The Importance of the Dribble and Scoring‏

Shooting mechanics are vital to becoming an accurate shooter. As a shooting coach, I focus greatly on developing a player into a more accurate, comfortable and quicker shooter.

That being said, it is imperative for each player to fully understand what a good shot is and what is a bad shot. When I attend middle school, high school and collegiate games, I am amazed at how poor the shot selection is.

Why? We believe there are various reasons why we see so many ill advised perimeter shots. Today we want to discuss the importance of the dribble penetration. There is a an old belief that the dribble is evil. That if the dribble is used often, the offense is bad.

If you watch effective shooting and scoring teams they use the dribble quite often to attack the basket, BUT ALSO to get their shooter’s shots.

What is the best three point shot? It is the shot from dribble penetration or when the low post player kicks it out to the three. These three point shots are usually uncontested and are the shots player’s practice the most.

Recently I met with a coach of a high school program from Ohio who was using our system but the numbers weren’t improving as much as I or the coach wanted. After watching video of their previous game I realized they were taking poor shots with players in their faces. Why? Their offense was stagnant. They moved the ball but rarely attacked the basket. Their scores were in the mid 40’s.

My Associate Director and I sat down with the coach and explained that their shooting percentages were low because of their shot selection. The shot selection was poor because of the lack of dribble penetration. With dribble penetration the defense must stop the ball through help which allows shooters to be open. If they don’t stop the ball, the dribbler has a layup, floater or pull up.

The coach listened to what we had to say, scrapped a great deal of their plays and sets and allowed the dribble in the offense. They started seeing scores in the 70’s and the players bought into the new offensive system. “Players are having fun!” he commented.

When I was coaching in high school my teams averaged between 72-78 ppg over ten seasons. Why the high numbers? We believed in a concept called pressure offense. We all have heard of the notion of pressure defense, but have you heard of pressure offense?

Our goal was to get to the “paint” by means of the dribble. We believed the dribble should only be used to bring the ball down court, reset the offense (if we were unbalanced) and to attack to score. We didn’t believe in dribbling to dribble.

The concept was that every pass had the opportunity to be an assist. The ball had to be moved quickly, spacing was crucial and we believed if you couldn’t get to the paint in 2-3 dribbles, then you couldn’t get to the paint.

We were simple Simon. We had 3-4 plays and 3-4 sets. Our focus was more on skill development than going over the plays. We also shot 20-30 minutes each practice.

If your struggling to score, you might want to think your offense? Is it passive? Are you hoping to get good shots off? Do you really believe you can win in the 30’s and 40’s each night (colleges would be 50’s)?

The key to offensive basketball is taking quality shots and making those shots. It is very difficult to become a quality offensive team without dribble penetration.