Developing the Complete High School Basketball Player: 1-on-1 Play

In our latest player development feature, learn about key basketball tips, drills, and individual moves for effective 1-on-1 play. Follow along with De La Salle head boys basketball coach Frank Allocco as he reveals how players can gain an edge offensively by creating a window of opportunity.

1-on-1 Play Overview

According to Coach Allocco, the most difficult thing to develop in kids is getting the ball to the rim. There’s too much perimeter to perimeter movement going on and not enough penetration. So why exactly is that the case? Well, kids don’t play outdoors enough anymore. There isn’t an emphasis on the need to get to the rim and score.

For example, in New York City outdoor summer play, kids learn to compete and win on the playground. They figure out how arguments get settled and who’s tough. This is also where those individual skills get developed. If kids aren’t out on the playground and only playing structured tournament games all summer long, they just aren’t developing that 1-on-1 game. Therefore, as a coach, you have to stress 1-on-1 play with your kids.

1-on-1 Musts

Coach Allocco believes it takes three years to get a kid to become a great driver. One tactic that especially helps: A straight line cut. There should never be any banana cuts. Instead, look to go straight to the rim.

Meanwhile, get that defender off balance before you dribble the ball and don’t give up the dribble. If you do give up the dribble, then the advantage has changed to the defender. We need to be stressing that we are going to the basket and not doing any bailout five-footers or spin dribbles. At first your shot might get blocked in the lane. But a year from now, you’ll see that you’ll start getting by people. And when you can get to the rim, you have options.

Michael Jordan’s greatness was his ability to move the defender. By moving the defender, we create a one-second window of opportunity. If you can jab and move that defender back, you now have an opportunity to score. Therefore, get down nice and low. Make short jab steps and get the defender to move his top foot. Also, look to get inside the elbows when you drive.

Jab Series

In this jab series, all players get out on the court with a ball around the three-point line. Each player gets down low and into a triple-attack stance. Your mentality should always be attack, attack, attack. As you take your jab, you want it to be short. Keep your hand on top of the ball so you can go up and shoot it. Also, work on your jabs left. Don’t neglect the weak side.


Jab and Shoot

Jab and Go – Push off that back foot and go. Your mentality: Play low to high, get past the defender’s hip, and take it hard to the rim.

Jab and Crossover – Rip it to the left hip and then step with the leg. Then put the ball on the floor and take to the basket.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Frank Allocco: Developing the Complete High School Player.” To check out more videos focusing on individual concepts, click here.

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