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Basketball Team Defense Drills: 5 Stops

Basketball Team Defense Drills: 5 Stops

Any good basketball coach knows, in order to go on a run in a game, you’ll need consecutive stops on defense. These stops can facilitate a fast break offense and help your team control the clock. But in order to get these stops, your team must stand on those important defensive foundations laid during practice. These skills and strategies should be ingrained in your players, and developing solid team defense drills often helps in this regard.

The following drill might be a simple one, but it helps stress those foundational skills and strategies. It also forces the team to understand the value of getting multiple defensive stops to take control of a game. Here’s a look.

Team Defense Drills: 5 Stops

5 Stops stands out among most team defense drills because of its versatility for basketball coaches. This is a competitive practice drill that allows your team to work on both your half court offense and your half court defense. Coaches can deploy the team’s base defense for each repetition, or sprinkle in specials.

The progression for this drill is simple: the teams play a “live” 5-on-5 half court set where the defense works to get a single stop. Stops are defined as gaining possession of the ball either through a defensive rebound or turnover. After one successful stop, the defense then must repeat that process for five consecutive possessions.

Defenses are allowed just one foul per five stops. Should the defense foul twice before achieving five stops, the counter resets. Once each team has reached five stops, the drill can continue with four straight stops, then three, two, and one. The offensive team should remain aggressive to challenge the defense throughout this team drill.

This drill is typically done when half court defense is the emphasis for practice. It can be adjusted to 4-on-4 if the team has 12 active players for practice. Coaches can choose to have the defense make five straight stops, or alternate with each possession, keeping score along the way.

Points of Emphasis:

  • Communication – The defense “talk” throughout the possession, calling out cutters, rotations, etc.
  • Active Hands – Defenders must play “big,” challenging each pass and shot attempt without fouling.
  • Mental Toughness – Recording five straight defensive stops isn’t easy, so defenders must be mentally ready for the challenge.

Related: 10 Plays to Build Basketball Team Chemistry


Resources:

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Coach Unplugged Podcast: 

Youth Player Development

Ep: 1301 5 Keys to a Great Defense


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Best Basketball Combo Defenses to Use this Season

Best Basketball Combo Defenses to Use this Season

Sometimes, throwing an unexpected wrinkle at your opponent’s offensive game plan makes all the difference on the scoreboard. While some basketball coaches call combination defenses “junk,” these strategies often help neutralize an opposing team’s top offensive threat. Basketball combo defenses provide coaches with useful changes to traditional strategies.

Many coaches believe it’s better to sport a simple offense and complex defense, rather than the other way around. How a coach crafts their team’s defensive approach often dictates the very identity of the team. Also, not all players, particularly at the youth level, will have the same natural abilities on the offensive end, but most players can be taught complex defensive schemes and excel. A good defense feeds directly into offense and it makes scoring that much easier. Basketball coaches implementing combination defenses can make things even more difficult for opponents. 

Basketball Combo Defenses: Box and 1

The Box and 1 Defense stands out as possibly the most well-known “junk” combo defenses available to basketball coaches. A Box and 1 takes your team’s best defender and task him with disrupting the playmaking opportunities of your opponent’s top perimeter scorer. At the same time, the additional four defenders will play a zone in the form of a box, hence “box and 1.”

This defense requires excellent athleticism and anticipation on the part of the single defender, while emphasizing communication and rotation for the box players. It stands built around the chaser’s ability to hound an opponent. The zone defenders cover the perimeter areas adjacent to their respective side of the floor or implement weak side defensive principles.

Basketball Combo Defenses: Triangle and 2

The Triangle and 2 defense stands as an innovative defensive strategy for implementation by basketball coaches. This basketball combo defense seeks to limit the scoring opportunities for the offensive team’s top perimeter players. A variation of the Box and 1, the Triangle and 2 defense combines zone and man-to-man concepts in an effort to neutralize the opposing team’s scoring wings.

The biggest advantage of implementing the Triangle and 2 is the disruptive nature of the defense. Offenses that rely heavily on one or two players to create scoring opportunities remain particularly susceptible to this strategy. Also, opposing teams that incorporate specific timing and flow in their offenses sets find this defense frustrating to navigate. That said, this defense can be neutralized by opposing offenses built around talented low-post scorers.

