Drill: Practicing V-Cuts

 

While watching and/or playing basketball, have you ever had the opportunity to guard the man who stands around at the 3-point line or the bottom of the key, and just waits for the ball? It feels amazing to play defense against a player like that because they don’t have to be watched as closely and the player is putting minimal pressure, if any, on the defense. On the other hand, the player who is constantly moving off of screens and creating space to get the ball through various movements, now that’s a tiring task!

In today’s game of basketball, we are focused on one-on-one basketball, because of all the professionals we watch on television performing individual moves to get to the basket; however, the most important work in basketball is done before the players even have the ball in their hands.

Moving without the ball is critical in this sport in order to create space between you and your defender and have an opportunity to score or pass to an open teammate. With that said, moving without the ball is one of the most undervalued skills in youth basketball today. As coaches, continuing to develop this concept is important because of its use throughout the game.

As an example, Richard Hamilton was the best at running off of screens and making it hard for the defender to stay with him, which is also the reason he had so many opportunities for wide-open mid-range jumpers.

There are many ways to get open for a teammate or get in a better position to score the ball.  The V-Cut involves using a variety of speeds, and exploding to receive the pass while quickly changing direction, keeping your defender off-balance. The advantages of using a V-Cut includes:

  • Helping an offensive player get open
  • Creates space on the floor in order for the offensive team to operate efficiently
  • Constantly moving on offense means the defense is not just able to focus on help defense, rather they must watch each individual player

This drill works on getting open by performing a V-Cut from both sides of the basket with the addition of a guided defender.

Please feel free to take a look at the video posted below of NBA coach Michael Collins teaching his young athletes a variation of the drill and how to properly execute a V-Cut while entering triple threat position once they receive the ball.

 

DESCRIPTION Assign players into two lines – a “passing” line located at the top of the key/3-point line and a “cutting” line beginning at one of the wings. The player in the “cutting” line will proceed to execute a “V-cut” and receive the pass from the players in the “passing” line. Rotate players through the positions and once comfortable add a guided defender. Execute the drill from both sides of the court.
SKILL FOCUS Passing, receiving, offense, off-ball movement, coordination
AGE (STAGE) 6+ (FUNdamentals Stage & Learn-To-Train Stage)
PLAYERS 3+
EQUIPMENT 2 basketballs with the passing line
VARIATION:   V-Cut Adjust starting spots of passer and cutter to make use of the whole court

Include a 1-on-1 possession – ending in a shot and rebound for more advanced, older groups

Key Teaching Points Introduce the drill without a defender for younger age groups

Pay attention to which hand(s) players are using at each side of the basket

Players are able to make a read on the best option for the pass based on how the defender is playing them

  • Defender playing too close – try backdoor option
  • Defender playing too far – take the open shot after the V-Cut

Ensure players are planting their foot and exploding to the ball after the V-Cut is executed

Ensure cutting player has their hands ready to catch the ball, entering into triple threat position

Please feel free to leave any thoughts and opinions in the comment section below on what you think of the drill and the importance of the V-Cut.

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