Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Pumpkin and Spice: Understanding Offensive Principles Helps Defenders

It's pumpkin (basketball) and spice (defense) time. Time for a quick refresher for our players (or Defense 101 for middle schoolers). 

What do offenses want to accomplish? They seek easy baskets and want their best scorers in favored situations.

Effective defenders realize that "the ball scores" and know where the SCORERS and SHOOTERS have the edge. Five players must be back, aware, and alert. The best defenders understand offense. Brad Stevens has said that he never had a great defender in college who wasn't an excellent student. 

Efficient offenses build off spacing, passing, cutting, and screening to get separation, open driving and passing lanes attack the rim, create mismatches, and move help defenders. 



Minimize spacing. "Use offensive spacing to your advantage." Make offenses play 3-on-5 as much as possible. 



"Load to the ball." HELPSIDE "I" above. The better your quickness and closeouts, the closer helpside defenders can be to the "split" (line bisecting the baskets). Ball-you-man unless you favor inviting post entry to a poor offensive player. 

Defend the basket. This includes "no straight line drives" and "denying post entry."  



Expects Posts running to the rim. In "4" above, the posts screen away, then use 'screen-the-screener' (pick-the-picker) action to get a post back to the rim. 



In "Tiger" the screener (Tiger) screens to get a cutter to the basket. Beware the "Cub" option, where 3 slips the screen, becoming the basket cutter. 



See the spacing for dribble drivers and give-and-go. Young players (middle school) usually have few instinctive reads. Opposing coaches often call their versions of "read and react" or five out sets 5, 50, "Open" or something obvious. Defenders must take away "give-and-go" action ("jump to the ball") and wing defenders prepare to help on the driver and recover to their assignment. 


Know who is helping. Protecting the basket is a key. "Know the coverage and trust the protection." Communication is critical.The back line defenders have to make the calls. Most coaches do not want to allow the open "corner 3."


Disallow mismatches. Awareness, communication, and fighting around screens is critical learning for players. 

Prepared defenses take away what offense wants to do within the concepts of their defense. Effective defenses live "Poor shooters are always open." 

"Know your NOS." 

  • No transition baskets.
  • No middle. 
  • No penetration (dribble or pass). 
  • No easy baskets. (Hard 2s. "One bad shot.")
  • No uncontested shots.  
  • No blocks and elbows.
  • No bad fouls to give free throws. 
  • No second shots. 

Accomplished defense challenges a team's physical AND mental resource. Because great offense is multiple actions, great defense mandates multiple efforts

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