What do our players understand about help-side defense? I speculate that it's a lot less than we think. Therein lies the challenge, smarter defense positions better, reacts quicker, and presents fewer quality chances.
1. Returning to our core principles (communicate, ball pressure, no penetration, no middle, contest shots, and rebound), the help side has special responsibilities for denying penetration and the middle. When we clog the middle, we expose the perimeter. When we 'stay home' against the periphery, we open the middle.
2. Everything builds on prior knowledge. Review offensive options on attacking the weak side - passes, dribble penetration-pitch, cutting, and screening.
Passing attack - demands aggressive and proper closeouts.
Dribble penetration/pitch - requires a 'rules-based' approach. Do we help on the driver or stay home to deny the 'Corner 3'?
Back side cuts - mandates capacity to defend backdoor actions and avoid head-turning/ball watching defense.
Screens - as the positionless basketball era grows, switching also does. Note how offenses like the Celtics design plays to create switches for better mismatches.
3) The helpside (here x4 and x2) loads to the ball and creates 3 on 5 offense (Ernie Woods 101). This demands they see the ball, deny cuts to the ball, and be capable of reacting to skip passes with closeouts under control.
4) Choose your poison. Defensive coaches take away what offenses do best...and understand the angles that offensive players prefer. This extends the concept from the recent "Open Court" discussion...the "great" players DRAW 2.
x2A affords the best help against the drive of 1.
x2B (one foot in the lane) balances help middle versus skip passes.
x2C has worse vision (see both) and can expose back cuts from 2, but eliminates the immediate pass to 2.
5) Advanced concepts...triangle protection. Here's the link to images from a Lawrence Frank lecture on defensive triangles. This exceeds the 'need to know' for young players and is shared for further consideration of the possibilities.