For all the complaining that basketball players are apt to do about not getting the ball enough, one of the biggest faults of most players is their failure to come to the ball against pressure. “Hiding” is more relaxing, and that is what players tend to do. They get 25-40 feet from the ball, and they stand there waiting for it to be thrown. Sometimes, they even wave their arms and frown, but whether they know it or not, they are hiding.
Few players realize how often they hide. They seem to be readily available when no help is needed, and they are very concerned about getting their share of the shots against a team that is applying no pressure. But where are they when the going is tough? Where are they when the ball is being double-teamed? Where are you?
If the ball is being double-teamed, or if your teammate has picked up his dribble and the defender has gotten in his face—if you aren’t ten feet from the ball, then you are hiding. You cannot be found. A player being pressured by two men or having no dribble left cannot be expected to find you 40 feet or even 25 feet away. A 25-foot pass takes too long to get there, and an alert team will have an excellent chance of intercepting it. Run to the ball.
Hiding against pressure (when your team especially needs you) is the worst form, but it is not the only form. Game after game, players go trotting casually to the offensive end without a glance at their point guard dribbling down-court and without recognizing the semi-fast break scoring opportunities. Often, their defenders aren’t even looking at the ball and aren’t ready to defend a quick burst of speed toward the basket. But the quick bursts don’t happen very often, because players are not constantly seeking the ball.
In just about every game, there are easy baskets to be gotten that don’t even require basketball ability. There are 3-on-3’s that easily could become 4-on-3’s except that someone hides instead of seeks. And there are 3-on-3’s where nothing happens except that the dribbler waits for all five and sets up an offense. Why do even good shooters fail to realize that by running and making a sharp cut, they could get the ball in a great scoring spot?
These answers seem to be attributable to sheer laziness—and angry coaches claim that constantly—but it cannot be that simple. Because well-conditioned players with good attitudes do it, too. They hide. They jog behind a trotting defender or alongside him when a sprint could result in an easy score. Someday, play in a pickup game with the sole objective of trying to see how many times you and an alert guard, or you and a forward who is willing to run, can score easy baskets. You may not score them or throw the assists, but you should see how many times it could happen.
There are dozens of baskets to be scored out there on the courts just waiting for you to come out of hiding.
—Excerpted from the book, “Stuff! Good Players Should Know.”
THINK THE GAME
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PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
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