Little kid basketball players all run at the ball; their parents and aunts and uncles, grown-up neighbors and friends –let’s call them “recreational players” – all cut to and clog the middle. This is what happens, this is what infects our gyms, and this is the bane of the basketball coach. However, we are here to say, if running at the ball and clogging the middle – poor spacing – is the poison, the skip pass is the antidote. (If not available, try the sweet elixir, dribble-reverse.) Of course, every passer, in this instance, “the skip passer”, needs someone to pass to. Here someone, anyone, has to step back when he or she is on the “weak-side”, the side opposite the side that has the ball (“ball side”). If the ball is on the right wing, say, almost to that sideline, be a basketball genius and establish a weak-side presence by stepping back to the sideline opposite the ball. Put both hands up in the air over your head. This 1) gives your teammate – the potential skip passer – a target and 2) draws the defense out of the middle and out toward you because you, with your hands up in the air look like, um, you want the ball. (“Better get out there and guard him.”) Technique to the skip pass? Ball up over your head in two hands, elbows out at 30 degrees, without bringing the ball too far behind your head, snap a pass that does not spin, does not float, apex ten to twelve feet off the ground, and propels heroically to its appointed home. Watch the defense run. Watch the defense tire. Watch the defense lose concentration, the will, the capacity to compete and continue.
Archive for July, 2006
Posted by Steve Bzomowski on July 4, 2006
I believe in playing fast, as fast as your skills allow. (Practice fast and let your skills catch up.) One of the ways to get a game going is make sure that when the other team scores, you get the ball in right away. If you are the one nearest the net as it goes through, sprint out of bounds with the ball, ready to get it in as quickly as possible. Sprint! Of course this takes teammates who are ready to catch the inbound pass and ready to run. (Hit a couple in the back of the head to get their attention.) Fast break basketball is a mentality and one mentality that you can develop is to take it out and get it in and see if you can beat the other team down floor before they are set. (Rick Pitino developed this attitude when he was head coach of the New York Knicks. I can still see Charles Oakley firing fastball outlets to half-court after scores. Tommy Heinsohn was and is a huge proponent of this. And, of course, Paul Westhead’s Loyola Marymount teams in the late 80’s epitomized it. Dial 1-800-GO-MAN-GO! Don’t actually dial that…just play like it’s toll-free!)