I’ve been able to get out and see several high school games since the start of the season. When I watch these games I pay special attention to the fundamentals and skills of each player. Obviously each player and team has their individual strengths and weaknesses, but in the games I’ve seen this year I’ve noticed three common areas where players really seem to struggle. Rather than trying to address each of these areas in one post, I will address each area individually, breaking them down into a three part series. Subscribe now to be notified of Part 2: Reading Screens.
Part 1: Relieving Pressure
Being able to handle defensive pressure is key to the success of any team. I firmly believe that in order to handle this pressure, you must be comfortable with the basketball. Being comfortable with the ball while dribbling and in the triple threat will allow you to see the floor rather than worry about what you are doing with the basketball. Improving you handle will go a long way in how you deal with any type of defensive pressure.
Along with developing your handle, the ability to use a bounce back is crucial for creating space. To execute a bounce back, get sideways and “bounce back” away from the defense. Keep your chin on your front shoulder so you can see the entire floor, push off your front foot and reach with your back foot. It is important that you stay low and use long low strides. Standing upright and “hopping” back is too slow. Lastly, dribble the ball behind your back foot, therefore making sure the ball is protected from the defender.
There are four situations where you to use your bounce back:
1. Full Court 1 on 1 – The defender is running along side you or cuts you off while you are advancing the ball up the floor, bounce back to create space. When the defense tries to recover attack their high foot and blow by them.
2. Full Court Trap – Two defenders have attempted to put a trap on you while you are advancing the ball. Rather than dribbling into the trap and/or picking up your dribble, bounce back and create space so you can see the floor. Remember, if two players are guarding you it means one of you teammates is not being guarded.
3. Ball Reversal of Penetration – In a half court setting you try to penetrate to the hoop, but get cut off by the defense. Again, rather than picking up your dribble and eliminating your passing options use your bounce back to get to the perimeter where you can initiate a ball reversal.
4. Stalling at the end of a quarter or half – While stalling for one shot or trying to kill some clock with a lead get you defender moving and then bounce back to create space and initiate a new 5 second count.