Court Vision is the Key

17 Mar

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As another high school basketball seasons winds down, it has become even more clear to me that court vision is one of the biggest areas of development for most players.  The number of scoring opportunities missed, in an average high school girls basketball game, is staggering.  And the reason most players miss these scoring opportunities is because of their inability — or unwillingness — to see the floor and pass the ball.  As soon as most players touch the ball, they become narrowly focused on finding a way to create their own shot, often at the expense of their teammates.

I’ve always told my kids and players this: When you begin to look for your team’s best scoring opportunity, instead of your own shot, on every possession, you will be a better player and your team will be a better team.  And, the irony is, sometimes your shot will be your team’s best scoring opportunity.

The ability to see the entire court enables you to become a more effective offensive player, and also enhances your defensive game.

  • Practice. Whenever you are practicing your ball-handling skills, be sure that your head is up, and not looking down at the basketball. Practice (and lots of it) is critical to develop your ball-handling skills so you are able to dribble without looking at the ball. You’ve got to develop a “feel” for handling the basketball, and you won’t accomplish this without a lot of repetition.  Without this skill, you can’t develop court vision with the ball.
  • Play.  Play as much basketball as you can.  Small-sided games (one-on-one, two-on-two, etc.) are just as effective as playing 5-on-5, and can provide the opportunity for more “touches.”  The more you play and practice your court vision, the more comfortable you will become.  As your ball-handling skills improve, your comfort level increases, and so will your confidence.
  • Watch.  Observe other players in action, live or on TV.  Watch what these players do when they have the ball in their hands.  Check out a local high school or college game.  March madness is a great time of year for basketball players and fans because there’s no shortage of televised games.  Become a student of the game.
  • Learn.  Study and understand your team’s offense.  Know where your teammates are supposed to be, on every play.  Get in the habit of surveying the court when you are still in the backcourt, to get an idea of teammates’ and defenders’ positioning.
  • Develop other skills.  Improve your ability to create space by mastering moves like the jab step, and head and shoulder fakes, which will keep defenders at a distance.  Learn to use your body as a barrier between the ball and your defender.
  • Get help.  Find a ball-handling camp or clinic in your area.  Summer is a great time to work on your game, and there’s usually no shortage of qualified coaches and trainers offering opportunities for basketball skill development and improvement.


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