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How to Play Basketball:
Basic Skills for Effective Offensive Players

Learning how to play basketball is not just about shooting and passing and ballhandling. Of course these skills should be a major aim of every player, and teaching them should be a major focus of every coach. And while the importance of these skills are not about to be debated here, there is another skill set that gets less press but is of equal importance - offensive movement.

Being able to move well on offense is a necessary basketball fundamental skill. Some aspects of offensive movement receive proper focus in youth sports - skills such as basic footwork, how to stop without travelling, etc. - but many other of these very important skills tend to be neglected, especially at the varsity level. I'm going to guess that many coaches feel that, at the varsity level, players should know how to perform these fundamental skills already and therefore don't need the practice. I know I have been guilty of this in the past.

But the truth is, players at every level need to consistently be practicing these basic fundamental skills if they want to excel. Even players that perform them well already can always use a refresher.

I don't believe it is an exaggeration to say that the player unable to perform these skills effectively will almost certainly be unable to contribute offensively to his team - for an explanation of why these skills are so important, check out this page: Fundamental Basketball Skills Every Player Should Know. Review the pages below for the skills and drills most important to playing a solid, all-round game, and check out UMass Coach Derek Kellogg's video package of basketball drills for some very effective drills.

How to Play Basketball: Offensive Fundamentals

Setting Screens and Running Pick 'n Roll Plays

Give and Go Fundamentals

Fakes and Cutting Fundamentals

Any basketball play is some combination of these moves, so by practicing these fundamental skills, players are really preparing for game situations. Players cannot learn how to play basketball if they can't perform these fundamental offensive movements.

Additional resources to help develop skills and plays:

Better Basketball Coaching Pages & Resources
External Resources

Be sure your players are able to perform these movements well before introducing any offensive plays - strong fundamentals will lead to solid play-making, but even the best set play in the country can't help a player unable to execute proper fundamental movements.

More ways to help your players learn how to play basketball here

"We have forty-four defenses for him, but he has forty-five ways to score."
- Al Attles, on Nate Archibald

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