Last week, I was playing basketball with the 20-somethings in my local league. As a member of the “multiple decades older than 20-something” club, I find that I have to bring something more to the court now that I don’t have quite the speed and quickness of my youth.
If I tried today to just drive by one of these young guns, they wouldn’t have too much trouble using their quickness to slide over and legally block my path and thwart my drive.
Instead of counting on my ability to make a quick first move, I’ve found that I can make a few easy baskets a game by playing my defender’s reaction.
Sometime early in the game, the other team usually finds out that the old guy can still shoot. So, when I dribble up the court, they cover me tightly pretty far from the basket.
And that sets me up to, instead of trying to have success with my first move, use a fake to cause a reaction in my defender and then take advantage of that reaction.
Here’s how that set up in the game last week. I had hit some long three-point shots already in the night, so my defender was coming out to meet me at the three-point shooting line to deny any shots. As I came down the court, I slowed at the three-point line and did a quick head fake like I was going to shoot. This caused the desired extreme reaction – the defender leaped out to try to block my long shot.
His lunge toward me would have thwarted any long shot, but it also me gave me the chance to zip right by him for an easy layup.