Players Calling for the Ball

The Problem: Players without the ball on offense continuously call for the ball.  In most cases they call out the name of their teammate that currently has the ball, and sometimes they will say “here” or clap.

  • When multiple players do this, it COMPLETELY confuses the player with the ball, who becomes less confident/aggressive, often freezing and/or pulling up their dribble at a bad time/location
  • The player calling for the ball is usually standing still (waiting for “their turn with the ball”) and has now told everybody that they are open
  • These actions generally result in a turnover.  If this problem is not addressed early it can spiral out of control quickly, as players will see the need to compete for the attention of the ball-handler…which in turn results in even more/louder calls for the ball.

Strategies: Get players to understand this confuses the ball-handler and makes it easy on the other team to play defense.

  • Establish a Rule:  Calling out a teammates name when they have the ball is not allowed on offense (unless the player has pulled up their dribble and needs help).
  • Teach players that instead of calling for the ball, they should “talk with their hands” by putting a hand up when they’re open (so the defense can’t hear them), and trust your teammates to make the right pass to you
  • Teach players to save their words for Defense, where they should talk often and LOUD as they help each other (calling screens, etc.)
  • Encourage players to move, cut, and screen to get themselves AND their teammates open (instead of waiting for “their turn with the ball”).

Something to Try: During your scrimmage, enforce a rule that anytime an offensive player calls for the ball, it is an immediate turnover (the other team gets the ball).  Watch how fast this changes their behavior!  It will take a little while for them to rid themselves of the bad habit – and you’ll know you’re making progress when a player catches himself/herself breaking the rule (they are becoming conscious of it).  Before long you will hopefully see players trusting their teammates more, and you’ll be enjoying the peace and quite on offense, and a louder/determined defense.