It’s called the wide steal because the steal occurs at the width of the defender’s wingspan. Typically used by defenders who stand more upright in their defensive stance as this keeps their wing span wide and at the level of the dribble pocket.
The steal technique works because most offensive players extend the ball in front of them as they try to attack or get by a defender. Even if the offensive player keeps the ball within their body frame, the wide steal can still poke the ball behind.
In fact the only way the offensive player can prevent a steal like this is to extend their own dribble to the extent of their width or take a wide angle around the defender. The wide angle attack is advantageous to the defense already and wide dribbling range is rarely practiced and hardly done in game.
This is a great introductory steal technique for an intermediate defender who is prioritizing containment and staying in front. As those defenders will be using a more upward stance and be facing offensive players trying to attack their hips.
Although this technique does come naturally to some defenders, the majority need to practice and get a feel for the proper technique of this steal. Practice does breed execution.
See you next time.