I’ve written about the skill expectations on an average Forward earlier. Today, let’s talk about the skill expectations of an average center. There are many traits which are highly valued in the game of basketball with height being the most sought-after trait, especially with centers. More times to none, a coach will take a chance on an average center with limited skills as long as the height is there.

The position of center is truly an important position. Centers are responsible for those baskets up-close as well as preventing baskets while playing defense. The skill expectations for an average center can vary however; coaches should keep in mind that basketball players can be formed with the right coaching techniques as well as motivation.

Centers are not always tall and talented. Sometimes people are placed in the center position who are not as tall as the average centers. Coaches would love to find tall and talented centers but this is not always the case. Coaches have been known to assign this position to less tall center especially those who contain great leaping ability.

Sometimes coaches have to make due with what they have. This should not be an excuse to not force your average playing center to not work on their abilities. I will always state that there is always room for improvement even with the more talented players. There are tips that can aid an average-playing center to improve their overall game of basketball which will in return make them a better, well-rounded center.

  • No matter the position which your players are assigned to, they should always be forced to improve what they are not good at. Centers are rarely outside the bottom of the basket, therefore your center should practice their short to mid-range jump shots. They should be assigned leaping ability drills which will aid them in clearing a defender when they are caught out around the free-throw line and going for the shot.
  • Believe it or not, centers can become open at times for layup shots. Centers dream of that slam dunk which will “wow” the crowd, however, ensure that you stress to your center the use of the backboard. Utilizing the backboard to simply get the ball in the basket is more times to none a sure two points. This can make the difference in winning the game.
  • If your center is not as tall as the average center, work with your center in creating the hook shot. Hook shots are great for smaller centers when they are dealing with someone on defense who is taller as these shots are hard to defend.
  • The pump-fake is a great technique which can draw fouls from the defense. Ensure that your center is good at free-throws because utilizing the pump-fake technique will almost always ensure your center is on the free-throw line for those easy points.
  • You want your center, no matter their overall playing ability, to be fast. Institute running drills which will build up their endurance and speed. Goold teams run their fastbreaks together with a trailing center.
  • Stress to your center to always keep their head up. This means that they should always be looking for someone open to pass the ball to if they do not have the shot. This is a basic fundamental in basketball and is mandatory in working together as a team and pressuring the defensive team early.
  • No matter the size of your center, they should be taught the “box out” technique. This is where you place your body between the basket and the defenders and can more times to none assure your center gets the rebound.
  • Stress to your center that “the paint” is their domain. If someone enters into their domain, it’s their job to cut them off. This forces the defense to kick the ball back out while denying them the shot.
  • If your center is tall enough, they should be taught to block shots. This is where the jumping drills will come in handy for your center.
  • Your center should never be standing under the basket staring into space when the defense shoots the ball. If the ball does not go in, your center should instinctively understand that their job is to grab the loose balls while kicking the ball out to the wings.

Picture credit: terren in VirginiaCreative Commons Attribution