Ball-Centric Defense

Team Defense

Good teams play well on offense.  Great teams play well on defense.  Championship teams do both.  Teams must understand the importance of defense to their success.  Teams who play good defense take the pressure off of themselves offensively.  Teams who can play relaxed on the offensive end can be more successful.  Coaches must stress the importance of team defense more than team offense.  Most players understand the need to share the ball on offense.  Many players need to be constantly reminded of the importance of playing team defense.  All 5 players must work together in order prevent the offense from scoring.

The only person who can score is the person with the ball.  The only way to score is to put the ball in the basket. As a result, teams must be able to defend the player with the ball.  Ideally, this occurs through excellent one on one defense.  However, even the best defenders can get beat occasionally.  The players one pass away must be prepared to help on the ball.  This starts with being in position.  Players must be mentally ready to react to all movements of the ball.  Defensive players who are constantly in position and who react well to the movement of the ball will be in position to contest every player’s attempt to score or create for a teammate if not create steals and deflections.

All defenses are based on solid man to man defensive concepts.  Regardless of the defense a coach chooses, players must be able to guard the ball.  They must also be able to defend all 4 potential receivers if they receive a pass.  Defenses must strive to keep the ball out and force contested jump shots.

I believe in man to man defense.  However, it is important to be able to execute a variety of man to man schemes.  Maybe one possession we are going to trap ball screens.  Maybe the next we’re just going to double the post.  Maybe the next possession we are going to play pack line while switching to up the line on the next possession.  This requires significant mental effort and team coordination in order to keep everyone on the same page.  However, with regular practice players can learn to make these adjustments.  Also, being able to mix in a variety of zone defenses and presses are important as well to keep offenses off balance.

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