By the time players “graduate” from the Edgemont travel program, they should demonstrate proficiency in the areas listed below.

1. BALLHANDLING

  • Fingertips on the ball.
  • Ball control with weak hand (spend extra time on this).
  • Dribble waist height or below with some speed and force.
  • Figure 8 around body.
  • 2-ball (stationery and advancing / retreating), regular and alternating (“machine gun”).
  • Retreat dribble (back up and cross over).
  • Change of pace / hesitation dribble.
  • Fake crossover (in-and-out).
  • “Perfection” drill (4 change-of-direction moves to advance the ball in a zig-zag motion up the court: crossover, through-the-legs, spin, behind-the-back).
  • Understand “ball / body / opponent” when playing against man defenders.
  • Eyes always up (don’t look at ball). See teammates and defense.

2. FOOTWORK

  • Triple-threat position.
  • With ball in hand, practice pivoting using either foot. There are four (4) pivots in all: left foot as pivot foot (forward pivot; inside pivot) and right foot as pivot foot (forward pivot; inside pivot).
  • Start with the left foot as pivot foot. Pivot forward 10 times. Now inside pivot (reverse pivot) 10 times. Switch pivot foot to right foot. Forward pivot 10 times. Inside pivot (reverse pivot) 10 times.
  • Start at the elbow facing away from basket. Practice making a pivot and shoot the basketball (no dribbling). Continue until you’ve made all four pivots. Do the same from the other elbow. 
  • Next in the progression is taking 2-4 dribbles (depending on space available), make 2-foot jump stop (land on both feet at the same time), pivot, pass.
  • Get in triple threat position, make a jab, and a) make a strong side drive; b) make a weak side drive; and c) take a jump shot.

3. PASSING

  • Step with dominant hand.
  • Bounce pass / chest pass / baseball pass.
  • Always use pass or shot fakes when defended (“fake it to make it”).
  • Snap (don’t float) passes.
  • When in doubt, bounce pass.
  • Thumbs in middle of ball.
  • Step to ball when receiving.

4. SHOOTING

  • Dominant hand in middle of ball, off hand is guide on side of ball (i.e. no 2-handed shots).
  • Elbow in, fingertips spread wide on ball.
  • Catch all passes in triple-threat (dribble, pass, shoot) position.
  • Snap wrist at top of release.
  • Target is just above the hooks.
  • High arc.
  • Rotation.
  • Middle 2 fingers face floor on follow-through.
  • Hold the follow-through until ball goes in.

5. DEFENSE

  • Knees bent, get low, hands up and active, feet never stop moving while sliding.
  • Arms in the passing lanes, not reaching.
  • Force offensive player to weak hand.
  • Keep “head on swivel” to see man and ball and anticipate screens.
  • Belly button to ball, back to basket.
  • Recognize speed of offensive player. If faster, give some space. If slower, pressure the ball.
  • If you don’t know where to be on defense, run to “rim-line” (middle of paint) to protect the basket / help.
  • Always see man and ball, be ready to help, and stop ball first.

6. REBOUNDING

  • Low / wide base when boxing out.
  • Make contact.
  • Retrieve ball at its highest point.
  • Jump!
  • Secure, then be ready to: a) rip and pivot away from pressure; b) use an “escape” dribble from pressure; or c) outlet to ballhandler.

7. SCREENS

  • Put fist up to signal to teammate that screen is coming.
  • Land on 2 feet and make yourself wide. Don’t move.
  • Don’t hit opponent on landing. Set screen 2-3 feet away (they should run into you).
  • Cross arms in front of chest.
  • Screen the shoulder.
  • Roll / open up to the ball after screening.

8. GENERAL BASKETBALL IQ

  • Be aware of game situation (score and clock).
  • What’s a “good shot?” It’s: a) a shot you can reasonably make; b) a shot that is appropriate to the game situation; and c) a shot that should be taken only if no teammate is open for a higher-percentage shot.
  • Understand basketball terminology (examples below).
Trapping zones, shaded in the diagram above, are areas of the court that ballhandlers should avoid. Conversely, good defenders always seek to force offensive players into the trapping zones.
 The short corner is an area along the baseline half way between the sideline and the lane line. It is a strategic offensive area especially used against zone defenses.