Suggestions on how to pick the players for a basketball team
Over the years, as shooting, passing, and dribbling have become more sophisticated, offensive alignments have changed. They probably will continue. Rule changes often dictate this. For example, take the three-point shot. This has changed the philosophy of a lot of coaches. Previous to the three- point shot, big men dominated the game. Teams constantly looked for only a close-in shot. As a result, most defenses packed back in tight.
Changing the game
The three-point shot has changed all this. This new rule has opened up the game. Defenses must come out. It is quite common to see coaches using 3 and 4 guard offenses. Some of them even have their offensive teams and defensive teams, substituting freely to suit the particular need. Fundamentals, however, remain much as they were 40 years ago. Things that worked then, still work today.
Terminology used today, to describe offensive alignments are different than they were 40 years ago. Some team offenses have evolved so that every player must be able to play at any and all positions. The flex offense is an example. Yet, this type offense is over 30 years old. Us old timers called it "the shuffle." In either offense, the center often finds himself out at a guard position. This type offense is well suited for today's rules; however, adjustments are made to fit the abilities of available players.
High school coaches always have to adapt. College coaches simply recruit the players to fill a void. Regardless the level of play specialized players still perform specific roles within the context of the total team.
I would like to define the offensive responsibilities of every position on the court. Then, show you how to prepare yourself mentally, so you can get the best out of your position. After that, we will learn the importance of playing offense as a team, not as a collection of individuals.
The Point Guard
The point guard runs the offense and watches the backcourt. His role is so important to the team that he is really an extension of the coach on the floor. He must have these qualities:
The off-guard is also referred to as the #2 guard or shooting guard. He is generally the better shooter of the two guards. The qualities that he needs to possess are:
The center, along with the point guard, is easily the most important player on the team. Normally, he is the tallest player on the floor. The qualities he must possess are:
The Small Forward
The small forward is the most gifted player on the team. He should possess the following characteristics:
The Power Forward
Like the point guard, the power, or strong forward, does not receive much recognition. Usually, if he's doing his job well, his role as the player doing the "dirty work" is taken for granted. He must possess the following:
The Sixth Man, or Role Player
At all levels of basketball, the sixth man has become something of an elite figure. He is the guy who has set aside his ego so that he can come off the bench at a moment's notice and fall right into the flow. He's able to do whatever is necessary to help his team win.
Sometimes his role calls for him to score, play exceptional defense, or a combination of the two. Sometimes, he is meant to add rebounding strength.
Whatever he's capable of doing, the sixth man is an important component to the game. He satisfies his coach's quest for an advantage, particularly when the game is close. He's a spark plug, capable of picking up the tempo when play gets sluggish.
Since he doesn't start the game, the sixth man must study the game tempo and prepare himself mentally so he is able to adjust to flow of the game the moment he steps on the floor. More than anything else, he gives his team quality minutes when he plays. His coach, then, must know the sixth man's capabilities and limitations. Furthermore, he must know how long the sixth man can deliver these quality minutes before losing his effectiveness to the team.
Give or take a few percentage points, basketball is 80 percent mental preparation and 20 percent physical. Sure, God packs more ability into some player's 20 percent than others. But, from the mental preparation aspect of the game, the percentage is equal.
There are as many ways to prepare mentally for a basketball game as there are players. A few of these follow:
As long as it helps you to play well is all that counts. Your mental preparation should be to your own taste. Use one that works for you.
After preparing yourself mentally for a game, the concentration needed for actual play is another matter. Basketball is such a fast paced, emotional game. Decisions are made in split seconds. A player can lose his concentration at anytime. To play the game effectively, you must block out everything around you, except the following:
Once you have your game face, be all business on the floor. Never let an official or an opponent upset you. This breaks your concentration. This is often called, "Playing under control."
Stay cool and be a "team player." We have all seen teams with one dominant player who goes for the bucket every time he gets his hands on the ball. Oh, he may get his points in the game; but, his teammates won't. More likely, than not, the team, scorer included, loses.
The point is you can maintain a respectable scoring average. At the same time, you can help your teammates maintain theirs and win the game. Remember to play as part of the team. Stay cool! Stay calm and concentrate. You will get your points in the course of a game.
Things change over the years, as shooting, passing, and dribbling have become more sophisticated, offensive alignments have changed. They probably will continue. Rule changes often dictate this. For example, take the three-point shot. This has changed the philosophy of a lot of coaches. Previous to the three- point shot, big men dominated the game. Teams constantly looked for only a close-in shot. As a result, most defenses packed back in tight.
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