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Basketball-Tips for every basketball player or coach, especially during a game.


While practice is important, it's what happens during the ball game that counts. Assuming that a team is well drilled for a particular game in every aspect of play, it still must cope with the unexpected. Each game will follow a different pattern.

As the team huddles just before the whistle blows, it should be reminded that the very first thing it needs to know about the opponent is this:

• What kind of a defense do we face?

The answer to this question becomes obvious after the first few probes into the front court. As soon as the defense is spotted, the captain or coach can yell out “zone,” or “man-for-man,” whatever the case may be. Try to avoid calling a “time out” for anything as simple as this. (As a matter of fact, try to save all time outs for the 2nd half.)

Most of the strategy during the ball game rests with the coach. He has to decide where his team is weak, or strong; where the opponents are weak or strong. He has to decide whether to put on the press, or take it off; whether to switch defenses, when to make substitutions.

The score and the time left in the period often dictate tactics. If the opponent is building a lead and going well, there's a reason for it. The home team may be making offensive mistakes, or it may be making defensive blunders.

Don't always play the kind of a game your opponent expects. Switch defenses, slow up or speed up your offense. Whenever you meet a superior team, use tactics that will upset their style of play. To hamper a basketball team that relies heavily on the fast break, for example, play a possession game. To upset a possession game, play tighter on defense than usual and fast break at every opportunity.

The well-balanced attack is the attack that combines a deliberate approach with a fast break. In other words, if the fast break opportunity presents itself—GO! If there's no chance to fast break, bring the ball carefully into the front court and start your regular offense.

Don't play the game at the same pace. Don't let the other fellow set the pace.

Watch the Clock

Whether behind or ahead, watch the clock. As each period ends, try to get possession of the ball. Hold it long enough to get the last shot. If you make it, your opponent gets possession, but time runs out. If you miss, you have a chance for a tip-in.

If your opponent gets the rebound, he won't have time to start a play. This tactic is especially important in a tight ball game. The clock will also tell you when to start a press, what kind of out-of-bounds play to use, etc. Your last play may be your last chance to win the ball game.

Be careful of “freezing” the ball when you're ahead with time running out. Don't even use the expression. Keep calm, keep the attack going. Never take a defensive attitude when you have the ball. Add to the score, if you can. Don't help the defense by becoming “passive” at the most critical stage of the ball game.

At Half Time

During time outs and especially at the end of a period, don't waste your breath complaining about the official, or griping about an incident that is over and done with. Concentrate on what has happened—what did you do well? What did you do poorly? Where was your opponent strongest? Weakest? Plan for the next period. Be calm. Be confident. THINK!

During the Game

As the game goes along, save your wind for running. Don't criticize the official. Don't, under any circumstances, criticize your teammates for mistakes. The official can only be challenged on a question of rule interpretation; never on a judgment call.

As for speaking harshly to your teammates, you'll find that you'll make your share of mistakes before the season ends. If anything, say something encouraging to a mate if he fluffs a play.

Charts

Basketball is a fast moving game. Even the most experenced coach will have a hard time remembering all that happens between the first and last whistle. A coach, therefore, will find it very helpful to have someone keep a shot chart and pass chart.

The shot charts should show how many shots are taken and made by each team. At half-time, or after the game, they will tell the coach just where each attack was strong or weak.

To make a shot chart, simply mimeograph the outlines of the court. As the game progresses, the number of the player shooting can be put on the area from which his shot was taken. If the shot is made, put a circle around the number. Start a new chart at the beginning of each period.

The passing chart need only reflect what the home team does. Put the number of a player down when he makes a pass that leads to a shot at the basket. Put the number of a player down when he makes a pass that is wild or intercepted. Put a circle around the number.

From these charts can be compiled an amazing number of useful statistics.


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