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Getting Open For Your Shot

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Rasual11SMLIn basketball, you could be the best shooter in the world. You could have range beyond the moon. You can be faster than a speeding bullet. If you can't get your shot, it doesn't matter. If you can't get the ball in a place you can score from, you become a non-shooter. How do you get the shot you want?


Start in Your Range

Everything should start by you starting your offense in an area where you can shoot. Catching and being in a position to score immediately instead of having to get yourself into position to score will put great pressure on your defender. It will put him in position to make mistakes and give you more opportunities to score.

Once you catch the ball, you would like to be free from your defender. But before you get the ball, having your defense close enough for you to control him is not a bad thing. Starting in your range will allow you to dictate to the defender where he has to go, thereby giving you a great advantage. If you defender does not play you in your scoring area, you will score. If he is forced to play you before you get the ball he cannot help on other players and is forced to react to your movement.

Defense Over Distance

The easiest player to defend is one that stands still or plays in a very confined area. Put yourself in a defender's position, whom would you rather play, a player standing in 1 spot or a player who is moving over a large part of the court?  Obviously, it is easier to play a stationary player.

Make your defender play you over distance. This is basketball, not "Dancing With The Stars." Don't jitter and juke your defender, move him over an area, compress him. Drive him down to the lane, over to the sideline, down to the baseline. Remember, we said above, stay in your range. When you compress your defender to the baseline or the lane, when you come back out, go to the limit of your range. Once you go one step beyond your range, GO BACKDOOR! Nothing softens up a defender like the fear of getting beat

Threaten The Basket

As you move in and out or compressing your defender down to the lane or the baseline, threaten the basket. If all you are doing is moving up and back, your defender does not have to follow up. However, if you put the basket at risk by driving down into the lane and stepping to the basket forces the defender to go with you. If he doesn't, you get a lay-up and the coach takes him out. If you make your move to the basket, you force the defender to play defense over distance, as we discussed above. Now, you are not only forcing your defender to play you but you are dictating where he has to go.

Can your defender play you at the basket, at the wing, on the sideline, to the baseline all in one thrust? He might be able to do it once, but he sure won't be able to do it for a full game

Four Magic Words

Whenever you are trying to beat your defender, think of the 4 magic words, "inside shoulder, inside hip." If you can get your inside shoulder, inside hip between your man and your objective, he cannot play you. If you are trying to get the ball, get your inside shoulder, inside hip between your man and the ball. If you are going to the basket get your inside shoulder, inside hip between your man and the basket. It's that simple. If you can get your inside shoulder, inside hip by your defender, he is beat.

Putting constant pressure on your defender before you get the ball makes you more difficult to play once you receive it. The more difficult you are to play, the easier it will be to get the shots you want.

If you keep these four hints in mind; start in your range, make your defender play defense over distance, threaten the basket on your cuts and think those four magic words – "inside hip, inside shoulder" – your offense will have new life.

Don Kelbick

Coach Don Kelbick has had 27 years of coaching experience, 25 at the college level including 14 years as a head coach and 10 years as a Division I assistant including stops at Hofstra University, Marist College, Keene State College, and Florida International University. In 2 years as a high school coach, his teams produced 6 Division I players and was ranked #1 in Florida 28 out of a possible 34 weeks. In addition to coaching he has scouted for NBA teams, including the Knicks and the Hawks, and served as a general manager in the USBL.

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