Defending a Stronger Player

When you are guarding a stronger player, especially when he has the ball, how do you combat his pivots and his movement to the basket? How do you stay close to him and apply pressure without getting an apparently accidental elbow in your eye? It can be very difficult to apply pressure and hold your ground unless you can protect yourself in the process. Protecting yourself is the key ingredient, because no player is permitted to make contact intentionally. Intentional contact will result in a foul and a turnover, so a strong player who uses his strength merely to run over you or push you is of no particular concern. He is a poor player and will soon be out of the game. The problem is with the good player with strength, more strength than you.

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Trust the Process

Process. Process. Process. You have probably heard it thrown around in the last several years when it comes to sports teams and their approach to success. It’s a “buzz word” that a lot of well-known coaches refer to all the time. Recently, I had the opportunity to hear one of these coaches, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith, talk about this idea of process. What he said blew me away.

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Hand Position on Defense

Coaches always urge, “Hands up!” so their players will distract the offense and deflect passes, and players prefer to play with their hands at their sides. Because it is easier to move with hands at your side. (Sprinters don’t raise their hands until they cross the finish line.) In guarding the ball, there are times to play with hands down and times to play with a hand up. If you are guarding a dribbler, your hands need not be up, they should be down faking at the ball or helping your body stay in good position, on balance.

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Why Is My Performance Inconsistent?

Do you ever feel like your performance in games is consistently inconsistent? That you’re putting in the same hard work at practice every day, yet some days you play really well and others you don’t play well at all? If that’s you, you’re not alone. If that’s not you, don’t worry—the frustration is coming soon!

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THINK THE GAME

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Learning How to Lose

No one is quite sure about how a player is supposed to act after a loss. It doesn’t seem necessary to cry for a week, especially since you are likely to have another game within that time. Yet, it doesn’t seem quite right to walk off the court laughing either. Naturally, some losses will be more bothersome than others, and, just as naturally, every player will lose sometimes. Therefore, it seems intelligent to prepare a response in advance for those unhappy times when the inevitable happens, you lose.

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Get to the Elbow for Offensive Boards

No one is quite sure about how a player is supposed to act after a loss. It doesn’t seem necessary to cry for a week, especially since you are likely to have another game within that time. Yet, it doesn’t seem quite right to walk off the court laughing either. Naturally, some losses will be more bothersome than others, and, just as naturally, every player will lose sometimes. Therefore, it seems intelligent to prepare a response in advance for those unhappy times when the inevitable happens, you lose.

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Why Zone Defense is Bad for Youth Basketball

A zone defense should be one player guarding the ball and four players helping guard the ball. However, in youth basketball, zone defense turns into one player jumping out of position and reaching for steals while teammates stand and watch it happen. Most youth players have yet to develop strong man-to-man defensive skills, and so many youth coaches and teams tend to default to a zone in order to get cheap wins instead of developing long-term, winning basketball habits.

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Criticism: It’s Part of the Game

If you have a good coach and you are a good player, most likely you have already learned that the only intelligent response to criticism from your coach is to accept it, keep your mouth shut and try to learn from it. No one, especially tough competitors, can ever be expected to like criticism, but you certainly must be able to take it and learn from it.

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