 with weak hand 84–85 when to/when not to 78–80. avoiding 35. 159g combination defense 159g commitment 156 communication and defense 134 and fast break 114 and passing-on-themove drill 76 and zone defense 150 complacency 9 composure 103 conditioning 11–27 cone drills 18–20 cooling down 25 for core strength 24–25 distance running 20–21 feet 12 hands 13 jumping rope 18–19 for linear speed 20 “line” drills 17–18 for speed/agility 17 for strength 21–25 warming up 13–17 weight training 26–27 cone drills 18–20. See shuffling denial 159g desire. 86 changing direction 39 charging 158g chest pass 158g avoiding. 81. developing 24–25 court. on fast break 114 and intensity lay-up 60 and intensity passing drill 75–76 and passing-on-themove drill 76 technique for 68–69. 124 on-the-ball 118–122. 19. 69 and two-ball passing drill 76 circle drill 89–90 circle routes. 130 hints to improve 132–134 off-the-ball 123–129.Index change-of-pace dribble 85–87. 122 playing 117–135 against roll 132 and rules of game 4 . dimensions/layout of 1–3. 35–36 closeout 118–119. changing 39 distance running 20–21 double dribble 159g double-teaming 159g dribble figure-8 ballhandling drill 30 dribble V’s/sweep pass 32 dribbling 78–90. 131 X-out drill 41 defensive closeout 118–119 defensive positioning 121–122 defensive rebounding 136–141 defensive shuffle. 119.
166 Winning Basketball for Girls
rebounding 144–146 shooting 58–64 drive 159g exploiting opportunities for 97 pass v. 115 and rocker fake 98–99 drop step 120, 121, 128, 134 dumb foul 133 dynamic warm-up 13–17, 15–16 figure-8 ball-handling drill 30, 31 figure-8 cone drills 18 fingers/fingertips. See also touch (for shooting) and ball control 47 control dribble 81, 82 control drill 29 and passing 74 touch drill 60 flat 141, 159g flexibility 13 focus, on hoop 49–50 follow-through and bounce pass 70–71 and jump shots 55 and passing-on-themove drill 76 technique for 49 and touch drill 60 and two-ball passing drill 76 footwork 34–42 avoiding circle routes 35–36 being ready to move 34–35 change of direction 39 drills for 39–41 jab step 97–98 jumping rope to improve 19 and lay-up 50, 52 pivoting 38–39 stopping 36–38 forecourt 159g forward 159g forward/backward figure 8 18, 19 forward/backward hops 18, 19 forward pivots 38, 38–39 forwards 4 fouls defined 159g and rebounding 144 and rules of game 4–5 smart v. dumb 133 and zone defense 148–149 free throw 4–5, 56–57, 159g free throw lane. See key fronting 127, 159g full-court defense 5 full-court speed dribble drill 89 fundamentals, mastering 155–156
elbow (arm) and defense 133 position for shooting 46, 46 and rebounding 139 and receiving passes 67 and releasing the ball 48 elbow (of court) 115, 159g elbows and toes exercise 25, 25 enthusiasm 157
Gernatt, Theresa A. 136 getting in shape 11–27 getting open 92–95 Gillen, Conor 28 give and go 104–105, 105, 159g goals, defining 9 great circle routes. See circle routes, avoiding guard 160g guide hand 49, 60
fake 159g. See also ball fake and defender-in-themiddle drill 76 and give-and-go 104, 105 and passing 74 against zone defense 153 fast break 112–116, 113, 152, 159g fatigue 149 feet 12, 119, 120. See also footwork field goal 4, 159g
hand placement 47, 47, 121 hands 13, 66, 77, 133 head position 45–46, 83–84 hedging 131 helping out 160g hesitation dribble. See change-of-pace dribble hesitation dribble drill 89
