Pressure is Just an Illusion
To beat a double-team, bring three players into prime receiving position, six to ten feet from the ball, spread out. With two men on the ball, the defense cannot bring three men up to guard all three receivers or they will be leaving a player wide open under the basket.
Double-teams must be tough to beat in football. Two big linemen can run at you and stick their helmets in your stomach. But, in basketball, where no one is allowed to touch you, there is no reason that double-teams have to bother you. It is merely a matter of how you think. If, at the moment you see a double-team form, you think, “Oh no, a double-team!” you are likely to panic and throw a lob pass somewhere that someone can intercept.
Your thinking should be, “Oh, here’s a 4-on-3 opportunity!” All you have to do is be strong with the ball, be patient, stay low, pivot and look. If you think “tough” and protect the ball, one of your teammates will have time to get open for an easy pass, and your team will have a 4-on-3 scoring opportunity.
- What if one of your teammates does not get open for an easy pass?
- What if they do not run aggressively seeking the pass?
The answer is one you should know in advance, before any double-teams ever arise, before the game even starts. Know which of your teammates is the easiest to throw to. What does “easiest to throw to” mean? It means the toughest kid, the kid who is most aggressive, a competitor who wants the ball, who likes to get it and who doesn’t mind a scuffle or getting his body on the court for a loose ball. Before you go into any game, know who your tough kid is and tell him, “Anytime I get in trouble with the ball, I’m gonna throw it to you.”
When you do get double-teamed and in trouble and realize that you need to be getting rid of the ball, call the tough kid, see where he is coming from and then throw the ball where he has a good chance to get it. If you can give him an advantage, so much the better, but if you have to throw it “up for grabs,” then fine; you’ve chosen a good guy for the “grabs.”
A trapping team cannot afford to use up all five defenders within six feet of the ball, and they won’t, which is precisely the reason that going to the ball makes sense. One of the players near the ball will be open as long as two teammates don’t stand next to each other and let one defender guard them both.
—Excerpted from the book, “Stuff Good Players Should Know”
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Think the Game Thursday: Want More Playing Time?
Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers said it best. “Everyone can’t be the star of the team, but everyone can be the start in their role.” That’s not an easy thing for every athlete to do, but players like Marcus Smart have a long NBA career because that’s exactly what they do.
Think the Game: 5 Ways to Become an Unstoppable Point Guard
Discover five techniques all unstoppable point guard use and hear a breakdown on how you can apply it to your game.
Think the Game: How to Become a Lockdown Defender
WNBA Legend Debbie Black and PGC Director Kyle Koszuta breakdown what a player needs to become a lockdown defender.
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