Discover How to Develop Great Scorers by Learning the Secrets of Great Basketball Moves and Individual Offense

- By

Individual offense is often called one-on-one basketball moves. I prefer to call it individual offense due to the fact that basketball is a team game. In teaching players individual basketball moves, often the wrong message can be sent. Players get mixed messages when they come to practice after a summer of working on individual skills and we ask them to integrate those skills into a team concept.

Do we just teach the skills or do we want them to learn the mentality as well?  Terminology and context that we use to teach can put things into perspective. We like fancy names for drills and the things we come up with, but on this subject, simplicity might be the best way to present it. How about calling this section, "Here are the things you can do to score when you have the ball." Then, you can take those things and teach players where to use each skill and, most importantly, what it creates, not only for him but for his teammates.

The Myth of the Triple Threat

Ever since I was young, I have heard about triple threat, triple threat position, be in position to shoot, pass, or dribble. While it is true that you have to be prepared, the reality is only one of those actions is a threat. When was the last time that your defensive game plan was to leave the shooter alone and guard the dribbler? How about, "this guy can really pass, make sure you play him and if you have to leave a shooter to do it, then leave the shooter"? That would, and should, never happen. For that reason, I believe that the 3 threats of a triple threat position are SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT!

New Triple Threat:  SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT

First and foremost, nothing happens on offense without the threat of a score. When your defense thinks that you can score on every touch, it forces him into very uncomfortable positions. Attacking and constantly putting pressure on your defense will force him to break down over the course of a game. It will destroy his help intentions, making additional opportunities for your teammates, and have a negative impact on his offense.

Shoot, Shoot, Shoot means every time you catch the ball, it immediately goes into shooting position. The ball goes right into your shooting pocket, your knees are bent and you are in an athletic position. Shoot, Shoot, Shoot means every time you catch the ball, you face the basket. It sounds elementary (of course you face the basket!) but how many times have you seen players turn their back to the basket? How many times do you see players face the corner or the top, cutting off large portions of the court from their vision?

Shoot, Shoot, Shoot means every time you catch the ball, your eyes go to the rim. By looking at the rim, from any position, allows you to see everything that happens on the floor.

Shoot, Shoot, Shoot means every time you catch the ball, your feet get in position and your footwork improves. You get quicker because you are in better position. Your pivoting violations (like traveling) go away because your feet have more of a purpose.

Lastly, shooting is a skill that can't be a second thought.  You might be able to recover FROM a shot, but YOU CANNOT RECOVER TO A SHOT.  You can think shot and recover to a pass, you can think shot and recover to a dribble, but you can't go the other way. How many times do you see a player get a pass in the corner and start looking for someone to pass to? Everyone on his team, every one in the stands starts yelling, "Shoot, Shoot!" While he is looking for some one to pass to, he didn't notice that he is wide open. Eventually, he gets around to shooting the ball and it NEVER goes in. That is because you can't recover TO a shot.

So, every time you catch the ball, your first thought is SHOT, your second thought is SHOT and your third thought is SHOT! Now that is really a triple threat.

Addendum by Joe Haefner

When you first read the "Shoot. Shoot. Shoot." mentality, you might think it sounds a bit crazy. I know that I did.

But after I saw Don teach it and incorporate it, I thought it was genius.

After using it for over a decade, I would not teach any other way now. My player's are just better. They're more confident and more assertive.

This is an example of how you can introduce it to your players and it also helps clear up some misunderstandings if you have any:

After introducing the new triple threat, you can ask them, "What happens to your feet when you think shot?"

After a few player responses, you can say, "Yeah. You aggressively face the basket. You turn as fast as you can under control."

After that, you can ask "Now, why is this important?"

This is usually where you might lose them. If you're lucky, you might have a few bright players that figure it out. So if they don't answer in a 5 seconds, you can say to them, "If you turn slowly, it allows the defense to get set and you lose your initial advantage."

"If you aggressively turn and face the basket like you're going to shoot the ball, it puts pressure on the defense. If they do NOT sprint out to defend and it is a good shot for you, you can shoot the ball."

"Now by thinking 'Shot. Shot. Shot' and getting into your shooting position as quickly as possible, the defense has to cover more ground to contest your shot. Now the defense has to rush out and defend you. If the defense is flying at you at a fast speed, you have the advantage because their momentum is coming towards you and it will make it difficult for them to guard the drive."

