Manipulating Momentum

The closeout is one of the most important defensive skills in basketball. It occurs when a defensive player goes from an off-ball position to an on-ball position. The Shell Drill is an excellent way to teach defensive position.  During a closeout, the defensive player must close the distance between he and his man. The goal is to be able to prevent/contest a shot and/or defend the drive … it is quite a task! Closing-out is a skill that must be emphasized daily.

Take advanage of vertical momentum

jump-shot-silhouetteOn the other side of the ball offensive players are looking to take advantage of the vertical momentum of the closeout. As the defender is rushing out, the offensive player is reading time and space. An uncontested jump shot is often taken with available space. The threat of the catch and shoot jump shot draws the defense closer and leads to the opportunity for a dribble drive. Reading and reacting appropriately to a closeout is another skill that must be drilled on a daily basis.  Triple threat moves include shot fakes, jabs and ball rips.

Preventing the close-out

Team offense and defense are designed to create and prevent closeouts. Ball reversal and penetrate and pitch offense creates closeout situations in which the offense can manipulate the momentum of the closeout. Zone defenses or gap man to man defenses are designed to contain and prevent penetration plays to minimize the impact of defensive momentum and rotation.

The big ideas

Momentum, time and space are "big ideas" in any sport. The fight for possession and position in basketball between offense and defense is often won by the player that is best able to manage these variables. When designing any workout or practice, it is a good idea to consider both sides of the closeout.

And now for some examples

Look for the offense taking advantage of momentum in this video (below), time and space … the Spurs are a great example of offensive execution.


This video shows a great closeout and jump to the ball drill.