Category Archives: Offensive Strategies

Concord Storm Pivot Instruction

Concord StormHigh school tryouts and practices will be here before you know it. How are you getting ready?

Are you working on your behind the back, between the leg, roll down your arm, figure eights or are you working on basic fundamental skills that will actually impress your coach and improve your game?

Here’s some info on pivoting from a Concord Storm handout.

Pivoting requires you to keep one foot firmly planted on the ground while you turn or spin your body around on the ball of your pivot foot. (This stationary foot is called your pivot foot.) Pivoting can be done with or without the ball. In order to pivot properly follow these five simple rules.
1. Keep your “fundamental basketball position” with your knees flexed and feet shoulder’s width apart or wider.

2. Pivots should be made on the ball of your foot; therefore lift up the heel of your pivot foot. If you pivot on your heel you will lose your balance.

3. You can make a full pivot, a half pivot, and even a quarter turn pivot. Regardless of which one you use keep your body low and feet spread wide.

4. Pivots are made in one of two directions:  A front pivot is made when your chest moves around your pivot foot. This is usually a good way to square up to the basket. A reverse or rear pivot is made by leading with your rear end.

5. You should practice pivots on both your right and left feet. Front right, reverse right, front left, reverse left. This will prepare you for all possible game situations.

6 Qualities of Great Point Guards

Great Point Guards1. Never get sped up and are always under control physically and mentally. They play with emotion and don’t let emotion play with them.

2. Set the tone on defense. They pressure without fouling, harass the ball handler without getting beat, and disrupt their opponent’s rhythm.

3. Make good players great and average players good. They get the ball to their teammates in spots where they know they will be successful.

4. Have their team under control and control the game’s tempo. They play at their pace and understand when to push and when to slow down.

5. Get in the lane and make the right play whether that’s scoring or creating a look for a teammate. The right play is better than the flashy play.

6. Extend outlets and create advantages in open floor situations before they get the ball. They get as far as the defense allows them then they find the gap and make plays.

The above concepts were taken from a series of tweets on the Pure Sweat twitter timeline.

Improve Your Passing on the Fast Break

Fastbreak PassOne of the long time fundamentals that has been taught for decades is to always dribble with your right hand on the right side of the court and with your left hand on the left side of the court.

Most of the time that is still rock solid advice but it’s not the best way to execute a 2 on 1 fast break.

Instead, try working on dribbling with your inside hand in those 2 on 1 situations. The first thing you’ll notice is that it creates a much better passing angle.

Those who dribble with their outside hands often have to pass the ball through the lone defender or if they are skilled enough use a behind the back pass to get the ball to their teammate.

NBA players often lob the ball over the defenders head for a dunk but that’s not going to happen at most lower levels.

Secondly, with the ball already in your inside hand it becomes much easier to fake the quick pass and then finish off the break yourself.

The next few times you have the ball on a 2 on 1 fast break dribble with your inside hand regardless of which side of the floor you are on.

Chances are that you’ll see a big difference right away and won’t ever return to the old way of attacking.

How to Score 20 Points a Game

Score 20 Every player I know would like to score more and for some reason 20 points is almost like a
magical number.

It takes a little effort but it can certainly be done – especially if you are someone who is extremely active on the court and plays hard.

  1. Transition Layup – 4 points. Sprint down the floor every time after your opponent scores or misses and get one layup a half.
  2. Mid Range Jump Shot – 4 points. Make one each half. You can get them out of transition or your half court offense. Floaters and drives to the basket count.
  3. 3 Pointers – 6 points. Make one each half
  4. Post Up – 4 points. All it takes is one post up basket each half
  5. Offensive Putback – 4 points. Consider every missed shot by teammate as a pass to you. There’s no such things as a bad second shot so if you rebound it you shoot it.
  6. Free Throws – 4 points. If you are getting out in transition, attacking the basket, posting up, and snagging offensive rebounds then getting four free throw points a game is going to be easy!

Now depending on what “position” you play pick 5 of the 6 areas above and make it happen!

Remember there is no reason why guards can’t post up and go after offensive rebounds and no reason why bigs can’t run the floor and step out for the occasional 3.

If you can’t do some or all of these things then you have to ask yourself, “Why not?’

4 Ways to Get a Jump Shot Off When Defended

Jump ShooterIt’s one thing to shoot a wide open jump shot where all you have to do is catch and shoot and an entirely different thing when you have to get a shot off when you are closely guarded.

Each of the four techniques below require a lot of work before you can use them in a game but once you have them mastered you’ll be able to get your shot off in nearly any situation.

1. Pull up jump shot. Take two or three dribbles and then execute a “pound” dribble where you bounce the ball extremely hard. The extra force will let the ball come right up into your shot pocket and let you shoot the ball quickly, Former Laker and current NBA “logo” Jerry West turned this move into a Hall of Fame career!

2. Step back. Refer back to our blog post on August 10, 2014 to see how to use this lethal move.

3. Pull up and fake. This move has been made famous by Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. Dirk executes a pull up jumper but instead of shooting the ball he fakes and lets the defense fly by him before shooting a wide open shot. His shot fake is so believable that even though the defenders know it’s coming they still fall for it.

