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Basketball Coaching Strategies:
Scoring Off the Jump Ball

We spend plenty of time developing basketball coaching strategies for any situation that puts points on basketball scoreboards for us, or keeps them off for our opponent. Here's one basketball strategy that is quick and simple to teach and at the same time very effective.

Every basketball game begins with a jump ball. How you approach that situation depends on your players - do you have a big man with a good vertical jump? Or is your team small and quick? The proportions of your team and their abilities on the basketball court will determine the strategy you use during the jump ball.

If you are in the position of having a good jumper, this is how to play the jump ball:

Basketball Coaching Strategies: Scoring off the Jump Ball

coaching basketball strategies - jump ball strategy

  • Have your players lined up as in the first diagram - #5 is your best jumper; #2 your best passer; #3 your wing man on the fast break (usually better than having your point guard in this position, since having a little extra size may help if the opponent makes contact on the drive)

  • Have one of your guards (#1 in this diagram) set up on the defensive end as protection, and your other big man (#4) aligned just past half on the defensive end.

  • The play is simple:

    • When the ball is tossed up, #2 is going to take a couple of steps back from the circle - away from the defense

    • At the same time, #3 is going to start cutting to the basket

    • #5 tips the ball a little long to #2, who catches the ball and immediately turns and passes the ball to #3, who take the ball in to the hoop

    • All players trail the play, with #4 in particular looking to charge down the lane if #3 gets stopped outside - #3 would then look for #4 coming down the side of the key, passing to him so he can drive in - like a secondary fast break

    • #1 would hang back the farthest as safety against a fast break from the opponent

One thing to note is that your players cannot leave early - if anyone leaves their position around the circle before the ball leaves the official's hands, they'll be called for the violation and the ball goes to the other team. Get them excited, but keep them in control as well.

Like I said earlier, this isn't a complicated basketball play, but if you think you have a reasonable chance to win the jump ball, this can be a good way to put a few points on the scoreboard early in the game. It is a simple strategy, but I have found that the basketball coaching strategies that are most effective are very often the simplest ones.

This doesn't require a great deal of practice time to get your players up to speed - a few minutes at the end of practice every now and again should keep them prepared. Be sure to emphasize the point - to score! Be aggressive, drive hard to the basket, score early, score often!

View more Basketball Coaching Strategies here

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- George Shultz

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