Lateral movement, basketball defense, and persistent myths

Last week, I attended a high-school varsity girls basketball game between good teams with college-bound players, and it was evident that the players had been taught never to cross their feet on defense. When I lamented this instruction via Twitter, several people questioned my lamentations. These questions spurred a few videos this week on defense, lateral movement, and the crossover step. For more information, check out Fake Fundamentals. Read more

Crossover Step, Agility & Defense

The video below demonstrates the difference in speed in driving off your lead leg with a crossover step as opposed to stepping with your lead leg first. In the example, the athlete is faster using a crossover step than he is turning to sprint. This is not a perfect example to the difference between a crossover step and a traditional defensive slide, but it makes a compelling argument that the crossover step should be the dominant footwork for defensive footwork.

By Brian McCormick
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League

Defensive Footwork – On-Ball Defense

When I played, coaches taught a step-slide motion to move laterally, a drop step to change directions and a sprint to catch up when the step-slide was not fast enough. The cardinal sin of defense was crossing your feet.

In reality, this instruction is a waste of time, as athletes do not move in this way. The video features Sandra Sinclair, a Swedish player, who is the best individual defender that I have coached against. In the video, she crosses her feet, using a crossover step to stay in front of the dribbler. When changing directions, she uses a hip turn, which is a small hop and turn.

Brian McCormick is the Performance Director for Train for Hoops.

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