In the spirit of the holidays I wanted do something special with Keys To The Gym. You could read this as a tribute to Dena but I would hope, and I know she would hope, that you can read it is as a sincere sharing of stuff that has benefited my life and I think others would benefit from as well.
Every coach wants an unselfish team, and every player enjoys playing on one. But the time to be unselfish is not when you get the ball in the three-second lane. When you get the ball in the lane, it is Nostril Time (see #96), time for you to get strong, time for you to go for it. Score!
There are exceptions of course. If, at the instant you get the ball, three defenders surround you and you are ten feet from the basket, not right beside it, it is best to flip the ball out to a teammate and leave the lane. You would like to stay there for rebounding position, but you shouldn’t. A pass from the lane signals the referee the way a red cape attracts a bull. Even if you can cut into the lane, get a pass, flip it back out and have the shot go up in two seconds, it is not worth the risk. Referees tend to think this cannot be done in less than three seconds, so they blow their whistles. And they’re usually right.
Any time you catch the ball in the lane, plan on shooting. Go all the way. Go for broke. If you start to go for it, then decide you can’t get a good shot and begin to make a great pass, the chances are excellent that your great assist will be accompanied by a whistle. If you know immediately that a shot is not a good opportunity, get the ball out to a teammate and you get out, too.
Referees will not call you for a lane violation when you are in there two and a half or three seconds if you don’t have the ball. But if you get the ball in the lane and pass it out, you may get a violation called for just two seconds. Anytime you get the ball in the lane and pass it out, show the referee that you are hustling to get out. Any less effort is likely to result in a whistle, even if three seconds haven’t gone by.
From Dick’s book Stuff
Players often fail to realize that fouls are errors. Not just because five of them will put you on the bench, but because they allow mediocre players to score points on unmolested 15-foot shots.
Someone dribbles down the court, you reach out, get called for a foul and think, Oh well, no big thing. It is early in the game or second half, they only get to take the ball out and the game goes on. The problem is, several minutes later, after several of the team members have a similar “harmless” foul, some mediocre player who doesn’t have a single move in his repertoire gets bumped on a rebound and goes to the line for a one-and-one. And you don’t even feel responsible as the awkward guy struts up to the line and hits two. When you foul, you are in the habit of thinking, Oh well, that’s only my first, instead of, I just gave them two points.
During the course of a half of aggressive play, there are likely to be several unavoidable fouls, but not usually enough to get the other team in the bonus situation unless there are careless, needless-error fouls, too.
The next time you make one of those early “oh well” fouls, remember that you may be giving the opponent two points they otherwise never would have gotten. Don’t be smug simply because it isn’t obvious to the fans that you gave those points that eventually lost the game.
Good players know the importance of not fouling. Except in very few cases, fouls are errors.
From Dick’s book Stuff
Coaches always tell their defensive players, “See your man and see the ball.” And that should tell you, if you want to get open on offense to go somewhere that your defender can not see you and the ball. Often, you can do this by ducking and leaning to your defender’s back side but hardly moving your feet. The advantage of ducking out of his sight is that you disorient him. You make him wonder momentarily if you have cut backdoor, and you get all his attention—and often his feet—going after you, and then you can react accordingly.
Players trying to get open to receive a pass too often jockey back and forth, working very hard but not really going anywhere. Although they think they are confusing the defender because they are faking one way, and the other way, and the other way, and the other way, the defender can guard them by merely standing still.
Choose to go backdoor or choose to come out for the ball. And just before you choose, ducking out of sight, disappearing low and behind your defender’s head will often get you free by several steps. It workssimply because defenders are not accustomed to guarding someone who disappears! Either they lose sight of you, giving you the opportunity to thrust out while they are not prepared to move as you do, or they overcommit (thinking you’ve gone backdoor) and are badly faked out when instead you are suddenly coming out for the ball.
From Dick’s book Stuff