Players: You want to bring something to the game – bring something to your team that can immediately affect the outcome of the game, but you don’t time to acquire a new skill like shooting, or point-guard-dribbling-abilities, or ten more pounds of muscle. These things take time – usually off-season time.
What can you bring RIGHT NOW?! What can you bring to today’s practice or today’s game simply by making a focused effort to actually “bring it”?
RUN THE FLOOR ON DEFENSE!
The moment your opponent secures possession of the ball, SPRINT across the half-line!
Turn your hips and SPRINT across the half-line!
The average player sprints when the ball is passed or dribbled ahead of them. The exceptional player sprints ahead before the ball can be dribbled or passed ahead!
You’re going to sprint one way or the other! Why not sprint sooner than later? It’s the same amount of energy expenditure!
(Of course I’m assuming that you don’t have a defensive assignment like “immediately trap the ball” and let your other teammates sprint ahead!
Once across the half-line, you can begin to locate opponents, the ball, and the situation. Notice that I did not say that you can begin to turn once you cross the half-line. It’s possible that you might need to continue to sprint to the rim to prevent a lay-up!
But also notice that I did not say “sprint to the rim and then locate your man/woman and move out to defend them. Some teams don’t sprint their players to the rim on offense. They sprint to the arc and look for the ball to be pitched ahead to the arc. If you’re at the rim, you’ll never get to the ball in time.
So, when you break the half-line, read the situation and locate offensive players at the same time. If the ball is being pitched ahead, then you need to move toward the ball and stop the early offensive threat.
No skill, no drill, no talent needed. Just focus and effort. If you prevent 4 easy points per game by sprinting in transition, that’s the difference between winning and losing in many games!