The defensive specialist is often referred to as a "stopper" or "lockdown defender". He is often assigned to guard the opposing team's best player. With the license to shoot at will, the opposing team's best player will launch 20+ shots a game and will score at some point regardless how good the perimeter defender guards him.
A good night for the defensive specialist is gauged on whether his team wins the game. The role of stopper is not as glorious as his teammates who are assigned to score, but the defensive specialist is crucial to ultimately winning games.
The defensive specialist does not need the attention to play his game. He is caught up in his own game, his own defensive world where his existence is all about the "match up" that night. He does not want his assigment to score, shoot or even touch the ball if the defender can help it. It is an obsessive grudge match against the best players with the end goal of shutting down or slowing down his opponent enough so that the win takes place.
The defensive specialist is a student of the game. He studies all the possible moves from his opponents. He pays attention to detail and prepares for each game and each opponents as if he was going into a championship boxing match. There is a pride in his defensive game that is above all else. This type of player is loved by coaches and will always have a spot on a team.
Unfortunately, the defensive specialist is a rare bird that, once found, must be cherished and celebrated as a role model for others to follow.
Are you known as a defensive specialist? If you are a coach, do you give the proper accolades to the defensive stopper in your team? Defense wins championships and it first begins with the defensive specialist leading the way.