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Teaching the Triple Threat Position

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I watch a lot of basketball and I love watching players do things the correct way. I love watching a good chest pass that hits the target quickly. I love watching great form on a shot. I love watching players in the post use good footwork to get shots off and I love it when players, especially young players, use the triple threat position.

For those that aren't familiar with what the triple threat position is, it is when a player is ready to drive, pass or shoot the ball. It's important because when players use it each time they catch the ball, they make the defense work harder and they proactively create scoring opportunities. When they are in the triple threat position they are immediately ready to attack whatever defensive strategy is being used on them. It allows you to be proactive on offense rather than reactive.

Many players today know what the triple threat position is but not every coach teaches it effectively so let's talk about that. Anybody can go out there and get in position but not everybody can execute it correctly and be successful.

In order for the triple threat position to be completely effective you must sell to the defense that you truly are in a position to pass, shoot or drive. If you get in the position half-heartedly or in a way where you don't effectively sell it, it's easy for the defense to expose it. One of the key things to remember is that part of what makes the triple threat position so effective is that it keeps the defense guessing.

They are limited in how they can defend you if they really believe that you could pass, shoot or drive when you have the ball. If you get lazy when you catch the ball and don't get in the triple threat position you are letting the defense rest and taking away options for you and your offense to score. If when you catch the ball, you immediately put it over your head and examine the floor, it's easy for the defense to know right away that you aren't going to shoot it or drive to the basket.

They know right away that all they have to do is shut down the passing lanes and they've stopped you. The first way I teach the triple threat is without the basketball. When kids get a ball in their hands they tend to lose focus and think they have to start dribbling it or moving it around in their hands. To teach the triple threat, take the ball away from them and have them do it at the same time. Here are a few things to focus on:

1. Feet spacing: Make sure each player has their feet spaced far enough apart so they are in an athletic position. When players get their feet too close together they tend to get off balance easy and are much easier to defend. They also are too straight-up.

2. Bend the knees: Make sure the player is low to the ground with knees bent. Whether you shoot, pass or dribble your knees are going to need to be bent so getting in this position before you decide what you are going to do is key.

3. Head up: Always keep your head up and focused on the basket and what is going on around you.

4. Ball position: The ball must be protected correctly. This means that it should never be too low or too high. Nobody will think that you're going to shoot the ball if you are standing straight-up with straight knees and the ball over your head. You certainly won't be considered a threat.

5. Use correct pivot foot: How often do we see players who don't know which pivot food can be used. If I'm a right handed player then I want to have my left foot as my pivot foot. That way I can drive, shoot or pass all using my dominant hand. It doesn't mean you have to dribble or drive to the right always, it means you have your feet set up correctly so that if you need to shoot the ball it will feel natural. Once the kids have that part down without the ball then throw the ball into play. Don't worry about doing anything but making sure they get the positioning right and that they understand why they are doing it. This is a fundamental they will use throughout their entire basketball career so it is key they get it right when they are younger.

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