Developing Good Basketball Decision Making Skills

 How many times have you heard fans, broadcasters, players, coaches, etc. say. “That point guard is a real heady player”?

Heady players should not just be point guards.All players should be heady. By heady, we mean the ability to make good basketball decisions

Poor basketball decisions usually results in turnovers which can be either mental or physical. Most of the time they are mental mistakes which results in physical mistakes like bad passes, double dribbling, traveling, etc Muffs of a good pass, losing control of the dribble etc. are usually just pure physical mistakes and they will happen, but, mental mistakes should not happen.

Turnovers,  are anytime an offensive team loses the ball for any reason without getting off a good shot. We always tried to keep our turnovers below 12 in a game,  this meant that we got more shots off offensively.

Our players ran dribble line drills for all game turnovers the next practice.

We had  4 offensive rules that we tried not to break in order to make good offensive basketball decisions.

Rule 1. Catch Turn your head up court and face the basket by pivoting whenever you receive a pass anywhere on the court, then you can read the court and react correctly.

Rule 2.Do not leave your feet unless you are going to shoot a good open percentage shot.The most common turnover in basketball usually occurs when  a player with the ball leaves his/her feet and do not shoot the basketball. This causes many bad passes, as soon as the player with the ball leaves his/her feet  teammates expect them to shoot the ball. But, if a player decides to pass the ball to a teammate who has turned thinking a shot will be taken, then the ball goes out of bounds as a turnover

Breaking this rule results in over 70 percent of the turnovers in a basketball game.

Many times the player does not have a good shot when he leaves the floor and he ends up forcing an off balance poor shot which is just like a turn over.

Player control fouls many times are the results of the player with the ball leaving the floor without a shot in mind as they do not know where the defenders are on the floor when they leave the floor.

Also, 3 second violations can occur as players in the 3 second area think a shot is taken and the shooter passes to another teammate

It is a bad decision which results in a mental mistake for a player with the ball to leave his feet unless to take a good high percentage shot which leads to the physical mistake of a bad pass…turnover. 

Rule 3. Do not pass off the dribble.The third mental mistake players with the ball make that leads to turnovers is when they do not stop pick up the dribble and then pass the ball to a teammate. Stop-Look-Pass.

Rule 4. The ball has got to get to the paint either by an entry pass or dribble penetration before we took a shot unless it was a layup. This forces the defense to double team.

We also had 4 defensive rules we tried not break so that we can make good defensive basketball decisions.

Rule 1. Do not block a shot until the ball leaves the players hand. This will prevent you from fouling the shooter.

Rule 2. Do not leave your feet until the player you are guarding with the ball leaves his feet. This way you will not get faked out and leave the floor before the player with the ball does..

Rule 3 Keep the Triangle. The ball, the man you are guarding without the ball and yourself. This way you will not get beat on face cuts or backdoor cuts

Rule 4. When defensive rebounding as soon as the ball has left the shooters hand, then go and find your man to block out.

These are positive offensive and defensive good mental decisions that result in not making physical mistakes. If players are taught to think then they should not break these rules

Coaches must stop play anytime in practice when any of these 8 rules are broken. The player who broke the rule must tell you what rule he broke or he will be substituted for and it will cost him a lap around the gym.

In games allow  players 2 broken rules before you substitute for them.  Make sure they know what rules they broke.

If coaches would use and enforce these 8 rules they would develop good basketball decision making skills in their players.

I always have thought basketball is a 6 inch game. 6 inches up from your adams apple to your brain and 6 inches down to your heart.

Remeber, basketball is a game of good decisions. Face, read,  and react Don’t act and then think. Read, think and then react. 


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