5 Core Offensive Skills of Player Development

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

Basketball Player Development is a process that creates growth, progress, and gradual positive change in a player's skillset over time. The purpose of Player Development is to raise the level and quality of in-game performance.

Player Development is not necessarily immediately visible, and includes an aspect of non-linear change and the creation of conditions for a continuation of that change in a positive direction. (See the images below for a visual representation of this concept.)

Now that we've established what Player Development is, here are what I believe to be the 5 Core Offensive Skills of Player Development. In my opinion, these are the most important areas of skill development in no particular order of importance as every player's needs are different. Establish these skills early on in the developmental process to ensure success over time.

To be clear, I don't believe these are the ONLY areas of player development. There are obviously an infinite number of skills that can be developed.

Continue to read below for a brief explanation of each of the 5 Core Offensive Skills.


Shooting the basketball is the most important skill in the game. Being able to pass, dribble, defend, and rebound may enable you to get higher percentage shots, but there's no way around having to be able to make that shot. Here are some of the areas that we focus on in our shooting curriculum at Mychal Martinez Basketball:

  • Hand Placement and Connection to the Ball

  • Rhythm and Flow

  • Balance and Connection to the Floor

  • Ball Path

  • Set Point

  • Follow Through

  • Arc

  • Ball Pick Ups


As players grow and begin playing against better competition, finishing at the basket becomes more and more difficult.

If proper fundamentals and finishing techniques aren't established early on in the developmental process, then it will surely lead to many turnovers and blocked shots when attempting to score around the basket. It's important that players develop a variety of finishing solutions to counter these problems.

At Mychal Martinez Basketball we teach over twenty finishing techniques and solutions that improve player confidence and the ability to score against primary (on-ball) and secondary (help side) defenders at the rim.


Body and Ball Movement, also known as Ball Handling, is one of the most important skills in the game of basketball - second to shooting, in my opinion. Included in Body and Ball Movement is dribbling and passing, or ball mastery.

Without a solid foundation in the art of moving body and ball together as one, the ball wouldn't be able to be advanced up the court effectively. Offensive systems wouldn't be able to be ran smoothly.


Change of Pace means accelerating your dribble (or cut) from full speed to decelerating to a complete stop. Then, when the defense has relaxed, accelerating again to top speeds as quickly as possible.

This acceleration/deceleration concept, with or without the ball, helps players keep their defender off balance and creates separation for better scoring opportunities and/or making uncontested passes.

Change of Direction simply means altering and changing the angle of your dribble (or cut) while utilizing Change of Pace.

Change of Pace and Direction, when combined with the four other core offensive skills of player development, is what separates average/good offensive players from great offensive players.


Rips, Pivots, and Jabs are the most important fundamental aspects of ball security in the game of basketball. These skills allow offensive players to create space and separation when a defender is bodied up and being aggressive before a dribble has been used. Without these skills, in addition to Body and Ball Movement, offensive systems would fail to get set up in games.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I don't believe these are the only areas of player development. But, I do believe they are the most important areas in player development that should be focused on first.

If you're in the Denver, Colorado area and would like to learn more about training with Mychal Martinez Basketball, please click here to get started..

Home | About | Blog | Contact

©2020 Mychal Martinez Basketball, LLC.