When it comes to individual offense many young players mistakenly believe that more is always better and so seemingly work on a new move every single day. After all if four moves are good, aren't 10 moves better? How about 25? How about 35?
Add this misconception to the fact that some basketball trainers like to teach dozens of scoring moves to their clients in order to keep workouts fresh and exciting and it easy to see how the fundamentals of individual offense have fallen by the wayside over the last few years.
Now I am not saying that players shouldn't look to expand their skill sets or to add new offensive moves once they have mastered the basics. What I am saying is that students don't take calculus until they master basic arithmetic and basketball players should get too far ahead of themselves either!
Here are some of the fundamental basics of one on one basketball:
1. Catch the ball using the proper footwork.
If you are breaking out to the wing catch the ball on your inside foot and pivot towards the middle of the floor if you are looking to shoot right away. If you are looking to drive, pivot on your outside foot and open up to the basket. This allows you to use your inside foot to initiate the jab step series and options.
2. Play as low as possible and execute all one on one moves in a low to high motion.
This is accomplished by catching the ball with your knees bent and never coming out of your "offensive stance." (We hear a lot about being in a defensive stance but being in an offensive stance is often either neglected or over looked.)
3. Read the defense!
Too many players decide beforehand what they are going to do instead of quickly determining their defender's positioning and then attacking accordingly. This is why many coaches firmly believe that four good moves are more than enough to be an effective scorer - a "go to" move to the right and a counter move if the defense takes it away, and a "go to" move to the left and another counter move.
4. Make a move.
If you catch the ball and are open right away to take a good shot that you can make then by all means shoot it. But if you are not open right away and are not going to pass it right away then make a simple move that will put you in a better position to score. Standing there and dribbling behind your back and between your legs 75 times without going anywhere and then jacking up a shot is NOT a good one on one scoring move!
5. The fastest distance between two destinations is always a straight line so all attacking drives to the basket should be on a straight line and not on a curved line.
To make your drive even quicker and tougher to defend make sure your shoulders are below your defender's hips. The adage "the lowest player wins" is usually true in this situation!
6. Use a pound dribble to get your shot off quicker.
If you are going to shoot a jump shot at the end of your move then pound your last dribble hard into the floor so the ball will come up higher and faster. This will allow you to catch the ball off the dribble right in your shot pocket as you are exploding up for your shot. (Remember, play low to high!) If you want to see how it's done watch YouTube videos of Hall of Famer Jerry West (the NBA logo) who was a master of this skill.
Once you have mastered these one-on-one fundamentals then go ahead and increase the number of moves you have in your arsenal but don't be surprised if you find out that more is not necessarily better.