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Archive for the ‘rebounding’ Category

50 Little (Big) Tips (7th in a 10 Part Series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on November 5, 2015

1. When going left, dribble lefty. When going right, dribble righty. When you don’t know where you are going, don’t dribble at all.

2. You are playing a league game or a game where there’s a ref or somebody who is going to impose rules. It’s your team’s ball, side-out in the front court. Pass the ball to a teammate in the backcourt. (You can throw the ball into the backcourt from anywhere and it is not a backcourt violation. Just don’t touch it till you get both feet in the backcourt!) The pass to the backcourt eliminates the danger of a) catching in the front court near the half court line and stepping on the line and getting a totally demoralizing backcourt violation and b) getting trapped by a defender and the sideline/backcourt corner.

3. The first overnight basketball camp I ever went to was Friendship Farm run by Jack Donahue, the great Lew Alcindor’s (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) high school coach. The camp was heaven on earth; all basketball all-the-time. Great high school players and great high school and college coaches. (Bobby Knight came in on day and nearly killed us with defensive drills.) One day during a break, Warren Isaacs, all-time Iona College great and long-time big-time pro in Italy, pulled me aside to work on my hook shot. At one point, Coach Donahue walked by and muttered, “you’re only as good as your running hook”. Whatever Coach Donahue said, I took as gospel. You should too.

4. When you play a game of one-on-one, vary the rules. Don’t always start at the top of the key, don’t always leave the rules open ended. Some ideas: a) top of the key but one dribble maximum; b) start on one or the other low post areas, back to the basket, and go three dribbles maximum (anything more is grammar school ball); c) start in the corner or the wing; d) play one-on-one full court; e) ball handler starts at 1/2 court with a live dribble, defense starts at the top of the key. What game do you want to play?

5. Unless you are dunking the ball or dropping the ball down into the hoop, use the backboard to finish layups, especially breakaway layups. Angle out on the last step if you are coming down the middle (easy to do) and finish around the rim, not over the rim. Over the rim (meaning straight into the hoop) without using the backboard can result in the ball rolling off the rim and out. So depressing. I cannot tell you home many times I have seen heads hung after the ball rolls off the rim and out on “all alone layups – even in the pros! Take the rim out of the equation. Ball + backboard = 2 points.

Posted in beautiful basketball, defense, fast break, general improvement, notes: college & pro, passing, post play, rebounding, rules, shooting, team offense, without the ball | Leave a Comment »

50 Little (Big) Tips (6th in a 10 Part Series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on September 14, 2015

1. As in any thrown ball, if your hand goes to the outside of the ball, the ball will curve. In basketball, pretty much the only time you throw a “baseball pass” is when you hit a teammate who has gone ahead of all the defense and you are throwing a 70′-90′ pass. If you throw it with your hand rotating around the outside of the ball, it will curve away and not hit your target. Instead – and this is absolutely beautiful, try it! – finish with your thumb down, your hand coming under the ball rather than around the side. This gives it a smooth backspin rotation, just like on your jumper, which we know, always hits it target!

2. When Tom Thibodeau (NBA Coach of the Year, 2010-11) and I coached together for four years at Harvard, we played a ton of pickup games together. During those games, he talked a lot, some of it smack but a lot of it just random basketball stuff. One thing he used to say was “never catch a deflected pass”. You know: someone throws you a pass and a defender deflects it. Don’t know where Thibs picked this up (it sure sounded like he was parroting something he had heard) but it makes sense in that one is likely to misjudge the flight of the ball and it will deflect off you and out of bounds.

3. When Robert Parish got traded to the Celtics in 1980, he was a four year veteran with plenty of skills. Playing with Larry Bird over the next decade, he added many more. Bird used to outlet the ball 3/4 court left-handed. He’d rebound on the right side of the rim, turn over his right shoulder and looking up court, use the hand that was away from the middle (where defense tends to be) and the hand that he could outlet quicker with, his left. Three years later, Robert Parish was outletting lefty too. If an NBA veteran can pick up a skill like that, so can you.

