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What you need to know about the role of the Front-Court-Players in the offense of a basketball team.


The players that play in the front court are usually expected to carry the burden of scoring. When all the offensive players are in the front court, or approaching the front court, the forwards (along with the center who is usually the pivot man) work to give the team its short-range, or “inside” attack.

The front court players, then, must be expert with the jump shot and the layup. Like the pivot man they must learn to jockey the defense out of position and break into the clear to receive passes.

The forwards must learn to sense what the defense is doing once the offensive pattern is set up. They must never make a cut that is likely to clog up the center of the front court. Neither should they make a cut that will hamper an offensive play that is already underway.

The front court men are supposed to give a basketball team its fast break threat. This means that the forwards should be especially alert to interceptions when the team is on defense; to a score by the opposition.

When the pivot man or the guards recover the ball after the shot, the forwards must quickly break to the sideline for the pitchout.

But, once a forward catches a pitchout, he must avoid the common error of putting the ball on the floor. Look for the other forward, or another player, before starting to dribble.

And even after a dribble is started, if another mate looms ahead and is in the clear—give him the ball.

When the full offense is working in the front court, the forwards, like the pivot man, should not try to force plays that don't have much chance of succeeding. When “stuck,” pass out to the guards and get the pattern started over.

Occasionally, forwards get the idea that scoring is their only responsibility. This, of course, is ridiculous. When the other team has the ball everyone on your club is on defense. And that means the forwards must go for the rebounds, too.

When on defense, by the way, the forwards should do whatever they can to halt the attack of the opposing team in the back court.

After a forward scores, for example, he might casually turn his back on the guards and start walking away. By making a quick turn at the right moment he can often intercept a pass-in. And get another basket!

When a guard is slowly dribbling the ball toward the front court and looking for a receiver, suddenly rush at him. Very often, the startled guard will stop and hold the ball. If this happens deep in the back court, the forward can drop way back and 5 will be playing against 4. If it happens close to the center line, close in for a held ball.

The forward's job can be fun. But the forward, if he is to be of real value to his team, must play a total game.


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