This concept has perhaps the biggest impact on limiting shooting volume - besides of course arriving on the catch. The main emphasis however is that defenders should not wait until they breakdown their footwork to get their hand(s) up. Here is a good example of the early hand concept taking away a shot attempt.
If you have ever seen a defender get shot over, despite cover the distance quickly and getting close, it will often be due to late hands. Many players make the mistake of throwing their hands up only when they get to the final stage of their closeout. By then, they are raising their hands under the shooters mechanics and shot; thus limiting their impact.
On the offensive player’s catch, defenders should already have a hand up, disrupting and discouraging a clean catch-and-shoot.
For believers of the Stride Stop closeout footwork, the early hand concept can still be applied and should be. The defender should get their hand up on the last sprint step as their first foot is striking down for the stride stop.
See you next time.