One of the best ways to develop individual skill is to play 1v1 against players that are going to challenge you. That being said, rolling the ball out and playing mindless 1v1 is not the best option to achieve one’s desired outcome. What I will advocate for in this article is to play multiple variations of 1v1 games in order to grow one’s skill and challenge oneself in a unique way.
One simple way to modify a game of 1v1 is to set up constraints that will impact and affect the way that the game is played. Here are some simple constraints that can be used:
Constraint #1: Shrink the space
Shrinking the space and limiting the boundaries is essential to using 1v1 games as a skill development tool. Smaller spaces will force the players to make contact with their defender, as well as be creative with the angles and shots that they use to finish at the basket.
Constraint #2: Limit dribbles
It is well known that players over-dribble on a regular basis. Limiting the number of dribbles that a player can take is a great way to break the habit of over-dribbling and force the players to use their dribble with purpose. I think 3 dribbles is a great limit to use.
Constraint #3: Play with a shot clock
Playing with a shot clock is a great way to teach players to attack their defender, as well as better read where open space is and explore how to get to that space quickly.
Constraint #4: Score based on shot-selection
This is one of my favorite ways to teach shot selection, as well as develop individual moves to create space and score when guarded. Here is how I use shot-selection to score a game of 1v1. An uncontested shot is worth 3 points (make or miss), a contested make at the rim is worth 2, and a contested make anywhere else is worth 1.
Constraint #5: Score based on defensive stops
This is a great way to build a defensive mentality with your players. The only way to get a point is to get a one-and-done stop. A one-and-done stop is where the player on defense gets a stop and secures the defensive rebound. Each stop is worth 1 point and the defender stays on defense until they get scored on or give up an offensive rebound.
(click diagrams to get full details for each drill)
Which one of the above drills have you used with your team? Which one is your favorite? Feel free to hit me up on twitter (@john_leonzo) and let me know your thoughts!