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The Fourth Key to Scoring: Creating Separation

The Fourth Key to Scoring: Creating Separation

With the first three keys to scoring, you’ve learned to shoot the ball really well, cut efficiently, and read the defense. Now it is time to create separation between you and your defender. This can be done either out of the triple threat or off the dribble. However, either way it requires the offensive player to get the defender to lean one way so that he can go the other. This is accomplished with a number of moves and counter moves, but ultimately comes down a few common characteristics: living low, footwork, initiating contact, and actually separating. Being able to execute this four essential elements is crucial to your ability to create space and space will leave you with more efficient and open shots.

Creating Space out of the Triple Threat

The game of basketball is played from low to high and if you want to create space between you and your defender you must live low. I once heard on the telecast of the NCAA Tournament, that basketball is a “shoulders game,” meaning that the player with the lower shoulders tends to win the battle. Winning the “shoulders game” is crucial to your success as a scoring threat, and in the case of creating space out of the triple threat, you need to be balance and your shoulders need to be below your defender’s shoulders. Once you have established a low and balanced position, it now comes down to footwork. It is your footwork that will allow you to initiate a move and counter moves on your defender. You need to be able to pivot on your inside foot and outside foot and then have a series of jab moves out of both pivots. For example, if you were executing an L-cut and you used a reverse pivot, we at Elite Basketball Training teach a variety of jab moves out of this footwork called the Sweep Series. The primary move and one that you would use in this situation if your defender is closing out on your high shoulder is the sweep and go move. The counter move to the sweep and go, is the sweep counter. This is executed when the player is closing out in a more neutral position. In order to get him to lean toward the baseline, the offensive player turns his reverse pivot into a jab baseline and once the defender leans that way, uses a crossover step to come back toward the middle for the finish. There are more options, but these are the two most fundamental that we teach out of this footwork and cut. Either way, whatever move you use, you must initiate contact when you drive by the defender and in your low position, the contact will, more times that not, be shoulder to hip. Initiating contact, legally, is something that great players do to keep the defender grounded and knock them off balance in order to gain an advantage in separation. Ultimately, that is the last step, separation. We have a phrase that we use at Elite Basketball Training, that is, “initiate then separate.” In other words, get the defender off balance by creating contact, then separate from them with the dribble into space. This will leave you with a more open shot then if you were covered.

Creating Space off the Dribble

The four key elements to separation can also be applied to creating space off the dribble as well. That is to say that you must be low while handling the ball, you must use your footwork to set up your move, then initiate contact, and separate into space. However, in regards to creating space off the dribble, we often talk about using your three dribbles in conjunction with the aforementioned keys. These three dribbles include the close dribble, the attack dribble, and the separation dribble. The close dribble is exactly what it sounds like, and serves to get the ball handler close to the defender. Why? The answer is simple, you cannot make a move four feet away from a defender and actually expect it to work because moves made far away will allow the defender to slide along with you. Consequently, you must use a dribble or two to get close to the defender. Then use your footwork to get the defender to lean and get you into your attack position using your attack dribble. For example, when we teach the inside out dribble we first teach the players to jab with their weak foot as the bring their shoulder, hip, and ball across their body in that direction. This weak foot jab footwork sets the defender up one way so that you can go the other and once you have set the defender up, your next dribble is the attack dribble. The attack dribble, can also be called a body dribble, and should put you into a quarter lunge, attack position that is close to the body of the defender. From this position, you are initiating contact and then separating. The separation dribble, used after you initiate the contact, should be slightly out in front of you (but protected) and will serve to create space between you and your defender. If you dribble at your hip in this situation you will have done nothing. Therefore you must dribble where you want to go (out in front), not where you are (at your hip).

Tips for Creating Separation

Creating separation between you and your defender is crucial to your success as a scorer.  It will give you the space you need to get an open shot off and open shots are much easier to make than contested ones. With that in mind these four tips are vital to your ability to create separation:

  • Play the game lower than your opponents.
  • Use your footwork to create moves and countermoves.
  • Initiate contact as you go by your defender.
  • Separate by dribbling where you want to be, not where you are.

