Go-to-Moves – The Core of a Complete Offensive Player

kareem abdul jabbar sky hookEvery single player at every level has at least one go-to move.  It might not be good and it might not even be legal but it’s going to be used over and over by that player.  Witness the beginner doing the only thing he can do- head down, dribbling with strong hand-maybe even picking up his dribble and starting again, then taking 5-6 steps before heaving a strong hand (maybe two hand) shot somewhere in the vicinity of the backboard.  Then take the very best NBA players with multiple go-to moves and equal counters off each.

With those thoughts in mind, let’s discuss some aspects of go-to moves:

  • For the most part, players likely arrive at go-to moves on their own-doing what best comes naturally to them.  If they’re legal and successful, this is good because there is confidence and a comfort level.
  • Could you actually name your players’ go-to moves?  Identifying them in a conscious way might be valuable.
  • After identifying them, could you work the best of them into your offensive scheme-even as quick-hitters or special situation plays?  For example, a player who has a strong left handed drive from the left side of the floor and has a change of pace and perhaps one of several different change-of-direction moves-could you devise an isolation for that player in your system?
  • Every go-to move needs a counter-move.  In the case of our strong handed, head down beginner, a change of pace off that same move would be an effective counter.  In the case of a good-catch and shoot move, a shot-fake and drive needs to be implemented.  And so on.
  • As unorthodox as it might appear, having a “go-to” time slot at practice might not be a bad idea.  That way, players could practice moves and counters unique to them.
  • Having one go-to move and counter is a start but having several is the foundation of a complete offensive player.
  • At any level, but especially at lower levels, it is not inconceivable that go-to moves and counters could be systematically taught.  At the very least, the young players would consciously absorb the concept and make it a part of their basketball knowledge and focus.

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