Next, I'll ask them, "If you Think Shot, what happens to your eyes?"

Most groups usually get this one right away, "Your eyes are looking at the hoop."

"Yes. And when they're looking at the hoop, this does a couple of things for you. Eyes are one of the greatest weapons for fakes and the defense might jump and create a driving or passing lane for you."

"Two, if your eyes are up, you can see what?"

"Yeah. You can see the whole floor. You can see the defense. You can see your teammates."

"Now should you still think 'Shot. Shot. Shot' if you are outside of your shooting range?"

"Absolutely! Even if you would never shoot the ball because it is a poor shot for you, just by looking like you are going to shoot the ball will put more pressure on the defense and pull them out of position. Defenders instinctually will fly out of position if you look like you're going to shoot the ball… even if you're a terrible shooter from that spot."

As you can see, this mentality can be a great tool to instantly make your team better at offense.

How to Use the Dribble

The most overused, needlessly exercised and mismanaged skill in basketball is the dribble. It has become something to do while you have the ball. It doesn't need to have a purpose; it doesn't need to have a direction. Just catch it and put it on the floor. That is why the American game has become so ugly and why our kids don't have a firm concept of quality offense.

I believe the purpose for putting the ball on the floor is to get closer to the basket. Just like the "Shoot, Shoot Shoot," mentality that helps you be aggressive on the catch, when you put the ball on the floor you should think one thought, "LAYUP!"

By thinking lay-up, your dribble becomes aggressive and purposeful. Never do in 2 dribbles what you can do in 1. When you put the ball on the floor, your dribble should be long, hard and to the basket. Separation from your defense is accomplished with the ball and if you can't separate with the first dribble you won't separate at all. Your line should be straight at the basket. Getting your defense to step backward is key to any offensive move.

And, just like shooting, you can't recover to a shot. How many turnovers have you seen created because your player goes on the dribble, looks to pass, and the defender plays the pass? If it is not a turnover it becomes an off balance, poor attempt at the basket. If your player intended to take a lay-up and the lay-up is defended, he can always pass off. However, it doesn't work the other way.

Improve Quickness by Playing the Angles

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. If you can get your footwork to go in a straight line to the basket, your player instantly become quicker, due to more efficient footwork, faster (definition of speed is mass/distance) and more aggressive. The more he deviates from a straight line, the more of an advantage the defense gains. If "North" and "South" indicate direct lines to the basket, then it stands to reason that any time you make an "East – West" move, you should recapture "North – South" as quickly as possible. That is a very obvious concept in football. A running back runs parallel to the line of scrimmage looking for a hole. Once he finds the hole, he turns his shoulders and hips up the field and goes. In other words, if you make a crossover move, get pointed directly back to the front of the rim as quickly as possible.

Teaching players that you beat the defense with your feet and you separate with the ball will help keep your dribble efficient and effective.

Get the Ball Where You Can Score

Putting yourself in position to score means starting and finishing your move to get the ball in your range. Whether you V cut, L cut, come off a screen, etc., you have to receive the ball in a scoring area. Players must mentally condition themselves that they are working to get the ball in their scoring area, not just get the ball. By getting the ball in your scoring area you immediately put your defense at risk. He must now react to what you do. If you are aggressive, he will always be a count behind your move.

On your catch think "Shot!" If his hands are down, if he has stepped off and you are in your range, let it go. The next time you get the ball, think "Shot!" If your defense is not sensitized to your shot, he will step up, play a little more upright to stop your shot (if not, let it go again). As he comes up, put the ball on the floor think, "Lay-up!" and beat him straight line to the basket.

The effectiveness of any basketball move starts and ends with the immediate possibility of a score. If you are not in a position to score or don't have the mentality that makes you strong and aggressive, any offensive moves will not create what you want.

The Secret to Shot Fakes

A shot fake is a shot not taken. Everything is the same as a shot, the ball is in your shooting pocket, your body is in a shooting crouch, and you are square and facing the basket. You just don't let it go. Shot fakes are very effective in the realm of individual offense. One of the aspects of effective offense is controlling the defense, putting the defense at risk and forcing it to react to your offense. Within your "Shot, Shot, Shot" mentality, shot fakes do a great job of forcing the defense to play in an uncertain manner and as a reactor, thereby putting the defender a step behind the offense. This is another reason why whenever you catch the ball, it immediately goes into shooting position. When you are a threat to score, and do it immediately on the catch, your defense must play the shot right away leaves him vulnerable to anything else that you throw at him.

