I have been writing and posting on MBR (Maine Basketball Report) and here in my “Off the Rim” column all year about how most basketball players at any level be it middle school, high school, AAU, college or even the NBA do not use the correct hand up when defending a shooter.
Guarding a player with the ball who is right handed then the defender should use their left arm and hand to defend the shooter and vice versa. right arm and hand for lefty shooters.
If you watch carefully that when Kawhi Leonard shoots his game winning basket that the ball bounced off the rim 4 times before going in with no time left on the clock to give the Toronto Raptors a 92-90 win in game 7 over the Philadelphia 76ers that the 76ers 7’0″ center uses his RIGHT HAND TO DEFEND THE GAME WINNING SHOT.
If you watch game after game at all levels you see this poor ineffective wrong technique being used more then the correct arm and hand.
The reason that the players do not use the correct arm and hand is because either
1. they may have never been told to do it by their coaches or
2. they may have not figured it out for themselves.
When using the wrong right hand it shortens the reach to cover the shooting line of the shooter. Take your left hand and raise it up as if you were guarding and defending a right handed shooter and keep the left hand there and then use your right arm and hand and reach it across your body to do the same thing you are with your left hand and what do you notice? Your right hand is about at least the length of your left hand shorter so it does not cover the area of the shooter’s line of vision as much as the left hand does and it cannot really attempt to block the shot as it is too far away and it can put the defender off balance by reaching across their body with their right hand. Players use their right hand because it is their strong arm and hand and it is a natural physical response to use their strong side arm and hand..
Plus, remember when attempting to block a shot the defender should make sure the ball has left the shooters hand before you block the ball so you will not be in position to be called for a foul.
The 76er defender is 6 inches taller than Leonard so that plus including his long arm span reach it would make it almost impossible for Leonard to even get the shot off if the defender had used his left and and arm to defend Leonard’s game winning basket.
The defender is a great athlete playing basketball but how much does it take to figure out you should use your left arm and hand when defending a shooter and not your right arm and hand and if you don’t why doesn’t or hasn’t your own coach told you to do it?
Maybe, it is because your coach hasn’t figured it out yet either along with all the other many players and coaches at the middle school, high school, AAU, college or in the NBA haven’t figured it out either that allow their players to use their right arm and hand to defend the right handed shooter?
As that old sayin goes, “Little things mean a lot”. But, you have got to know the little things.
Keep an eye out for this the next game you watch a game regardless of the level. Most of the times the defender will use the wrong arm and hand when guarding the man with the ball especially when they shoot the ball when just plain old common sense tells a player or coach the defender should use the left hand and arm guarding a right handed shooter, but they shouldn’t have any trouble using their right hand an arm when guarding a left handed shooter as most defenders use their right hand and arm regardless of the shooter is left or right handed as a shooter.
Here’s a suggestion. Maybe if the coaches AT ALL LEVELS would tell the players that the reason that they want defenders guarding THE PLAYER WITH THE BALL WITH THEIR LEFT HAND/ARM, IS SO THAT THEY CAN REST THEIR SHOOTING RIGHT HAND/ARM. That would make sense wouldn’t it? Maybe, just maybe they would do it then .
Oh well, just the opinion and philosophy of an old senior citizen basketball octogenarian who is just an unorthodox basketball hick living in the sticks. What do I know anyway? Take this fundamental technique for what you think it might be worth.