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How to Create Game Changing Mismatches

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As coaches we are always on the hunt for new, simple, and effective ways to put points on the scoreboard. There is almost a mystic lure that attracts coaches and players to points and most of us think you can never score enough. If you are one of the fortunate ones who have a big time scorer on your team then you don't need not to worry as much as most of us do about scoring points. Just put the ball in the scorer's hands and let him go to work!

However if you are like the majority of coaches who does not have a big time scorer on their team, one way to increase your team's chances of scoring the basketball is by creating mismatches on the court. If you can force an opposing post to defend a guard, a guard to defend a post or a slower player to defend a faster player you can give your team a decided advantage.

Bottom line: creating mismatches puts your players in a better position to be successful on the offensive end of the court. If you are interested in creating mismatches for your players then there are some very specific tactics that you can employ.

Here are 4 of those tactics:


One of the easiest ways to create a mismatch is to have your post players sprint the center lane during a fast break! Most opposing post players are either not disciplined enough or not in good enough shape to sprint back each and every time on defense. If you can hit your post player for a few lay ups on the break the opposing coach will be forced to sub in a quicker (and usually smaller) player to get back. This substitution will immediately create a size mismatch for someone on your team when you run your half court offense.


One of the oldest offensive tactics in the game is the Pick and Roll. The main reason why teams at all levels still use this play today is because it is still so effective! By using one of your biggest players (typically your post) to set a solid on-ball screen for a quick ball handler you can usually create a mismatch by forcing the defenders to switch assignments. This switching will provide with your team with a definite mismatch both on the perimeter and in the interior!


Along the same lines of the Pick and Roll, setting a solid back screen can be another effective way to quickly create a size mismatch. Depending on which end of the mismatch you want to exploit you can determine the best starting position for each of the players involved. If you want to post up your big player against their guard, start your guard on the block with your post player on the perimeter. This way when the switch occurs, their guard will be left to defend your post on the block. If they DO NOT SWITCH your team will have a wide open layup!


The fourth way you can create game changing mismatches is by systematically developing the all around offensive skills of your players. If all your athletes can shoot from the perimeter, are comfortable in the post, and can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket then there will certainly be a mismatch somewhere! Every team has a weak link defensively and if all of your players have solid skill sets then that weak link won't have anywhere to hide.

If you find yourself needing to score more points, instead of putting in several new offenses or plays, try concentrating on creating mismatches instead. If you can score just two baskets a game using each of these four tactics then you can increase your team's scoring average by a whopping 16 points!

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