4. When you run the break, you run wide, right? But don’t run wide all the way to the baseline or corner (unless you are spotting up for an NBA style three pointer in the corner, the NBA’s favorite shot). Instead, hesitate when you are wide but even with the top of the key, and then angle in so you come to the hoop above the block. (I got this from Rick Pitino when he was at Providence College many years ago.) This angle allows you to A) catch and use your body to protect and finish on a layup; B) gives you the angle where you can use the backboard (rather than on a baseline drive where it’s just rim) and C) hit a teammate with a bounce pass angling in from the opposite wing. (Defense is between you and the hoop thus giving you a window to make the pass through the lane; couldn’t do that if you were coming in from the corner!) Again: angle in above the block, please. You will never regret it.

5. Similar to the efficiency of the lefthand outlet, after rebounding and deciding you are going to dribble the ball up rather than outletting with a pass (a la Magic Johnson), take the first dribble with the inside hand, the hand that will allow you to stretch the ball up court quickest. On the right side of the court, that would mean your left hand. On the left side, your right hand. If you are not outletting, you better get moving and using a long inside hand dribble is the best way to start your speed dribble up court!

Posted in ballhandling, beautiful basketball, defense, fast break, general improvement, notes: college & pro, passing, rebounding, shooting | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

50 Little (Big) Tips (1st of 10 part series)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 23, 2015

In our Boston NTL Weekly Practice Programs, we are running a clinic during the winter term called “50 Little (Big) Tips & Scrimmage”. The idea is to present 5 “tips’ each week for the ten week duration that don’t usually get talked about, tips that heeded and added up can make you a much better basketball player. We introduce and demonstrate and practice them and look long and hard for players to implement them during the practice-ending scrimmage.

Week One

1. Weakside offensive rebounding on shots taken from the corner:

Missed shots taken from the corner go long 2/3rds of the time. Since defense positions themselves between the ball and you, pin them underneath the basket and take those 2/3rds of the time misses as they go long.

2. Whenever you have the ball and you see the back of a defender’s head, pass to the person that is being face guarded. It’s 2 points and an assist for you.

3. “Fake a pass to make a pass.” Can’t get the ball to where you want to pass it? Fake a pass to get the defense to step off and then make the pass where you originally intended.

4. Offensive rebound by predicting where the rebound is going by watching the flight of the ball and then move to that spot. (Where the ball hits on the rim will determine where the ball will go. Practice it. Get good at it. Go get the ball like Dennis Rodman. “The ability to read the ball in flight and predict where it is going.”)

5. Attack the defender’s top foot. Defender’s right foot is up? Attack it by going to your left. Defender’s left foot up? Attack it by going to your right. Having that foot up makes the defender crossover step, a slower move, and a move that puts them a step behind you.

Posted in beautiful basketball, defense, general improvement, notes: college & pro, passing, rebounding, shooting, without the ball | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Rebounding (What’s Your Record?)

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on October 31, 2014

Two days ago, I was giving an hour shooting lesson with a guy, a recreational player kind of guy, who is a pretty good shooter. It got to the stage of the session where I had him shooting a bunch of threes. He makes probably 60-70% of them, so the misses are a bit of a surprise. While rebounding the misses (and getting back the makes), I thought about something I often say: that assistant coaches are the best rebounders in the world. Because coaches rebound so many shots they become very good at a particular rebounding skill: predicting the direction of the carom by watching the flight of the shot. (For some reason I always think of Jeff Van Gundy when I’m on this topic; perhaps because I once read that Pat Riley said Van Gundy is never happier than when he is feeding someone shots.)

So, I decided to prove to myself that I am among the “greatest rebounders in the world”. I counted how many misses in a row I could get before the ball (or missed shot) hit the ground. I dove for #9 but had to settle for 8 straight rebounds. (That #9 landed at the three point arc by the way; but not over my head. Never let a rebound go over your head!) I plan to break my record at next week’s shooting lesson. FWIW, I think it is very satisfying to be able to move to the spot on the floor where the ball (rebound) will go and to do that while the ball is still on its way to the hoop; feels self-satisfyingly clever.

Posted in beautiful basketball, general improvement, rebounding | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Predicting the Flight and Location of the Carom

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on April 27, 2007

When teaching or coaching rebounding, what’s most often talked about is boxing out. Now, before I get tossed from the Fraternal Order of the Brotherhood of the Knights of Coaches Association Internationale, let me say squarely, “boxing out is important”. But the problem with boxing out and why it may occupy too much a space in the world of “rebounding fundamentals” is, it’s not always feasible. I mean, it is difficult, if not impossible, to “put a body on” an offensive player if when the shot is taken you are more than say eight feet away from the player you should be boxing out, which is often the case. No one’s gonna do it. If you do that, i.e., seek out that player to put a body on, you may, in fact, lose an opportunity to actually go get the ball. So, if you can’t box out, what should you do to help your team secure possession? Instead, or additionally (don’t want to lose that coach’s card!), I believe in practicing “predicting the flight and location of the carom”. In other words, learning where the ball will go when it comes off the rim.

