This defensive tactic can terrorize the opposing ball handler. It's really simple and you practically never get beat off the dribble. And even if you play a sagging man to man or packline defense, it's something you should definitely consider.
This mentally drains your opponent and it creates a bunch of unforced turnovers in your favor.
It's actually super simple.
On defense, you defend the point guard full court. However, you're not going for steals. You're not trying to turn them. You're not really taking any risks. In fact, there is a little cushion between you and the ball handler of about 5 to 8 feet.
Your #1 goal is to provide enough pressure to make them slightly uncomfortable and keep yourself between them and the basket. You don't want to get beat!
While the objective of the drill is a little different, the following video clip is a decent example of the cushion and necessary pressure. The defender in the drill is Ben Richardson. Ben was Defensive Player of the Year in the Missouri Valley Conference and helped Loyola Chicago reach the Final Four in 2018.
I know this tactic works because this was the most effective pressure that I ever faced. In fact, during my junior and senior years, I only averaged two turnovers a game and our team rarely faced defensive pressure because we had very good ball handlers.
However, one game this wasn't the case. And it was by far, my worst game ever. I had 8 turnovers! And they applied the same defensive pressure I referenced before.
This Genius Approach Forced 8 Turnovers.... And Drives Opposing Ball Handlers Nuts
Here is something else to make this tactic way more effective! This is actually pretty genius... in the first couple of minutes in the game, the opposing defender dove hard after a steal.
It was calculated and they did it far enough away from the basket where they could still recover. They also did it after a dead ball, so their whole team was back on defense to help.
Even though they didn't force a turnover in this case, I truly believe this led to the 8 turnovers I committed... most of them unforced.
The rest of the game, I felt uncomfortable. The defender was always there... close enough to steal dive after the ball again. Close enough to steal it if I made a mistake. However, the defender didn't really go after a steal again. He faked a jab at me every once in a while to make me uncomfortable.
But mentally, you never relax. You feel pressure the entire game. It mentally wears you down. You didn't know when or if the defender was going to dive after a steal again. Because of this, you throw bad passes, travel, carry the ball, and do things that are totally uncharacteristic.
And as a defender, if you see the guard getting relaxed, do another calculated steal attempt.
So to sum it up:
- Apply slight defensive pressure to make the opposing ball handler uncomfortable, but not close enough to get beat.
- Plan an early steal attempt to make the ball handler uncomfortable. Make sure your team defense is back.
- Jab and fake at the defender periodically throughout the game. If they get uncomfortable, make another calculated steal attempt.
Solutions & Resources:
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