This is not to be confused with a pump fake. I am not a fan of pump fakes. First, I don't believe that you can fool a defense (at least a good one). Unless your pump is exactly the same as your shot, in form and rhythm, the defense is not going to bite. But more importantly, a pump fake takes you out of your good shooting position. As you move the ball and your body through the pump fake, you add moving parts to your shot that will hurt its consistency. It also forces you to take more time, due to the recovery from the pump, to get your shot off. These things will have a negative effect the quality of your attempt.

I have found it much more effective to sell your defender that you will shoot if he gives you the chance and then let him try to adjust to stopping your shot. This, again, is done by your "Shot, Shot, Shot" mentality and the appropriate attack when you get the ball.

Individual Offense Drills

  1. Pivot Shooting
  2. Wing One-on-One
  3. Top One-on-One

More Basketball Drills

Coaches, go here for more Basketball Drills

Players, go here for more Basketball Drills

Recommended Videos & eBook:

The Attack & Counter Skill Development System
This eBook & DVD’s will improve your shooting, ballhandling, footwork, perimeter moves, post moves, finishing, aggressiveness, quickness, confidence, mentality, and your all-around game!

Designed by NBA skills coach Don Kelbick, this unique and comprehensive system is incredibly simple when compared to other skill development programs. Yet it works with NBA and pro players at the highest level... (more info)

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...

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kostas says:
10/30/2007 at 6:08:23 AM

the best!


Michael Newham says:
10/30/2007 at 6:37:57 AM

Again you have been a big help


Miquel Ballester says:
10/30/2007 at 6:41:02 AM

good job


10/30/2007 at 6:56:03 AM

great work!


peter marino says:
10/30/2007 at 8:37:00 AM

send me practices programs for kids 11 -14


glen gax says:
10/30/2007 at 8:52:05 AM

Thanks a lot!Such a great help!


Coach Ed Atlas says:
10/30/2007 at 8:57:53 AM

I like the triple threat concept and the shot fake passage. Thanks.


Jeff says:
10/30/2007 at 2:04:45 PM


For practice programs, read the answer to this question (scroll down to the comments towards the bottom of this page):


Glenn says:
10/30/2007 at 2:16:03 PM

Excellent article!


Tj says:
10/30/2007 at 3:58:56 PM

thanks alot for all this useful infomation.. im tryna get into college n play 4 the team.... im a pretty good point guard but i need drills 4 my handle.... i have good handle but i need it to be better.. under pressure there is a chance a turnover might take place.... i want to limit that chance... thanks alot 4 helping


Joe says:
10/30/2007 at 5:10:28 PM

Hi TJ,

When practicing dribble moves, you want to have a few strong moves and counter moves. For instance, if you have a great crossover, you may want to practice and inside out dribble. That way, if you do a couple good crossover moves, the defense may be expecting the crossover move the next time down and you hit them with an inside out move. After you do this, the defense will constantly be on their heels and they won't know what to expect next which is exactly what you want.

To work on being able to handle under pressure, always practice dribbling with your eyes focused on the rim or looking up the court. Dribbling should become second nature. That way seeing the floor and getting to where you need to go is so much easier!

Also, practice running as fast as you can while dribbling or practicing the dribbling moves. That way, it'll take you out of your comfort zone and force you to adjust and get better. Also, practice stopping on a dime. If you dribble full speed, stop, then go full speed again without losing your dribble, you'll be impossible to guard. Hope that helps!


  1 person liked this.  

Joe says:
10/30/2007 at 5:12:40 PM

You can also check out ball handling and other player fundamentals at this link:


jeremy says:
10/31/2007 at 4:11:17 AM

Thanks for the drills cause they are really helping me. Help me with more drills concerning drive ins and the strength


Joe says:
10/31/2007 at 9:42:42 AM


Check out our link about layups here:

  1 reply  

Nana yaw says:
9/1/2016 at 5:50:56 PM

Sick I love it


joseph says:
10/31/2007 at 2:48:21 PM

i would like to know if you have any practice help plays for a first time coach that will be easy to explain and read out the plays.

the team I'm coaching is made up of players 18-35.
I'm pretty new to the coaching scene and would like to learn more plays and scoring tips to improve my coaching.


