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Home - What basketball skills takes a player to the next level?

  What Basketball skills takes a player to the next level?

There are two basketball skills more important than all the others when a player is trying to reach the next level.

1) The shot

2) The defense

Part 1 The shot

The first article is about a players shot. I believe that this skill is the most important one of the offensive skills a player can master. Maybe the shot is not the most important when you are on a certain level but when trying to reach the next level when physique and speed becomes more significant a player without the skill of shooting is way more easy to break down.

When a player has a dangerous shot the defense must play closer which gives the possibility to attack with dribble and it also creates space for his team-mates.  On a lower level a player can survive with attacking the basket due to maybe a physique higher level than his team-mates, but when playing against a player who can back off and control the penetration the shot is the key to attract the defense and get him closer. A great shot will help the player to attack the basket more. And a player who is great attacking the basket but a poor shooter will be fouled a lot but will not be able to punish the defense by making high enough percentage from the FT-line.

When the defensive players needs to get up closer it creates space for the offensive players. One important thing I have written earlier about is to use inside as an important piece of the puzzle. If the defense can back off the offensive players it will be more difficult to reach the inside position with passes.

With a good shot a player handling the ball and using ball screens is a threat behind the screen. This will force the defense to play 100% and not take short cuts, going under the screen by example. Actually this is the case in almost all screen situations. If the player can’t shoot the defense will take short cuts to make sure they stop the attack or cut to the basket.

Part 2 The defense

A players defensive skills are the most important skills for most players regarding going to a higher level to play or not. Some players with extra-ordinary skills might advance anyway due to physique or a special offensive skill. But for most players its their ability to defend which lets them advance to the next level.

Is this just something coaches say to make players work on their defense because a  lot of coaches like defense? I would say that the main reason defense is important is that a player who moves up has first to adapt to the speed in the practise and the new group and at the same time to stay on the floor. Because staying on the floor both in practise and in games is important, that’s quite easy, right?

When playing a game most coaches sub out players who can’t defend, who get blown by or stand on their heels, and who get fouls. A good defender doesn’t pick up unnecessary fouls, or at least not as many as other players on the team. And in tough and intense games their will be a lot of contact, their will be fouls, players will be in foul trouble. And who do you think will play? Good defenders!

Another good thing to have in mind is that in a team the balance of players is very important. Having five players on the floor at the same time who wants to shoot the ball and make the important shots might cause problems. A team needs good screeners, rebounders, players who run the floor, who moves without the ball, who cuts and create space for the “scorers”. Combining some of these qualities with good defence creates the type of player that every team wants to have. The type of player who doesn’t make the final shots, the player who’s statistics is not the most fancy, but who adds so much to the team by just getting the job done.

It all comes down to if a player has the desire to be that kind of player. For example, is statistics like 20 minutes, 0/1 shots, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 fouls something to strive for? Well, I would say that if a coach keep that player on the floor it’s most likely because he or she plays hard and good defense and is a solid offensive player. And “to play” is definitely important when moving up to a higher level. This is the first phase. Then with further development the team and the coach might use the player for other things at all parts of the floor and the game.

I wish you players good luck working on your close-outs, slide-steps and taking charges and shutting other players down.

Leman coaching - www.lemancoaching.se

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