There are different ways of measuring possessions. Some coaches count each shot or turnover as the end of a possession, so if you get two offensive rebounds then that counts as two extra possessions. The system that has worked best for us is that a new possession only starts when the ball changes hands from one team to the other, so even if there are five consecutive offensive rebounds, it counts as the same possession because the same team has the ball.
Rebounding will be another discussion, but my belief is that it is very important to get the last shot of the first three quarters in high school and for middle school teams to learn the importance of that skill as well. If you can get the last shot of the first three quarters, then depending on who has the ball to start each quarter, at best you can get three more possessions than your opponent, and at worst, you each have the same number of possessions if they have the ball at the start of each quarter.
Potentially that is an 18 point swing for nine points you can get and nine points your opponent will not get. Even if the shots are twos, a 12 point swing is still huge.
It is not realistic to think that you are going to hit a three to end each quarter, but I have been involved in two varsity games where our one team did hit a three to end each quarter. Nine points made a huge difference in both games, as they will in most games. Since they were the last shots of each quarter, the other team did not have a chance to respond. My belief is that scoring runs, scoring droughts, and momentum play a big role in basketball. Taking the last shot and keeping the opponent from taking the last shot play huge roles in those three areas.
We practice the going for the last shot in practice every day by running the last 30 seconds of drill and scrimmage work like a game. 30 seconds is normally when we set as the automatic time that we begin to hold for the last shot. Our rule is that we will take an uncontested layup with less than 30 seconds, but nothing else. We have had years, depending on our talent relative to our opponents and our depth, where we have started to hold at 20 seconds, and have gone as much as starting at 45 seconds. For middle school, I think 15-20 seconds is the appropriate depending on what your players can do.
I believe it is better to just have an automatic time to hold for the last shot that your players have been drilled on rather than getting up and screaming “One shot!” You can continue to run your regular offense and just shot fake when there is a shot that you normally would take. Again, we will take a wide open layup under 30 seconds and then have confidence in our defense to get a stop . Other than that, we feel that the number of possessions is more important than shooting a 15 foot jump shot or even a wide open three point shot if it would allow the other team to have a chance to score.
The fourth quarter, we determine how we play the end depending on whether we are ahead or behind. If we are ahead, then we are going to hold to shoot free throws and will still take wide open, uncontested layups. If we are behind, we hope that we can get off at least three good shots in the last 30 seconds through using our banked timeouts and fouling to stop the clock.
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Excellent point! I appreciate this insight! I had often debated with myself what is best. Thanks!!!
Harry–thanks for taking the time to read the post and for your response!
Is it any wonder the US has struggled under FIBA rules? Not having a shot clock in high school ball, and the long clock in college, prepares US players for a different style of game. FIBA juniors learn to play with a 24-second clock from a relatively early age – it varies country to country when they introduce the shot clock, but international games in Europe began at Under 16.
Yes the US won both gold medals this year, but so they should. In fact, they should never have lost in the men. No-one puts as much money into basketball as the USA. Granted there is no national system, but the massive amount of basketball being played and the tremendous amount of talent means you should be winning…..if you played by something closer to FIBA rules from an early age, forget it, the rest of the world would never have a chance.
It’s just a pity that FIBA has changed their rules to get closer to the USA, because the best quality of team basketball has come from outside the USA over the last 10 years IMO.
Do appreciate the info on your website (even if it is USA centric!!), keep up the good work.
Ken Sartini says
You and I think a lot alike.. I am a firm believer that the team that controls the tempo has a great chance of getting the W. We ran the Open Post Offense and were looking for takes, back door lay ups and threes vs teams that got lazy on Defense. Of course we mixed in some sets here and there just to keep them off balance.
There were times when we did what we called “Cut 1″… this meant taking the clock down to the next minute… (EXAMPLE: if there was 6:40 on the clock we took it down into the 5s) We did this at any time during the game IF I thought that tempo was not in our favor. Of course, like you, we would take the lay up if that presented itself.
We also wanted the last shot of a quarter any time it was under 1 minute left. There are many reasons for this… keeps YOUR players from picking up a unnecessary foul, keeps your opponent from getting another shot, scoring and getting the momemtum in their favor.
I never thought about it as getting more possessions, I just wanted to control the tempo… teams don’t like it when YOU dictate the way the game is going to be played… especially on THEIR floor. I definately like that as an added bonus.
This was definately part of our “situations” at the end of practice and at times when we were running offense as part of our practice. I always told my players ” Any team can play good defense for 3 MAYBE 4 passes, how good are they at defending after 6-8 or more? ”
Break them down and get the shot YOU want, NOT the shot they want you to take.
Travis Olson says
I will throw out my $.02 as well. While I don’t disagree with your ideas or methods, we use a different one. We are a high paced, high tempo team that will press a lot. So if we were to hold the ball for a minute, we could actually be giving up two or three chances to score off our press. I understand everything you have said and I agree with it, but in our case, some teams are just trying to get to the quarter break. If we take a good shot, and apply our defense, we stand a good chance of getting the ball back and scoring again. Opposing coaches won’t call a time out under a minute. They rarely do it. And our press seems to gain intensity as the clock winds down.
Before when I didn’t have a pressing team, I got angry when my girls would pass up an open 15 footer at 20 seconds and then settled for a blind drive and threw up a prayer. I would rather take a quality shot and rely on my defense for the final 15 seconds. Again, neither method is wrong, but depending on your style, one might be more suited for either you as a coach, or the team.
Thanks for the reply and sharing your thoughts. i absolutely agree with what you said. It does depend on what is best suited for your style of play. That is one of the things that I love about coaching basketball–there are so many effective philosophies and style of play.