When we equate the strategies used in football with those used in basketball, we can evoke a better approach to the game. In football every player has a function and when executed correctly you get positive results. Lineman’s block protecting the passer or open holes for the ball carrier. Receivers and tight ends block the field or perform pass patterns in search of space and separation. All of these assignments are carefully synchronized for optimal results. And if the timing is perfect, a trap-block becomes a big win or a well-timed break by a receiver becomes a first reception.
In basketball, such diligence is unfortunately lacking. It’s a mishmash of ideas, each player touching on it alone, not knowing the intentions of their teammates. What if each player knew what the other four players were going to do, where they were going to be at all times in the room? What would be the result? Also, how could this be done.
To understand my apotheosis, let’s look at the different aspects of the game. In basketball, the objective is to score more points than your opponent. To do this, you need to have a higher shot percentage, and / or much better bounce stats, and / or lower numbers in the revenue department. A major factor in these numbers is how a team creates space. Space is how a team establishes passing, shooting and driving lanes. When there is space, the passes are on target and the firing rates give higher percentages. The space also allows for a more controlled shooting position which also increases the percentages. In the event of a default, the turnover results and the shooting percentages decrease. Creating space should be the goal of every player on the team, whether directly involved in the game or not.
To create space, several factors must be brought into play, namely movement, balanced offensive threats and the dictation of defensive alignment. When there is movement, the defense focuses more on protecting their man than helping their teammates. This movement sufficiently extends the defense where space is created. Even the wrong move or threat of move keeps the defense preoccupied, negating weakened defense and rebound opportunities.
If only a few players are offensive threats, the defense focuses on those players stifling their effectiveness. Thus, it is imperative to have a balanced offensive strategy that involves all five players. When the five players act as full participants in passes, rebounds, screens, shots and practices towards the basket, the defense must guard against multiple threats, not just a few. Likewise, such a strategy allows less skilled shooting players to perform specific functions in which they can excel. They feel they have a purpose.
Every offensive strategy has a counter-defensive strategy. It can be man-to-man, man-to-man change or various zone alignments. By implementing various offensive strategies, especially when they are successful, one can dictate how the defense contradicts it. Such manipulation can offer advantages in areas such as games, better shooting and rebounding opportunities as well as lower turnovers.
Creating space can also be done by inhibiting or hindering the opponent’s movements. Screens are a common method of restricting coverage by a defender. Space can also be accomplished by creating confusion in the opponent’s defensive lineups. When they activate defense, there are tiny opportunities to gain an advantage. For example, in a pick-and-roll situation, the screener can lift off towards the basket, creating not only a scoring opportunity, but also mismatches. These can be tall over short, fast over slow, competent over insecure.
Preventing or inhibiting an opponent can also be accomplished by creating traffic jams. When opponents have to dodge their own teammates in order to get into the right defensive positions, it creates momentary shooting, passing and driving opportunities. This can be accomplished by gathering offensive players in a small area and then suddenly dispersing. And if the dispersal is done in a way that creates confusion or switching, it can result in congestion and opportunistic space generated.
Another way to create traffic jams is to incorporate screens for two or three people. While screening officers are disbursing in multiple directions, advocates have little time to react and communicate, creating not only confusion but also court congestion. This allows offensive players to momentarily separate from defenders and with a four to six foot separation, this is more than enough to safely catch a pass, shoot a basket or lead for a layup. In defensive areas, such screens can negate cover and also open up space.
Another offensive ploy is to stretch the defense by keeping it tighter. This way, the defense is not able to droop and help the other defenders. Being a scoring threat is one way. But there are also transient threats, incentive threats and recurring threats. Keeping your defender preoccupied with these threats either through illusions (counterfeits) or realistic movements contributes to the team effort. For example, jumping, hitting a wrong pass creates momentary defensive engagement, which creates an offensive advantage. Likewise, moving your defender to an awkward area where you have an advantage, say to lead or rebound is another strategy.
The rebound, especially on offense, doesn’t have the importance it deserves. Rebounds not only give the offense another chance to score, but they also disrupt the opponent’s lineup. The defenders are not in position and not on their man. It can also lead to inconsistencies which all make it easy to score.
While shooting percentages are at the top of the stats, an often overlooked statistic is points scored per possession. A team shooting in their mid 40s can beat a team shooting over fifty percent if they have a points advantage per possession. Elite teams average around 1.2 points per possession because they are more efficient with the ball, take good shots, avoid turnovers and get a good share of rebounds, so more possessions. Such a strategy promotes a winning season.
