Two years ago

Defence - move your feet more

Hi guys,

Hoping someone can advise me on some basketball terminology. My son plays on the weekend and after the game the coach will approach players and let them know what they need to work on. My son says the coach keeps saying in reference to his defence "you need to move your feet more"
What specifically does this mean or what do you think it means? Does it mean he needs to work on defensive footwork. Or he is not defending and tagging his man at all. Or is he is staying in the one spot and not defending enough? I've heard people say this a bit in reference to defence but don’t really know exactly what it is.
I might go and have a talk to the coach myself but don’t want to butt in.
Is this a basketball term and what does it exactly mean?

Topic #43504 | Report this topic

Two years ago

Basically means he needs to work on sliding his feet laterally quicker.

Too many players try and play defence with their hands and/or bodying them up.

Beat a player to point X by getting there with your feet..once your feet are there you've bet him, your chest is square and he cant go around you.

Reply #693027 | Report this post

Two years ago

"Move your feet more" to me usually indicates a player is playing D with his hands more than his feet - needs to beat the offensive player to the spot he is going with his feet. Any side-to-side drill that encourages him to be in a low stance with his arms out shuffling on his tip-toes should help.

Reply #693029 | Report this post

Two years ago

Thanks guys, appreciate the first two responses. I think you hit the mark with the sliding and getting to a point on the court before the offensive player. He does seem to use his body more to push instead of sliding. I'll get him onto some sliding drills.
Appreciate your help.

Reply #693037 | Report this post

Two years ago

If you don't want to butt in, have your son ask the coach for a few YouTube videos of drills he could do in his own time.

Alternatively, if you frame it well, only an absolute monster wouldn't respond well to:

"Hey, thanks for the post-game suggestions for my son. He's really keen to work on it. Do you know of any good drills I can look up on YouTube that help with that sort of thing?"

Reply #693041 | Report this post

Two years ago

'Defensive sliding' is only part of the story, depending on what the actual issue is.

Might be useful [to you] to find a book with diagrams of some specific footwork for different defensive situations [think of those old-fashioned dance charts].

Gets into the area of drop steps, pivoting into position under the basket, etc.

No point sliding [and holding with the knee] if the player has beaten him on the first step.

Reply #693043 | Report this post

Two years ago

Kid of poor coaching to assume the kid knows what he means? Shouldn't he be more descriptive?

Reply #693051 | Report this post

Duke Fan  
Two years ago

How old is the boy? Coaches are often guilty of assuming players know what they're telling them to do when quite frequently they have no idea.....and that's right up to pro level

Reply #693054 | Report this post

Two years ago

Saying 'move your feet more' could mean a myriad of things. One thing I always find important, and Dante Exum displayed it perfectly when defending James Harden in the playoffs, is to 'tap' your feet when in front of the offensive player. When Harden stood around dribbling the ball 500 times Exum was always tapping his feet up and down to remain active. Once your feet are planted it is much easier for the player with the ball to blow by. I agree with the previous posters of gaining clarification from the coach as to exactly what he means

Reply #693057 | Report this post

Two years ago

AKA +1

I always knew them as 'coojies' when I had to do them at training. One coach jokingly said that if any foot stayed in contact with the court for more than 5 seconds it would start sticking to the ground, so that I’d never be able to make a quick take-off.

The other thing to consider is whether your son’s body position and the foot his weight is on allows attackers to blow past him quickly. A body position which ‘encourages’ the attacker to go in a particular direction, together with the weight being over the leg furthest from that direction, should make it easier to take that quick first step on defence.

Reply #693118 | Report this post

Two years ago

Thanks you all so much for your advice. I'll check YouTube for some practice videos. I’ll see how he goes tomorrow in the game and have a quick word to the coach. My son is 10 and he is getting to the age where he wants me to butt out and not treat him like a little kid :) he wants to deal with the coach by himself.
Thank again all.

Reply #693130 | Report this post

Two years ago

I have coached a variety of junior sports, over many years. In my experience one thing youngsters tend to do is (badly) imitate what they think they see the pro's doing.
For example, watch the world cup of Soccer, and you'll see the top players passing the ball with barely a flick of their toes. Kids try to do that, and the ball travels about 2ft.

The other issues is that the rules have changed. I am no expert on the rules, so this is subject to correction, but back in the day defenders were taught that they needed to set their feet to get a charge called. And in the same vein, a defender with his feet set who was bumped and fell backwards was likely to get the call.
So you would see a lot of guys with their feet set, and only moving their bodies and arms.

Now days, (and again consult an expert on the current rules and interpretations) defenders need only obtain position, and can maintain position by correct footwork.
A defender who uses his feet correctly can (re)establish position in an instant and receive a charge call. A defender who loses position and tries to defend by extending his knee or pelvis, is more likely to give away a blocking foul.
Furthermore, a defender who doesn't move his feet and too easily falls over, risks a flopping warning.

Best first step is to watch your kid play and try to spot what you think he's doing that is concerning his coach. Then ask for the Coach's help.

Even if you still don't have a clue, if you phrase it as "could you help my son with his footwork, let me know what we can work on" you'll get a positive response unless your coach is an a-hole. But try to avoid leading with "tell me what he's doing wrong" as that can be perceived as challenging.

Reply #693185 | Report this post

Two years ago

Go and buy an agility ladder and check out this link for some basic drills to help the kid with his overall footwork, balance and speed.

Other advice given, above, is all worth considering...

Reply #693367 | Report this post

Two years ago

Agility ladders do nothing to enhance speed and defensive ability, it's a really old and outdated myth that.

Reply #693388 | Report this post

Two years ago

Agility ladders are good for eye/feet coordination, they are also good for improving a kid's endurance/fitness, they can definitely improve footwork, agility and balance, among other things that you can get from them the 'speed' term I used isn't straight line speed.

The speed, or technically speaking, the quickness of movement in your feet and speed with which you can adjust and coordinate your hands, eyes and feet in sort sharp movements can be enhanced using agility ladders.

The end result for a player is highly likely to be an improved defensive capability.

That's the 'speed' I was referring to, not how fast someone can run up the court, which of course is their linear speed, subject to their stride frequency, strength and power.

Replace 'speed' with 'quickness or agility' in my original post and it may make more sense...

Reply #693408 | Report this post

Two years ago

Just to be clear, the OP is referring to a young kid whose body control and coordination is probably still in early development, the agility ladder can certainly improve these elements and result in better movement of the feet, which I believe was the major topic.

Reply #693409 | Report this post

Two years ago

Again, it's a really old and outdated myth, 'fast movement' doesn't equate to actually improving in lateral or linear speed.

What is more important is increased force production into the floor through the feet, that's where you get the improvement in speed/power. Which is even more important in the development of a young athlete.

Australia is slowly catching up to the rest of the world with sports science in junior sport, still so far behind though...

Reply #693560 | Report this post


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