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Keep your palms up on defense.

Dick Devenzio, founder of the Original Point Guard College

KUP stands for Keep Up Palms. Keep your palms up on defense. If you try to steal a dribble or a held ball, do it with your palms up, in a way that you could balance a “kup” on your palm, not turn the kup over. If you try to touch a shot on defense, do it with your palm facing the sky, not the ground.

Players draw unnecessary fouls by reaching, palm down to the floor, for dribbles or by swatting, palm down to the floor, at shots. And players walk around courts during free throws shaking their heads and mumbling that they never touched him.

Because of that, it would help you to accept right now this new definition of a foul.

A Foul is

Any time you make contact

with a player on the other team

and the referee blows his whistle,

or any time you look like you make

contact with a player on the other team and the referee blows his whistle.

Understand this definition, and prepare yourself to play accordingly.

You do not have to foul to get called for a foul; you merely have to look like you fouled. Therefore, a good defensive player does not waste his time mumbling about never having touched someone; he spends his time learning not to look as though he touches someone when he doesn’t, and even how to look as though he hasn’t touched anyone when he has. When you swat downward, it looks like a foul.

When you get in the habit of playing palms-up, KUP, defense you will find that you can get away with making contact often because when you reach palms-up, it does not look like a foul. KUP will also help you stay on balance and in good position on defense. The habit of reaching palms-down causes you to lunge and put all your weight forward, and then get beaten. But reaching palms-up does not cause this same tendency. A down-swatting motion tends to throw your body off-balance while an up-swatting motion keeps your body on balance.

Stand there right now and try it and see. Imagine there is something you want to swat at, just out in front of you, just beyond your reach. Notice how hitting down throws your body off balance.

A good way to remember KUP defense is to imagine that the floor has eyes. Never let those eyes see your palms. Play so that those eyes always see only the backs of your hands whether you are reaching for a steal, getting your hand in a shooter’s face, or even when you are blocking out for a rebound. Don’t let those eyes see your palms. Keep your palms up. Keep Up Palms.

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