So, when developing a pattern, rebound should be an integral part. By having players positioned for the rebounds, whether they are moving in the lane or inside, the possibility of getting the rebound increases. Additionally, when shooting opportunities are synchronized with the rebound advantage, the point per possession will increase. When such a plan is successful, opponents will counter with more emphasis on the rebound, leaving holes in their defense.
Another rebound factor depends on the shooter’s touch and scans where the ball might fall. With most shooters, the missed shots fall in a certain pattern, either near the edge or further outside, or over or in front of the basket. This analysis is important on 3-point attempts where failures occur 60-70% of the time. Knowing where the ball is likely to land for a given shooter gives the team a decisive advantage. Including this factor in rebound plans increases points per possession.
Another element of any attacking pattern is the way the team goes to defense. A number of players should be responsible for the defense on the court. However, this responsibility may change depending on the parameters of the game. While it is normally the duty of both guards, some regimes may have them under the basket. Thus, the five actors must be trained in this transition process and know exactly when and where their responsibility begins. There will always be the gamble of planting the boards or playing it safe and retreating.
Offense is most vulnerable when there is a defensive rebound or sudden rollover. Usually a quick retreat is needed, however, when the opponent’s advance is momentarily delayed by blocking passing lanes or forcing a back dribble, the rest of the team can come back and settle the defense. The teams must therefore periodically implement this delay strategy.
Being aware of the aspects of time and timing is another factor that determines the success of a team. A varsity team is given a 30-second stopwatch while the pros get just 24 seconds. In college, a team has 10 seconds to avoid a backfield violation while the pros have 8 seconds. Both have 5 seconds to take an out of bounds throw-in. Both have a 3 second lane violation rule. Working within these time limits is one of the offensive strategies. Taking too long to speed up the setup while shooting too early can overlook the weaknesses of the defense.
Timing is an aspect of how the players and their strategies fit together. In football, this is the dominant factor in the success of a game. A defensive lineman only needs to be delayed a fraction of a second to help the ball carrier break free. The same goes for passes where the timing between the quarterback and the receiver must be precise. Such timing is fixed by the structure of the room. In football, there are also option reads that restructure the game based on the opponent’s coverage.
In basketball, such precision is rare. The timing is only induced after teammates get used to each other’s tendencies. It could take a good part of the season, especially if it is not induced by structured games at the right time. As I mentioned earlier, if every team member knew where their teammates would be at any given time and where they were heading, positive results would occur. Likewise, when each player knows what their function or responsibility is, then there is a collective effort that supports the goals of the team.
These functions or responsibilities include the following.
Establish passing, shooting and dribbling lanes
Inhibit defensive movements
Stretching the defense
Create rebound opportunities
Maintain defensive transitions
Optimize the use of time and timing
How to establish this precision where the five actors evolve in concert? In football, the game and the number of shots are called in the clique. The snapshot count defines when playback should begin. Soccer games have many options and are flexible to counter defensive ploys. For example, the blocker has the option of blocking the first defender’s breakthrough or it can run out in the apartment and act as a safety valve receiver. Another example, on assists, if the defender is on the inside, the pass is thrown to the outside. If the defender is playing back he is set up for a short pass with a hook with the receiver coming back for the ball. The quarterback reads the opposition and selects the best option.
In basketball, similar play appeal strategies can be applied. Each player performs a function that can and does change as the game unfolds. A shooter can become the one who draws a defender out of position. Later he can become a screener, then becomes a rebounder. Still later, he could take on defensive responsibilities. In this strategy, each of the five players has a constantly evolving function, which promotes an optimal analysis of basketball. Mainly a higher point average per possession.
So how do you sync players to get the game going? In football, the quarterback communicates the count of the shots. In could be on hut, or hut-hut, or some other predetermined signal. In basketball, other means must be put in place to signal the start of play. Voice calls are impractical due to distance from the court and noise from the crowd. Likewise, hand signals are not viable because they can be picked up by the opposition.
There is an instant counting device in the field that could be used. It is visual, very precise and can be observed from any location on the ground. This device is the shot clock. The college ball expires at 30 seconds and the professional ball expires at 24 seconds. The breakdown count could be predetermined by a signal from the bank or by some other means, such as hand signals or code names. Whatever the means, all five players know the game and what time it should start.
