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What I Witnessed was Like Rec Soccer, Part Three

by Rich Stoner, USAW Elite Basketball Training, LLC

A few weeks ago in a post entitled “Teach Players How to Play” the subject of teaching basketball players, particularly at the youth level, how to play basketball and not teaching them set plays was discussed. What prompted the original exploration of this topic was a conversation with a local youth basketball coach who told me that his practice was primarily based around working on offensive plays and that there was no time for skill development and other aspects of the game that I described as priorities.

Two weeks ago, in somewhat of a follow up to, “Teach Players How to Play”, the subject of my post, “What I Witnessed was Like Rec Soccer” turned towards teaching players three fundamental components of basketball to go along with their skill development. First and foremost, the player needs to be able to get open on his own. Then in my second installment of this three part series, “What I Witnessed was Like Rec Soccer Part 2”, the concept of moving effectively without the basketball in order to create space for themselves and their teamates was discussed. Finally, today’s focus will be what the player can do out of the triple threat once they catch the basketball. The ability to come to triple threat and be able to create space out of a triple threat position is more of a basketball skill development topic than the two previous topics and can be worked on in a team setting within the confines of an offense, or even while teaching players the various cuts and screens written about in last week’s post, and individually.

Creating space out of the triple threat is one the fundamental basketball skill components that are taught at the Elite Basketball Training Academy. As mentioned in past blog posts, working on your team’s plays or offense is great, but if the player cannot do anything once they have caught the basketball, it is a true waste of your time. This tends to often be the case at the youth level and sometimes at the high school level. As a former varsity basketball coach triple threat moves were always worked on during the breakdown drills of our offense. I found this to be the most successful way to teach these skills while continuing to progress in our offense and have the players understand what type of move to use based on how the defense presented itself. For the purpose of today, the focus will be on the basic triple threat moves that are necessary to master before progressing to other advanced counter moves that some of the high level high school, collegiate, and professional players use.

For me, I prefer to incorporate various types of footwork into my trip threat drills that include stepping in from a straight on position, coming off a screen and using your inside pivot foot, and/or catching the ball going away from the basket and having to front pivot or reverse pivot in both directions. Doing so adds another dimension to these triple threat drills and will further prepare the players for more game-like situations. Once the ball is caught there are a few fundamental skills that you can use to score out of the triple threat position. First, if the defensive player is playing off you, you can shoot the basketball. This is obviously the simplest scenario but if the defense is playing tighter on you, it may be necessary to use what is commonly referred to as the jab series to create space for yourself to shoot and/or score. The fundamental skills in the jab series include:

  • Jab and shoot
  • jab, shot fake, shoot
  • jab, shot fake, go (rocker move)
  • jab opposite, rip through, go

Using this series of jab moves will help you create space for you to either shoot or put the ball on the floor to get off a jumper off the dribble, get to the rim, or draw two defenders and create an open shot for your teammate. These can be worked on in a variety of drills and are once again the basic moves out of the triple threat position (for more advanced moves that can be used as counters to these fundamental moves check back for next week’s post).

The game of basketball is all about the ability to create space with or without the basketball. In order to do so, the basketball player must be able to get themselves open and also have the ability to cut and move effectively without the basketball. Furthermore, once the player catches the basketball they must have a series of moves and counter moves to utilize with the basketball in their hand. The jab series is an excellent group of skills to develop that will help the player score out of the triple threat position or open up opportunites for other offensive players on the court. As a matter of preference, I always like to use three on three breakdown drills to teach these components within the confines of your offense. Three on three provides more open space on the court and is therefore less intimidating for youth players, or any level player. Being less intimidating will ultimately allow them to become more comfortable trying new basketball concepts and help build success. However, from an individual skill development perspective, there are many drills that can be used to develop these basketball skills (for examples of these drills please click the youtube icon in the side bar to view the Elite Basketball Training youtube page). Overall, the fundamental skills of getting open, moving are necessary for your succes in the game of basketball and need to be a part of your team and individual practices.

Committed to taking your game to the NEXT level.

Rich Stoner, USAW

About Rich:
Elite Basketball Training, LLC is a New Jersey based basketball training company that provides basketball players and athletes with the tools to take their game to the next level. Elite Basketball Training specializes in individual, small group, and team basketball skill development, sports performance training, and college planning and recruiting.

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