When you are dribbling downcourt and there is a defender between you and the basket, go straight at him rather than show him which side you want to go to. By going straight at him, you “paralyze” or freeze him until you decide, just a few feet from him.
You can win a ten-foot race against anyone when you have a running start and your opponent must start from a turned-around, stopped position. This is precisely the case when you go at a defender and suddenly veer off—whether you are dribbling or cutting to receive a pass.
If a defender is playing between you and the ball, run straight at him and veer off at the last instant. By going straight at him, you force him to race you from that standing position. If you show him which side you are going to run to, you enable him to get a running start, too, and to stay with you.
From Dick’s book Stuff
This is a coach’s favorite word and the hallmark of a good player. Can you anticipate what is likely to happen next? No one knows exactly what is going to happen, but it pays to be thinking and to be guessing while you are preparing for everything. For example, after a rebound, there is likely to be an outlet pass to the side. There may not be, but anticipating one and being prepared to intercept it is playing smart.
There are all sorts of things that come up during a basketball game, and the more of them that you can anticipate, the better player you are. For example, you’re defending someone away from the ball, and suddenly the ball is dribbled baseline. Maybe the player with the ball will score a layup, or maybe he will pull up and take a jump shot, or maybe he will leap in the air and throw a turn-around jump pass back in the direction he came from. Maybe. But you should anticipate, if you can’t cut him off yourself, that he will be cut off by one of your teammates, and then you will have to pick up that teammate’s man. When the player with the ball drops a short bounce pass to an open man in the middle or across the basket, you can intercept it if you anticipate properly.
No one can anticipate every move in advance, but good players constantly are asking themselves, “Now what’s going to happen? Now what’re they going to do?”
From Dick’s book Stuff
If you have a big man who is good at scoring inside, you ought to try often to get him the ball on the low post. The best place to pass to the low post man is from the side or corner, not from the middle or anyplace past the free throw line.
Any pass thrown from beyond the free throw line is a bad angle pass. A bounce pass is too easily overplayed and deflected, and it must be thrown away from the defender and therefore away from the basket. A lob from out there takes the low post man toward the baseline and under the basket or behind the board.
The pass from the side, on the other hand, can be thrown away from the defender and still allow a direct turn to the basket for a shot. And a lob, rather than heading for the out-of-bounds area, is up near the basket where the low post man can go up after it and still have a chance to score on the other side of the basket (if no helpers are preventing him).
The rule is: If you have a low post man you want to get the ball to, take the ball down the side of the court, and penetrate the foul line extended. From there, it is a simple matter of getting the ball past your defender and away from the defender on your low post man. Most good players can do this without much difficulty since the ball usually does not have to be passed cleverly. It merely needs to be lobbed softly over your defender’s hands. (The bent-elbow pass is also effective here. (See “Bent-elbow Pass,” entry #18.)
One problem that often comes up and presents difficulties happens when your defender does not pressure you but instead plays between you and your low post man (or back farther, standing in front of your low post man). Often, in this situation, the player who has the ball in the corner does nothing but throw the ball back out. He may figure a shot from the corner is not a good-percentage shot, and the pass into the low post man looks impossible as a result of the sagging defender.
To create an opening in this situation, whether playing against a man- to-man defense or a zone defense, take one aggressive dribble forward and act as though you want to shoot. This will force the sagging defender to move forward to guard the shot, and it will leave the low post man wide open for the pass. Rarely will the low post man be fronted in this situation, since no team is likely to put two men in front of one offensive player. If the sagger fronts the low post man, the man guarding the low post man will be content to stay behind him. When your aggressive dribble and shot-fake bring out the sagger, the low post man is left free.
Crucial to this play is that you look at the basket as you move forward. Otherwise, you will not draw out the sagging defender.
Be prepared to shoot if the defender will not come out at all. Or get your best shooter on that side, so the defense either has to give up a high- percentage shot or permit the pass to the low post. Rarely should you take the shot from the corner, even if you are a fine shooter. You can get a lot closer than the corner and force the defense to make a decision.
From Dick’s book Stuff
Here’s an excerpt from There’s Only One Way To Win, a book Dick wrote about his dad, the legendary Coach Chuck DeVenzio, better known as “Coach DV.” Dick played for his dad in high school, where their undefeated 1967 Ambridge team has been called the best in Pennsylvania history.
People who are not winners by nature don’t readily comprehend the concept of “every time reinforcement.” Every time reinforcement is a hallmark of those few people who truly understand what it takes to be successful in highly competitive environments.
If there was one prime quality which set Coach DV in a very select group, above literally millions of other coaches throughout the world and throughout history, it would have to be his ability—call it incredible energy and commitment—to correct every error he ever saw for forty years. Ahead by 40, behind by 40, in games, in practice, with a headache, with a sore throat . . . the environment was simply not a factor. In the face of an error, the score at the time was absolutely irrelevant to him. An error must be corrected to prevent its recurrence. Fail to correct an error and you will see it again—and be responsible for it!
Great coaches see all events as though they are playing against champions or about to play champions. That is the only way to coach a team to prepare its players to be champions. This may make it clearer why a coach like DV would have so much trouble accepting a suggestion from a fan. The fan that could wonder about yelling at a kid whose team enjoyed a 40-point lead simply had no concept of what championship coaching is all about. To have to consider the score and other outside factors before correcting an error would be nearly impossible.