PLAYER POSITIONS AND COMMON TECHNIQUES
1) Center: The central players are generally the tallest of all the players and are positioned near the basket. Most center players are over 6 ft 10” (2.08 m) tall.
i) Offensive: For the offensive team, the central players’ goal should be to get open for a pass and to shoot the basket. There job is also to block defenders- known as picking or screening and to gather other players up for driving to the basket.
ii) Defensive: On the defensive side, the center's key responsibility is to keep the opponents from shooting by blocking their shots and passes in the key area. The centers also get a lot of rebounds because of their height.
2) Forward: The next set of tall players is the forwards. Primarily a forward is to play under the hoop; on the contrary they may also be required to play in the wings and the corner areas. Almost all forwards in the men's pro leagues are 6 ft 6” (1.98 m) or taller.
i) Offensive: Offensive forwards are responsible to stay free to take a pass, outside shots, drive for goals, and the rebounds.
ii) Defensive -- Responsibilities include preventing drives to the goal and rebounding.
Small forward: They are primarily in charge of scoring baskets through cuts to the basket and dribble penetration whereas the defense seeks rebounds and ball through stealing, but sometimes plays more actively also.
Power forward: The offensive power forward plays often with their back to the basket whereas defensive plays under the basket or against the offensive power forward.
3) Guard: Guards are the shortest players and should essentially be really good at dribbling fast while analysing the other players’ position on the court so as to pass them easily. It is their work to move the ball down the court and pas onto offensive players.
i) Offensive: The offensive guard dribbles, passes and moves the ball across the court and sets up offensive plays. The player is then known as point guard. They also need to work upon the strategy to take a shot.
ii) Defensive: On the defense side, a guard is responsible for stealing passes, contesting shots, preventing drives to the hoop, and boxing out (a defense act to prevent the opposing player to take a shot). The defensive guard is also known as shooting guard because he creates a high volume of shots on the offense team which are majorly long-ranged and guards the opponent’s best perimeter player on the defense.
Shooting is the act of attempting to score points/baskets by throwing/pushing the ball through the basket/hoop.
While shooting, typically, a player faces the basket with both the feet facing the basket resting the ball on the fingertips of the dominant hand (the shooting arm- be it right or left hand) merely above the head while the other hand is supporting the side of the ball. The player then usually jumps and takes the shot by extending the shooting arm. The shooting arm completely extended with the wrist completely bent backwards should be held stationary for a moment subsequently release of the ball which technically is known as a follow-through.
For efficient attempt, players time and again try to put a stable backspin on the ball so as to absorb its impact with the rim. The 2 most common shots that use the given setup are: the set-shot and the jump-shot.
The aim of rebounding is to effectively gain possession of the ball after a missed shot or free throw the ball rebounds (reflects back) from the hoop or the backboard. A rebound plays a major role during the game because most possessions end and start when one of the team misses a shot.
- Offensive rebounds: In this, the ball is regained by the offensive side and possession does not change.
- Defensive rebounds: In this the defense gains possession of the free ball. Majorly, rebounds are defensive because of better position of the defense players so as to recover the missed shots.
A pass is the act of moving the ball amongst players of same team.
- Chest Pass: A staple pass is the chest pass. In this, the ball is passed directly from the passer's chest level to the receiver's chest level. A proper chest pass involves an outward break of the thumbs to add velocity and leaves the defense little time to react.
- Bounce Pass: In this type of pass the passer bounces the ball on the court crisply so that it travels about two-third of the way from his own chest to that of receiver. Even though it takes longer to pass a ball through bounce pass, but the opponents are not able to intercept who the receiver is. Thus, it is often useful to use in crowded moments.
- Overhead Pass: It is used to pass the ball over a defender. The ball is thrown above the head level of a passer and over that of defender.
- Outlet Pass: When a team gets a defensive rebound, an outlet pass occurs or in other words the pass after the rebound is outlet pass.
- No-look Pass: In every team, good passers and each player knows where the team mate prefer to get the pass. In order to make it happen successfully, it is good on the part of passer that he passes in such a way that opponent is unable to intercept the pass. Such a pass is known as No-Look Pass.
- Behind-the-back Pass: It involves throwing the ball behind the passer’s back to another team mate. It is an advanced style of passing.
Dribbling is the act where a player is required to vigorously bouncing the ball on the ground continuously with only one hand along with moving around the court. One has to dribble the ball only with the fingertips rather than palm which ensures greater control as well.
Good dribblers have a tendency to bounce the ball as low as possible to the ground such that it reduces the travelling distance of ball from hand to floor which further makes it difficult for the defender to steal the ball. They also more frequently dribble the ball behind their backs, between their legs, and also can switch directions rapidly which makes it a less predictable dribbling pattern and is again more difficult to defend against. The type of dribbling is called a crossover and is supposedly the most effective way to move past the defense members across the court.
Blocking is the act of altering the shot of opponent team after they’ve thrown the ball towards the basket. A player cannot though block a shot when the ball is in the downward path of its arc, after the ball has bounced back from backboard or when the ball is even slightly above the rim.
To block a shot, players who are taller take the initiative or responsibility. Players who are playing the power forward or the center positions generally go for more blocks than those who are shorter and are guards. But this doesn’t mean that shorter ones do not block- good timing and sufficiently higher leap can also be effective.