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Shooting - Get Open

Great scorers in college and in the NBA possess an uncanny knack of getting rid of defenders and getting open for jump shots. How do they do it? Great shooters play their best basketball away from the ball. Sounds weird doesn’t it. Let me say it again GREAT SHOOTERS PLAY THEIR BEST BASKETBALL AWAY FROM THE BALL. Most young kids do not come alive until they touch the ball. What you do before getting the ball can make your shot so much easier.

A common mistake made by most people is the tendency to focus on the ball when watching a basketball game. A great majority of the action should be away from the ball. Eighty percent of the players on offense are without the ball and do have a role. What they do away from the ball makes the next step in the offense a success or failure. Try watching away from the ball the next time you watch a game and you will be amazed at the results. The same is true for the art of getting free for open shots. What they miss is all of the effort, strategy, and craftiness that comes before the shot becomes a reality. The best shooter on the team can get open if they are crafty enough moving away from the ball. Listed below are some great tips on getting your game open.

Make sure you understand your offense and how teammates can get you open. With communication, non-verbal signals, and body language a players can use his teammates to get open. Plays that are run for shooters are set up in advance. Because your opponent also has prepared for this play, it takes great understanding of the game to get open to shoot. By understanding angles and using teammates for interference you can get open regardless of your defender's ability.

Change of Speeds.
The easiest player to guard is the player who cuts at the same speed on every play. What looks like hard cutting and hard play is actually a player who cannot think on his feet and has no creativity. Great shooters walk, job, explode and cut in spurts to be effective away from the ball. Keep the defender on their toes not knowing the tempo of your next move.

Be Creative and Tricky.
Angles are used to the fullest, especially when accepting screens. He uses the body or shirt of his teammate to aid his ability to get open. Watch players who can really get open and note their cuts and creativeness throughout the game. Your will be amazed at the multitude of tactics used.

Change Directions.
I’ve found one of the best ways to get rid of your opponents is to convince them you are making a cut in a specific direction. Once you have the defender's body and momentum moving one direction, good players plant their foot and explode in the opposite direction. And I mean explode! Even without screens, a good player can get open to shoot just by following this simple tip.

Send the Defense the Wrong Message.
A shooter is most difficult to guard when his cuts and tactics are not predictable. Watch the best shooters on TV and you will see no pattern to their ability to get open. By employing the above skills, you will immediately become a versatile offensive player. The result of these strategies will increase your ability to help your team offensively and get you open for tons of shots. With your body language act fatigued, hands on your knees, breathing heavy and your defender will think you’re resting. Just at that time you’re gone.

Young players who learn these tips early will have more of a chance in scoring. Spend time practicing these moves just like practicing shooting. These tips are weapons that shooters count on every night. The key to getting open and making big shots is not to separate vertically from the floor, but to separate horizontally from your defender. All players should heed this advice and invest time in scoring before the shot. It will pay big dividends when it comes time to shoot!

Good luck with your shot,

Coach O


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