Joe says:
10/31/2007 at 7:31:36 PM


You can find plays in our free ebook, go here to sign up:

You can also find plays on our website:



ravikumar says:
10/31/2007 at 10:05:39 PM

thank u u r sending tips its healp a lot


manoj says:
11/1/2007 at 2:51:34 AM

u r articles are skillfull.. very practical.

send drive-in and minus


Clifford says:
11/2/2007 at 3:02:44 PM

I need basketball air alert drills, the pics of the exercises


Max Salazar says:
11/2/2007 at 11:59:47 PM

it really great! it helps me a lot to develop my coaching skills technically.


Heah says:
11/6/2007 at 8:28:51 AM

It is great to discover about the myths of triple threat. A short jab but in the position of shooting is a good move. Thanks.


ammar says:
11/29/2007 at 8:17:03 AM

v good
i would like to mor h level drills



basketballboy says:
12/11/2007 at 11:49:35 AM

this is awful your triple threat concept is stupid passing is a threat to score and so is dribbling not just shooting

  1 reply  

Nathan says:
8/23/2018 at 9:52:32 AM

Dribbling is just a way of getting your shot off. Passing is just a quicker more efficient way of someone else shooting. The most fundamental part of basketball is shooting, so actually it makes perfect sense.


jeff chapman says:
12/21/2007 at 8:02:23 AM

I think your work is great.I believe that i came across this at the right time. I coach girl basketball .My offense in the half court was just run offense .Mainly motion and pass to the post. I just started trying to teach individual offense. My players came from junior high with no skills. So i gave up on trying to teach ind. offense, but i have a group that just may pick it up.Also my teams get beat by teams that are able to score after or before the 5/5 set starts.Long story short .I believe again. Your breakthrough on how to Improve Basketball moves help me to get juiced again!!!!! Thank you


P says:
7/9/2008 at 9:00:51 PM

wow this author is a genious


kobe brayant says:
10/6/2008 at 7:51:38 AM

mind blowing.. it is acting like a persennol trainer


Shay says:
3/9/2009 at 2:49:38 PM



Carlo says:
5/12/2009 at 11:21:20 AM

so whats the difference between a shot fake and pump fake??


Mary says:
6/21/2009 at 2:14:08 PM

Thank you so much for writing this article. It's really given me new perspective and helped my offense. I now have the shoot, shoot, shoot mentality and know how to stay one step ahead of the defense to force them react. Thanks.


Max says:
6/21/2009 at 2:15:38 PM

Great article. Eye opening, really.


Je says:
6/21/2009 at 2:16:54 PM



Ella Tatum says:
11/12/2009 at 1:41:48 PM

u obveousily have never coached basketball before. if u have, shame on you. you aren't mj, you don't know if the jab will work or not, or if pump fakes will work or not, maby u shud spend your time blogging about something else that u actually know what ur talking about, for one...pump fakes do work, even on good defenders. maby if you do them more than once, it wont work because the defense already knows what you are going to do. and secondd, the jab does work. SO HA!

  1 reply  

Brian Sass says:
1/25/2015 at 12:13:43 PM


This article is not disparaging the jab fake, or the pump fake and saying that they do not work. What it is talking about is the thought process behind it.

A pump fake if done without purpose does nothing except distort and destroy shooting rhythm. It is sometimes done with the mind already being made up as to what a player is going to do:

"Ok, I'm going to catch, give a pump fake, and drive around this guy".

Except the defender closed out under control, maybe a little slower than you thought. Now your open look is gone, you've pump faked, your rhythm is gone, and you have no open shot and you are up against a defender in good position and he will be in a good position to defend you.

Now, instead, say you catch with this thought:

"I'm going to shoot. I'm going to shoot. I'm going to shoot".

The defender is slow to close out, and you are still in your mind-set, still going to shoot. You get the shot off.

Say they close out quickly, you pull the ball back down as a counter, out of your shooting tuck and motion, and put drive past.

This is the difference.

I've taught Morgan Wootten's jab step series, and I loved it. I understand the philosophy behind it. But I understand Don's ideas too and they may be easier for a coach to communicate and a player to understand.

