Training Shuffle Variations for Better Defense

Foundation of Defense

There seems to be a trend in the performance and coaching of basketball defense where coaches feel there is no need to train or teach the defensive shuffle anymore.

Here we go again, more specialization concepts!

Not training the shuffle is like not training basic layups anymore- it will come back to bite you!

The thought process of so many coaches is that players don’t use the shuffle anymore- they just laterally run to defend ball handlers. Hmm, have you watched a game of basketball lately?

The shuffle occurs, in many fashions, on every single trip down the floor.

A defender shuffles during a pass denial. A defender uses a shuffle to hedge on a pick and roll screen, every time they guard the ball, and when a ball-handler is moving slowly. A defender uses a shuffle when faking and recovering back to their opponent. A shuffle is critical in the game of basketball.

A lateral run is used when the offensive player moves faster than a shuffle will allow the defender to do when matching speeds- it’s a natural transition from the shuffle to the lateral run.

Shuffling is the foundation of defense, defensive positions, and defensive coverage.

Shuffle Variations

What’s important is to teach the various types of shuffles to make sure the players understand the techniques they should use in certain situations.

  • Snap Shuffle- This is a very quick shuffle with the characteristic of staying in a smaller lateral gait cycle to not over-extend.

  • Power Shuffle- The opposite of the Snap Shuffle and characterized by a more powerful and long gait cycle in order to cover more distance at higher speeds.

  • Waddle Shuffle- A strategy of using a short shuffle with a Hip Turn to maintain balance and position and have options to move in any direction quickly when needed. It is used when a ball-handler is coming straight at you.

Shuffling is intuitive for basketball players. They understand the speed of their opponent and will match their speed with the skill to stay in front of them. The shuffle is the catalyst for the lateral run. The first third of the lateral run is the same as the lateral shuffle- PUSHING!

Don’t be fooled by the coaches who are no longer teaching the shuffle- they will regret it because their players will start making footwork mistakes that cost them. Teach the shuffle, teach the variations, and make sure your players know what shuffles give them the best chance to defend like a champion.

Learn More

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Categories: : basketball movement, basketball skills, basketball speed