This post was encouraged by Brian McCormick- an outstanding author on coaching and teaching the game of basketball.
In basketball terms, an action is the ability to perform a skill without any external factors influencing that skill. An example would be a player’s ability to shoot a jump shot, dribble, or shoot a layup. Many players have the ability to execute these actions and skills in a non-game setting. Adding a defender or game-scenario to the execution of these skills adds the perceptual component to the skill. For example, when a player attacks the rim in a game, it is not as simple as “I’m going to go up and shoot a lay-up.” They now have to read their environment and the situation. Is their defender trailing them or even? Is there rotational help? If there is rotational help, are they set or are they moving into position? All these factors go into a player’s ability to finish at the rim. Many coaches put their players through lay-up lines and the players often have great success, but when they enter games they struggle to finish. The typical coach attributes this to a player’s lack of concentration, or not being aggressive enough, but the truth is the player hasn’t been forced to make reads & decisions at a fast speed in many of the drills that are performed to “enhance” finishing skills. There is absolutely a need in certain phases of development to build the action (skill) without defense, but when the skill has been learned correctly & the players are completing the action without struggle, there needs to be additional difficulty added to to transfer the skills they possess to a game-environment.