Knowledge or perception of a situation or fact

Offense/defense and move with a purpose

Awareness is the CENTER of the pyramid.  The heart beat.  The reason for being.  As with the cornerstones, skills that must be in place or the pyramid will collapse, so is awareness at the center of EVERYTHING. The structure may not fall without this center piece but it will not survive long without keen awareness, the beating of the competitive heart.


As of this writing in early 2019, Basics now has 103 program graduates who have played or are playing college basketball—11 at the Division 1 level.  That number will likely double over the next few years.  We build competitive habits, and in many respects it starts with AWARENESS.


One of the primary reasons why we have so many kids at these highest levels is we TEACH AWARENESS.  Awareness is a skill, a skill so CENRAL TO THE GAME, this explains why this block resides DEAD CENTER in the pyramid.  In fact, every single skill requires awareness , SHARP AWARENESS, for that player to excel.


The lists that follow are NOT all inclusive.  Defining the game though required awareness and skills and trying then to compile the skills players should be aware of would take an HOUR!!.  These are examples for coaches, parents and administrators in understanding what an appropriate level of awareness looks like in these 3 categories of players.


  • Beginning players–Be AWARE who you are guarding, point to that player “MY MAN!”, don’t let that player beat you down the floor,  When you PASS the ball, CUT HARD, either to the basket OR away from the ball, move to OPEN SPACE, not just to the ball, be aware who you are guarding and GUARD that player. 
  • Intermediate players–on DEFENSE: Below the line (positioning), be aware of an opponents strengths/weaknesses, anticipate their movements especially CUTS and try to impede their progress on the court.   OFFENSE: Space the floor, sharp cuts to space, setting proper screens, being aware of good shot selection, no standing around, crash the offensive glass and then SPRINT the court
  • Advanced players–Be aware and Honest with yourself about your skill/condition. Understand and take advantage of matchups, be aware of the game’s inherent imperfectability and be kind to yourself when you fail.  DEFENSE: Jump to the ball, stab and recover, take charges, ALWAYS be aware of HELPING your team mates, TALK, TALK, TALK OFFENSE: Use of screens, Set up defender, different kinds of cuts, timing on cuts, fakes, passes, etc.  Being aware of MATCH UPS and then taking advantage of any mis-matches, be aware of the CLOCK and understand time management 


Basics does NOT SUBSCRIBE to the current model of travel, competition and CONSTANT play as youngsters develop in any sport.  We know that emphasizing skills and school and appropriate adult modeling for these kids MUST COME FIRST.  If you are interested in learning the Basics methodology for your program, your school district or your child, you are encouraged to explore the web site, the Pyramid of Skill, or to CALL or EMAIL with any questions.  616 402-1600   Thank you