Defensive footwork: “Close-outs”

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In basketball a player’s foot work is fundamental both in offense and defense. I believe that all players no matter if they are young players or senior professional players need to work on their footwork and especially the defensive footwork. In modern day basketball when fakes are history and ‘catch and react’ behaviors are most common the close-out to a player with the ball is a fundamental part of a players ball-defense.

What is a close-out?
A defensive player is closing out on an offensive player trying to make the player with the ball hesitate. A good close-out takes away the shot at the same time as it takes away the penetration. After a good close-out the defensive player will be in a good position and stance and at a proper distance to be able to put pressure and to play defense out on the perimeter.

The movement of a basketball player doing a close-out is very similar to the movement of a fencer moving forward or backwards in attack or retreat. The body is moving on a straight line and has to be in a good balance and control, making it possible to change direction at any time.

I have chosen a video clip from last evening’s game between Serbia and Lithuania from Eurobasket (16 sept -09 in Poland) where Serbia’s players close-outs several times to keep pressure on the Lithuanian players without getting blown by.

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