Never Too Late Basketball's Tips & Tales

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“Closing Out”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on May 7, 2006

In our recent Tips on defense, especially defense when you’re guarding someone who does not have the ball, we’ve tried to impress upon players the need to not just guard the person you are guarding, to not give all your attention there, but to split your attention to the ball (ballhandler) and the threat of the ball going to the basket as well. This means that if your teammate is beaten off the dribble (ballhandler goes by him/her), that someone else on defense, the player closest by, must step in. (Do I all of a sudden sound like Hubie Brown? “You MUST roll off the screen and dive to the rim.”) The idea of leaving the person you’re matched up with is scary, I know. Because aren’t you, like, leaving them open? The short answer: yes. The better answer: not for long. Stop the ballhandler by beating them to the spot they want to drive through to go to the hoop (beat them to the spot with your feet), make the ballhandler pick up the dribble and then you recover. But in recovering, – okay here’s my Hubie-ism – you must recover under control. If you don’t recover under control – Close Out – the player you are recovering to shot fakes and goes by you. Then what good are you in helping anyway? Zero. Close out by taking short steps at the end of the recover, keeping your feet close to the ground, knees bent, feet ready to change direction, head up, back fairly straight and hand up to contest a shot (or shot fake). As Rick Majerus says, “low, slow and under control”. They’re going nowhere.

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