 

Born to Score Holiday Hoops Clinic

Are you interested in learning how to create separation and get open enough to knock down your jump shot and finish at the rim? Creating Separation will be an integral part of Elite Basketball Training’s Born to Score Clinic on December 27th from 9am-12pm. This is your opportunity to learn to separate like the pros and get yourself open on the court. Don’t miss out, this event sold out last year. Register today at www.richstoner.com/training-camps-clinics

The Third Key to Scoring: Reading the Defense

The Third Key to Scoring

With the Born to Score Holiday Hoops Basketball Clinic right around the corner on December 28th in Edison, NJ I am writing a series of blog posts on the five keys to scoring that will be covered at the clinic:

  1. Proper Jump Shooting Technique
  2. Getting open using a variety of cuts
  3. Reading the defense and attacking it based on your reads
  4. Creating space out of the triple threat or off the dribble
  5. Finishing at the rim and away from it with a variety of finishing moves

The first week, we explained how important it is for a basketball player to be able to shoot the basketball and the proper shooting technique based on the Pro Shot System. In the second installment, we covered how players, even if they can shoot, need to be able to get open in in order to get their shot off. Getting open requires basketball players to move without the basketball.  This week, we will focus on the third key to scoring the basketball, reading the defense.

Reading the Defense Leads to Open Shots

Reading the defense is something that great players do at all times on the basketball court.  It is a key component to what makes them great because it makes them a more efficient player.  This efficiency enables them to be a better scorer because, ultimately, they are not taking bad, and contested shots. They are taking open shots and open shots tend to go in more often, just ask the Golden State Warriors. Why are they getting more open shots? It’s really quite simple, great players are watching how their defender is guarding them individually and how the rest of the defenders are guarding them as a team. Knowledge of this will allow you to make a move or a counter move based on how the defense is playing. If executed correctly, these moves will leave you more open to make more shots.

Reading and Reacting to the Sideline Ball Screen

As I mentioned last week in my post about moving without the basketball, there are different cuts based on how you read the defense.  In the last post I discussed a narrow pin down and how you should cut based on the way the defense is playing you. This week, to mix it up, let’s take a look at a sideline ball screen and the reads that players may have based on how the defense plays that. For the player with the ball coming off the screen, they have any number of options to score coming off the screen using either their floater, a pull-up jump or a 3 pointer depending on how high the off the ball helps shows. Beyond his own scoring options the ball handler has the option to pass to the screener who would roll if both defenders involved in the screen help high and he has a clear path to the basket or pop if the defenders protect the basket by going low on the screen. The ball handler can also hit the duck in from the opposite post if his man helps off of him as well as the weakside shooter who should elevate up to the open window (the place on the court that offers a clear passing line from the driver to the shooter.

These are the reads for a sideline ball screen other ball screens include a step up ball screen on the wing, a high ball screen, a flat ball screen, a the horns ball screen, all of which has its own set of reads for the ball handler and players off the ball.

Ultimately, being able to read the defense and cut or attack the defense based on those reads will leave you with much more open shots and make you a much more efficient scorer.

Three keys to reading the defense:

  1. Study the game by watching, reading, and playing. This will build your basketball IQ and give you a greater understanding of how teams are defending you and how you should react.
  2. Watch you defender and the next two defenders initially. Repeat as the defense breaks down.
  3. Read the defense while you are on the move. You may be able to counter before you catch the ball or as soon as  you do.

The Born to Score Holiday Hoops Clinic 

Are you interested in learning how to become a better jump shooter and more on the Pro Shot System? If so, we will be spending at least ⅓ of our three hour Born to Score Clinic on teaching the Pro Shot System.  This is your opportunity to learn to shoot like the pros. Register today at www.richstoner.com/training-camps-clinics

The Second Key to Scoring: Moving Without the Ball

The Second Key to Scoring

With the Born to Score Holiday Hoops Basketball Clinic right around the corner on December 28th in Edison, NJ I am writing a series of blog posts on the five keys to scoring that will be covered at the clinic:

  1. Proper Jump Shooting Technique
  2. Getting open using a variety of cuts
  3. Reading the defense and attacking it based on your reads
  4. Creating space out of the triple threat or off the dribble
  5. Finishing at the rim and away from it with a variety of finishing moves

Last week we focused on the importance of being able to shoot the basketball and the proper shooting technique based on the Pro Shot System, with the post, Five Keys to Scoring: Develop Your Jump Shot . It is one thing to be able to shoot the basketball well, but players must be able to get open in order to get their shot off. Getting open requires basketball players to move without the basketball.  This can be accomplished more effectively by using distinct changes of speed and direction and also mastering a variety of cuts based on how the defense it playing you.