If all five players start the game simultaneously, the defense will know it is a defined game and look for clues as to how to defend it. To mask such an examination, players must vamp before the movement begins. Such a movement helps to build up defense and look for weaknesses. Such a move can also bring defenders into a state of complacency where they believe they have covered up the offense. Then boom, the offense does something different, faster and more synchronized, surprising the opponent. That’s when the defense thinks, “What happened!”
Like in soccer games, there are many options for the game, however, in this basketball strategy those options are not based on what the defense is doing but how your “lu” teammate reacts. to the defense. Each player is assigned a “reading teammate” whose actions dictate which option will be launched. Let’s say that on a given game, the little forward “read” is the forward power. If the forward power moves over the baseline, the small striker’s mission is to filter the shooting goalkeeper defender in front of the ball for a backdoor run. However, if the power attacker feels like a playmaker pass, then the small attacker simulates a run to the basket, then filters out the shooting guard defender who then descends to the middle looking for a pass from l. ‘before power. Other players would receive assignments based on their “read” action.
This is a simplistic example, however, when all five players are involved in such a pattern, it promotes open shooting lanes, stretches defense, positions rebounders, inhibits defensive movements, and maintains defensive transitions. More importantly, it creates a synergy that promotes higher average points per possession. That’s because the team is more efficient with the ball, they prepare good open shots, the teamwork avoids flips, and they get more rebounds – so more possessions.
This game strategy promotes winning ideals where a mediocre team can compete with a strong opponent and win.
Such a strategy has several caveats. On the one hand, basketball is a game of strong ego. From sand to hardwood, it’s always been a one-on-one game. For many players, their defender’s fox, shooting, dribbling trumps the team concept. This ego-driven philosophy severely weakens the 5-player strategy. It also weakens the minds of players who become observers rather than involved participants. In this regard, if the game plan is not driven by the ego of the 5 players with a goal, it is doomed to failure.
An added issue, most gamers prefer free-flowing serendipity type play where instincts replace metrics and analytics. This is how they learned the game. This is how they were coached growing up, regardless of team strategies. Coaches and training camps focus more on individual skills than team play
The length of the play must also be taken into account. In college and professional ball, a possession will last 10 to 15 seconds maximum after crossing the half-court line and before a shot or the shot clock runs out. This duration requires building games that bypass weak shooting opportunities to create better ones. Such long games may require a change in function from shooter to inhibitor, seducer, rebounder, defender in transition.
There is also the issue of interchangeability. When players get injured, have big problems, or have a bad shooting night, it requires changes. This means that players have to learn several offensive positions.
Another problem is remembering an array of games, assignments, and options. This problem is exacerbated by the constantly changing dynamics of the game and the way opponents defend themselves. How to memorize all these movements, their options and implement them?
The answer to the above question is quite simple. You only memorize the movements dictated by your “read” teammate. Let’s say the power forward. the “reading” for the small attacker, simulates a screen on the leader’s defender and then peels off to the baseline. This move leaves the little forward with two options, either going down the lane while waiting for a pass, or moving to filter the defender from the shooting guard. Other players would implement similar moves depending on their “lu” teammate.
The objective of the game is to create a strategically balanced attack, which incorporates all five functions, with some players being assigned to inhibit defensive movement, others to draw defenders out of position, and still others responsible for defensive movement. rebound and transition to defense. Such a strategy creates space for the remaining players to pass, drive and shoot.
When implementing such sets, it is a good idea to practice them in short segments and then add movement as the previous segments are perfected. Using consistent and memorable terminologies is also an important factor in teaching this strategy to players. Abbreviated terms work best. Likewise, the means of signaling the reading and number of shots should be addressed when false and real signals are incorporated. Having several people on the bench giving signals is a way of confusing opponents who are trying to pick up signals. You will find that each new game is a variation of a previous game and the main changes will be the “read” teammate and option moves. While a piece can prove to be very successful, overuse can encourage viable defenses. Therefore, it is good to change the game to keep the opponent off guard or to play him freely for a possession or two.
The mapping of these games can be done with software that integrates video so that the various options can be seen, learned and implemented. The video makes it easier to teach this complex strategy because players see the game evolve over space and time. Such a program, which is in 3-D is http://www.tactic3d.com/basket/basket-software-playbook.html. Other programs can be found online by searching: Animated Basketball Video Game Book Software.
In conclusion, when all five players are involved in the attack, each performing a vital function, the shot percentages increase, rebounds increase, and turnovers decrease. More importantly, players become more proactive when playing as a team, becoming facilitators rather than observers. Plus, the key analysis, points per possession, becomes a competitive metric that wins more games, even over more talented opponents. It is a strategy that promotes winning ideals.