Retreat and Attack for Better Scoring Opportunities

I see way too many players try to attack the right only to get cut off by the defense and then either pick up their dribble or force a bad shot. As far my opinion goes, a bad shot is the same as a turnover. However, if you talk to the player afterwards most will agree that they “screwed up”. In fact, I’m willing to bet that nearly 70% of athletes will say that they either didn’t know what to do or that they panicked.

Most athletes know what they should and should not do when it comes to basic reads. Player’s who make the right reads don’t panic when something off guard happens because they have already practiced what to do in that situation. The find confidence in their preparation.

If you find that your players are guilty of consistently forcing bad shots or making the wrong read when a defender cuts off their lane of attack – spend 5 minutes of your next practice following this quick drill:


  • Step 1: Start from triple threat, use either a sweep and go or a jab and cross to begin attacking middle
  • Step 2: at the cone, pretend a defender has cut you off, instead of picking up the dribble, instruct players to use a “bounce off” or “retreat” dribble to back out and away from the defender
  • Step 3: Once separation has been created, scan the scene and then re-attack and finish with a layup. Use on both sides of the floor and from different areas on the court. (Mastering this skill will also help players avoid being trapped)

*Want to add some variation to the drill? Instead of finishing with a layup, players can either end the progression with a jump shot, euro step or up and under.

**Only have one basket to use or want to include the whole team? Start with a line of player with a ball at a wing with another line (players who will retreat and attack) on the other. The player with the ball will either drive middle or baseline, the opposite player now must read the ball handler and find the open spot. Player A passes to Player B who then performs the retreat-attack series.

Retreat DibbleRetreat and Attack

Check out my Ball Handling video called the “Diamond Series”. Perfect for coaches wanting to help their players improve their ability to change speeds/change direction!


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