If you haven’t heard of Coach Ettore Messina, you should. Currently assistant coach for the Spurs, he won 4 Euroleague championships and regarded as one of the top 50 European coaches of all time. He is a legend.
I’ve been watching alot of FIBA 3×3 basketball lately and one of the things that alot of young players need to learn is spacing and timing. It’s fundamental but not alot of players get taught properly.
What is spacing?
Make sure you are in a position on the court to allows your team mates to penetrate, cut, do their things without interference.
Make sure you never give the opportunity for defense to have 1 defender controlling 2 offensive players.
If you are too close to your teammate, you allow your defender to control you and your teammate.
We need to use the floor. We need to use all the space the floor gives us. This means from corner to corner.
Do not limit the space from the paint to the corner. Ideally, you want to rotate the ball from corner to corner.
It’s also important to use the space between the half court line to the baseline. It’s important to get the player or the ball close to the baseline. By getting the ball to the baseline, it will draw the defense away and give you more space at the 3 point line.
How many times have you seen the offense never cross the 3 point point or below? Because of this, you’ll take contested 3’s.
When do you have open 3’s? When you have the ball inside, it will draw in the defense. Especially when you pass it out to the opposite side.
Poor spacing examples
Very often times, the PF and C’s are eager to get the ball and slowly drift up to the free throw line. This crowds the vertical space between half court line and baseline.
To maximize space, the forwards should stay close to the baseline. Most players don’t have the discipline to do this.
Another common problem is that players that can’t shoot 3’s will drift inside. This again will crowd the space and make it hard to get open shots.
If you stay outside the 3 point line or even better, stay corner to corner then you have much more space.
After cutting and penetrating, your players might end up all together on 1 side of the floor. When this happens, bad stuff happens. Your players need basketball IQ to avoid this situation.
What is timing?
It is important to do something while something else is finishing something. For example, you pass the ball while another teammate is getting open. Not after they already in an open position, then you lose the advantage.
You lose the advantage when you don’t do things while but do things one after another.
Another example is feeding the ball down low. If you hold the ball and wait, it’s hard to pass. Whereas if you pass immediately when you touch the ball, it’s much easier.
On defense, you want to attack the space and destroy timing of the offense.
It’s not good if you play in a narrow area or get the ball, look then pass. For this, you need mental preparation.
The no.1 thing for Coach Messina is timing and spacing. Watch this clip and you’ll understand.
Bad timing examples
In this example, 2 cuts too early and draws their defender into 1. Most of the time, young players don’t have the patience to wait for the action to develop and move too early.
Same cut but with the right timing produces an open shot. 2’s defender comes to help 1, and 2 is disciplined enough to wait. When 1 picks up the ball, 2 cuts to get a wide open shot.