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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Changing Pace/Direction

When teaching dribble moves it is common to detail many different change of direction moves. They might include crossovers, spin dribbles, behind the back dribble in the package of moves. Coaches often under teach the art of changing pace at the younger levels.

Changing pace can often be more effective against a pressure defense than change of direction. How many presses and traps rely on the defense to "turn" the offensive player? Take a run-n-jump press for instance. The press relies on the offense to turn or at least change direction drastically. If a player can change his speed well though, the defense has no chance to trap because he will always be seeing the whole floor.

How about on a fast break...let's say it is one on one in the open floor. A good hesitation dribble around the free throw line or three point line will get the defense to start closing the gap so the player cannot shoot. At that time, the player accelerates and can get his hips passed a quicker player.

One of Bobby Knight's favorite sayings about basketball is "mental is to physical that 4 is to 1." I believe the same can be said about change of pace to change of direction. I would say change of pace is two or three times as important as change of direction moves. Yet, how many coaches work on change pace or really emphasize it?