The defensive techniques used in preparing for football matches can be applied to those used in basketball. In football, the goal is to use patterns, training and techniques that limit the advance of the ball. One technique is to identify trends and find ways to counter them. For example, in basketball, if you found a way to reduce the opponent’s shooting percentage by five percent, that could create a six to eight point differential. It is a great success.
Let’s start by looking at man-to-man defensive techniques. One of the first determinations is the dominant hand of your opponent; right-handed or left-handed. This is the hand that shoots, and it determines how you keep your man and obstruct the shooting path. The next determination is which foot is the pivot foot. This can change with possessions and determines the tendency of the freewheel side, often the non-swivel side. Another clue is the position of the hand on the ball. Pulling the hand behind the ball indicates preparation for a shot. The hands on the side of the ball indicate that you are preparing to pass. The hand on the top of the ball indicates preparation to dribble and which hand indicates to go left or right.
Another indicator is the dribbling patterns. Players who dribble between their legs or behind their backs do so repeatedly before shooting or going to the basket. Knowing this tendency gives the fielder a slight advantage, a split second to challenge the shot or dribble. Shots or contested practices decrease the score percentage and by how much depends on the agility and speed of the defensive player. It also depends on the player’s ability to read and react to indicators.
Reading trends can also help make thefts. By observing the rhythms and patterns of the dribbling, the fielder can predict where the ball is going to be and can push in that spot to deflect the ball. Such a move requires knowing how much to attack and with practice becoming instinctive rather than mental. Targeting too early allows the opponent to redirect the dribble and too late leaves the defender out of position. The point of attack is usually when the dribbled ball rises to the opponent’s hand where a dribble follows the predetermined pattern. Stealing the ball in this manner not only increases the confidence of the opponent, but also adds two points to the score differential. It stops an attempt to score an average of one point per possession and allows the defense to average one point per possession.
Team defense combines the aforementioned techniques but adds coordinated assistive movements. It could be imminent or cut the passing lanes or even trap a stationary player and obstruct the passing or shooting lanes. Other times, he fixes a mismatch like a short player keeping a tall one, or an exceptional shooter against a mediocre defender. Helping is a constant risk-reward choice, as the double team can have positive results or leave an opponent completely open. So, to help, the five defensive players must work as a team. This means that when a player moves to help, the defensive responsibilities of the other three change.
How it changes depends on the skills of your opponents. For example, a low percentage outside shooter requires less attention than an inside center that dominates the scoring and paint bounce. Such a player would require special treatment, including double-teaming, sagging the defense and / or denying him the ball.
A major defensive issue is screens, coat, and the resulting mismatches. This is where trend analysis can become a big advantage. Are they using the screen to set up an open plan or a drive to the cart? Or do they use it as a sliding screen where the sieve peels off towards the basket? How you defend her depends on their tendencies and the scoring threat of the players involved. Good defense requires making calculated choices that lead to the best result.
No defensive team will be able to stop an attack. Instead, the goal should be to limit points per possession. Defensive rebound comes into play in this scenario because limiting second chances dramatically reduces points per possession. If the defense has an advantage by being closer to the basket, they can increase that advantage with strong rebounding techniques. Blocking your opponent is basic, but defending likely landing points is just as important. For example, missed midrange jumpers move closer to the basket versus long three-pointers. Layups and folds are even closer. Using this information can increase bounce percentages.
In addition, the rebound position is more important against taller and more athletic players. Blocking is not enough, you have to keep your opponent unbalanced by maintaining contact and limiting your jumping ability.
Switching is another defensive ploy in which players pass the responsibility of custody to another player. This can be a verbal or non-verbal exchange and is commonly used in on-screen pick and roll situations. Most of the problems in this area are that the change is not final and that one or both offensive players have an advantage. The players are caught in this area of indecision and the offensive players are not contested. Communication is an essential remedy for such situations. Likewise, switching to a mini-zone defense corrects such discrepancies and allows players to regroup.
In zone defense, players are assigned a zone to guard instead of a player. Usually, players move in a formation that tilts towards the ball with little separation between them. This spacing reduces dribbling or pulls it towards the basket. Thus, the attack is relegated to passing the ball to an open man and mainly performing long shots. One strategy in this defense is to encourage low percentage shooters and play for rebounds. Another strategy is to challenge the likely shooters, thus reducing the percentages.
Zone defense requires discipline to maintain spacing and move towards the ball in a decisive and confrontational manner. Then again, passing patterns are emerging quickly that predict scoring chances and which players are likely to shoot and when. This information allows the defense to increase confrontations at such times. Such intense defense can be exhausting and requires moments of recovery. These can be taken on offense by walking the ball on the pitch, taking some free time and shooting later during the shot clock. Keeping a game at a breakneck pace can be regressive and detrimental to a winning cause. So, attention to recovery is a must.
In defense, you have several allies, namely the sidelines, the five-second rule and the shot clock. When the opponents get to the side of the sideline it’s like you have another defender on them because they can only go sideways. And if they’ve used their dribbling, it’s a tense moment that could lead to a turn-over. Likewise, when in a hurry, they can back out of bounds. So leading your opponent to the sidelines is a good thing and creates more chaotic moments for the attack.
Taking advantage of the five-second rule for out-of-bounds throw-ins can be instrumental in close games. Taking more than five seconds results in a turnover. When the offense is to last for court time, one can take risks and opt for a rapid turnover. As such, the defensive lineup that stifles the throw-in should be a quick build-up of defenders. A first, then two and quickly three, blocking all possible passing lanes, create a chaotic challenge for the passer. Does the passer risk an interception or does he have time to request a time-out?
In college, the five-second rule also applies to an offensive player closely guarded by a defender and not advancing the ball towards the basket. This rule eliminates a dribbler who runs the clock without attempting to score. Then again, when defenders suffocate the dribbler and obstruct passing lanes, such an action can result in violation and turnover.
Being aware of the shot clock can also produce positive results, because when five to seven seconds are left the offense is forced to take off. Now is the time to disrupt the course and stage of the defensive attack. By preventing switching to main shooters, more time passes, causing poorer shooters to take bad shots. Such a strategy requires the defense to know the skill set of offensive players and their shooting percentage, and then defend themselves accordingly.
While scouting strategies are common in football, their awareness and application to basketball can be a game-changer. These strategies could emerge by studying the opponent’s statistics and videos, or through in-person observations and scouting reports. By countering the trends, the skills of the opposition, a team can gain an advantage against formable opponents. Knowing what your opposition is likely to do is smart basketball. However, you need to know what trends to look for and how to incorporate appropriate countermeasures into your game plan. It’s not only smart sneaker, but it’s brilliant too.
The author wrote a companion article on the offensive aspect titled “Basketball: 5-player patterns promote winning ideals”.