Have you ever watched a game, and seen a talented kid who displays great skills when it comes to dribbling and shooting... but they sort of choke up and lose the ball when they have to face an opponent?
This is a case of a player lacking the skills necessary for either attack or defense. One of the best ways to learn this skill is 1-on-1 basketball.
As the name suggests, this is where one player faces off with another player.
Allow me to unpack some insights and techniques of 1-on-1 basketball for you…
A basketball game comprises of ten players, with five on each side. But you have to remember that when you have the ball, you have to face defenders from the team you are playing against. And that’s where 1-on-1 skills come in handy.
If you can excel at 1-on-1 play, you can also flourish in a real game.
The first thing you should realize about 1-on-1 basketball is that it’s not just something you do to enjoy yourself.
And this is something many players at the amateur level get twisted sometimes. They treat 1-on-1 play differently than they do 5-on-5 play.
Consequently, they spend most of their time dribbling endlessly before either of them tries to make a shot.
That kind of excessive dribbling will prove useless in the game environment, where the pace tends to be faster as each team tries to outdo the other in the number of points scored.
When you play 1-on-1 basketball, concentrate on competitive drills during your workout that will develop in you excellent habits, confidence, speed, agility, and condition you for success.
Sometimes we ignore this kind of play and focus on improving our dribbling or our jump shots. And that is excellent, nothing wrong about that. These are the basics of basketball.
But if you never use these skills in competition against someone else, it’s like a painting student learning how to use all the colors but never learning to paint.
1-on-1 basketball puts your skills against the skills, quickness, and intelligence of an opponent who is hell-bent on outscoring you and doing everything in their power to prevent you from making any successful shots. In other words, it’s great training for the game environment.
Let me briefly return to that metaphor of the apprentice painter: 1-on-1 play is a tool you use to learn how to co-ordinate the colors into a painting.
Nuts and Bolts of 1-on-1 Basketball
For your 1-on-1 play to have the effect you desire, it’s crucial that you do it the right way, and I will tell you how.
Don’t “go with the flow”. If you want to control the flow of the game, you must learn how to play in offense mode.
Do you know how to assume the offensive position?
As soon as you get the ball, ensure you face the direction of the basket to prevent the flow of the game from running where you don’t wish it to go.
With your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees bending slightly and your shoulders facing the basket, use your dominant hand to handle the ball.
Practice this offensive position until it becomes second nature. Whatever else you do, never turn away from the basket as long as you are in possession of the ball. That’s the mindset or attitude of a good offensive player.
Now, the second basic skill of offensive basketball is aggression. As I said before, dribbling excessively is a waste of time.
As soon as you have the ball in your hand, you should either start driving for the basket, gearing for a shot, or make a pass. You should practice this mentality until it comes to your organically.
I will repeat this again because it is pertinent. Dribbling with no object in mind is how bad teams get beat every single time.
It is why bad players get left on the bench every single game. It is why these players seem to lack opportunities or do nothing with those opportunities that they do get.
Dribbling has one purpose only: getting you closer for a shot. If you find yourself dribbling the ball without this purpose in mind, it’s probably time for you to pass the ball to someone who is in a position to make a shot or get the ball closer to the basket.
I hope you can see my meaning. Basketball is about forward movement. The team that keeps moving wins. The team that stands still loses the ball and loses the game.
This one basic principle is powerful if you think about it deeply. And if you can practice it and make it your normal mentality, you will be unstoppable both at 1-on-1 play as well as in a 5-on-5 game.
Dribble penetration is another cornerstone principle of good offensive basketball. Dribble penetration enables you to open up the defense by driving through the hole and forcing the defense to weaken at the middle. You then go on to either shoot or pass the ball.
When you get the ball, assume the offensive position, and then penetrate using a quick first step and a hard dribble. The quick first step enables you to drive the lane, and separate from your defender.
If you quickly drive to the hole, your opponent is forced to take a small step back, which then gives you leeway to make an open shot.
During the game, watch how the defender reacts to you. Should he take a half-step back or have his eyes averted, you should take a shot.
And if the defender is coming at you aggressively, it’s time to take a quick first step and go
As I pull down the curtain, I would like to reiterate something I hope you will never forget. As an offensive player, aggressive play will give you a huge advantage even if you are not very talented.
In fact, a defender may feel more threatened by you than by a highly talented player who does not play aggressively. Remember the principle of always facing and going for the basket, for that is the heart of 1-on-1 basketball.
This is Michael Jordan, a 26 years old guy. Besides my study and part time job, I'm passionate about playing basketball, cycling and exercising. BasketBallNinja.com is the place where I'm sharing my thoughts on the internet and I love the way here!Follow Our Guide and Be a NINJA Basketball Player with US!Keep following my blog Post and enjoy playing basketball like a pro!