Basic Triple Threat Decision Making - Motion Offense

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This drill helps introduce decision making concepts from triple threat.  It teaches players when to shoot, pass, or drive in the context of their motion offense.  Once players understand the concept, you should move to game based drills with live defenders.   Our Decision Making Tree If you catch the ball at top, look to reverse the ball.  We like players looking to reverse the ball (look opposite) any time they catch near the top of the key area... so we have a player at the top in this drill that always makes the reversal pass. Otherwise, you're decision making progressions are: 1) If you're open and in range, shoot. 2) If you're not open and have a driving lane (there is no help defense), drive immediately.  Anytime we have 1v1 with open lane we want a lay up. 3) If you're not open and the defense is in good position (loaded up), pass and get the ball moving. That's the decision making we're looking for with our players.  Will they always be perfect?  No.  Will the decisions always be this straight forward?  No. But this helps players start to understand what coaches want and make quicker/better decisions.  The goal is for us to get a great shot.  This drill helps cut down on the number of times players drive into heavy traffic and take bad shots.  
Drill Instructions Ball starts on left wing.  2 reference defenders are on each side of the lane.  X5 is a help defender.  X4 will be guarding 3. Make sure you position 3 in their shooting range.  As shown we move younger players into their range so they can take a good shot if the opportunity presents itself.  
Frame 1
1 passes the ball to 2.  2 immediately looks opposite and makes the ball reversal pass.
Frame 2
As the ball goes to 3, X4 should mix up how they guard the ball.  They should either sag bag (telling 3 to take the shot) or close out taking away the shot. X5 should either stay outside the lane or move to ball side in early help position.   3 needs to read the situation based on defender position and make the appropriate play.  Here are the X situations that can occur and how 3 should react...
Frame 3
1) X4 sags off the ball. In this case, 3 should take the shot.  
Frame 4
2) X4 takes shot away and X5 stays (no help).   In this case, 3 should attack the close out and get a lay up.  
Frame 5
3) X4 takes the shot away and X5 moves ball side to early help position. In this case, the defense is loaded up on ball side in good position and 3 should pass the ball (move the ball until we get better shot).  
Frame 6
After 3 makes their decision, players rotate clockwise.   3 becomes player at top of key.  2 moves to left wing.  1 goes to help defender position.  X5 goes to on ball defender.  X4 moves to right wing as the next "decision maker".  
Frame 7
Variations If you only have 4 players, you can eliminate the left wing and the ball reversal option.  In this case the ball would start at top of key. If you have 6 players, you can put another player in the left corner.  So there is an extra pass (around the horn)... getting it to the player on the right wing.   You should also run the drill on both sides of the court and flip things so the decision maker is on the left side.   Progressing Once players understand the concepts, you should move to game based drills with live defenders.   We do not use all season long -- usually only a few weeks. We move to small sided games and scrimmages to fully develop the decision making process.   In fact, we only run this drill when we need to.  We first try to teach the decision making in scrimmages and small sided games.  If players struggle with the concept, then we slow things down and utilize this drill.  


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Chris Jones says:
1/24/2020 at 1:22:51 PM

In a game situation, when we have “x3” guarding the wing, what is the instruction for decision making at that point? If x3 sags enough, wing should shoot? It would seem that the layup option wouldn’t be there at all b/c x4 would just be guarding his man on the low block.

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
1/25/2020 at 2:35:22 PM

If I'm understanding the question, the decision is likely to shoot or reverse the ball. However there is not X3 in this drill... so I'm not sure I understand the question.

Generally speaking, I teach players to shoot when open... otherwise see the "space". If the defense is in good position / loaded up on your side... it's usually best to get the ball moving to another area of the court there's most space to drive or shoot.


Scott says:
11/29/2018 at 6:18:19 AM

I hate the drills where you have to tell the defense how to act... I understand the simplification for the offensive player, but sometimes that doesn't translate into game-speed reps for the offense and they get nothing out of it because the defense just plays ball denial.

  1 reply  

Jeff says:
11/29/2018 at 7:20:59 AM

Agreed. This drill is only for "introducing" the concepts... especially to young kids. Once it's start clicking with them and they are understanding, you move to game based decision making drills.

I found with young kids this helps us figure out the decision process. We tried game based drills with live defenders but they just weren't getting it. We were getting no where so we used this drill for several practices -- we just had to slow things down for them to connect the dots.

Looking at the text above, I should have clarified this is for "introducing the concepts". I have now updated the text with that noted. Thanks for pointing that out!


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