I watch a lot of basketball over the year and one of the common things that I see is players who get frustrated on the court either with their individual play, their team play, not getting the ball, getting double-teamed, etc.... And this is in addition to the most common complaint of not enough playing time. Now, most players react to this kind of frustration typically by whining; they claim they're getting fouled, or the pass is coming too late, or the offense sucks. If you watch the great players, they always find a way to be productive on offense, no matter the defensive situation.

I watched the second half between the Los Angeles Sparks against the Minnesota Lynx the other night. It was tied at half and the commentators were talking about how the Lynx had done a great job defensively by packing it in and not allowing Parker and Leslie to go off. In the second half, Parker took over along with Leslie. The defense was the same, Parker was still getting doubled or tripled in the post, but she was doing everything else, rebounding, passing, running the fast break and even hitting outside shots, she would score 16 of her 24 points in that second half. Take a look,

First off, it pays to be versatile. If players do not have good fundamentals in all the major areas of dribbling, shooting, rebounding and defense, then it's a moot point. If they're one-dimensional, there isn't any point to have that conversation with what I'm about to write about next. That is exactly why it is critical that all players, regardless of height or size, should learn all the fundamentals and be well-rounded players.

Having said that, now, the next time your post-player gets frustrated, remind them of all the other things that they can do, to continue to be offensively productive.

Rebound the Basketball:

No matter the situation, the great forwards know that they can get easy baskets by playing smarter (angles) and getting rebounds. In this FT miss by Lisa Leslie, despite good defensive rebounding position, Parker is able to sky over, grab the board and put it back through the hoop,

Pass out of the Double:

Of course, this is the hardest of all the things because ego gets in the way. Good players think they must do it all. But a smart player recognizes that it's not only good for team dynamics to get the open man the ball and therefore score and win, but that strategically, the defense will naturally adjust back to a 1v1 situation,

Run the Floor:

Perhaps the thing a player has most control over is playing defense and running the floor. If you play good defense, it will lead to good offense. If you run the floor, you will have more easy fast break chances. It is as simple as it sounds. So why don't players do it? Because they feel it's too hard. It's so much easier to be lazy on defense and lazy running the break. It's just pure hustle and something that is well under a players control. Watch here as the ball is poked loose, Parker isn't even the first one to break. But she outruns her opponents, gets rewarded with the pass, then finishes off the easy basket,

Shoot the Open Shot:

Now, again this is assuming that your player can hit the shot, but that's where versatility pays off. By stepping out, spreading the floor, and hitting the outside shot, the defense must respect your ability to make those shots. If the defense is giving you the outside shot, make them pay for that,


I liked the way the Sparks played that night. They used their strengths to their advantage instead of trying to scheme their way around the fact that Parker was getting doubled. With Parker and Leslie in the frontcourt, they are capable of scoring at least 60 points every night regardless. Defensively, that frontcourt is also formidable. By playing a half-court tempo, tough field-goal percentage defense, high field-goal percentage half-court offense, they could be the toughest team to beat. When you consider that Lauren Jackson from the Seattle Storm is out for the season, the Sparks certainly look like a contender from the West, with possibly only San Antonio in their way.

For a great video on developing well-rounded skilled players, then you should check out Kevin Eastman's DVDs on Skill Development. Coach Eastman is a skill coach with the Boston Celtics and this DVD features his famous Celtic 40 shooting drill. Be sure to check out the X's and O's Basketball forum to discuss your favorite coaching topics.