Mason Rocca: “Games are won in defense”
Richard Mason Rocca (born November 6, 1977) is an American born Italian professional basketball player for Aurora Jesi of the Legadue Basket.
When he was playing for Virtus Bologna (Serie A, Italian basketball championship), after a big win in an important match, he said: “I really like this team because its successes always start from a good defense. The offense becomes a result of strong defense. From here we build victories”.
The key to good defense is staying between the hoop and your man, if they can’t get by you, they can’t score.
Here are some tips that will help:
- Keep your feet wide apart. → Always be moving your feet but make sure you are in good position, never let your feet cross or get close together because your man will drive by you.
- Keep your legs bent → As if you were sitting on a chair, you should play defense from a low position. Staying low enables you to jump high, steel balls, and gain leverage in the post.
- Watch the player not the ball → Your opponent may try and get you off balance by using ball fakes, by watching their body you will not get tricked or off balance.
- Active Hands → Always be using your hands to get in the way of what your opponent is trying to do whether it be jabbing at the ball, filling passing lanes, face guarding.
- Always box out → Your job in defensive rebounding is to make sure your man does not get the ball, when you box out you are almost guarantying that they do not have a play on the ball.
- Don’t let your man drive the center→ If the player you are guarding is quicker than you, you don’t have to let him the central penetration other wise he can easily lay up, put up a jumper or assist a teammate. So, if you let him the bottom line, your teammates can easily help and/or double the ball handler. You also give to your opponent a more difficult angle of shot.
- Never look away from the player you are guarding → It is good to keep an eye on who has the ball, but not at the expense of losing your man. Stand at an angle to that you can see your man and the ball without moving your head.