Think in terms of the word "unless".

"I'm going to keep doing this to my defender UNLESS they take a direct line path to counter it.

THEN I will do THIS to counter it."

The jab step is still there. It is still being used. It is only the thought process behind it is stream-lined.

Many coaches here, including the coach who has written this article have more years experience than you and I combined (probably).
You don't have to agree with what is being taught, or the opinions expressed. But keep an open mind. I don't like everything that every coach does, but I at least respect the minds behind the opinions and advice being expressed.


Caroline says:
1/7/2010 at 7:49:41 PM

I love your website thanks.


DiAndre' says:
3/22/2010 at 9:35:30 PM

thanks for the help


Mr. Success says:
6/22/2010 at 11:45:35 PM

Its about time I found a true useful site. All the other sites gives crap and bad tips. I now have this site as my homepage.


Bob says:
7/2/2010 at 10:02:14 AM

Only other piece of tripple threat that you may want to mention is to keep the ball on the oposite of your jab stab. Lets say your a righty, you want to keep the ball on your left hip, you can still go straight up into your shot, dribble, your jab step is that much more violent, and the ball is much more protected. This is the biggest difference I saw between high school and college outside of the size and speed because defense is much more aggresive at the next level and they will stip the ball if its exposed on your right when your jabing. Also do not undermine the value of knowing where everyone is before you touch the ball. Also just reiterating your point on dribbling, even though your a point gaurd it does not mean you have the right to dribble 1000 times. The greatest point gaurds dribble very minimally - don't believe me watch Nash or Paul play. Only thing I would say I may disagree with is not using pump fakes. I've been gaurded by all americans and if your hitting your shots even moving your eyes up may get them offbalance and then your gone. However, if your not a shooter, a crappy headfake with never work on a good defender, only thing it will do is strain your neck. Anyway great site for youngsters to learn the basics but maybe introduce some more advanced ideas as well.


brenell says:
7/15/2010 at 11:40:34 PM

can you have a section on the site that explains layups and when to use each kind (etc. reverse layup) i have went to the layup section but it is down.


Joe Haefner says:
7/16/2010 at 12:43:36 PM

The lay up section should be working, Brenell. Here is the link:


Marc says:
11/4/2011 at 7:44:43 PM

Hey, just wanted to say I loved the article regardless of how old it may be. Being in high school, im one of the shorter guards and even though I can beat other players off the dribble penetration, I rarely finish, any tips/advice you can give me?

Thanks again!


Jeff Haefner says:
11/5/2011 at 5:54:01 AM

Marc - It depends.. how old and how tall are you?


Jim Berger says:
2/7/2012 at 1:47:59 AM

Thank you! I have played basketball, at many levels, for 50 years, and, at age 62, I am about to play in the New Zealand Masters Games for the 1st time.

All of my lead-up to this competition has been 1-on-1 against young guys at the local gym, whom I usually destroy, because I am probably the best shooter they will ever see.

Team basketball is very different. I always wondered why I wasn't more effective in a 5-on-5 team situation. I always felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off!

Believe it or not, this is stuff I was never taught and am going to apply it with enthusiasm, in Dunedin NZ, starting Friday.

Thank you!



Franklin says:
5/26/2012 at 7:24:03 AM

are the ebooks free ? because i want to get one , but i dont know how .


Coach Pack says:
6/25/2012 at 4:21:32 PM

Okay, so where's the blog on shot selection? I coach middle schoolers in a fairly competitive environment. How do you teach Shoot3 to the kid who thinks he has NCAA range--and doesn't? We just shot 15% from 3 over a 6 game weekend. NOT recipe for success. I think I'd prefer that the new triple threat be Drive, Drive, Drive.


Ken says:
6/25/2012 at 4:51:06 PM

Coach -

I coached varsity boys and our rule was very simple... DON'T take a shot you cant make unless time is running out.

IF you don't practice it and make (any shots) with a good degree of accuracy from any spot on the floor, you should think about what your strenghts are and play to them.

I didn't have to tell my players whether or not they could shoot a three ball... IF they werent shooting them in practice, they didn't shoot them in games. IF they were shooting 15%, they couldn't shoot them until they got their percentage up.

