How to Make a Basketball Player a Defensive Stopper with Smothering Speed
Becoming a great defensive stopper in basketball involves attitude, intelligence, and movement ability. The first two are usually something you’re born with, yet they can be developed somewhat. The last of the three, movement ability, can be taught. Granted, some players are naturally quick and agile, but even fast players must learn the skill of athletic movement.
1 Make a Basketball Player a Defensive Stopper
Playing defense on a ball handler requires good lateral movement in the form of a defensive shuffle and crossover run. The ability to stop and change direction instantly without stumbling is imperative.
The ability to quickly rotate the hips and place the feet in the exact position to explosively push you toward the offensive player’s move will separate you from the rest. Combining laser-like movements to counteract every offensive activity will put you in control of the offensive players’ game.
Make a Basketball Player a Defensive Stopper
This article aims to teach you a few essential methods of athletic movement that will improve your ability to play defense like never before. Whether you’re a coach or trainer trying to improve your athlete’s skills or an athlete wanting to become quicker, these methods will produce results.
The first and most foundational movement skill is the lateral shuffle or defensive slide.
The role of the defensive fall is to maintain a good position in front of the ball handler and be able to change direction quickly.
The primary teaching point, improving lateral shuffle speed and quickness, is maintaining a consistent hip height and creating optimal push-off and stopping angles with the lower leg. The ultimate goals are to eliminate unwanted motions and increase speed.
When teaching the shuffle, hip height is the first concern. When the hips rise during the shuffle, the feet are pulled up and away from the floor surface. When this occurs, it becomes even more difficult to change direction quickly.
If the hips settle too low, then an incredible amount of energy is expended just by returning to a normal defensive position. The straightest line between two points is a straight line. If the hips are going up and down while the direction of travel is left or right, a decrease in the speed of movement will occur.
The second area of concern when teaching the shuffle is the position of the lower leg.
The lower leg is responsible for creating optimal stopping and starting angles. This simply means when the lower leg stops the body, it must be in a position not to allow stuttering steps, to roll off the ankle, or to cause the body to fall over due to planting the foot too close under the hips.
The ultimate goal of maintaining proper hip height and push-off angle is to increase the overall movement speed. The power leg, the leg pushing the body in the direction of travel, must be able to push off with triple extension at the ankle, knee, and hip.
The power leg must also be able to recover back under the hips to be able to push down and away continuously. If this action is mastered while maintaining proper hip height, the lateral shuffle will be quick and explosive.
The third area of concern when mastering the shuffle is the “Hip Turn.”
The “Hip Turn” is used to quickly turn the hips and feet to apply aggressive force into the ground with the power leg and propel the body in the direction of travel. This will be performed without raising the hips and with a proper push angle.
The hip turn is used to stay with the ball handler when an attempt to dribble by you occurs, and you are in an athletic stance or shuffling. The old method of pivoting will get you beat every time. The pivot creates friction on the floor and doesn’t allow for an aggressive push-off angle using the plyometric abilities of the muscles.
To execute the hip turn, simply rotate the hips and feet while dissociating from the upper body. The power leg will be placed opposite the travel direction to propel the body immediately.
This move will allow you to react and move with the offensive player’s first move. Once the hip turn is completed, then you must decide quickly to use a shuffle technique, crossover technique, or turn and run with the ball handler.
If basketball players wishing to become better defensive stoppers took the time to learn and practice these simple techniques, they would see dramatic improvements in their quickness.