What Can Basketball Teach You About Hockey?

The other night I attended a basketball game. Before you go calling me a dirty traitor, know this: While I am a big basketball fan, I couldn’t help but think about hockey the whole time. Here are a few things I observed that I think hockey players would do well to emulate. 
  1. The point guard sets up the play. This is often the guy that brings the ball down the court. From the point he can survey the court. Ideally, he looks for an open teammate in the “triple threat” position, meaning he has three options: shoot, pass or dribble.  Most defenders can’t guard against all three.
  2. Forwards kick it back up to the top when they can’t get a good look.  Sometimes the guard will pass it to a forward who isn’t in a good position to dribble or shoot. Rather than forcing it, the wise forward will kick it back up to the guard who has a better vision of the court.
  3. After a shot goes up, players crash the boards. Players usually hold their positions until the ball is up in the air. At that point, it’s a mad dash to the net. Players position their body in a way that makes it difficult for their opponents to get around.
  4. Shots taken from the key are more likely to go in. The key is sorta like the slot in hockey. A shot taken from this spot is much more likely to go in. If it doesn’t, there is a good chance for a follow-up rebound.
  5. Players spread out the floor. In basketball, you never see all five players protecting the basket. You also never see three players bringing the ball down into the offensive zone. Basketball players know that if they can stop the ball up top before a play develops, they will be in much better shape.
  6. Separation =Time. When the team in possession can create separation from their opponents, they have more time to contemplate each decision, reducing hesitation and resulting in better passes and shots. 

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