3 Ways to Improve Ball-Handling vs Pressure Defense

Jefferson dribbling

One of the most difficult things to do is translate training into actual game time play. Many players struggle with this and aren't necessarily making the effort to train "game-like" and aren't using tools like Dr. Dish shooting machines to do so.

A problematic area for players can be handling ball pressure, especially from athletic defenders. We'll quickly go over a few ways to simply beat pressure defense and how to properly train for this as well.


Remain Calm

The first and most important thing you can do when trying to handle pressure defense is to remain calm. The main goal of pressure defense is to speed up the offensive player and force them to make mistakes and turnovers. If the defense can turn the offensive player multiple times, they are often times able to potentially sneak up behind and poke the ball out. Pressure defense can force players to take quick bad shots, so it's important to understand when to take a quick one or bring the ball back out to run the offense. On offense the ball-handler should try their best to keep their eyes up at all times. Pressure defense can be easily broken with a quick pass if need be. The ball-handler can then go get the ball again in a more familiar or desired location. Like I stated before, remain calm and make good easy decisions which will help with pressure defense anywhere on the court.

Play with Pace

Players that stay poised and can play with pace are undeniably more successful verse pressure defense. Playing with pace requires the offensive player to be able to dribble the basketball efficiently and also with their eyes up. Pace also requires the player to use their body at times to create the necessary tension and control needed to keep the defender at bay. It's pretty easy for anyone to stay close and follow a person running or jogging at the same speed but just like in a game of tag, changing speed can keep your defender guessing. Different stop and go and change of direction moves can be an easy way for players to control the pace of the game and get to the spots they want to on offense. Remember to never back away from contact and always keep your defender guessing.

Use Screens 

One last way a player can beat pressure defense is by using their own teammates. Often times in the NBA and also college basketball, there is a screen set in the back court to help the ball-handler get up the court. This screen will release pressure and allow the ball-handler to almost reset and see whats going on down the court. It's one of the easiest ways to combat an overly aggressive defender in the back court. Once again make sure to keep your eyes up the court and always keep the basketball tight and on your hip.

These are just a few tips and ways to beat pressure defense so make sure to try all these things to see what you can implement in your own game. Never be afraid to handle the basketball especially against a tough defender and always remember that you control when and where you want to go on offense!

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