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Spacing Problem On Offense

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Are You Spaced Out? - Spacing Of Players On Offense
by Sidney Goldstein Copyright © 2004

Are you spaced out?
In a sense, I hope the answer is "yes".
Many coaches have contacted me lately concerned with the spacing of players on offense. I never personally experienced a team with spacing problems. However, I'm sure spacing problems would occur if players do not look at each other. "Looking", players would space themselves more evenly around the court.
Paradoxically, plays teach players NOT to look, because players need look only one way in a play. You want players looking everywhere, reacting to the defense. This is the key. To react to the defense, players must have a series of offensive skills which include cutting, passing, faking, catching, timing, looking, & communication abilities. And I've rarely found a player with satisfactory offensive skills even including college level players with whom I worked. Chances are your high school, jr high, or grade school players have zip offensive skills.
Back to the problem, what to do if you have spacing problems. The coaches manual covers all skills, however our most recent offensive series of videos do a much better job. Video 12 covers skills like faking, passing, cutting, and passing. I guarantee your players lack these. Then, in video 13 entitled TLC, we do drills developing looking and communication skills. Finally in video 14, we work on team skills and patterns. You really don't want set plays, you want players running patterns looking for openings due to defensive miscues and mistakes. If players have offensive skills especially "looking" skills, spacing will not be problem.
Let me know if this is helpful.
Sidney Goldstein

Your comments are welcome.
Sidney Goldstein, author of The Basketball Coach's Bible and The Basketball Player's Bible, has successfully coached both men's and women's teams over a period of 15 years.
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