The Importance of Seeing the Court

To be an effective team player, you need to learn to see the entire court in front of you. No matter which position you play and no matter where you are on the court, this ability is essential. To develop the skill, you must constantly exercise your peripheral vision, that is, your ability to see what is not only directly in front, but also to each side of you.

To test your peripheral vision, stand directly in front of the basket at mid-court. Raise both hands sideways to shoulder height. Can you see the basket and both hands at the same time? Players who can see only what is directly in front of them are said to have tunnel vision.

Seeing the Court on Offense

No matter where you are on the court, you should at all times "see" your basket, that is, the one at which your team is shooting. Especially at the moment you get the ball, by seeing the basket, you will also see what is happening between you and your basket. So, if a teammate is open, you can pass him the ball, particularly if that teammate is unguarded and cutting to the hoop.

When advancing the ball with a dribble, you must be able to dribble without thinking about dribbling or about the opponent who is guarding you. This will free you to see the court, ready to pass to a teammate who is open. Only when you pass or shoot should your focus shift from seeing the court to executing that pass or shot.

Seeing the Court on Defense

When guarding an opponent who does not have the ball, you should see him and the opponent who has the ball. To do this, do not focus only on your opponent or on the player with the ball. Focus on a point between the two. This action will help you to see both the ball and your opponent.

Of course, by seeing the court, that is, having a broad external focus, you will be able to see what is happening in front of you. This will enable you to help your teammates. For example, an effective defensive player is ready to block the passing lane to the player he is guarding, and can also block the passing lanes to his teammates. When guarding a player with the ball, your focus should narrow, that is, most of your focus should be on the player you are guarding. It should be broad enough, however, to forewarn you of screens, particularly a screen from the side.

Changing Your Focus

To play effective basketball you must also be able to change your focus rapidly and constantly from seeing the court to executing a particular action, such as intercepting a pass or executing a shot.

Discuss This Article