Monday, July 2, 2018

The Language of Basketball*

“There’s a word for that in English...YOUNEVERKNOW.” - Joaquin Andujar

Memorizing has gotten a bad rap. We hear how it wastes time and isn’t a substitute for understanding.  But every trade or language brings its own vocabulary. And tools spring up...like the website memrise.com to help. 

Basketball has its language and coaches are like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland, “a word means just what I choose it to mean.”  How can we teach the language? There isn’t one way, anymore than there’s one way to learn English.

I suggest we use multiple techniques like flash cards, visualization, video, and student presentations.

Spacing. What does spacing mean to the player? Chuck Daly said, “spacing is offense and offense is spacing.” I love chiasmus and Chuck Daly, but both are abstract to twelve year-old girls. Our first drill is often dribbling around the three point line, the SPACING LINE. Supplement with good and bad spacing videos. Teach good spacing but force execution with limited spacing in practice, like soccer futsal

Transition. “Basketball is a sprinting game, not a running game.” We don’t have to use the word CONDITION if we drill sprinting like the Hoiberg Drill.

Build vocabulary from simple to complex. FOOTWORK. The natural “face up” move is the front pivot. Early in every offseason workout we practice reverse pivoting into driving, imprinting the unnatural attack mode.

CUTTING. Think about introducing advanced teaching with video of Dwayne Wade or Rip Hamilton. 

From the two-man game to more complex actions, expand the vocabulary with imagery players can apply. What we know is so far off what they know Here are just a few simple offensive concepts  they can apply:

Screen the screener
Screen the roller (Spain pick-and roll)
UCLA cut
Flex cut
Iverson cut
Spread pick-and-roll
Two decision offense
Reverse action
Floppy
Loop
Hammer

*I don’t have all my tools so apologies in advance...

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