The San Antonio Spurs were referred to as playing “the beautiful game.” This style of play was an elite level of “advantage based basketball.” The Spurs created “the beautiful game” with skilled players, quick decision making, and a collective buy-in to find the best shot possible on each possession.
The Spurs often times used a simple ball screen as an “initiating action.” We call it an initiating action, because it initiates an offensive advantage. Once that happens, the Spurs force the defense to scramble and chase, until a great shot presents itself. Here is a video of the Spurs playing “advantage based basketball.”
The Louisville women’s basketball team was one of the best transition teams in the Country. They scored 1.108 PPP, which put them among the Nation’s best. Below are a few of the reasons that they were so successful in transition.
- Wings sprint and get wide
- Rim Runner gets in front of the ball
- The point guard advances the ball (on a sprint dribble or pass)
- There is skill behind the ball | Trailer can shoot
The combination of the four factors above stretches the defense horizontally, but also vertically. As the wings and rim runner put pressure on the baseline/rim. The trailer puts pressure on the defense to also extend to the three point line. The other key is that Louisville’s guards do a great job of advancing the ball with tempo. They will attack off the dribble, but also show a willingness to throw the ball ahead. Below is a video of some of the different ways that Louisville scores in transition.
One of the keys to playing advantage based basketball is teaching players how to read the defense. A terrific teaching tool for this is using IF/THEN reactions. This simplifies decision making and allows players to easily understand the different reads in a game. On dribble penetration, here are some simple reads, with a video to break it down.
- IF you don’t see a chest in the lane, THEN go score
- IF you see a chest in the lane, THEN share the advantage
- IF the help defender helps up, THEN dump it off
Every off-season, coaches spent countless hours researching and studying different ways to improve. Too often, this leads to coaches completely hitting the reset button on their program’s offensive plans. Here are a few simple ways to instantly improve your offense!
Offense starts the moment your team gains possession. TEACH the game this way.
- When teaching our half court offense, we stress things like spacing, player movement, ball movement, and we provide structure to help players read the game. Why not teach transition the same way?
- SPACING | There two ways to stretch the defense. Vertically and horizontally. If we can get multiple bodies in front of the ball, we will stretch the defense vertically. If we can get our wings to run wide, we are now stretching the defense horizontally. This should be an instant reaction, the moment your team gains possession of the ball.
- PLAYER MOVEMENT | Win the first three steps! If your players will sprint the first three steps, you will get players in front of the ball. When you throw the ball ahead, have you taught your team how and where to space around the ball? Do wings run to the corner and spot up or bounce off of the baseline and lift to free throw line extended? Transition offense includes player movement and should be taught.
- BALL MOVEMENT | One of our favorite phrases is that we want “two early shares” in transition. If we can get two direct passes in transition, we are likely to have tremendous flow and rhythm on that offensive possession.
- PROVIDING STRUCTURE | We want to provide spacing rules, simple secondary actions, and then teach our kids to flow seamlessly into our half court offense.
REMOVE “set it up” from your vocabulary
- One of the most under taught parts of an offensive attack is “FLOW.”
- Teaching FLOW requires a coach to get creative in practice, abandon static starting points, and requires teaching players HOW TO PLAY.
- The benefit is that the defense is unable to use the “setup time,” to also get themselves organized.
Create an ATTACKING mentality, with an understanding of IF/THEN responses.
- The easiest way to create an attacking mentality in your players is to view mistakes in practice as teachable moments.
- The best teams are confidently attacking, as opposed to having “paralysis by analysis.” In simple terms, they are too busy playing basketball, to stop and think about what is next.
- If you can create aggressive basketball players, you will see improvements in your offense.
- To learn more about IF/THEN responses, check out THIS BLOG POST.
Lastly, what does this look like? Here is a video of our team putting these three simple concepts on display.
Transition Shooting is a drill that is a great way to start practice, work on passing the ball ahead, or it can be used as a game day shooting drill. The drill is used for five minutes and should include a target score. This score should be adjusted to an appropriate level for each team. Below are some suggested scores.
MS TEAM = 100 points | JV TEAM = 125 points
VARSITY TEAM = 150 points | COLLEGE TEAM = 200 points
The drill begins with three lines on each baseline. On one baseline, where the drill will begin, there is a ball with the first person in the middle line. There is also a ball with the second person, in the outside lines. On the other end, the two outside lines have a ball (see diagram below). The three players who are running will all touch the ball once, which means that two passes will be made. The ball should not need to hit the floor. The final player to touch the ball will score a lay-up. The other two players will receive a pass from the outside lines on the baseline, to shoot a 15-foot jump shot, or a 3-point shot. The middle line will get the ball out of the net, from the lay-up, to initiate the transition the opposite direction. Below is the scoring:
Layups = 2 points
15-foot shots = 2 points
3-point shot = 3 points
If the ball hits the floor = 0 points
Below is a diagram of the drill. If you need more information, or want to know about alternative ways to run the drill, you can reach out to CoachBrotherton@dynamiccoachingtools.com