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.

Francesco Nanni

Unlocking Offensive Skills with Coach Francesco Nanni

Italian professional basketball coach, Francesco Nanni, brings over a decade of experience coaching at various levels to the basketball world. Francesco Nanni is renowned for his novel methods focused on enhancing players’ one-on-one offensive skills. And his journey from mini basket circuits to the professional arena has been nothing short of inspiring. Nanni’s work isn’t just confined to the court; he’s also recognized for his influential content shared across social media platforms, reaching and mentoring aspiring athletes and coaches worldwide.

Modernizing the Traditional Approach: Francesco Nanni’s Approach

Nanni’s modern coaching philosophy transcends traditional methods, emphasizing the critical importance of one-on-one play. This approach, developed through years of careful observation and hands-on coaching, targets players across all levels. 

The Essence of One-on-One Mastery

At the heart of Nanni’s coaching lies the belief that mastering the one-on-one game is foundational for basketball players. This conviction stems from his observation that young players are naturally drawn to the game through their attempts to outmaneuver opponents in one-on-one situations. Nanni argues that this instinctual drive to excel in individual matchups serves two important functions. First, it boosts players’ confidence as they experience more success. Secondly, it also lays down the basic framework upon which team strategies and dynamics are built.

Bridging Fundamentals and Creativity

An important foundation for team strategies and dynamics is passing. Integrating passing within a one-on-one context is pivotal. Modern basketball demands a skill set that goes beyond just beating an opponent to the rim. Nanni’s approach teaches players to utilize space more effectively, making quick, decisive movements and passes that exploit the momentarily created advantages, a cornerstone of effective offensive play.

A Dynamic Start: The Key to Unleashing Potential

Francesco Nanni places a significant emphasis on dynamic starts, encouraging players to initiate movements with momentum. This strategy simulates real-game scenarios more accurately.  More importantly, it also enhances players’ engagement and enjoyment. This is crucial for sustaining interest and improving skills organically. By processing the game through a lens of constant motion and adjustment, players can better understand how to create and exploit advantages, a testament to Nanni’s holistic approach to skill development.

Defensive Insights: A Two-Way Learning Street

Integral to Nanni’s philosophy is the acknowledgment that one-on-one encounters offer rich defensive learning opportunities as well. By introducing concepts like guided defense, players learn to anticipate and react more effectively, thereby elevating the overall defensive acumen of the team. This nuanced understanding of both offense and defense underpins Nanni’s comprehensive coaching style, emphasizing the importance of balanced skill development.

Beyond the Court: A Vision for Future Basketball

Nanni’s insights don’t just refine players’ present abilities; they offer a blueprint for the evolution of basketball coaching. His emphasis on adaptability, decision-making under pressure, and the seamless integration of offensive and defensive skills point towards a future where players are more versatile, intuitive, and tactically aware. As basketball continues to evolve, coaches like Francesco Nanni are at the forefront, guiding the next generation of players towards achieving their full potential.


Francesco Nanni’s journey is a testament to the power of innovative coaching. His methods, rooted in the rich tradition of Italian basketball yet forward-looking in their application, offer valuable lessons for players and coaches alike. By focusing on the individual within the team context, Nanni’s approach not only enhances one-on-one skills but also fosters a deeper understanding of basketball’s complexities.

For those looking to elevate their game or coaching techniques, diving into Nanni’s philosophy and video series is an excellent place to start. His six-part video series, available on and, is a treasure trove of insights into developing essential one-on-one skills.

Steph Curry Brandon Payne

The Brilliance of Steph Curry and the Role of Brandon Payne

In the realm of basketball greatness, few names shine as brightly as Steph Curry. His unmatched shooting precision, ball-handling wizardry, and transformative impact on the game have elevated him to the status of a living legend.

But what’s the secret sauce behind Curry’s sustained success on the court? Enter Brandon Payne, the maestro behind Curry’s basketball brilliance. As the brains behind Curry’s training regimen, Payne has played a pivotal role in sculpting the skills that have left fans and fellow players in awe. In this deep dive, we unravel the training methods employed by Brandon Payne. And we explore the techniques that have contributed to Steph Curry’s basketball wizardry.

The Foundation: Understanding the Curry-Payne Partnership

At the heart of Stephen Curry’s sustained excellence is the partnership forged with his skills trainer, Brandon Payne. Payne, the architect behind the transformation, has meticulously crafted a training regimen that goes beyond the conventional. One key aspect is the focus on personalized drills and exercises tailored to Curry’s unique strengths and playing style. This ensures that every training session is a step toward mastery. Payne hones in on Curry’s individual needs and pushes the boundaries of what’s possible on the court.

Learning more about this amazing partnership here: Brandon Payne discusses training Steph Curry on The Basketball Podcast

The Art of Shooting: Perfecting the Stroke

Stephen Curry’s three-point prowess is nothing short of legendary. Brandon Payne is the man behind the curtain, fine-tuning every aspect of Curry’s shooting technique. Payne’s emphasis on muscle memory and repetition forms the bedrock of Curry’s deadly accuracy. From off-balance shots to quick releases, the training regimen includes a variety of drills aimed at honing Curry’s ability to score from any spot on the court.

Game Intelligence: Mastering Decision-Making under Pressure

Beyond the physical aspects, Brandon Payne places a significant emphasis on developing Stephen Curry’s basketball IQ. Training sessions are designed to simulate game scenarios, enabling Curry to make split-second decisions under intense pressure. The objective is not just to master the physical skills but to enhance the mental acuity that sets Curry apart from his peers. Learn more about how Curry has changed the game: How Steph Curry changed the world of NBA through data analytics

Conditioning for Endurance: The 4th Quarter Phenomenon

One of the lesser-known secrets to Curry’s sustained success is his exceptional conditioning, a facet meticulously overseen by Brandon Payne. The focus extends beyond explosive sprints and endurance drills; it’s about preparing Curry for the relentless demands of the 4th quarter. Dive into the specifics of Curry’s conditioning regimen in this comprehensive article: Stephen Curry may be the best-conditioned player in the NBA, and his incredibly demanding workouts show why

The Future of Basketball Mastery: Brandon Payne’s All-Access Shooting Clinic

Now, Brandon Payne is opening the doors to aspiring ballers with the All-Access Shooting Clinic. This exclusive video series, available at, grants enthusiasts unprecedented access to over 160 hours of content, unveiling the secrets behind Stephen Curry’s iconic skills. It’s a golden opportunity to learn directly from the mastermind himself and elevate your game to extraordinary heights.



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