Today's Quote: "I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game." – Bear Bryant / Alabama
Today's Theme... Defensive Close-outs
Defenders must learn how to "close-out" properly from the help-side position onto the player who has just received ball. The close-out should begin as soon as the ball is passed, while it's still in the air.
On the pass, the defender should sprint toward the ball-handler in a low stance. The first few steps should be quick and explosive, while the last several steps should be quick, choppy steps to stop your momentum (so the defender doesn't dribble around you).
Your baseline line foot should be back in order to force the ball-handler toward the baseline (we teach forcing to the baseline). As you approach the ball-handler, snap your shoulders and head back to help slow yourself down.
We teach defenders to close-out with the inside hand (closest to the midline) high, in order to contest the outside shot and the high pass to the post. And the outside hand (baseline side) is low, and in a position to "dig" at the ball, or deflect a bounce-pass into the low post. It's hard, but the goal is to contest the shot, while still being able to stop that first step of the dribble-drive.
Too often I see a defender "flying" out at the shooter, feet in the air, out of control. This is bad because (1) he/she can easily be beaten with a shot-fake and dribble-drive, (2) he/she may foul the shooter (we never want to foul a 3-point shooter), and (3) if the shot is taken, he/she is in no position to box-out and rebound. So making good close-outs is a key to great defense.
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