4. Drag. This is definitely an advanced move and is used by most of the best guards in the NBA. Take one or two really hard dribbles in order to get the defender moving as fast as possible in one direction. Once the defender’s momentum has been established quickly drag the ball back and take advantage of the sudden separation. You can drag the ball back by using a crossover, going between your legs or dribbling behind your back.

Can’t Get Open on the Wing?

Open on the WingIf defenders can keep the offensive point guard from passing the ball to the wing then they can stop a great majority of offenses before they can even get started.

Here are 5 things you can do if you are having trouble getting open on the wing because of extreme pressure:

  1. Dribble at the wing and send him backdoor. Best used if the defender is “above” the offensive player and in the passing lane so the pass can’t be completed.
  2. Dribble hand off. Best used if the defender is “below” the offensive player and waiting to “jump” the passing lane and steal the pass. When executing a DHO the ball handler should dribble right at the receiver’s defender so he can use his body as a screen.
  3. Drive and kick. Penetrate into the paint, force the wing defender to drop off and help and then kick the ball out to the wing.
  4. Zipper screen. Send the offensive wing running into the lane and around the post player. He can either return to his original spot on the wing (this is nearly impossible to deny since the defense gets turned around) or he can run up to the top while the point guard takes over the wing spot. Zipper screens can be set by both high and low posts.
  5. Flash the high post and send the wing back door.

Constantly mix up these strategies during the course of a game and it won’t be long before the point guard to wing pass will be wide open each and every time down the floor!


4 Ways to Protect the Ball on the Drive

Protect BasketballIn today’s game there is a huge premium on getting the ball into the lane and attacking the rim.

However, to stop the dribble drive help side defenders are packing the paint and trying to force the ball handler to weave through a defensive gauntlet to get to the rim.

As a result the ball handler who wants to score must become skilled at protecting the ball as he enters the lane.

This can be accomplished four ways:

  1. Keep the ball on the outside hip. This is best used when the help defender is late dropping off and your main concern is keeping it away from your own defender. If the ball is on your outside hip the only way your defender can get to it is by reaching through you which is a foul.
  2. Execute the “running back.” As you enter the lane tuck the ball close to your body with one arm above the ball and one arm below it, making the ball completely protected.
  3. Swing the ball high. Most defenders are going to reach low for the ball so swinging it high over your shoulders as you drive often lets you avoid the defense. This technique seems to work very well when using the Euro step to get to the basket.
  4. Ball fake to freeze the defense. Faking the kick out pass or the behind the back pass (Rondo) will usually freeze the defense and keep them from getting so close to you as to hinder your move to the basket.

Remember, it’s always important to keep the ball protected as you drive the lane but it’s especially crucial if you happen to be your team’s point guard.

If that’s the case then any turnover in the lane usually results in a run out and a layup (or dunk) at the other end.

Separate to Dominate

Separate to DominateJust like spacing is essential to running an effective team offense, creating separation is absolutely crucial if you want to be an effective and productive offensive player.

There are 4 areas where players need the ability to separate from their defenders.

These areas include:

  1. Getting open to catch a pass
  2. Being guarded while dribbling the ball
  3. Cutting off of a screen
  4. Going to the rim

There are several techniques that can be used in each of these situations but every technique is built on two main skills: changing speed and changing direction.

These two building blocks can be used individually but are most effective when they are combined and used together.

Regardless of how you get open, dribble the ball against pressure, utilize on and off ball screens and attack the rim, the ability to change speed and change direction will help give you the separation you need to beat your defender.

Step Back to Get Your Shot Off

Jump BackCoach Rick Majerus used to always teach that spacing is offense and offense is spacing and that certainly applies to getting a shot off in a one on one situation.

To understand the concept of creating space to get our shot off, it helps if we consider what our defender is trying to accomplish.

Most defenders are taught to stay in front of their offensive players and to stay about an arm’s length away.

This allows the defender to contest any jump shots while still maintaining the space necessary to stop the drive.

In order to keep his spacing, the defender must constantly back up and readjust his position so he can keep an arm’s length cushion.

Therefore, when we drive hard at a defender he has no choice but to back up or he runs the risk of letting us get all the way to the rim.

As the defender is moving back on his heels we have the ideal opportunity to step back ourselves and create some additional space.

Once we step back we can do one of two things:

First of all we can take advantage of the extra space and shoot a wide open jump shot. Secondly, when we step back we put the defender in a close out situation.

If the defender closes out slowly, awkwardly, or if he lunges back out at us, a simple head fake will allow us to go right around him.

5 Triple Threat Essentials

Triple Threat Here are the 5 basic essentials of getting into a triple threat position:

  1. Catch the ball off your Inside Foot. Some players have a permanent pivot foot but I think it’s much more effective to pivot on the foot closest to the basket.
  2. Get in and maintain an athletic stance. Feet shoulder width apart, knees bent, butt down, back straight, and weight evenly distributed.
  3. Place ball on the shooting side.  In an athletic stance the ball will be somewhere between your hip and shoulder.
  4. Keep getting lower. Catch the ball low. Get even lower as you pivot and square up to the basket. Get even lower still as you start to drive.
  5. Hard,quick, violent foot fakes. The defense has to think your jab steps and foot fakes are real so soft, slow fakes are useless.