basketball closeout defense

The Basketball Closeout Debate: Chopping Feet vs. Stride Stop

The sport of basketball has undergone substantial changes in the past few years. Players have improved their offensive abilities, becoming more adept at shooting, passing, and dribbling from various positions. Consequently, conventional defensive tactics, specifically surrounding the basketball closeout, have lost some of their effectiveness. To excel as a defender in today’s game, it is essential to adjust and acquire new skills.

The discussion surrounding the basketball closeout footwork has garnered significant attention. Both coaches and players have engaged in conversations regarding the advantages and disadvantages of two commonly used techniques: chopping feet and stride stop. This blog will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each approach to the basketball closeout, ultimately identifying the more efficient method for various scenarios.

The Chopping Feet Technique

Chopping feet, also referred to as the traditional teaching point, is a footwork technique that focuses on controlling momentum. It can be advantageous for players with slower foot speed, enabling them to halt their momentum and react promptly. Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to this method. One disadvantage of chopping feet is that it decelerates players, particularly during sprints.

This can be detrimental when attempting to defend against shooters, as it provides them with the space to shoot over the defender. Moreover, instructing players to chop their feet repeatedly can further impede their momentum, diminishing their ability to effectively contest shots. On a positive note, chopping feet offers a slight buffer if the offensive player opts to dribble. This can give the defender an edge in cutting off the drive. However, it is crucial to have quick hands and reach the point of impact promptly. Without swift hands or the capability to close the distance efficiently, shooters can easily shoot over the defender.

The Stride Stop Technique

The technique of the stride stop involves transitioning from a full sprint to a stride stop. Some coaches may find this technique difficult for players to execute, especially in game situations or when navigating a ball screen. Despite this, the stride stop is commonly utilized in the NBA and offers various benefits. One advantage is that it enables players to generate more power when attempting a vertical jump, which can be useful for contesting shots and improving their vertical leap.

However, using the stride stop to contain a driving opponent can pose challenges, as defenders must closely guard the offensive player’s space at an awkward angle. This angle can make it tricky to effectively block the drive. Additionally, a potential downside of the stride stop is that it exposes the defender’s leading foot, making it harder to recover defensively as the entire body must be swung open. While the stride stop can disrupt shooters more efficiently, it also leaves defenders more susceptible to drives.

The Yin and Yang of Footwork

The debate surrounding the effectiveness of chopping feet versus the stride stop as a basketball closeout can be likened to a yin and yang situation. Chopping feet is more inclined to give up shots but excels at containing drives. Conversely, the stride stop is more likely to disrupt shooters but may be vulnerable to drives. Coaches often have varying preferences when it comes to these techniques, with some staunchly advocating for one method over the other. The NBA has embraced the one-two stop due to the game’s heavy reliance on three-point shooting. Leaving an NBA shooter open can have more severe consequences compared to leaving a high school player open, given the frequency and consistency of their three-point shots.


In the ongoing discussion regarding chopping feet versus stride stop, the optimal solution can be found by striking a balance. Although both chopping feet and stride stop have their own advantages and disadvantages, it is essential to consider the specific game situation and the tendencies of the offensive player.

By equipping players with the necessary skills, coaches can prepare their teams to counter a variety of offensive threats. Ultimately, the decision between chopping feet and stride stop will hinge on the coach’s preference, the team’s defensive tactics, and the competitive level. Regardless of the chosen technique, it is crucial to train players to execute it proficiently and adapt to different game scenarios. While the debate may persist, coaches can enhance their team’s defensive performance and increase their chances of success by embracing a middle ground.

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