Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Man to Man Defensive Goals

This last week, I was involved in a great discussion with Coach John Harmatuk at Cypress Springs High School in the Houston area. He posed the question of whether to deny on the perimeter or allow ball reversal. My philosophy is that if the ball has chosen a side, it should stay on that side as reversals and middle penetration break down the defense.

Others joined the conversation with their philosophies; some were similar and others vastly different. I definitely understand that there is more than one way to skin a cat. The consensus was that whatever you chose, it is less about WHAT you chose as it is that the players BUY IN to what you have chosen.

It got me thinking about what I want to accomplish on defense. I gathered up my notes from past seasons, notes from clinics I've attended, and contacted many of my coaching colleagues. I've compiled a checklist of common threads. These are things that can be adapted to whatever style you employ. Below that, is a little teaching tool I picked up from my time with Kevin Eastman that we used at practice every day.


1. Take opponent out of their comfort zone.

2. Allow only one shot per possession. Must have maximum concentration and emphasis on block out.

3. Make that one shot as difficult as possible. Contest all shots. Force opponents out of comfortable shooting areas; make them take shots they don't like to take. No easy shots: high percentage first shots, fast breaks, and second shots.

4. Keep the defense out of areas they would like to occupy. Force them to play option basketball. Occupy their spots before they can get there.

5. Always play 5-on-3 or better. Help defensive positions are extremely important. Discourage penetration before they can think about penetrating. Always think "early help".

6. If they score, it is off the dribble on a contested shot. No open look jumpers. No easy baskets.

Force to the Tape1

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