It's the calm before the storm, football training camp begins on Monday for us, and my girlfriend is going away to Europe for 2 weeks. So I decided with my last day of nothing really to do, I went downtown and caught some live 3-on-3 action at the annual NBA Jam Session 3-on-3 tourney. It is a cross country tournament held every year for players of all ages and skill. I was watching this one team in particular and there was a post player who being guarded by a guy with long arms. Every time he tried to call for the ball inside, it was getting poked away or even stolen. He looked pretty frustrated both with himself and with his teammates whom he thought were late in seeing him open.

Being the coach that I am, when he subbed out, I decided to approach him and I asked him if I could give him a quick coaching point. He said sure why not. I told him one of the reasons why he was having problems with Mr. long arms defender was that his teammates were either bouncing passing the ball towards him where it was getting poked away, or they were passing it to his body where his hands were.

I advised him instead to use an arm bar with his inside arm, and extend his outside arm out in an L with fingers pointed towards the sky (also known as a Pro Stance). In other words, give your teammates an outside hand as a target. They will most likely throw it a little outside, so you'll have to hop to receive the pass with the outside hand, chin it, then get into your on-ball post moves. He said alright, he would try it when he got back on the flor.

In the next series he subbed in, he tried it against Mr. long arms. He caught the ball successfully with the outside arm, chinned it, reverse pivoted, swept the ball low, blew by Mr. long arms underneath and finished with a reverse layup on the other side of the hoop, away from Mr. long arms attempted block. Needless to say, that just about made my day.

It's a great tip not just for post players though. It's also something you can use for perimeter players. As they come off a downscreen, exploding up past the 3-point line, make sure they are calling for the ball with their outside hand. Cutting towards the basket, the opposite is true, they need to call for the ball with their inside hand.

I got this tip from watching Mark Few's Flex for Success DVD. In it, he keeps telling his guards to call for the ball with the outside hand coming off the downscreen. Off the flex screen, he keeps telling his guards to call for the ball with the inside hand cutting to the basket. Seems so simple a concept, but players don't know these things instinctively, it has to be taught, and reinforced. Anyways, the season is approaching fast, the question you have to ask yourself coaches is, what are you doing this offseason to best prepare yourself for the upcoming season?