How to Teach Players to Read Advantage and Disadvantage

We use one-on-one drills to teach our players how to read advantage and disadvantage.

We define advantage as any time an offensive player has a shoulder to chest relationship to a defender. The disadvantage is when an offensive player has a chest to chest relationship to a defender. These definitions all relate to the ball, you, check concept of defense. A defender’s goal is to keep an offensive player between themselves and the basket, or what we call chest-to-chest.

All of our one-on-one drills are designed to challenge our players to apply game-like skills and decisions. These skills and decisions are applied based on their reading whether they have an advantage or a disadvantage. We keep players accountable to what we teach by using constraints to shape their learning. 

Constraints are sometimes misconstrued as negative.  They are best thought of as all the factors that influence learning and performance at any moment in time.  Using the four reasons why a possession is lost in our one-on-one drills creates a method to isolate skills and tactics so that players can solve the problem. 

One-on-One Possessions

The first two reasons why a possession is lost relate to our zero seconds philosophy. We want the offensive player to execute skills and decisions quickly with no pause on the catch. We do not emphasize jabs or fakes, but rather we want our learners to make decisive decisions on the catch about whether to shoot, dribble or pass.

The fourth reason a player loses possession is a personal dislike of the spin dribble as a counter. At higher levels the spin dribble as a counter can be attacked like a run and jump because the offensive player cannot see the help defenders. At lower levels I feel like the spin dribble becomes a default for young players who cannot dribble competently or confidently yet. They change directions by turning their back to their defender, and obviously this doesn’t transfer well in games. 

The main concept I want to discuss is the offense cannot take two dribbles in a direction not towards the rim. Instead of using a dribble limit we focus on a direction constraint. The reason is because if an offensive player takes dribbles not towards the rim in a game, they will be moving closer to a help defender. Since we want to focus our one-on-one teaching on reading advantage and disadvantage, we want to create a constraint where those decisions happen. If we allowed an offensive player to dribble anywhere on the court during one-on-one, the offensive player would not have to apply decisions about advantage or disadvantage.

Direction Dribble Rule

Here are two examples of 1-on-1 offensive basketball drills that demonstrate how we teach advantage and disadvantage.

Angle 1-on-1 Offensive Basketball Drill

Angle 1-on-1 helps a player understand advantage. The drill helps simulate an offensive players apply skills after recognizing they have an advantage on their defender. This advantage could come after a first step dribble, or after a live dribble, attack.

The offensive player starts with a shoulder to chest advantage. Their goal is to keep this advantage. They can keep the advantage by using a quickness advantage or an angle advantage. If the offensive player has a quickness advantage, the offensive player should push out their dribble and beat the defender to the basket. They can use a finishing lay-up that protects the basketball from the defensive players recovery. Another tactic that can be applied is the concept of taking away the defender’s recovery angle. If the offensive player can push their dribble out in a position that takes away the defender’s straight line recovery angle. 

Pass Attack 1-on-1 Basketball Drill

Pass attack 1-on-1 develops a player’s ability to read advantage and disadvantage situations off of the live dribble. The drill can be scripted to emphasize advantage, disadvantage or open decisions. 

  • Advantage – The offensive player starts ahead of the defensive player to create an initial advantage.
  • Disadvantage – The offensive player starts behind the defensive player to create an initial disadvantage.
  • Open – The offensive and defensive player start level to each other so neither has an advantage or disadvantage. An offensive player will have to read advantage or disadvantage.

Angle of attack is a key teaching point. The offensive player should attack in a straight line directly towards the basket. The goal is to beat the defender with speed to the basket. A counter should only be used if the defender recovers in a chest to chest position. If the defender cuts off the offensive player earlier than an open court counter dribble should be used. If the defender cuts off the offensive player later than they can use a Back Pivot or other finishing move to counter the defender’s chest to chest recover. Additional decisions at the basket need to be made as well. 

To learn more about how we teach using one-on-one drills check out The Value of Teaching With One-On-One Drills

Want to learn more about the one-on-one, and small-sided games, we use to teach our zero seconds and basketball decision training skills? Join Today.

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