Cuts that all Basketball Players Should Know

Great basketball players have a knowledge of different cuts that they can use in a variety of situations.  These cuts can be divided into three categories: Low to High cuts; High to Low cuts; and Dribble Penetration cuts. Low to High cuts include the ever popular V-cut and also the L-cut. A swim cut may also be used when going from low to high if the defense is face guarding you or playing you very tight, as well as a stop and go cut if the defender is trailing you.  In the case of High to Low cuts, there is the backdoor cut, the seal and pop cut, the post up cut, and the fake backdoor cut. Finally in regards to Penetration cuts, there are a multitude of cuts including the kick up cut, the corner ball side drift cut, the euro cut or fill behind, and the baseline drift cut. Knowledge of these cuts is highly important and comes with building your basketball IQ by playing the game, studying the game, and practicing with game situational drills.

Cutting effectively By Knowing the Game

Being able to cut effectively is one of, if not the most, deficient skills in the game of basketball today.  Simply stated, at the youth and high school levels, players have difficulty getting open against better defensive teams and players. Part of this has to do with the offensive player moving all at one speed and not changing directions efficiently. However, it also has to do with an offensive player not understanding how to use the way the defense is playing against them. Let’s take a down screen to the block as an example. With this type of screen, an offensive player has at least five options for cuts off this screen. First, if the defender is trailing you and there is no help from the screener’s defender then the offensive player would execute a tight curl off the screen enroute to a layup at the front of the rim. If the defender is trailing but the screener’s defender hedges out to help, the offensive player would execute a wide curl cut toward the elbow for a possible jump shot. Another scenario is if the defender is playing tight and forcing the offensive players away from the screen, the offensive player should counter with a swim move and inside cut straight toward the top of the key for a jumper. There is also the situation where in the case that the primary defender goes on the ball side of the screen, the cutter should fake the curl by stepping over top of the screen and then flare to the corner for a jump shot. The fifth and final situation has the cutter going back door if the primary defender overplays and tries to jump the screen.

Five Keys to Getting Open

Knowledge of the game and increasing your basketball IQ, something that I have spoken at length about on this blog will increase your ability to get open. Remember, the situations mentioned in the previous paragraph are in the case of a narrow pin down. There are also wide pin downs, dribble penetrations, dribble hand offs, etc. Knowing these situations and being able to execute a variety of cuts, such as the ones mentioned above, will help the player be able to get open in more situations based on how the defense is playing you. Cutting efficiently and getting open is a skill that needs to learned and practiced and you can become better at it using these five tips:

  1. Initiate contact with the defender (in most situations) and then separate.
  2. Separate from the defender by changing speeds and directions efficiently.
  3. Keep your hips low and stay balanced in order to sprint to the spot.
  4. Know and use a variety of cuts on the basketball court.
  5. Study the game. Know situations and how to cut effectively in each one of them.

Born to Score Holiday Hoops Clinic

Are you interested in learning how to move without the basketball and get open enough to knock down your jump shot. Moving without the basketball will be an integral part of Elite Basketbal Training’s Born to Score Clinic on December 28th from 9am-12pm.  This is your opportunity to learn to cut like the pros and get yourself open on the court. Don’t miss out, this event sold out last year. Register today at www.richstoner.com/training-camps-clinics

5 Keys to Scoring: Develop Your Jump Shot

The Five Keys to Scoring the Basketball 

With the high school basketball season underway in New Jersey, players are pumped to be back on the basketball courts with their high school teammates. Coaches have been spending their off months preparing by reworking old offenses or designing new offenses that fit the personnel that they have coming back this season. Players are trying to figure out how they will be in the mix this season and whether or not they will be relevant when it comes to running these new offenses. With that in mind and with Elite Basketball Training’s second
Born to Score Holiday Hoops Clinic a month away, I have decided to break down my five keys to scoring over the next few weeks of blog posts. These keys include:

  1. Proper Jump Shooting Technique
  2. Getting open using a variety of cuts
  3. Reading the defense and attacking it based on your reads
  4. Creating space out of the triple threat or off the dribble
  5. Finishing at the rim and away from it with a variety of finishing moves

and if you can master them, then you will most certainly find yourself on the court during games more often than not.