high-percentage shots 102–103 high post 4, 160g hook pass 73 hoop, focusing on 49–50 hops 18 Houston Cougars 102
lane(s) 114 lane denial 127–128, 128, 151–152 lateral figure 8 18, 19 lateral hops 18, 19 lateral squats 24, 24 lay-ups 50–53, 52, 160g L-cuts 94–95, 95 leaning 45 Ledbetter, Joe 43 legs 53, 56 Leslie, Lisa 91–92 linear speed, improving 20 line drills 17–18, 18, 59 low post 4, 160g lunges 21
individual offense skills 91–101 inside game 148 inside-the-lane shooting drill 62 intensity lay-up 60–61, 60–62 intensity passing drill 75–76
man-to-man defense 5, 147, 160g McConnell, Michael 78 McGraw, Muffet 65 meeting the pass 67 midsection 133 moving without the ball 104
jab step 97–98, 98, 160g jump ball 160g jumping 51, 56, 139, 143 jumping rope 18–19 jumping to the ball 123 jump shot 53–55, 54, 62–63, 160g jump stop 36, 36–37, 39
Naismith, James 1 “natural” shooters 43–44 North Carolina State 102
key 160g knees, flexed and balance 45 for changing direction 39 for free throw 56 importance of 34–35 for jump stopping 37 pivoting and 38 when setting screens 108
offense 91–101, 160g and defense 134 getting open 92–95 good defense as 117 individual skills for 91–101 looking before moving 97
one-on-one moves 97–101 and rules of game 3–5 scoring position 91–92 squaring up 95–96 team 102–106 and triple-threat position 45 two-person plays 104–112 against zone defense 152–154 offensive rebounding 136, 142, 160g off hand 160g off-the-ball defense 118, 123–129, 124 one on one 160g one-on-one offensive moves 97–101 one plus one (foul shots) 5 1-2 step stop. See twostep (stride) stop on-the-ball defense 118–122, 119, 122 on-your-back shooting drill 58–59, 59 open player, hitting 103 outlet pass 72, 112, 139, 145, 160g outside shooting 149–150 overdribbling 81 overhead pass 72, 72–73, 160g overplaying defense 99–100, 106, 160g over the limit 5 over the top 144
paint 160g palm, of hand 47
168 Winning Basketball for Girls
passing 65–77 basic types of passes 68–74 dribbling v. 66, 75, 81, 114 drills 75–76 hints for improving 74–75 importance of 66 meeting the pass 67 preparation for catching passes 67 receiving a pass 67– 68, 68 and rules of game 5 against zone defense 149, 153 passing lanes 74, 160g passing-on-the-move drill 76 passive defense 118 patience 57, 154 Pendley, Mike 147 perimeter 106, 151, 160g perimeter players 3, 4 perimeter shots 149–150 permanent pivot 96 physical conditioning 11–27 pick. See screen pick and pop 111, 111–112 pick and roll 110, 110–111 picking up the dribble 85 pinch in 160g pitch pass 73 pivot 38, 38–41, 96, 160g players, basic positions of 3–4 playing time, getting 156–157 playing “up” 9–10 point guards 3, 161g positions, basic 3–4 possession 161g post up 161g pounding the ball 28 power lay-up 53, 114 practice time, getting the most out of 8–9, 58 praise 157 press 5 pushing foul 144 pushups 22, 23 reverse dribble. See spin dribble reverse pivots 38, 38–41, 138 reversing a zone 152– 153, 161g rhythm, disrupting 134 “riding the rails” 114 rim 48–49, 55 rip-through 100 rocker fake 98–99, 99 roll 110, 110–111, 132, 142, 161g rules 4–6 run and pivot drill 40–41 running 20–21
quality time 156 questions, asking 10
range of motion 13 rapid-fire shooting drill 63 reaching in 132 reaction time 35 readiness, for moving 34–35 rebounding 136–146, 138, 140, 141, 161g defensive 137–141 desire and 137 drills for 144–146 and fast break 112 hints for 142–144 offensive 142 rapid-fire drill 63 and rules of game 5 and zone defense 151 rebounding triangle 143, 149 receiving a pass 67–68, 68 recklessness, aggressiveness v. 133 relaxation 58 releasing the ball 48 “R.E.P.S.” 28 retreat step 123, 161g
