Creating Time & Space for Young Players

Posted on Sep 04 2020

The drive and kick game or “split, kick, extra” concepts are prevalent at all levels of the sport and players and teams have excellent ability to create high percentage scoring opportunities through effective dribble penetration. But to be effective in the drive and kick, individual players need the skills to create the straight line drive efficiently.

The drive and kick game starts with the ability of the player with the ball to beat their man off the bounce, to create “the split”. Once the ball carrier can impact the integrity of the defence through the straight line drive, opportunities will arise for the other four players.

If the ball handler can’t create the situation of advantage by beating their man, well-drilled defences won’t rotate and the opportunities to pass to open players or create close-outs will be limited.

This is where many teams trying to play off the penetrate and pitch break down – they simply can’t consistently impact the integrity of the defence by penetrating in a threatening fashion or on appropriate angles.

Time and space – 

The creation of time and space for the offensive player is key to providing opportunities for themselves an their team-mates. Offence is predicated on time and space and the very best players have advanced skill in creating both.

When teaching young players, think about the individual offensive “check-list” they must possess to be effective with the ball in hand –

  • Ability to pivot both ways on both feet
  • Use of pivots/foot movement to create space for their individual moves
  • Execution of ball fakes to create space for their individual moves
  • Body language and eyes on the catch to deceive the defender
  • An effective shot fake

Young players are often in a hurry to get to their move on the catch. Effectively teaching and refining the above basic skills will build in some timing and assist in creating space for them to be effective with the ball in hand.

“Offensive basketball is a game of deception”, young players need to develop the “nuances” of how to manipulate the defence to create time and space to execute their skills. How do we do this?

  • Play 1 v 1 in practice – a lot!
  • Teach and encourage creativity
  • Constraint-based training and drills
  • Use of small-sided games to garner success and confidence
  • Role model and reference elite players

Link the Physical with the Technical – 

Often we expect a young player to execute a skill and associated body movement without showing and defining the appropriate stance or body position. The best coaches globally do an outstanding job of linking the “physical with the technical”.

Low, athletic stance is a staple of success in basketball on both sides of the ball. We preach this continually on defence, do we highlight the importance of “low, wide and leveraged” on offence enough?

When creating time and space with the ball and then on the first movement, it is important for the young player to stay down. So often, at the point of the first dribble, players will lift their hips and “rise on the bounce”. This takes away any advantage they may have created through fakes or pivots.

Legendary Oregon State University Associate Head Coach Kerry Rupp has presented numerous clinics in Australia and continually talks to players of the importance of “chest over knee, bent back leg, stack your joints” on the dribble move. This is a prime example of linking the physical with the technical and providing some anatomical points of reference.

Young players will be compliant and respond to your teaching and correction. Time invested on the physical and body positioning will assist in improving their offence and effectiveness with ball in hand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *