Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Basketball: Sweat the Small Stuff, Defensive Details



We know what we want. Do our players? "Trust but verify."

Compile your list of common, vital actions and your specific intents. Maintaining our "performance-focused, feedback-rich" culture demands we define and test specifics. 


From MasterClass, Ken Burns on Teaching Documentary Filmmaking

Explain that they will play for other coaches with differing but valid approaches. As players, their responsibility is to follow that coach's principles and gain an understanding of why differences exist. Simplify and clarify (Feynman Technique). Feynman had a teaching gift...and a Nobel Prize


What's our transition defense? 
  • Beat your girl to half court.
  • Protect the basket.
  • Stop the ball.
  • "Shape up." (e.g. tandem if two players back)
How do we defend the high pick-and-roll? 
  • Talk.
  • Take away layups.
  • Preferred - "Fake trap" also known as hedge, show
  • Secondary - switch if you must.
How do we defend the side pick-and-roll? 
  • Force the ballhandler baseline
  • "Ice"
  • The screener defender has the call and 'area' responsibilities
How do we defend the post? 
  • Start with hard ball pressure.
  • Primary defense is 3/4 (we seldom front, small guards, lob risk.
  • Understand the scoring/fouling problem begins when you allow easy entry.
  • Be active. You're not a totem pole. 

Where do help side (weak side) defenders locate (above)? 
  • Get numerical advantage. 
  • Drop to the level of the ball.
  • Helpside "I"
  • Deny cuts to the ball.

How do we defend off-ball screens? 
  • Anticipate and communicate.
  • Big on big or small or small switching is acceptable (excellent design disallows)
  • Hard to go over the top
  • Whenever possible, go through...need communication and alertness (see below)

Where do on-ball defenders force the ball? 

  • Force to tape. No middle.
  • Head on the ball.
  • No direct drives. 
How do we rebound on defense against free throws? 


  • Identify the biggest threat and sandwich.
  • Don't get pushed under.
  • No alligator arms
  • Rebound not completed until safely and successfully advanced
How do we defend baseline out-of-bounds plays? 
  • Initially zone/area coverage 
  • Recover to man
  • Always be aware of inbounder 'threat' 

Every team with a shooter (above) runs "America's play." 

What are our rules for pressure defense? 
  • Don't get beat over the top (deep ball).
  • Discretionary trap (if weak ballhandler or turns back)
  • If ball passes you, sprint back.
  • Never get beaten down the sideline on a sideline trap. 
If we lack simplicity and clarity, we can't expect our players to react and execute. Simplify, clarify, repeat...


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