The Problem with Basketball Plays

Many coaches once gaining some knowledge about the basketball instantly commence collecting a huge bank of Basketball Plays. This is a very amicable exercise for many coaches in an attempt to find the one play that helps them win more games, or provides a complete system for them to implement and finally allow them to have confidence in what they are teaching to the players under their direction. The problem is that many basketball plays are only part of the answer to these questions.


Basketball plays are often a specific strategy developed by a coach for a set purpose. That kind of seems like an obvious statement, but take a moment and think about this a little more. The reason that the play you have found on the internet that was run by the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals was successful is because there are any number of variables, which played to the strength of the Miami Heat and exposed the weaknesses of their opponent.


No all of your teams will have that player who can make the hard basketball plays look easy. But if you coach long enough some of your teams might (Photo Source: Keith Allison)
No all of your teams will have that player who can make the hard basketball plays look easy. But if you coach long enough some of your teams might (Photo Source: Keith Allison)

The first problem often experienced by coaches in selecting basketball plays is that they do not have the right personnel for the tactics. An interesting though is to start with the one area of your teams capabilities, the inside presence. Do you have a player, or group of players who are capable of playing the interior scoring position? If you have one, then that is excellent and maybe basketball plays which have a formation of Four Out and One In are ideal. If you have two interior players’ maybe you can look at basketball plays that feature Three Out and Two In formations. However, if you do not have any players who are capable of playing efficiently and effectively in the post position it is probably not a good idea to select a range of basketball plays which focus on this area as a key scoring option.


This does not mean you cannot have players filling post positions even if they are not true post players or are developing, but try to avoid putting your players into situations where their goals or objectives are not attainable or realistic. That is just poor decision making…


The other point to be draw from the earlier scenario on selecting the right basketball plays is to examine what your opposition’s strengths and weaknesses are. If you have a capable (or more capable then your oppositions) interior player and your opposition is poor at defending the post then possibly selecting a few basketball plays or offensive variations focusing on exploiting this strategy might be suitable.


For example though, trying to expose your opposition’s zone defence by focusing upon your teams below average three-point shooting might not be the most sound tactic. Again, try to understanding what your team’s strengths are and what they are capable of achieving. Then select the basketball plays that look to provide the answer against that challenge with the tools you have. Common sense coaching in this way looks to use what you have to solve the problem and players will therefore be able to better follow directions and be inspired to achieve.


Not all basketball plays are created equal and some (depending on the source) are highly specific. In some cases at the professional level a coach might only utilise a selection of basketball plays against a specific opponent. Basketball plays can be very specific and purpose driven not by their ability to work but by the context they are implemented within.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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