5-Bar Defense

From: Rocky Wilson Posted: 10/15/97 to

When you are defending against a 5-bar pass, it is a cat and mouse
game. What your opponent is trying to do is (1) Simply Pass so
quickly that you aren't there, or (2) do a fake to get you off your
mark and pass once you've fallen for the fake (and example is the
hesitation wall pass--also known as the double-pump wall pass), or (3)
they use a hovering technique and "hang time" to make you commit to one
hole and then they go to the other or (4) they time your defense and
wait until you move off your mark and pass where you were.

If you are having problems with (1), you need to use a random jump and
fake defense or some sort of shuffle. They should not be able to just
blast a pass by you. It is easy for you to keep them from knowing
exactly where you are going to be at any one instant. Remember--THIS
IS VERY IMPORTANT--do not try to keep in the middle of their two
options try to race them to the one they pass. You are in NO MANS LAND
and will likely not block any pass at all. Always have you man in the
position of one of their options and jump from one to another.

If you are having problems with (2), simply do not look at what the
opponent is doing. Set up a defensive pattern rather than trying to
block their passes.

If you are having problems with (3), then join the crowd, a well train
player with a lot of hang time and good execution will get a good
percentage of passes. The only real counter to this is randomly taking
their favorite options and moving quickly to avoid committing. Awesome
hand speed and aggressiveness is another counter. Most--lets say
all--players who use hang time against their opponents don't pass
perfectly every time--they flub, or pass slowly on occasion--you need
the aggressiveness and hand speed on those occasions. WARNING: THIS IS
the ball on a jar or reset call occasionally, you are simply not
aggressive enough.

If you are having problems with (4), the problem is that your motion
defense does not have any "fakes" in it. If every time you move, you
change position, then the opponent simply waits until they see motion
and passes where you were! The counter to this is to sometimes
(often?) move your defense, but move it right back where it was.
Sometimes just a twitch will cause the opponent to pass right into your

Other important techniques on the 5-bar defensively are to change the
attitude of your men. Sometimes tip them forward, sometimes backward.
The purpose is for you to adjust so the opponent will not get the ball
back when they pass. Most forwards pass a similar speed each time.
Some positioning of the man's foot forward or back will cause a minimum
of rebounds when you do get blocks. Another way to do this is to not
hold on to the handle as tightly. This allows your defense to absorb
the impact and keep the ball on your men and causes the ball to stick
to your 5-bar instead of going back to the opponents 5-bar. If you've
got quick hands you can also try to spike their pass as an option.

Hope I've helped.

............................Rocky Wilson

[A response from Moonglum]

That's a great overview of basic (and a few not so basic) 5 bar d's. You
should read through this post several times and write down each concept
as a separate defense. One of the main points Rocky is trying to get
through to you is there is always a way to get your share of blocked
passes. When your playing someone who has a pass that is raceable you
can choose to stand in "NO MAN's LAND" and race to where he is hitting
it. If this is working you might even block every pass .This is the
Defense most people use naturally. The problem is if the pass is to fast
or hit at too steep an angle you will lose your race most (possibly
all) of the time. The second choice for most people is the option guess.
Let us say we are playing Bill. Bill has 4 basic passes he like to do.
The first two happen right next to the wall. 1 is a wall pass 2 is a
lane pass. When the ball gets near the wall you keep shaking your men
like nothings changing but the moment the ball enters his danger zone
you have already picked wall or lane and just stand there. A variation
on this is to pick your men up wait for movement and swing where you have
pre picked. Bill 3 and 4 options are slower and in a different area so
we just race them. Another point rocky made that is very important is
that you never want to give back a pass you blocked. In the example
above you will block 10 out of 20 passes near the wall. however if half
those bounce back to him for another try you only end up with 6 or 7
blocks and that may not be enough. That is where Rocks loose grip or
spike comes in. Alright my one finger is tired of typing NEXT (how about
one of you silent PRO MASTER TYPES filling in Moonglum