Being able to attack the basket is a very important part of being an excellent offensive player.
A guard or forward that can attack the basket is so much more versatile than one that is just a passer and jump shooter. In the big game, the NBA, the ones that can attack the hoop – Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Dwanye Wade – are at superstar levels because of their versatility.
Slashing to the basket can be a “God given” talent but it can also be learned if practiced enough and enough dedication is given to learning the skill. You cannot slash to the basket by just using your speed or dribbling skills. Other techniques need to used and perfected before you can call yourself a slasher, or before opponents began to believe it. One such drill that will help you develop the skills needed is the Straight line driving drill.
First, mark off four spots that are located outside the three-point arch. These spots can be anywhere, but the drill is easier if run spaced and in an orderly fashion, so put one in each corner and one each on each side of the top of the key. Each spot represents a place you will receive the ball, prior to attacking the basket.
Remember this can be done from anywhere on the floor, but being able to drive strong to the hoop from the outside, gives you much more of an advantage against any defense. Each spot needs to have two players. One plays a duel role as a passer and eventual defensive opponent and the other, you, is the offensive threat that will hone his skills driving to the hoop. Once the passer passes the ball he needs to immediately become a defensive play and try and block your path to the hoop.
With ball in hands you need to make decisions and quick ones. Since the drill is to drive to the hoop, you have two options; drive left or drive right.
This is done by getting a low center of gravity (bending the knees), lean forward and get ready to push off with you feet. Once you decide left or right, then try and get by your opponent in as straight (hence slash) a line as possible.
Your dribbling needs to be limited to at most three strong powerful dribbles and then up to the hoop. The dribbles should exist of one that is outside the three point line (your first) one that gets you close to the key and the last before going up and laying it in or dishing it to a teammate. Practicing this drill over and over again will get you to start exploding to the basket and becoming a more all around threat.
This drill needs to be practiced by guards and forwards and should be done at least five to six times by each player, alternating driving to the left or right. Always driving to the right or left will be picked up by an intelligent opponent and shut off, so be versatile and learn to go both ways.