Everybody is NOT an equal opportunity shooter, Johnny might be a 3 point shooter, Joe might be able to shoot from 14-16 feet, Bob, maybe 6-8 and the rest can take any good lay up they can get.

Here is something that worked for me, If my players weren't making perimeter shots... I told them to take the ball to the basket and get to the free throw line so they could work on their form.

You will have to sell them on this if it is going to work for the team.


Joe Haefner says:
6/25/2012 at 5:18:57 PM

Coach Pack,

I definitely feel what you're saying. Been there!

I can attest for the mentality of shot, shot, shot. Sometimes, it's hard to convey the exact meaning in writing.

The point of shot, shot, shot isn't that you should not teach shot selection. It's to make you quicker, create advantages against the defense, and create more confidence in your shooting.

For shot selection, my mantra is pretty simple, if you can't make a high percentage, don't shoot it. Do what you're good at.

Even if you're not going to shoot the ball so many so many good things happen for your game when you think shot, shot, shot.

- Your feet get positioned properly more quickly by thinking shot, shot, shot. Less travels and other violations occur, because there is less indecision.

- If you want to drive, drive, drive, thinking shot, shot, shot will open up your driving lanes more by putting more pressure on the defense. If you look like you are going to shoot, the defense is more likely going to close out at a faster pace. Also if you think shot, shot, shot, and you get your feet positioned more quickly, the defense will have more ground to cover which will put the defense at even more of a disadvantage.

If you think drive, drive, drive, the defense will eventually adjust to this.

- Your eyes are up if you think shot which leads to better court vision.

- Something the author of this article, Don Kelbick, also taught me is that doubt can be one of the biggest detriments to a player's shooting percentage. If the game situation calls for it and you are in your shooting range, thinking shot, shot, shot will lead to better shooters.

Hope that helps clarify the meaning a little bit.


Jeff Haefner says:
6/25/2012 at 5:22:08 PM

Even if they can't shoot, they still need to face the basket and be a THREAT. The last thing you want is your players dribbling the ball as soon as they catch it. That will result in turnovers, bad offense, and frustration. I want all my players catching the ball and facing the basket and looking for their shot even when they 50 feet away. This dramatically cuts down our turnovers, improves passing, improve player movement away from the ball, and gets us more lay ups because kids now actually see the wide open player standing under the basket.

I have personally used the SHOT SHOT SHOT triple threat mentality with great success. I usually only have a couple shooters on the floor, but they all know what is a good shot and what isn't Otherwise there are on the bench. They face the basket looking for their shot, but they only let it fly if it's a good shot they can make. This is something you just communicate early on.

You can also try the two up two back drill and various drills to determine a players range. With two up two back you start shooting a few feet from the basket. If you make two in a row you back one step back. If you miss two in a row you take a step forward. Let the kid shoot for 4-8 minutes, see how far back he got. That is approximately your shooting range. Have him look down after X minutes and tell him, that's you range until you improve.

You can also shoot 10 at a spot. Start 4 feet from the basket. If you make 6 or more, move back 4 feet. Otherwise you stay in the same spot. You get 5 or maybe 6 chances to see how far back you get.


Alan Keane says:
1/12/2013 at 5:52:47 AM

Great article once again. Thanks for sharing.
With regard to terminology and phrases we have been using for years what are your thoughts about 'shot pocket'? While coaching here in the London, UK I have changed this phrase to 'Shooting shoulder' as I feel the 'shot pocket' can give a player the image of shooting from the hip.
Kind regards
Coach Alan Keane


Ken says:
1/12/2013 at 9:07:20 AM

Coach -

As for terminology - thats all it is... as long as your kids know and understand it - AND - it works for you........ who am I to challenge that... or anybody else for that matter.

Question.... do all the coaches use that or is it just you? What level is this? Would your kids be confused if they went to the next level and that coach was using "shot pocket?"

Just some thoughts.


Alan Keane says:
1/12/2013 at 10:32:17 AM

Ken thanks for your response. I have heard other coaches refer to it and that is when I began to think about the use of terminology. I agree with you that once the kids understand is the key however I feel as is often the case in education also, terminology used can be misleading to different learners. Also within the British Basketball pathway their is a focus on coaches using the same terminology throughout the junior age groups for clarity when teaching. For example using 'back cut' as opposed to 'back door' etc. It is simply a fraction of the importance and priority when teaching and I also believe as players progress and move on adjusting to different terminologies is part of the learning curve. For example I remember hearing Kevin Eastman saying the language and terminology used within the NBA means the college players entering need to adjust and learn quick with regards to this.


