HEDGE • TRAP • LEVEL • SWITCH • DOWN • UNDER
Quickly identifying the defensive strategy and countering is best done with recognition training in practice. IF – THEN is drilled with constant repetition where each player understands his responsibility in any given set.
Hedge: Splitting the hedge can be an effective tool but is easier said than done. Much of the responsibility lies with the screener. If the screener is slow to his position and allows the player defending the screener to stay attached to his man than that allows him to be in better position for the hedge. But if, within the system, the team has a pick the picker strategy that frees up the screener, it may force the defender to adopt another tactic such as level or switch. Or perhaps he’ll be late on the hedge and attempt to follow through on his job, disconnected from the screener, makes him more prone to the counter, such as splitting. Another counter for the hedge could be dragging out the hedge to force rotations. Whether the set is run with a rolling big and then a replace or a spread set or the action calls for more of a pick and pop philosophy, dragging out the hedge where the ball attempts to force the hedge to commit as far away from his next responsibility, whether that be a man or an area, as possible.
Another possibility, within the system, is where the screener sprints to the ball screen from an area on the floor flat on the baseline. A rub screen, cross screen, back pick or early action, followed immediately by the screener sprinting to the ball makes it very difficult for the defender to be in proper position for the hedge. If the defender has to bump or defend a step in or show for a back pick and then be attached to a screener some 25 feet away on the floor after a full sprint, even an agile big man like Noah with Chicago would struggle to consistently be in hedge position after this type of action. Obviously quickness and ball handling ability, with a quick change of speed and direction is quintessential to the process. A ball handler that has the ability to take his defender down to the depth of the screen and force his man to choose between an under or trail position must happen first before the player defending the screener will need to help. Over the course of a game, teams have tendencies offensively and defensively. Each reading the other’s tendencies looking to counter. Often a team will be very good at one but less effective at another. Much of this can be determined in advanced scouting looking at player and team tendencies.
This has been a look at reading and countering the hedge with some automatics built in the system designed to counteract the defensive approach. In the weeks to come we’ll spend more time looking at other actions and defensive strategies.
Coach Terrell is the only person to have led teams in the first division in the professional leagues of Latin America, North America, Europe, and China. He has also given coaching seminars around the World for coaches of all levels. Please do not hesitate to contact us using the link above or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org