a youth basketball coaching and athletic resource    Home :: About PowerBasketball :: Site Map :: Advertise :: Contact Us
PowerBasketball, Basketball Coaching Resource Site recommends the Better Basketball DVD training series, featuring Shooting, Ball Handling, 1-on-1 Offense, 1-on-1 Defense, Passing, and Post Play. An excellent training tool for any player or coach.
 Click here to read more.
Better Basketball DVD Series
  Coach's Clinic       Coaching Tips       Fundamentals        Books           Videos         Resources     

"Good Constraints": 5 Smart Hoops Habits To Develop in the Off Season

by Richard Ford
Director/Clinician, Smart Hoops Basketball Camp

What are "good" basketball constraints? And how does a player make them "automatic" smart hoops habits? I took notes during the games that I observed from the scorer's table. I identified five crucial "good constraints" habits that nearly every player I saw that day should be committed to developing in no pressure pick-up game situations in the off season. I will identify these good constraint habits, and then offer some advice on how to make them automatic behaviors.

Make sure you have read the first article before continuing. Click here to read the article. Scroll down to read the details on the 5 "Smart Hoops" Habits.

ADVERTISEMENT Basketball Video The Better Basketball Video Series Will Improve Your Game! A 4 tape set emphasizing 1-on-1 Defense, Ball Handling, Shooting, and Passing.

Our partner site, FloridaHoops.com,
The Top Players from
Florida's Treasure Coast

Florida's Top Players
::   Class of 2007
::   Class of 2008
::   Class of 2009
::   Class of 2010
::   Class of 2011

Recruiting News
Story Archives

Florida Scoreboard
check games by region
Game Reports
daily analysis
Statewide Team Rankings
regardless of class
Player Rankings
by graduating class

High School News,
Recruiting, and Coaching

1. Make Every Dribble Productive

The dribble is a "finite resource" weapon. You use it, then you lose it. Accordingly, you should use it well and intelligently. Yet most players view the dribble as an inexhaustible natural resource that regenerates exponentially in relation to its use. Nothing kills offensive efficiency more than players who immediately pound the ball into the floor and go nowhere. Even worse are the players who immediately pound the ball into the floor at their feet and then pick up their dribble. Wasted resource and sitting duck! Every dribble should be threatening to the defense. It should attack the basket for a score; or it should engage a second defender (creating a 4-3 advantage for the offense); or it should improve a passing angle; or it should put pressure on the defense in transition; or it should get a player out of trouble against traps or double teams. If you aren't dribbling for one of these purposes, then pass and move!

2. Throw "Sure" Passes, Not "Maybe" Passes

Every pass is a transaction. It requires the passer and the receiver to have a "mind meld". The passing transaction requires stealthy non-verbal communication. A knowing glance, nod, or body gesture between the passer and the receiver ensures that the pass transaction is successful. Occasionally, a verbal command to the receiver is effective, but may also lead to "telegraphing". All too often, however, players with the ball simply (and blindly) pass to an area that a seemingly open teammate occupies without making sure that a transaction is occurring. What results are silly turnovers, last minute "check" passes that float into 50/50 ball land, or passes, that even if completed, place the receiver in a vunerable position against aggressively closing defense. A "sure" pass is made quickly, decisively, crisply, and in synch with the receiver.

3. Reduce the Size of Your Court

Sounds radical, right? But so many silly turnovers occur within the three foot strip of court along the sidelines and baselines. All too often, players with the ball attempt to tight rope the sidelines and squeeze through a 12" space with clever dribbling. Unfortunately, a disproportionate number of turnovers occur in that three foot strip. A light bump that is not a foul and the ball handler steps on the sideline…turnover! A player trying to avoid going out of bounds goes airborne and heaves a Hail Mary "maybe" pass into the hands of a defender….turnover! An emergency cross-over dribble into a double team is stolen….turnover! Eliminate these silly turnovers by drawing "imaginary" lines. A regulation basketball court is 94 feet long by 50 feet wide. You should make your court 88' x 44'. You should consider it a turnover if you ever dribble into the three foot forbidden zone. This tactic was taught to me by the late Dick Devenzio, one of the greatest teachers in the game. Dick always said that if I adhered to the imaginary line concept, my silly turnovers would be imaginary!

4. Take Smart Shots

Good shot selection is difficult to articulate. Reasonable coaches can disagree on whether a given shot is a good shot or a poor shot. However, there are objective criteria that good players should reinforce and make "good constraints" habits and that almost all coaches would agree upon. Be on-balance. Be in range. Be free from defensive pressure that may alter your form. Don't shoot in the half-court set before a pass is made (unless it is an uncontested lay-up). Rarely shoot in the half court set after only one pass has been made. Think about it. Most defenses are at their most alert in the first 8-10 seconds of a possession. After that, they tend to slow down, get lazy and stop moving with a purpose. Take advantage of that natural tendency and take objectively good, smart shots!

5. Force Ball Handlers Left

No player is equally good dribbling with either hand. All of us have a preference, and for 90% of us, that preference is our right hand (I am a lefty, all the way!). As a ball defender, you should almost always try to force the ball handler to his/her left side. If you employ good "discomfort zone" ball pressure defense and make sure that the first dribble the ball handler takes is with his/her left hand, you will greatly increase the likelihood that the ball handler will make an "unforced" mistake.

Contact Information
For registration questions call:
1-800-NIKE CAMP (800-645-3226) – toll free
415-479-6061 – fax
For program questions call Richard Ford:
Email contact: ptgdhoops@earthlink.net

Basketball Videos
Winning Hoops
30 Drills for Building a Complete Guard
Great individual workout from Kevin Sutton,
NIKE Skill Academy Instructor
price $39.95
30 Drills for Building a Complete Post Player
Learn to be a post player from Kevin Sutton,
NIKE Skill Academy Instructor
price $39.95
Duke Basketball 6-Pack
The latest DVD series from coach Mike Krzyzewski,
price $44.95 each

Minnesota Timberwolves
Basketball Tickets
Timberwolves NBA Tickets

SmartHoops Camp
Learn to Think the Game (Grades 6-9)
with Richard Ford
Deep Three Sportswear
Living Life Beyond The Arc
Better Basketball
Fundamentals and Training DVD's for the Player and Coach
Point Guard College
with Dena Evans
Championship Productions
helping individuals and teams
realize their fullest potential
Open since October 21, 1998. Copyright © 1998- PowerBasketball. All rights reserved.
No part of PowerBasketball, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use. This includes framing of web content, modification, reproduction, storage in a retrieval system or retransmission, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise,
for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permission.