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Strengthening Basketball Court Awareness

There are three areas you need to master for basketball court awareness.  You need to be aware of yourself, of your team/coach and aware of your opponent.


The biggest skill that basketball court awareness will give you is the ability to have next action thinking for your skill development. Here is what people are doing wrong. If you want to be good, you must have rock solid fundamental skills. The brain cannot navigate advanced problem solving and pattern recognition until it can devote full attention to this task.  As an athlete, you must be able to dribble seamlessly with both hands, be able to shoot unconsciously at a high percentage, and be physically in great shape. Once you have these three in place- you can tackle understanding games and game scenarios with greater skill and understanding. Until then, you are floundering in games and not able to maximize your ability.

Coach/Team Awareness

The biggest skill awareness with team/coach is your impact on the team. Impact is very different than intent. You may think you are making a big contribution to your team but unless your team values your contribution and your coach values your contribution, your role will be diminished on the team. The role your team and your coach values you in may be very different from your own goals. For example, they may value your encouragement from the bench and your go-getter attitude in practice but see your contribution in a game not significant enough to equate to playing time.  This disconnect can be really painful and challenging to navigate.

Learn to be aware of your impact and contribution to your team and your coach and work to make your understanding of the situation congruent with the understanding of others.

Opponent Awareness

The biggest skill for awareness with your opponent is your immediate ability to quickly assess strategies for how to overcome your opponent.  One of the military strategies from General Sun Tzu treatise on the “Art of War” states, Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they anticipate.

In basketball, this is fantastic strategy. You lull your opponent into a comfortable defensive tempo and then accelerate when least expected at the crucial moment for maximum success. Scoring is maximum success. As an offensive player, this is your goal. Teams who score less then their opponents, no matter how well they executed the game, lose. Your mission against your defensive opponent is to score. Be aware of your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.  If you are a better player than your defensive opponent—attack the basket all day.  If you are an even or  weaker player than your defensive opponent—evade your opponent through screens, cuts and diversions. 


About NBC Basketball

NBC Basketball Camps were started in 1971 in Washington state and have expanded to 8 countries.  NBC Basketball focuses on perfect fundamentals, excellence shooting technique, mental toughness, the power of encouragement, gratitude and personal faith. This camp trains the entire athlete. Most programs focus on the physical or mental aspect. At NBC Basketball, programs focus on the importance of training the heart. From the heart springs the thoughts, from the thoughts spring the words, and from the words spring action.  For more information about NBC Basketball visit

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