Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Forcing-left pack

Force ballhandlers to dribble with their left hand, shrink the floor by gapping on both sides of the ball.

See Defences - Forcing left basics, Gap basics, Dave Smart weak-hand, Defending - Schepp closeouts.

Force left by splitting the right shoulder or right foot.

If 2 has the ball,

- X2 forces left and takes away a pass to 5's left hand
- X1 gaps left
- X4 and X3 split the floor in "sight" (help) positions (a weakside "i")
- X5 defends 5 in the low post 3/4 high side, taking away a pass to 5's right hand.

Gap defender X1 helps and recovers if 2 beats X2 to the middle, X4 helps the helper by stunting at 1 on the pass, then recovers to 4.
Variation - X1 only stunts (fakes) at 2, e.g. if guarding the best offensive player (or a shooter in a corner), help comes from high weakside X4, low weakside X3, or from X5 (late help).
Dave Smart - on any short closeout anywhere on 80% of the floor, we are not forcing weak hand, we are squaring the ball and shading maybe a little left. In 20% of the floor, you can force weak hand to the baseline. Every time the ball is put on the floor you're bluffing or helping; on short closeouts, 95% of the time it should be a bluff.
Kirby Schepp - defensive stance depends on where you are on the floor, always forcing weak hand. Outside on the defensive left, 2 straddles 1's right leg, nose on his right shoulder, and can open his stance.
Dave Waknuk (Lock-left defence) - Canada Basketball terminology
- force left - on his right hip, making him go left, very aggressive
- influence left - still have an angle on him, split him (with your right i.e. back foot)
- shade left - square him up but split him, stay in front a bit more.
Shade left if you're having trouble with influence left.

Guard the post "3/4 to behind" - on a post entry, X5 jumps behind on air time, gaps off, and forces left, taking away baseline.

Perimeter players choke on the post, then can dig (up) with one hand on a dribble (except if guarding a shooter), and recover if the dribble is picked up.X3 is weakside help.

If 5 gets the ball close to the baseline, X5 takes away middle, forcing baseline, X3 is the help (see below).


- just play behind the post, e.g. if X5 is long, or with the FIBA key, or to double-team
- front the post (early), e.g. if she has a foot in the paint
- 3/4 low side if the ball is in the corner (be closer to the post line).

If 1 has the ball, X1 forces left, X2 and X4 gap, X5 denies 5, X3 is in a help position.
Schepp - up top X1 is almost square (to take away middle penetration), but half a step over (to force weak hand).

If 4 has the ball, X4 forces left (toward the sideline), X1 and X3 gap, X2 is in help.

Here 3 has the ball and 5 is ballside.

X4 gaps, X3 forces left and takes away a pass to 5`s top (left) hand.

X5 does not have to help on a baseline drive, but can help and recover if ballside.

X5 can play 3/4 high side (shown), or front and call "early", in either case X2 is help on the post. If X5 plays on the low side, 5 could duck in on a pass back to 4.

X1 and X2 form a weakside "i", X2 is ballside to help on a baseline drive, or on a lob pass if X5 is fronting.
Option - X4 denies a pass to 4 e.g. if 3 is a dead match-up.
Schepp - outside on the defensive right, X3 can really overplay, play higher.
Dick Bennett - the game is now more north-south than east-west (motion), players try to get into the paint, Get into pack defence, then when the ball is on a side get into push (pressure) defence (force baseline, deny reversal), he had success with this.

Here 5 made an early i-cut to the elbow to get out of the way on a baseline drive.

On a baseline drive by 3, offensively 2 drifts to the weakside corner, 4 fills behind the drive, and 1 gets to 45 degrees on the weakside.

Defensively, X2 rotates to cut off the drive, X1 sinks to ball level (cover downs), helping the helper by taking away a pass to 2, X4 rotates to the top of the i. When X2 calls "switch", X3 peels off to the find the open attacker in X4's direction, here 4 filling behind the drive (a four-man rotation).

All defenders are matched up.

Variation - X3 stays to double-team 3 if he is long enough to influence a pass.
Greg Francis - Defensive Rotations - with a ballside low post, X5 shows, the other defenders shrink the floor to make a pass to 5 difficult, all payers recover to their own checks. In all other situations, X5 does not help, you give up too many offensive rebounds to 5.

Defensive rotations are the same if 5 is weakside, X2 cuts off the drive, X1 covers down, X4 rotates to the top of the "i", X3 peels off.

On a post entry, X5 gets behind, gaps and forces left (taking away middle), perimeter players choke then dig if 5 dribbles.

X2 is the help if 5 drives baseline, X1 sinks.

On a pass out, X5 stays with 5 and X2 has leftovers.

Help rotation is the same if X5 fronts the post (X5 would pivot on the top foot to get behind and take away middle).
Dave Smart - X3 takes 4 on a pass to 1, see Defence - Dave Smart posts.up

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2007-21 Eric Johannsen