Playing Against Bigger Players

How to Match Up Against Bigger Players

Basketball is a game of height. However, contrary to popular belief, lack of height is not necessarily a detriment. In fact, there are plenty advantages to being one of the smaller players. Regardless, when someone taller than you is guarding you, then you need to know how to handle him. And that all starts by developing the correct sets of skills.

First, know what you’re good at and know what skills you need to work on. What are your strengths? Are you good at penetrating to the basket? If you are, then you must make sure and be selective in your opportunities. There may be some defenders that you can easily get past and beat to the hoop. But these opportunities usually rely on quickness. Perhaps it would be smart to also develop some type of shot that is more suited for your size – such as a fade-away, floater, or a teardrop lay-up.

You must also be aware of who all is in the lane — both defense and offense. If it’s crowded, it might not be a good idea to go in there. However, if there is no shot blocker, or you’re playing a 5 out offense, then it might be a perfect opportunity to challenge your defender, drive, and then use the right shot at the right time.

Once the defense starts realizing that you are not afraid to dribble penetrate (you only have to prove it 1 or 2 times during the game), then he will be forced to step back off you a bit, which will open up outside jump shot opportunities. Concentrate on making hard cuts to open areas so that you can score when the ball is thrown to you. Work on the proper skills coming off that cut — like having your hands ready to catch, having your knees bent, catching the ball with your feet in the air, landing in a good shooting position (squared up) and preparing a quick release when you are open, or perhaps swinging the ball when you’re not.

One of the most important skills a player should develop, is moving without the ball. Try and stay aggressive at all times — even when you don’t have the ball. Make your man chase you when you don’t have the ball. Run your man off screens, constantly cut or screen. Smaller players have to be smart and more active. The more you move, the more fatigued your defender will get, which will give you a real advantage when you have the ball.

On defense, you have to be even MORE aggressive because good teams may try and force a miss-match by putting someone bigger on you and then posting you up. But, if you can keep them guessing on how you play defense, then you can eliminate that issue. Play defense on the ball with high intensity, then back off, double down to the post and recover. Force the dribble away from the screen, cut off the baseline, and draw a charge. Be aggressive and creative in how you play. Make them find you, worry about you, and adjust to you – instead of attacking you.

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This entry was posted on December 12th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

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