Rodman was really good at this. If a three pointer was taken, he could tell when it was going to miss and he could tell where that miss would land. He was also often the only one moving there. Bird, of course, also possessed this skill. (Remember when he followed the shot to the right baseline and, in the air, flipped it in with his left hand? He knew where that ball was going to be.)

When players are rebounding in shooting drills, I ask them not to let the ball hit the floor. This requires one to have knees bent and be ready-to-go, and it teaches the whole predicting thing. Assistant coaches are the best, the best predictors of the flight of the ball, because they are always feeding players shots and rebounding the ball to feed the next shot. If you’ve seen enough balls in the air, you learn to tell from the flight where on the rim it will hit (if it hits) and depending on where it hits, were it will fly to. I’ve always imagined Jeff van Gundy, a hardworking assistant for many years, to be really good at this. (If you see him, tell him I was wondering.)

When I was growing up in Albany, we lived near Siena College. I was over there playing one day (actually every day), eighth grade, I think, when a flatfooted, 6’6″ kid from Long Island who was on the freshman team taught me and a buddy of mine the game “Tips”. It turns out “Tips” is a great way to learn where the rebound is going.

Here’s the game: one person shoots from the foul line. If he makes it, he gets a point. If he misses, the rebounder tries to tip in the rebound. Tipping in the rebound gets you to the FT line to shoot free throws. Your feet have to be off the floor for it to count as a legal tip. Also, the tipper can tip up to three times on that missed shot. In other words, if you miss the first tip, you can tip your own miss but, again, you’ve gotta be off the floor on the tip (quick jumping!). If the free throw shooter makes it, she then shoots another. If she makes three in a row, then the next made free throw has to be shot lefty or off-hand. Make three in a row off-hand then you can go back to righty. Every made FT is a point. You miss and the other player tips it in, the other person takes over at the line. Tip-in counts as two. Game is to twenty-one. You watch the flight of the ball, all geared up with quickness and life, you fly to the spot and tip it in. Easy. It’s a great game that I and a friend of mine (John Carvill, the greatest Shaker High School player that never was) played a million times as junior high and high school kids. (Also really good for your FT shooting! Um, I guess Rodman never took to that part of the game.)

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Posted in rebounding | 6 Comments »

“The Art of the Outlet Pass”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on September 22, 2006

artpoplloyd.jpgYou and your team want to score, and you want to score as easily as possible as often as possible. The best way to do that? Fast break basketball. Once your team has established the mentality to run, the next step is to change — transition — from defense to offense as quickly as you can. Can your team change more players from defense to offense than the opposing team from offense to defense? That’s the tussle. It all begins with the outlet pass. The rebounder should rebound with both hands or at least have two hands on it before he hits the floor. While still in the air, before hitting the floor, the rebounder should be turning his or her head, to the outside of the court, toward the sideline, where, hopefully, the point guard is yelling “outlet”. The passing arm elbow should be out and back and the ball gripped tightly in front of the armpit. At the moment of impact between feet and floor, there should be a strong step in the direction the pass is to be made and the pass should fire out. I’m thinking Russell; I’m thinking Embry; I’m thinking Cowens, and Bill Walton, too. They often made that same pass, with similar technique, but before even landing! You can, too!

Posted in fast break, passing, rebounding | 3 Comments »

“Gobbling Up Rebounds”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on November 21, 2005

ntl4.jpgThe whole idea in defensive rebounding is to not let the other team get the ball after they shoot it. Extra possessions for them means extra shots which means greater opportunities to score. So, another way of looking at defensive rebounding is a denying your opponent offensive rebounds. Each defender’s goal should be to not let the player he or she is matched up with get the rebound. Still, you have got to go get the ball. Gobble it up! But be careful to not over-emphasize ball retrieval at the expense of ball denial for your opponent. On the shot, locate your opponent, seal him away from the ball and then go get it. Now it’s your ball and they cannot score. The rest is gravy!

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