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SOS "Off-Ball" Pressure

As in the on-ball actions, the letters S-O-S have significance in reminding both coach and player of the three words designated to trigger specific off-ball actions relative to stance, positioning, and movements. SNUGGLE, OFF and STRIKE are the key words to initiate individual off-ball actions and ensure maximum SOS pressure defensive success.

Snuggle Position (Pass Denial).

When the off-ball defender is one pass away from the ballhandler, the defender ACTS first to deny any pass to his/hers offensive assignment. The SNUGGLE actions requires the defender to follow these steps:

  1. Defender assumes a low bent knee stance, feet wide apart with rear foot approximately twelve inches behind offensive player, ear even with opponent's chest, head and eyes focused straight ahead to insure vision of both the ballhandler and the opponent.
  2. One of defender's arms should be extended at shoulder level, hand faced out ready to deflect any attempted pass. Defender's other arm is positioned at right angle to body, with back of hand brushing opponent's hip.
  3. Defender uses quick short slides to "shadow" the movement of opponent maintaining the Snuggle position.

Note: When/if defender is beaten on a back cut to the basket, the defender should head snap and reverse the Snuggle position by extending the opposite hand looking to deflect any attempted backdoor pass.

Post Front

In defending the low post area, if the passer is located on the wing, the Snuggle position moves into a full Post Front position utilizing "slip front" technique.

  1. In a full Front position, the defender assumes a low, semiflexed position between passer and the post with the outside hand raised and rotating to disrupt passing vision and the lower hand extended down in contact with the post's lower body.
  2. The defender's rear foot should be locked around the opponent's rear foot.

Off Position

OFF action is designed to vigorously deny the passing lane to an opponent attempting to cut to the basket. The commonly used "Give & Go" offensive maneuver is all too consistent in its success and all too traumatic in its effect. Its sting, however, can be minimized with by the decisive and clear cut SOS OFF action. It is important that the OFF slide strategy is executed from any of the three on-ball SOS (Set, On or Smother) actions. The specifics of the OFF action are as follows:

  1. Defender moves one stride OFF and away from opponent, assuming a position between their opponent and the ballhandler. Some coaches refer to this OFF action as "Jumping to the ball."
  2. Once the ballside position is established, the defender assumes a Snuggle stance and movement "sticking like glue" to deny any return pass all the way to the basket.

Strike Position

While the Snuggle and Off tactics effectively close off first passing lanes, the SOS weakside strategy is termed STRIKE. The term Strike fits it action and refers to a swift snakelike movement initiated by the weakside defender to aggressively impede the opponent's path into the three second area.

  1. Defender assumes a position approximately halfway between their opponent and the passer, one arm's distance below an imaginary line running between the opponent and ballhander.
  2. Defender assumes an arms extended "pointing" stance, with one hand pointing to the ball and the other to the weakside opponent. The defender's eyes are focus straight ahead insuring that both the passer and opponent are within vision at all times.

In the Strike position, the defender assumes a variety of weakside help responsibilities:

  • Physically preventing any opponent from cutting into the 3 second area by assuming an aggressive Snuggle pass denial position.
  • Backside coverage on low post lob passes.
  • Helping a teammate who has been beaten to the basket by taking a charge.
  • Blocking attempted lay-in with hand nearest the ball.
  • Boxing out and rebounding on missed shots.

Closing Out

When the weakside offensive player receives a crosscourt pass, the defender executes a closeout maneuver, moving from a Strike position to a Set position. This requires a sprint toward the ballhandler two-thirds of the distance and a series of mini-slides with arms raise high ending in a Set position at an arm's distance from the opponent. In the Set position, the defender must influence the ballhander to the nearest corner or baseline checkpoint.





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