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Why Playing Aggressive Defense After Foul Shots Is So Important

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While watching a big college game this past weekend I paid attention to several key plays down the stretch and I noticed something that took place.

It was important enough that I needed to write an article and address the topic. Let me give you the scenario:

A team is down 4 points with 1 minute left. They foul and the team goes to the foul line with a chance to go up 6 points.

It is a 1-and-1 situation and the defensive team needs a miss so they can get the ball back with a chance to cut into the lead.

When I was growing up this was an incredibly good strategy because teams always started with a 1-and-1 instead of getting two shots at 10 fouls. This rule changed as a result of several teams using this strategy and winning games. It made games much longer and the strategy got a lot of negative press so they changed it to where at 10 team fouls a player was awarded 2 shots instead of a 1-and-1.

In our current situation the foul shot goes up and the offensive team gets the rebound and is able to run more time off the clock until they are fouled. It is critical that teams are able to get the defensive rebound off a missed foul shot. Any time that the defense has the advantage and gives the ball to the offense is a giant mistake that is magnified when playing better teams.

How can we ensure that as a defense we get the ball on a missed foul shot?

  • Make sure that players are responsible for a man, not a zone.

Teams that make errors in this situation neglect to establish responsibility during these situations. The team leaders need to be outspoken as to who is guarding who. Remember that the defense has the advantage of basically 4-2 or 5-3 in some cases. This means that not only can you man up but you could give 2 people to 1 in nearly every case.

  • Be physical

Don't be afraid to make first contact and get wide. If you are standing straight up and not in an athletic position then someone can go right around you. Get low and make the first contact on the player you are responsible for. You are better to force the player to try to go around you toward the baseline than towards the middle of the lane. If the player goes toward the baseline then simply push them toward the baseline with your backside. This is legal and will force them out of all rebounding position. If the player is allowed to get to the middle they can cause problems when trying to get the rebound.

  • Pinch the offense

Many teams simply pinch the offense by having the top player slide down to force the offense toward the baseline side. This leaves the defense in great position to get the rebounds. If the offense goes toward the middle then 2 players are there to physically block the path and make a rebound very tough to get.

In basketball every possession counts a great deal especially when the situation gives the defense the advantage. Great teams never allow teams to get the rebound when they have the advantage. The little things are winning things in our great game.

What are your thoughts?

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