sagging in 147 sagging off 123 scoring position 91–92 screen 161g defending 130–132, 131 playing against zone defense 154 rolling 110 setting 108, 108–109 screening away 108, 109 screening on the ball 108 screening out. See boxing out screens, setting 108, 108–109, 111 seams, of zone 149, 150, 154 second wind 11–12 self-inventory 8, 104 shell drill 125–127, 126 shoes 12 shooting 43–64 arc of shot 48–49 balance 45
backpedal drill 19–20. 23 stopping 36–38 strength (physical) 13. 116 stretches 13 stride. 96. 44–45. 145–146 Tighe. improvement of 19 stride (two-step) stop 37. 83 spider dribble 32. See change-of-pace dribble Summitt. 149 169 T team offense 102–116 fast break 112–116 U unselfishness 75. 73 stepping through 92 step ups 21. 21–25 strengths (as player) 104. 32 spin dribble 87 spin dribble drill 89 sprint. 37–38 2-3 zone defense 148. 20 square-off cuts. slide. See L-cuts squaring up 95–96. 20 touch (for shooting) 13. 33. 132 playing percentages 102–103 two-person plays 104–112 team player 157 telegraphing 74 three-point shots 4 three seconds 161g three-way drill (rebounding) 145. 157 upper body strength 19 . 80 and squaring up 95 against zone defense 153 trunk twisters 14 turnover 161g two-ball drills (dribbling) 32–33. 20 speed dribble 83. 148. 161g before dribbling 79. 37–39 strong side 161g stutter step dribble. 47–49. 89 two-ball drills (passing) 76 2½ minute shooting drill 63 2-1-2 zone defense 151 two-person plays 104–112 two-step (stride) stop 37. 161g cut-and-stop drill 62–63 inside-the-lane drill 62 and triple-threat position 44 squeezing the ball 28–29 Staley. 161g training 11–27 traveling 38. Dawn 7 start-and-stop drill 39 Station to Station 64 steal 130 step-around pass 73. 22. 157 swarming 134 swing-through 100 Swiss wall slides 23. 23–24 switch 131. 153. 153. Pat 117 support 124.Index ball control 47 catching the ball 44 drills 58–64 elbow position 46 follow-through 49 head position 45–46 hints for improving 57–58 “natural” shooters 43–44 releasing the ball 48 shot selection 57 specific shots 50–57 triple-threat position 44–45 watching the hoop 49–50 shooting guards 3–4 shot(s) 50–57 shot clock 5 shot selection 57 shoulder rotations 14 shuffling 119–120 and defending screens 131 and lane denial 128 and rebounding 139 side bridge 25. 58 touch drill 60 trailer 115. 26 simplicity. 161g skips (for dynamic warmup) 14 slides 14 sliding through 131 smart foul 133 socks 12 soft touch 48–49 speed changing 39 improving 17. Shelia 137 tight turns 20. 161g triple-threat position 44. importance of 155–156 sit-up(s) 25 sit-up dribble drill 88 skip pass 72.
104. 93. eliminating 155 weak hand. 147 disadvantages of 149–150 playing 150–152 playing offense against 152–154 reasons to play 148–149 X X-out drill 41. 151. Kay 91 . 41 Y young players 156 Yow. 116 weak side 161g weight training 26–27 windmills 14. 94 W walking knee hugs 14. dribbling with 84–85 weaknesses 8. 60 Z zone defense 147–154. 21 warming up 13–17. 15–16 waste motion. 15 walking lunges 14.170 Winning Basketball for Girls V V-cuts 92–94. 16 walking tin soldiers 14. 16 wings (forwards) 4. 15 wall sit 21. 148. 161g defined 5. 94 Wooden. John 8–9 wrist 49.
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