Let’s face it, to win a game is relatively straight forward. The team that scores the most points wins. Simple right? Wrong. So many things go into scoring points that it can be overwhelming for coaches and players.
One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that players typically don’t have trouble getting to the rim, they have trouble finishing at the rim.
The tough part about finishing at the rim isn’t the fact that you have a defender coming to challenge your shot, it’s the fact that the defender can come from a variety of different angles which often forces the offensive player to adjust their finish. Does the ballhandler go off one foot or two? Do they go straight up and lay it off the glass or jumpstop, pumpfake and try to draw the contact? Do they euro-step or shoot a floater? All of these could be reliable options depending on the situation.
One of the drills I use in my practice, typically with my guards in my “position work” portion of practice is the Cone 1v1 drill:
The defensive player (X1) starts under the rim and passes the ball out to the offensive player (1) standing at the free throw line. Both players sprint around their respective cones. 1 attacks the basket and X1 tries to keep him from scoring. You can either rotate offense to defense and rotate through your team or split up to different baskets and play to 5.
I always make it a point to change the positioning of the cones from practice to practice. By doing this I am essentially changing the angle and the type of finish the offense player will have to utilize. One day I’ll use the set up diagramed above, the other I might have the defensive cone closer to the baseline. One last tip, make sure you are manipulating the drill so that offensive players have to attack/finish with both their right and left hands.