Ken says:
1/12/2013 at 10:44:02 AM

Thats a great point Alan.........

I guess that when we used our terminology, we weren't thinking about what they were using at the college level. I coached Varsity Boys Bball.

As long as your kids understand what you want them to do.... everything will work out.... oh yeah, and IF the can shoot the ball well.
Good shooters make coaches look good.

One game we shot 9 for 10 from the arc and 20 of 25 from the free throw line. They made me look like a genius. :-)


Joe Haefner says:
1/12/2013 at 12:04:09 PM

Alan, I like the idea of the shooting shoulder. I may have accidentally used that before. However, I can't recall if I used that exact terminology. I know that I tell them to get in shooting position ball in front of the shoulder.

Once, they understand the proper shooting position, I call this the "set" position. I got that from Rick Penny.

Once kids get an understanding of the set position, it works great because all you have to say is get to "set".

When coming off a screen, your goal is to get to "set" as quickly as possible.


Mr. Ewing says:
1/26/2013 at 3:59:17 PM

I disagree. The reason the Triple Threat is always mentioned, is because its real. Dribbling is a threat, because it advances the ball toward the goal. Passing is a threat for the same reason. Your idea that only shooting is a threat makes a common mistake: that it's the man, and not the ball that you need to worry about. Players don't score, the ball does. To use your logic, when was the last time you saw a player fall through the hoop, and receive two points? NEVER!

The point is that anything that advances the ball toward the goal, the dribble, pass, or shot, is a threat.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if your player can't handle the ball, dribble, or pass well (all components of the triple threat), then those things in and of themselves are threats - the reverse of the triple threat if you will.


Joe Haefner says:
1/26/2013 at 5:00:41 PM

Mr. Ewing, nobody is ever going to argue that passing and dribbling are not threats to score. I don't think the article is saying that at all.

The article actually talks about being more effective with your dribble. Passing the ball is encouraged.

This is about mentality and getting your feet and eyes in the proper position to put more pressure on the defense to open up dribbling and passing lanes.

All I know is that I have taught this last 4 to 5 years and my teams and players are WAY better for it. If you don't feel comfortable with the philosophy, that's perfectly fine.

  1 person liked this.  

Shantha says:
2/24/2013 at 11:41:25 AM

Great article. Thanks


Brian says:
1/17/2014 at 9:42:41 AM

The first time I watched Don Kelbick teach, I heard him give his 3 threats: SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT! And I thought, "What? That''s not right!"

I went home and pondered these thoughts and compared it to what I saw in my middle school team. I came to the conclusion that Don was right.

Mr. Ewing and several others have questioned this teaching and philosophy. I think some of the ruder comments were uncalled for. But this us what I think.

It is NOT calling for a shot every time you catch the ball. What I viewed this as was a refinement and simplification of thought process.

When on any catch you should think:

1) I am going to shoot.

This is sound. It is important. It cuts down on catching with your back to the basket. It cuts down on indecision. It cuts down on passing up open shot opportunities because you aren''t ready to shoot.

What if you are covered? You don''t have to shoot! Now you are thinking score! Drive past the defender who has stepped into you, making him easier to beat.

Now another defender steps in to help. Pass!

I have seen it in middle school and at all levels. Players that catch the ball who are not scoring threats. What happens?

1) on ball defender can sink off a little and play the drive.

2) off ball defenders can play off the help a bit to deny their man, making it more difficult to pass.

Thinking SHOT and SCORE first opens up PASS and DRIBBLE (with purpose).

Shot fakes are the same way. The question was asked for the difference between shot fakes and pump fakes. Here was my thought: a pump fake is a fake made with no intention of releasing the ball. It is made for the benefit of the defender. It is a selfish move made to get yourself open.

Shot fakes are made with this process: CATCH, I''M GONNA SHOOT, I''M GONNA SHOOT, I''M GONNA SHOOT...and when your shot is challenged you pull the ball down. Thought now changes to I''M GONNA DRIVE...

My players became much more effective players when they started thinking SHOT SHOT SHOT on every catch. Their footwork and squaring up became better. Their team mates got open for passes and the driving lanes opened up better because they thought SHOT SHOT SHOT.

