This new game of 1-on-1 will improve basketball skills

I watched some high school players at the Bangor Y last summer play a game called 21, where one player was on offense and the other 2 were on defense in a half court game of 1 on 2 or 2 on 1 depending if the players were on defense or on offense.

If the player scored a field goal, then he got 2 foul shots. If he made the last one he got the ball back and if he missed the second foul shot, whoever got the rebound was now on offense against the other two. If the shooter missed the field goal attempt whoever got the rebound now became the offensive player.

The game went to 21.

I watched a couple of games as it was the first time I had ever seen that game played. However, the offensive player resulted more times than not in taking a poor shot because he had to pick up his dribble and then was stuck with having to shoot the ball against 2 defenders and many times it was an unbalanced forced shot.

This reminded me of why I never wanted my players to play one on one because when the offensive player picked up his dribble he was forced to shoot the ball and more often than not the offensive player took a poor forced shot.

I got to thinking how the players were developing poor offensive one on one skills. They only dribbled and shot and did not develop any other offensive skills, like passing to a teammate, receiving a pass from a teammate. running a give and go or passing, posting up on the low block or learning how to catch and face the basket.

What could we do to make the game of one on one more beneficial for the players in developing their offensive skills with the ball and without the ball and also allow the defender to develop his defensive skills guarding a player with the ball and without the ball?

Then bingo, the light bulb came on. I remembered what I did when I was coaching at John Bapst in the 80’s and 90’s when we ended our summer basketball program.

We had a contest night where we had contests such as foul shooting, hot shot, 3 point contests and had 3 on 3, 2 on 2 and 1 on 1 tournaments.. We gave out T-Shirts to the winners of each contest and tournaments.

All the contests were good skill developers except for the one on one contests because of the dribble and then forced to shoot as I mentioned above.

So to make it more beneficial and realistic in order to develop offensive and defensive skills we added a player to be the referee and also to be the passer for the offensive player whenever he picked up his dribble and did not have a good shot. The offensive player then could pass the ball to the referee who was standing to the right side of the free throw lane line extended just outside the 3 point line.

After passing the ball to the referee who was now the passer the offensive player could run a face cut, a back door cut, a give and go, go over and get the ball back on a handoff from the referee, pass and post up on the low block or could have the referee set a screen as the referee handed the ball off to the offensive player.

This allowed for the offensive player to develop other one on one offensive skills with the ball and without the ball and at the same time it allowed the defensive player to work on his defensive skills guarding a player with the ball and without the ball.

The other rules were as follows:

1. Possession Time…the referee would count the number of dribbles and passes verbally so the players could hear him and if he got to 5 on either then it was a violation like it is in a closely guarded situation or if he got to 10 in a combination of dribbles and passes it was a violation.
2. Players picked the final score.
3. First 2 fouls no shots unless in the act of shooting and on the 3rd foul one and one and on the 5th foul 2 shots.
4. On all defensive rebounds or turnovers the ball has to be cleared to behind the foul circle where it intersects with the three-point line.
5. On all scores the ball has to go to the referee/passer who passes the ball to the offensive player and then the offensive player must face up to the basket.

We found that this way of playing one on one was really great for developing skills that are really needed to improve a players offensive and defensive skills. The players really enjoyed playing one on one this way and improved their skills as they played.

This gave both players all the offensive moves there are in basketball and all the offensive moves they have to defend.

So, I would recommend to all coaches and players to try this method of playing 1 on 1 instead of playing one on one the old way or playing the 2 on 1 or 1 or 2 game.

I have gone so far as to copyright this new one on one game and have a one page sheet that explains the rules and with 6 diagrams illustrating the offensive moves the player with the ball can use when using the referee as the passer.

Also, there was also another benefit to this game as the referee/passer has to be able to pass the ball to the offensive player after he received the ball when the offensive player was open.

Try this new one on one game that eliminates all the negatives of the old one on one game and the newer 1 on 2 or 2 on 1 that 3 players.

Try it you might like it.

If you would like a copy of the rules and diagram of the offensive moves just send me a self-addressed stamped envelope along with $1.00 at 188 Howard Street, Bangor, Maine 04401 and I will mail it out to you the day I receive it.

This is my last blog for the season unless some other topics come up that I feel need to be addressed.

I want to thank all the readers who made the blog so successful over the  last 23 weeks. I hope the readers got as much enjoyment reading the blogs as I enjoyed writing them.

Have a great summer.