Have your ever get yourself trapped in a double team? What did you do? Were you successful in breaking it? Double teaming is one of the most difficult defensive types to play in the game of Basketball. A player is usually said to be double teamed when two opponents try to block his way and steal the ball. Some players experience a mental lapse, and make a bad pass and, as you may know, coaches usually get really mad when this happens.

However, different ways are being studied to solve this dilemma. The first thing is to look at the reasons, or situations, when, and why, a double team is implemented.

Let’s look at the reasons to double team

  1. Press Defense: Steal Possession
    Players and coaches love to double team to steal a possession. This is, most likely, observed during a very close ball game, with time running down. A successful team can either increase their lead, or surmount the lead of their rival. In Basketball, this is always pointed out clearly: Offense starts from Defense.
  2. Prevent the opponent form attacking the basket
    A player, who is double teamed, may find it hard to penetrate inside and shoot the ball. Good defenders try to stick with their man to create the little space needed to pass and to score.
  3. Limit opponents to have a good look at the basket, and the court
    When someone is defending you closely, it is hard to have a clear visualization of what is happening on the court, as well as the respective positions of your team mates. It is also difficult to position yourself in order to have a great look at the basket.
  4. Prevent spontaneous rise in the opponents’ offensive momentum.
    A double team is capable of shutting down an offensive momentum of the opposing team. There is a tendency that players will demonstrate too much passing, and the ball stays in the hands of the handler over time, forcing a stoppage of possession and causing a turnover.
  5. Limit the opponent’s shooter to touch, or handle, the ball.
    If a shooter is always double teamed, he gets minimum ball touches, forcing him to pass the ball to his team mates. In this way you can limit a top player in scoring.

Players must be aware of these reasons, especially if you are a high percentage shooter. You will always be the target of a double team. In addition, this will enable the players to anticipate it. They can make useful adjustments in their game to handle the suffocating effects of double team.

Now, let’s look on how to beat a double team

  1. Anticipate the Double Team
    You must be quick enough to anticipate and recognize an upcoming double team, especially common trapping zones. Shift your gear and move away from the threat of double team. All team members must anticipate it, not just the one dribbling the ball. Your team can assist beating the double team by helping out the trapped team mate. The cornered player can pass the ball to that helping team mate.
  2. Utilize your dribbling skills
    Go back to the fundamentals of basketball. A well-timed dribbling can render a double team useless. For this you must be able to dribble the ball well to escape away from the double team. Try togo between the two defenders. This will allow you to keep and secure a possession or even give you a good look to score.
  3. Learn to pass the ball
    This is the most efficient way to beat a double team. A player must pass the ball to his team mates who are left unguarded. The challenge to this is putting your passing skills to a test. This is not just about getting rid of the ball off your hands, but also getting the ball into the hands of good positioned team mate. The player’s eyes must be swift enough to see his team mates who are open to receive the pass.
  4. Enhance your footwork
    Sometimes, players are overwhelmed by a coming double team. They have the tendency to take that extra step, resulting to a travelling call. Others will try to stop, nail both feet on the floor, and struggle to keep the ball. Confusion in what to do next becomes the major problem. Try to enforce your footwork skills, and pivot on both sides. Move to your left, or to your right with your whole body, protecting the ball. If done right, your defender will find it hard to stay in front of you. Moreover, your footwork will help you create a rapid change of speed and position.
  5. Do not distance yourself to much away from your team mates
    This will open up a great invitation to your opponent to double team you. If you are too far from your team mates, you may find it difficult to pass the ball. There is a great possibility that your pass may be intercepted, and our opponent may have enough time to seize you before your help comes. Position yourself at a manageable distance between you and your teammate.
  6. Ask for assistance
    You, simply, cannot do it alone, especially when you are being double teamed. Calling out for help, warns your teammate that you are in trouble.
  7. Try to get a foul
    If you can no longer escape your defenders, stick with them. Give them a piece of their own medicine by trying to get a foul. A player can do it by faking a shot, and then when the defender succumbs to it, create a contact with any part of your body and the defender. A player must be skilled enough to execute this play, because a call lies in the referee’s discretion whether, or not, a legitimate contact has been made.
  8. Call a time-out
    This is, probably, the easiest way to break a double team. When you have no place to go, and your options run out, the best thing to do is call a timeout, especially if it is a very close game. The real disadvantage is when our team has already used all the time-out privileges, and there is non left. you must try to utilize other options before calling a time-out. A coach would not want to waste the team’s timeouts just because his players do not know how to deal with the double team.

In playing the game of Basketball, defenders will always try to stay in front of your way to stop you. At times, it will not be just one, but two. As a player you must learn to be quick in making decisions to alleviate such hindrances that block your way.

Picture credit: maveric2003Creative Commons Attribution