Learning to play together
Trust in your teammates is one of the first lessons you learn in competitive play. Hoopers with a wealth of experience will tell you that a teammate is often for life, with a relationship that lasts beyond your playing days. How do we build this trust in a team setting, and how can it benefit our on-court performance? Here are some practical examples.
When executing plays, you have to trust that your point guard is making the right read and calling the right play. Instead of second-guessing the coach or your teammates, you have to simply run the play and fulfill your role. There are usually a few options off each set play, and you have to trust that your teammates will execute their role properly, be it in screening or cutting, and that everyone will be where they need to be at precisely the right time.
This trust allows teams to execute quick, effective plays where the ball hits an open cutter in perfect rhythm, just as he or she is approaching the basket. In fact, this extends even beyond set plays. The best passes require you to pass into space and for your teammate to cut in to receive the pass, instead of merely standing around for the ball. In doing so, you take the risk of turning the ball over if your teammate is not on the same page.
For an offense to truly flow, trust is essential. For instance, you have to trust every single one of your teammates, and not just your star players. If someone is open, you have to hit them with the pass instead of over-thinking your options. If you are insistent on passing to your key scorers, this ruins the flow of the offense and makes it easy for the defense to key in on just a few players. In addition, if your teammate is ‘in the zone’, you should continue to trust and feed the ‘hot hand’, for this is as easy as the game can get.