April 2, 2004, Newsletter Issue #156: DECISION MAKING

Tip of the Week

It is important for players to feel that possession of the basketball has a value. The player with the ball is the caretaker and has a special responsibility to the team. Everyone on the team is let down if the ball is carelessly turned over to the opponent. Everyone on the team has made an investment in that possession by working hard on defense, getting a rebound, making a steal.

Once the team has the ball, the entire team must use the following cognitive skills:
Peripheral vision
Movement anticipation & Pattern recognition
Spatial relationships
Shot selection
Team play
Risk vs. Reward
General court sense

The game plan is similar to preparing a budget where expenses and income are planned, only in basketball the idea is to accumulate points instead of dollars. Lets assume a free throw is worth $1, a field goal $2 and a three point basket $3, and we get paid every time we make a shot. Lets also pick a standard to strive for, like we want to make $1 every time we have the ball. Is that possible? Sure. In an average high school game, each team has the ball about 80 times. Each team will take about 60 shots (remember to account for turnovers and offensive rebounds). If we hit 33% of the threes, 60% of the twos and about 75% of the free throws, we`ll end up with about 80 points, or a buck a possession.

Now we can calculate values for many of the things players do to help their team win. Just grabbed a defensive rebound? That`s like a dollar in the bank we can go invest in a shot attempt. Knowing that possession has a value, are we going to waste it on a high risk shot or a lazy pass?

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