I understand the doubt. It seems counterintuitive. Shot selection then becomes the next most important thing to teach with this technique.

But it works. I had a heck of a time getting my motion initiated. The wing overplays and backdoors weren''t working. But when I told my point guard to look for his drive and his shot as our first option, everything else opened up. My point asked me "Isn''t that selfish?". I told him no, it was selfless, because it would get his team mates open.

It did. SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT triple threat operates on the same principle.


Joe Haefner says:
1/17/2014 at 10:47:19 AM

Brian, thanks for the comment. That was articulated very well.


Ken Sartini says:
1/17/2014 at 2:55:01 PM

I have also seen Don Kelbick teach this at serveral camps and the first time I heard him I was thinking WHAT??

In my humble opinion I think its all about scoring... putting pressure on the defense to think HE IS GOING TO SCORE every time he touches the ball. Score , Score , Score.
(shot, shot, shot)

We wanted our playes to catch and face the basket and think SHOT every time..(boys high school varsity)

Don, Joe and Brian have made it pretty clear regarding the process. Do we all say it the same way? Probably not, but we all mean the same thing. Sorry, but I have to disagree with you Mr Ewing....Players DO score, the person shooting the ball either makes it or misses..... but its up to him to put it in the basket. Do you have to be able to dribble and pass? Of course, its a big part of the game.... but shooting is #1. (at least for the offensive part)
Do the other players on the team have anything to do with him scoring? Of course, via the pass or screen/pick.

If I were picking a team, I would want a point guard, a rebounder, a shut down defender and a couple of shooters.. Hopefully they all could score though. :-)

Defense? NOW thats another thread.


Wesley says:
3/8/2014 at 5:36:25 PM

Speed = distance/time


Rocket says:
8/13/2014 at 5:36:19 PM

This is how we taught triple threat 40+ yrs ago. I have taught it that way my entire 43 yr coaching career. You are always teaching shot first , score second & third. When you add the drive series with all the moves I have developed it makes triple threat an even more arsenal of scoring weapons. Then when you add moves on the move you have a complete offensive threat. It can be taught to 5 yr olds on up. It''s Old School Fundamental Teaching!

  1 person liked this.  

Thomas says:
1/17/2015 at 2:19:42 PM

This was definitely written by kobe


The anonymous baller says:
6/7/2015 at 3:37:32 PM

I like the concept of shoot,shoot,shoot. But wouldn't it also teach "ball hogs" to just go crazy with it? This shoot, shoot, shoot attitude though, has increased my ppg from 2.0 to 7.0 over my middle school middle school career. All around, i think its a good way to have unconfident shooters as myself, find their potential and eat off of it to get better. Nice work!

  1 reply  

Joe Haefner says:
6/23/2015 at 9:22:36 AM

In regards to the ballhog, the coach should communicate effectively and let them know they are taking low-quality shots. IF they continue to take bad shots, they will have some "pine time" to figure it out on their own.


yung 5lime says:
11/16/2015 at 10:44:15 AM

wats up wat tha number


yung 5lime says:
11/16/2015 at 10:45:48 AM

shay wat up wit tha number


aris says:
1/6/2016 at 10:03:35 AM

I like this article very much but I missed something...What's the difference between Shot fake and Pump Fake?Aren't the same thing?


killer crossover maker says:
3/10/2016 at 1:19:27 AM

nice article


DHF says:
9/10/2016 at 9:45:08 AM



Akaci says:
10/30/2016 at 3:32:40 PM

Can someone explain this : You might be able to recover FROM a shot, but YOU CANNOT RECOVER TO A SHOT. ?


Steve says:
12/27/2016 at 8:47:26 PM

"definition of speed is mass/distance"

I'm just a basketball coach, but I don't think this statement is correct.


Rob says:
1/24/2017 at 12:30:44 PM

Brilliant! Never thought of it this way. In hindsight, yes, backing down to a shot NEVER works. This will change my entire approach.


Ron says:
2/15/2017 at 1:08:43 PM

guess i don't understand the difference between shot fake and pump fake. Can you explain


Zk says:
2/22/2017 at 10:47:09 AM

Thank you, I have practice 2morrow so I am researching how 2 get my shot together.


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