Wednesday, June 3, 2009

easy offense

The following article addresses 6 ways you can become a more dominant offensive player. It's a "cheat sheet" of sorts, a quick way for you to remember some basic, but incredibly important aspects of being a big-time offensive player.

So keep these things in mind as you work to improve your game, plan your off-season workouts, and take the court.

Be more aggressive

No matter how aggressive you think you are as an offensive player, I guarantee you can be even more powerful and aggressive the next time you take the floor. Whether it's a dribble-drive to the basket, a pump-fake and power move, setting a screen, or crashing the offensive boards, you can turn up the intensity. No one plays 100% on every play. No one attacks the defense with 100% intensity, effort (and 2nd and 3rd efforts) on each and every play.

Make up your mind that the next time you take the court in practice or a game that you'll be a more solid, strong, and aggressive player every second you're on the court.

Increase your speed

No matter how fast and quick you think you move around the court, you can do things faster. Do you run at full-speed and get out on the fast break every single time your team gets a defensive rebound? Do you make fast, strong cuts every single time while running the offense? Are you ready and able to drive past your defender when you catch the ball on the wing or at the high post (or does it take you a second or two to get your balance and figure out what you want to do with the ball)?

Speeding the game up keeps the D off-balance and at a disadvantage. If you speed up your game, you put more pressure on the defense. When you speed up your game, you become a better offensive player.

Work on improving your confidence level

Confidence makes you a better player. If you are filled with self-doubt about your abilities, your game will suffer. If you are tentative and unsure of yourself when you shoot the ball, chances are it won't go in. As a player, I loved competing against players that had little confidence in their games because they'd already beaten themselves.

The next time you take the court, have confidence in your abilities. Believe in your success. Think positive thoughts and feel certain that you're going to compete, do well, and be successful, then go out an make it happen.

Make the 2nd and 3rd effort on every play

Making a strong 2nd or 3rd effort can make the difference between success and failure. Your first effort (shot, pass, dribble, rebound, etc.) might not work, but don't give up. It's easy for defensive players to guard someone that gives up after the first try. Great players keep working and making the effort until they succeed.

The next time you take the court, make it a point to increase your effort level, and to NOT give up after your first move fails.

Vary your direction, speed, and moves

John Wooden (one of the greatest college coaches of all time) used to have his players work on drills that emphasized changing pace and changing direction. By varying your speed and direction, you keep the defense off-balance, guessing which way you'll move, and therefore put them at a huge disadvantage.

If you make the same moves, in the same direction, from the same spots on the floor every time down the court, you make it easy on the defense. If you are predictable, the D knows what you plan to do, and they can guard against it. By varying your direction and speed, you regain the advantage.

Establish yourself early

This is a trick I teach all my private coaching clients and have addressed in another article: establish yourself at the start of the game, and you can take a weaker opponent completely out of the game. By making a statement right from the tip-off, you make it known that you have come to play, you are a big-time player, and your opponent is going to have a very difficult night trying to guard you.

Coming out right from the get-go can scare a weaker opponent, take them mentally out of the game, and you'll likely have a big scoring game. If you're playing against a strong, confident player, you've let it be known that you're going to be a tough opponent and that they've met their match. Either way, establishing yourself from the start of the game will set the tone and let it be known that you're a big-time player who came to play.

Well, there you have it: six ways to help make you a better offensive player...immediately.

The next time you take the court, do these things, and you'll be a better offensive player, guaranteed.

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