3 Keys to Aggressive Man to Man Defense Off the Ball: Two Passes Away

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“Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.” Scottie Pippen
In order to play great defense on the perimeter, everyone has to be in proper helpside position. In many defenses, the defensive player who is guarding off the ball one pass away, is not going to be able to help when there is a drive to the basket. This responsibility will usually come from a defensive player who is two or three passes away.
1. See both your man and the ball at all times- Since the ball is two passes away, meaning it is two offensive players away from the offensive player you are guarding, you are not in a denial position.You need to be able to see your man as well as the ball but your focus is not completely on the offensive player you are guarding. One hand should be pointed at the ball, and the other hand should be pointed at the offensive player you are guarding. This way you ensure yourself that you can see both your man and the ball; the defensive triangle is intact
2. Have at least one foot in the lane- If you are positioned on the wing or the top of the key because the man you are guarding is standing on the wing or the top of the key, you need to have at least one foot in the paint area.By having one foot in the lane, you are enabling yourself to drop down to “help the helper.” This means if a defensive player on your team has to stop the ball on a drive to the basket, then you are in a good position to drop down and cover his man until he can get back. If you don’t position yourself in the lane, providing this kind of help becomes much more difficult.
3. Always be in a low, wide, and athletic defensive position- You need to stay in a good defensive position even though you are not guarding anyone at that moment. Your butt should be pointed toward the baseline and you need to be ready to help your teammates.From this position you can also help your teammate on the opposite wing if the man he is guarding drives the ball to the middle of the lane. Even though most defenses are predicated on keeping the ball out of the middle, positioning yourself with one foot in the lane, should allow you to stop the drive if necessary.Always be alert and ready because you need to be ready to help! Having a great defensive position with your knees bent, and your feet active, will allow you to react quickly.

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