How Jump Shooting Can Make Your Offense Better

First and foremost, you need to be able to shoot the basketball. Let’s be honest, fancy team offenses are great and all and you can run them until you are blue in the face, but unless you have players who can put the ball in the basket, then the offense itself does not mean much at all.  I wrote a post last spring on how a jump shooting team can win the championship and it was all based on how the teams that have won the NBA championships in recent years, the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors were great jump shooting teams and that it was their ability to shoot the ball well that made their offenses click enroute to the championship. Good shooters can stretch the defense and open up lanes for cutting and driving that previously were not there because the defense has to play up on you. Similarly, players like Klay Thompson also appear to be quicker than they actually are because individual defenders have to guard him more closely because he can shoot. This tighter defense makes it easier for him to put the ball on the floor and go by players making him seem like a much quicker player.

The Case For The Pro Shot System

Ultimately, players need to shoot the basketball well in order to be a great offensive player. We at Elite Basketball Training are huge advocates of the Pro Shot System. We use a majority of their teachings in all of our New Jersey based basketball training sessions and have had huge success with it. The Pro Shot System is based on countless hours of studying the best shooters in the NBA, WNBA, and college and coming up with their similar tendencies. Because this system is based on the best shooters in the game, we feel that if it is good enough for those who make millions of dollars to shoot the basketball, then it is certainly good enough for basketball players who are still developing. Therefore, we teach players to hop, dip, turn, sweep, and sway just like Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, Diana Taurasi, and Maya Moore do.

 

Reasons For Good Jump Shooting

  1. Great jump shooting teams win championships
  2. Great jump shooting opens up driving and passing lanes.
  3. Great jump shooting will make individuals appear quicker than they really are.
  4. Learn the Pro Shot System. There is a reason great shooters shoot so well, their tendencies.

The Born to Score Holiday Hoops Clinic 

Are you interested in learning how to become a better jump shooter and more on the Pro Shot System? If so, we will be spending at least ⅓ of our three hour Born to Score Clinic on teaching the Pro Shot System.  This is your opportunity to learn to shoot like the pros. Register today at www.richstoner.com/training-camps-clinics 

Your Growth as a Basketball Player

Drive and a Willingness to Learn Equals Growth as a Basketball Player

As a basketball trainer in New Jersey, I am in the midst of the busiest time of year. Basketball season is right around the corner and many New Jersey based basketball players are looking to get in the gym for basketball training in order to sharpen up their skills prior to the season. That being said, the players have been coming into the gym and training with purpose and focus.  This drives their development and the results have been tremendous. As a matter of fact, there has not been one day this week that I have not left my basketball skill development workouts (either group or personal) and called my wife to tell her how amazing they went. The drive has fueled the basketball players that I train to be on their game and it has made working with them even more fun than usual. Being driven is only part of the equation for this success though. The players’ willingness to listen to new ideas and learn from them are also allowing them to grow as players. Listening to new ideas and then practicing them with a purpose of getting better will eventually lead to your growth as a basketball player.

Your Drive to be a Good Basketball Player

The drive that the players bring to the court each day is the first part of the daily basketball growth equation. First and foremost, a basketball player has to want to be good. I was recently speaking with a parent who told me that their son had gotten cut from their school team, and they, as parents, had told him that being cut should only push you to work harder to get better. This reminded me of my personal story of when I got cut two years in a row at the middle school and that fueled my fire to become a better basketball player at the high school level. I wanted it bad and I worked my butt off to do so. The result? I ended up making the high school team and becoming a starter at every level. I was driven to be good and if you really want to make it at any level of basketball, you need to be the same.

Be Willing the Listen and Learn

The second part of the basketball growth equation is your ability as a player to listen to your coach and learn from them. Are you open minded as a player? Will you take what your coach is telling you and practice it or are you close minded and not willing to learn? Players who are the latter will have very little success on the court because it is the constant learning of new concepts that makes great players great. If you are the former than you will absolutely continue to develop on the basketball court. The other night at one of my personal basketball skill development workout, I had a younger female player working on something new with her jump shot. She absorbed the information that I gave her like a sponge and would not leave the gym until she got what I was telling her to do right. That kid of willingness to learn new things and the drive to get it right is going to make her a great player someday.  It is also the combination you must have as a basketball player for success.

Tips for Growth as a Basketball Player

  1. Have drive, passion, and purpose every time that you step on the court to practice or play.
  2. Be willing to listen to your coaches and learn from them daily.