Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Forcing-left pack

Shade, influence or force ballhandlers to dribble with their left hand, shrink the floor by gapping on both sides of the ball.

See Blog post - Forcing-left pack defence, Defences - Forcing left basics, Gap basics, Dave Smart weak-hand, Defending - 4 on 4 help rotations, 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 (X2's first step is baseline on a closeout, a straight closeout provides a baseline drive)
- 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).
- no post entries from the top
- 3/4 from the high side, push a catch out
- jump directly behind the post on an entry pass (pop back), between the ball and the basket
- trap with the other big defender, deny a return pass, sink to the rim, and zone up.
Tyler Coston -

If 1 has the ball, X1 forces left, X2 and X4 gap, X5 denies 5, X3 is in a help position.
By default, gap defenders X2 and X4 are the same distance from the ball and their check, then adjust based on matchups, e.g. if X1 calls "early", X2 and X4 take one step closer to the ball, will trap on a first dribble to their side.
Matt Woodley - X2 and X4 are one step closer to the ball than their man, in a slightly closed stance, both feet inside the pack.
Schepp - up top X1 is almost square (to take away middle penetration), but half a step over (to force weak hand).
See Defending - Woodley 4 on 4.

If 4 has the ball, X4 forces left (toward the sideline), X1 and X3 gap, X2 is in help.
Tyler Coston Lock Left FAQs - when they sit in the gap there's no rotating, they might do a jump switch and a scram.

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.
Coston - they front a ballside low, that defender is the gap defender
See Defence - Forcing left basics (deny a pass to the right).

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 (covers down), 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.
See Defence - Forcing left basics (help off the low post).

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.
Coston - the person that helps is the low defender erasing the rim, they don't have to leave the smile. The weakside rebounder needs to be erased, it's a rebounding rotation, by the furthest defender guarding the weakside wing or corner.

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 (last pass).

Help rotation is the same if X5 fronts the post (X5 would pivot on the top foot to get behind and take away middle).
Post Help and Recover - X2 finds the player furthest from the ball, who would get the ball last.
Dave Smart - X3 takes 4 on a pass to 1, see Defence - Dave Smart posts.
Virginia - zone defender X4 takes a skip pass, rim defender X1 has a second closeout on 1 (X-ing out).up

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