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Understand Relative Motion

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Understand Relative Motion

Every player, obviously, needs to understand how he is to move within an offensive or defensive concept. This can be described as "absolute motion." Most players can get to that part; however, along with all of the individual fundamentals, players need to understand the concept of "relative motion." This can best be described as realizing how one player fits into the space on the floor, given the "relative" positioning of the other players, both offensive and defensive. A player with this understanding will know how to move to get open, create proper spacing, pass angles, play good on ball defense, and give good team defensive help.

Fifteen-to-eighteen feet of spacing between all of your players will probably give you the best chance of spreading out your offense and making it hard to guard. This will create a number of "triangles" between any three offensive players. These triangles put pressure on a defense and are, really, the basis for offensive plays. Now, put the players in the proper places, and as the Pilgrims said, "Now we're talking turkey."

There is a spatial relationship that a player must keep in order to create a good passing angle. For example, if the player wants to enter a pass to the wing (the free throw line extended to the three-point line), the passer needs to be on the "entry line" (the line that is created if you draw a line from the basket through the corner of the key at the free throw line and extend it to half-court). The passer should be as close to that line as possible to make an effective pass. The closer he gets to the basket, the closer to the middle of the floor he can be. The farther from the basket, the wider toward the sidelines he can be. If a player wants to enter a pass to the post, the passer, the ball, and the basket should all be in a STRAIGHT LINE. That "line of development" will create the most difficulty for the defensive post player to determine a "side" to play defense on. Whatever side he chooses, the offense can make a simple move to feed the post from the other side. When determining passing angles, there is a mathematical relationship between the passer, the receiver, and the defender, and maybe even the basket. (Being a basketball coach and not a mathematician, I'm not exactly sure what the relationship is, but I know that there is one.)

On defense, the defensive relationship is defined by the "ball/man line." The ball/man line is an imaginary line between your man and the man with the ball. Players who have a keen awareness of the ball/man line at all times understand "relative motion." You should be on the basket side of the ball/man line with your back to the baseline and far enough away from your man to help your teammates. This position helps form what is often called the "defensive triangle."

Defensively, always be able to see your man and the ball (this is when your man doesn't have the ball). To do this, you must be in a defensive triangle position consisting of you, the ball, and your man. Flatten out the triangle, with you at the center point of the triangle. When your man is one pass away, you can deny the player from getting the ball. As your man moves, you must move. Any time the ball is passed, YOU MUST JUMP TO THE BALL. Make gradual, quick, immediate adjustments in your stance. You must be in position before the ball is caught. Jumping to the ball allows you to be in proper position to front cutters, avoid screens (be a moving target), and help teammates. Any time the ball is dribbled, you must make the proper ball side or help side adjustments in positioning. Making these small adjustments will prevent you from needing to make one large adjustment.



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