Basketball on the Edge – 10 Things to do when the Clock is Stopped

1. Check the time and score.

Good players always know the time and the score. Be sure to remind your teammates of the game situation and how that impacts your strategy. Are we ahead or behind? Do we need to foul?

2. Make sure your teammates know who they are guarding.

Get everyone on your team to talk and point and communicate. This is especially important the younger you are. Missed assignments often result in easy baskets for the other team!

3. Remind a teammate individually of their responsibility.

Examples of this might include, “You’re taking the ball out of bounds against the press” or “Make sure you set the backscreen when we run the offense next time down,”

4. Gather your team together for a quick huddle.

You can’t take too much time, but just a quick word of encouragement, “Let’s D-up” or “Come on, we need to get a good shot next time down.” can help your entire team come together at critical moments in the game.

5. Compliment a teammate for a nice play.

“Nice pass on that last fast break!” or “Great defense against their pick and roll!” can go a long way toward encouraging your teammates to keep their effort level high and their head in the game.

6. Look to your coach.

Often your coach will use a stop in play to give instructions. If the gym is loud you may not hear, by giving the coach a quick glance when the whistle blows you’ll know if he or she is trying to get your attention.

7. Focus on what you need to do in the moment.

What are your responsibilities? Focus in on your role and what you can do to help your team on the next possession. Are you guarding the inbounder? Are you supposed to set a screen for a teammate? Is the other team pressing? Where should you be on the court? These are all things that you can be mentally rehearsing during a stop in play.

8. Catch your breath.

Your adrenalin level is high and you have been hustling all over the floor (you have been right?). Take a second when the whistle blows to take a deep breath and compose yourself so you are ready when play resumes.

9. Let your teammates know your time-out situation.

Do you have time-outs left? Tell your teammates “We have a time-out if we need it.” Do you have no time-outs? Tell your teammates “No time-outs left!” Games have been won and lost because teams didn’t know their time-out situation.

10. Let your teammates know the foul situation.

Are you in the one and one or double bonus? Let your teammates know. Comments like “Be strong with the ball, they have to foul” or “Let’s take the ball hard to the basket, we’re in the bonus” can help remind teammates to take advantage of opportunities to get to the free throw line.

These are ten things that good players can do when the clock is stopped during a basketball game. Many players use this time to look into the crowd, complain to an official, or get down on themselves for something that already happened. Don’t be that type of player. Instead, use the time when the clock is stopped to do one or more of the valuable things on this list to help your team win more games.

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