Picks are effective. But holy hell they’re frustrating.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, picks have the ability to shut down your opponent physically and mentally. Competing against players who routinely pick you out is no easy task. So if you can set picks while you play bike polo, you’re adding a tool to your arsenal that few have mastered.
Since they’re such an effective—and often frustrating—part of some players’ game, we figured it’d be worthwhile to ask a few dudes:
“How do you set a pick? What do you see develop on that court that gives you the opportunity to set a pick?”
Pierre Delamare (D.C.): Don’t abuse it. That was my biggest mistake when I started using them. They are nice for the game and are effective when they are used sparingly and have the surprise effect. If you don’t respect that, people that can read blocks well will turn them against you and score easy counter attack goals.
My technique for blocking people is just to make sure their front wheel is at your hip level. This way even if he is a bigger guy, it’s usually hard for them to move you. Also, don’t hold them too long. Just disrupt and keep moving. Expect to be pushed around—and rightfully so—when you do block.
Laurent (Geneva): For me it’s really close to screening. It’s not really my goal to stop the opponent, but depending on the direction you and he are going, you may have to stop to keep the opponent from getting towards the ball. Setting a pick, to me, is important to help your teammate not getting under the pressure of two opponents. Also by stopping them, you slow up the game. If you’re in the path of your opponent—and you stop him—it means he’ll have to restart in another direction from no speed at all and you’ll be able to keep him locked because you’re the one in front.
On how to set it up: I’d slide on that part saying that it’s kind of by feeling. I may prefer picking than screening because a stopped player would have more difficulty to reenter the action than someone still in motion. So I’d say when you can do it, just pick him!
Eric Kremin (Milwaukee): I am not a big promoter of picking, but it does have a time and place. A spot that I seem to fall into picking a lot, oddly enough, is in the corner. After winning the ball I look for a forward pass. Then I try to keep that defender stuck behind me when leaving our defensive zone. That can help create a breakaway or a 2-on-1 or 1-on-1. It also leaves you open for a back pass because that defender is now stuck behind you.
Now we want to hear from you. What do you see that enables you to pick out an opponent?