Since the college season began, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla has implored coaches to practice their post entry passing skills. At a college game this afternoon, I saw more poor passing. Even worse, the coach yelled at the player with the wrong correction.
In the play below, P1 eventually passes to P5. The program isn’t perfect, but D5 is trailing P5 on P5’s cut to the block.
P1, like most players, passes from the right side of his body to his defender’s left. With P5’s defender trailing the play, a pass to the left side of his defender is the wrong side to throw the pass. With the defender trailing the cut, the pass should be made to the baseline side of the passer’s defender.
Rather than telling the player to rip through and throw the pass on the baseline side, the coach yelled at the player to make a bounce pass. A bounce pass may be more effective in the situation than an air pass, but a bounce pass thrown to the top side of the passer’s defender would have been stolen just as easily as the air pass. Regardless of whether the passer made a bounce pass or an air pass, the only chance for success was to make the pass to the baseline side of his defender.
These are the small skills that intelligent basketball players learn. To help players learn these skills, however, players need the proper feedback. The player today is likely to make the same mistake in tomorrow’s game because the coach provided incorrect or incomplete feedback.