Monday, September 24, 2012

Teaching Your Offensive Players to Expect and Embrace Contact

Unless you were a Post Player growing up, you probably preferred to not have contact as an offensive player. I was a skinny, lanky kid when my Coach taught me to play post in about 3 minutes on the bench. I was buried deep in the guard rotation so I was eager to learn anything that would get me on the floor. The defensive side of post play (blog coming later) was the easiest for me because you got to give the contact. It wasn't until much later that I learned to use the contact on the offensive end to my advantage.

Most players, especially shooters, don't like contact. Look at your best shooter's free throw attempts outside of late game scenarios. You'll be surprised how few attempts they are getting at the line. Shooters tend to try to avoid contact. Same can be said for your Slasher-type players. That type of player usually will attempt a 720-double pump-reverse rather than attack the rim and take a hard foul.

As a Coach, teaching Players that contact benefits them as a scorer is a must to become a complete player. Kobe spends a lot of time at the line. That's the easiest place to get points every night. Players have to expect and embrace contact. Want it. Create it. Below are the 3 points that are stressed to players in our program.

#1 You Own the Defender After the First Bump
No matter who initiates it, after the first bump, the offense owns the defense IF the offensive player sees and uses it as an advantage. Most young and less physical offensive players shy away after the first signs of contact and physical play. Teach your offensive player to attack and use the first bump as a "springboard" to get past the defender. Teach every player that when driving to get their shoulder to the defenders hip. This is especially helpful and a great way to attack a hard hedge on a ball screen. By attacking the defender you can get them off balance and more than likely draw a foul.

#2 Use Rips to Break or Create Contact
Players can create space one of two ways: Retreat or Rip. While there are times a retreat dribble is necessary, it is not when you are attacking the rim. Too many players want to bounce backwards so they can shake and shimmy then attack. The hardest thing for a defender to defend is someone moving at them. By using a rip-through, the offensive player can create or discourage the defender's mentality for physical play. There are three rip-through that we use. They are: Clean the floor (shoe to shoe), Hip to Hip and Across the Face (Hip to Nose to Hip)

#3 Keep Defense in Reverse
I don't know of a Coach that works on defending by retreating straight back. We all teach contain, whether you funnel or fan the dribble. It is impossible to guard a player that attacks in a straight line without backing off the offensive player. By using Rips, Attacking Shoulder to Hip and Stepping Past the Defender, the Offensive player can create and use contact to his advantage. Teaching offensive players to step past the defense, (get your foot past his feet) you automatically force him to retreat. This allows you to step-back or go to the rim. By attacking his hip and stepping past the offensive player has initiated contact and has beaten his man and initiated contact.

Hope this helps you relay this message to your players. Here is my favorite drill to drive this message home. DeMatha Finishing Drill

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