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Become a Better 1-on-1 Basketball Player Today

Updated on April 12, 2011

The game of basketball was invented as a sport consisting of 5 players per team competing against each other. If you break the game down though, you could say that it often times consists of several mini 1-on-1 battles where a player has to effectively out execute his opponent in order to score points. This is where players really fin out a lot about their game and what they really need to work on in order to become a better all-around player. When I train individual players one thing I always have them do is work on their 1-1 game. Players that can create their own shot and get by their defender are invaluable on any team because that skill is something that not everybody has.

When I work with these players the whole thing really starts with the triple threat position (which I talk more about at our basketball training website but my triple threat isn’t dribble, pass and shoot. My triple threat is as follows:

1. Shoot

Players must be in a ready position to shoot once they get the ball. This involves getting your feet in the proper position to shoot either as the pass is getting there or once the ball is caught. Players must have the ability to shoot in order to be a triple threat. When they are ready to shoot immediately upon receiving the ball, they are a much better 1-on-1 player. Players that can’t shoot well are terrible 1-on-1 players because all the defender has to do is sag-off and keep the player from getting by them.

2. Drive

Players must be able to drive to the basket or get by their man in order to be a complete offensive player. Carmelo Anthony is nearly impossible to guard 1-on-1 because he can drive strong to the basket or shoot on you at any time. The drive move needs to be strong in either direction and you should be able to finish with either hand. A player that can’t drive to the basket effectively is a horrible 1-on-1 player because all you have to do is crowd him so he can’t get a shot off.

3. Shoot off the dribble

Players that are great scorers can quickly shoot off a hard dribble in either direction. This means that they have created the thought and threat of a drive so when the defender takes a hard step back to defend the drive, the offensive player can quickly pull up and hit the shot. This is another area where Carmelo Anthony excels and to me is the best 1-on-1 player in the NBA today.

Want playing time?

If a player can do these 3 things effectively and play any defense at all then they will never have to complain about how much playing time they get. I’ve been to several big name basketball camps where some college coaches have literally out-played themselves some of the best players in camp because they excel at these 3 moves. Too many kids today are worried about spins and new dribbling moves, the best players do the basics better than everyone else.

The Jab Step

One of the best moves in a 1-on-1 setting is shooting off a jab-step. If the offensive player can create the illusion of the drive by taking a hard step toward the basket then the defender will typically drop their hands to prepare for the drive. As soon as the hands go down the shot needs to go up. The jab-step shot is uncomfortable at first but as long as the step isn’t too long and your feet are still in good shooting position, then you have another move in your arsenal. Trust me when I say that the best 1-on-1 players are the real masters of this triple threat.


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