Earlier this week we discussed the technique of the cross step, today we will be breaking another myth in defensive technique, “Never bring your feet together.” Although a sound principle in lateral and cushion slides, there is a technique that benefits from bringing your feet together. I’ve termed this movement the Two Touch Slide. Similar to the Cross Step, it is a lateral technique that allows the defender to cover a much larger area compared to a traditional slide.
In the clip below you will see Thybulle execute the technique not once but twice while defending Kyrie Irving and trying to stay in front of him.
By brining the feet together, using foot replacement, the defender can create more momentum and force in the next lateral movement. The physiology behind foot replacement is center the body’s mass over one trigger point. Think about trying to jump laterally for the longest distance. If you start in a classic stance with your body mass centered between your two feet, you may be more balanced, but the force you can generate from our outside leg will suffer.
Watch in this clip how Marcus Smart uses the technique to cut off Giannis Ant’s drive. At the time of using the Two Touch it appears Smart will be unable to cut off the drive and that Giannis has the angle and advantage already. But by using the Two Touch Slide Smart is able to explode laterally for distance and stay in front of an elite driver.
Like many things, absolutes are hard to come by. “Never bring your feet together” may be best used when working on a specific technique, but when it comes to defense, in the real game situations, elite defenders do it time and time again. And by studying the technique and why they may use it, perhaps we can better train and develop defenders to do what comes naturally to these gifted defenders.
Part 1: The Cushion Slide
Part 2: The Cross Step
Part 4: The Contact Slide
Part 5: The Touch Slide
See you next week.