How to Guard a Good Ball Handler
- 1). Maintain a low, balanced stance that you are comfortable in. The key is to find a position where you can easily react to anything the good ball handler will do. When he catches the ball, he's in a triple threat position, meaning that he can pass, dribble or shoot. Don't over commit or fall for pump fakes; stay honest. You can do this by keeping your eyes on his waist, as your peripheral vision will enable you to still see what else he is doing.
- 2). Stick to your defensive assignment in regards to the defense your team is playing. For instance, there are two main types of defense in basketball: the zone and the man-to-man. If you are playing a zone, then stay in your area and don't be lured out of it; trust your teammates. If you are in a man-to-man, however, stay with the ball handler and try not to get separated by screens designed to get you away from him.
- 3). Avoid fouling. This may seem a bit obvious, as it's for the most part not your intention to do so. However, keep in mind that in many leagues, the ball handler will jump into you if you're playing too close, resulting in the referee calling a foul on you. For instance, two time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant is an expert at this technique, as he regularly leads the league in free throw attempts. Plus, the more foul trouble you are in, the more the ball handler can exploit the situation. If he knows you are in danger of fouling out, then he can drive on you at will, knowing that you'll be wary of contact.
- 4). Keep up your pursuit of the ball handler if he does indeed manage to drive around you. You'll have the element of surprise on your side, since he's now focused on either scoring or passing. You are now an afterthought, meaning that you can sneak up from behind and get the steal, or failing that, strip the ball and tip it to your teammates.