The double team
is a defensive tactic
, for example American football
is being double-teamed
by two defensive players
Usually star players are double-teamed in basketball,
however this leaves one offensive player uncovered, or open.
If the covered player has the ball at the time, then
the hope is to force a turnover or error. On the other hand,
in college, high school, and international leagues, one can
double team an offensive player without the ball, providing
extra coverage. For a long time
this was not allowed in the NBA since
teams had to play a man to man defense, with the only exception
being the double teaming of the ball handler. (See this node for an interesting story.)
As hashbrownie reminded me, however, zone defense will be
allowed back in the NBA for the 2002 season.
In football wide receivers are often
double-teamed by a cornerback and a safety. The defense can
usually afford to use two players to cover one, since they may not
have as many people rushing as are on the offensive line.
A double-teamed wide receiver is often said to be in double coverage.