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The Touch Slide : Defensive Footwork Series 5

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

So far we have covered 5 types on of ball footwork: the Cushion Slide, the Cross Step, the Two Touch Slide, the Contact Slide and now finally the classics of all classics.

The On-Ball Defensive Footwork everyone has been waiting for. Yes, it has finally come, the touch slide. Although more common at lower levels (perhaps the topic of a future study/blog) the classic defensive slide does have years of pedigree and coaching.

I refer to this classic defensive slide as the Touch Slide, because of the teaching cues I use when introducing different defensive footwork. This Touch Slide technique is performed by moving laterally while maintaining a shoulder width distance between the feet. Below you can see DYOP Marcus Smart execute the technique.

The advantages of the Touch Slide are its ability to absorb contact, change directions and the flexibility to convert to other defensive footworks in one movement. Typically you will see the Touch Slide as a precursor to a differing technique: think a touch slide into a Cross Step or a Two Touch. Rarely do we see defenders use multiple Touch Slides in the same direction. In the clip below you can see Patrick Beverley pressuring Curry with several Touch Slides and than transition into a cross-step/turn-and-run.

However, because the Touch Slide is the base movement out of a defensive stance, and the precursor of many defensive techniques, the ability to perform a great Touch Slide will have a large impact on a defender’s ability to defend. Similar to how we rate an offensive player’s first step, the same can be said for a defender’s first slide. Does the defender have the ability to defend “his yard” : 1-2 slides on either side of him.

As you can see in the above clip, Gary Payton II is able to neutralize a disadvantage situation, not only a closeout but leaving his feet on a closeout, using a great first step - Touch Slide - to completely contain Grant Williams’ attack. GP2 is phenomenal at this technique and if you need more clips, just turn on any Warriors game and wait for GP2 to check in.

Lastly, the Touch Slide is also an extremely efficient technique to train and teach. One of my favorite drills is the Beverley Slides in the below video. This not only introduces the correct footwork and allows progressive resistance but it also introduces the importance of footwork and the degree of nuance in practicing great defense.

If you want even more drills, refer to the Lockdown Ladder Instructional Video and the new Lockdown Ladder 2.0.

See you next time!

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