Basketball Combo Defenses: Diamond and 1

The Diamond and 1 defense stands as a variation of the classic Box and 1 defense. This defensive strategy seeks to limit the scoring opportunities of your opponent’s best player. This is accomplished by installing a combination defense that relies on both man-to-man and zone principles.

A Diamond and 1 takes your team’s best defender and tasks him with disrupting the playmaking opportunities of your opponent’s top perimeter scorer. At the same time, the additional four defenders will play a zone in the form of a diamond, hence “diamond and 1.” This formation provides better protection around the perimeter than the Box and 1 because there will be three defenders in coverage rather than two. However, it provides less help on the backline and can leave the corners susceptible to attack.

For much more on the best basketball combo defenses to implement this season, click the link below!


Learn the Combination Defense to beat the BEST team on your Schedule!

Go to COMBINATIONDEFENSE.com now for all your coaching needs.

This innovation defensive coaching lesson includes everything a coach needs to implement these game-changing strategies.

Among the combo defenses dissected in this lesson are the Box and 1, the Triangle and 2, the Diamond and 1.

 

Content includes:

  • Engaging Video Lessons
  • Drills and Implementation Practices
  • Q & A
  • Bonus sections features – Offenses vs Combo Defenses, Tracking and Possession Charts

Related: 3 Great Defensive Drills to Improve Help and Rotation


Resource:


The Coach Unplugged Podcast

Cover for Basketball Coach Unplugged ( A Basketball Coaching Podcast)

Ep 254: Combo Defenses


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Diamond and 1 Combination Defense

Diamond and 1 Combination Defense

Developing basketball defensive systems stands as one of the most important aspects for any coach out there. While designing offensive plays might be more fun, crafting the right defensive system might make more a difference between winning and losing. A good defense feeds directly into offense and it makes scoring that much easier. Basketball coaches implementing combination defenses, like the Diamond and 1 defense, can make things even more difficult for opponents. 

Many coaches believe it’s better to sport a simple offense and complex defense, rather than the other way around. How a coach crafts their team’s defensive approach often dictates the very identity of the team. Also, not all players, particularly at the youth level, will have the same natural abilities on the offensive end, but most players can be taught complex defensive schemes and excel.

What is the Diamond and 1 Defense?

The Diamond and 1 defense stands as a variation of the classic Box and 1 defense. This defensive strategy seeks to limit the scoring opportunities of your opponent’s best player. This is accomplished by installing a combination defense that relies on both man-to-man and zone principles.

A Diamond and 1 takes your team’s best defender and tasks him with disrupting the playmaking opportunities of your opponent’s top perimeter scorer. At the same time, the additional four defenders will play a zone in the form of a diamond, hence “diamond and 1.” This formation provides better protection around the perimeter than the Box and 1 because there will be three defenders in coverage rather than two. However, it provides less help on the backline and can leave the corners susceptible to attack.

Implementing the Diamond and 1 Defense

The Diamond and 1 defense aligns in a similar fashion to the Triangle and 2 defense, but instead of using two chasers, it only uses one.

The chaser in this defensive setup can pickup their mark either full court or once that player has crossed half court. This defense typically employs a ball-denial approach, with the chaser shadowing their mark throughout a given possession.

The other defenders use zone defense principles to guard in the half court. One player takes the top of the key, while two others take the elbow areas. The final defender stands in the lane as the rim protector. The elbow defenders are responsible for the wings, while the backline defender takes the low blocks and short corners.

This defensive set up requires excellent athleticism and anticipation on the part of the chaser, while emphasizing communication and rotation for the zone defenders. This defense is more useful than the Box and 1 when facing an opponent with skilled perimeter shooters. However, there is a weakness in the high-post area. The Diamond and 1 half court defense is different than the Diamond and 1 full court press or half court trap.

Points of emphasis for this defense include securing the rebound to limit second-chance opportunities, and collapsing to the middle when star players touch the ball. The zone defenders must be in position to both rebound and provide help when necessary.


Learn the Combination Defense to beat the BEST team on your Schedule!

Go to COMBINATIONDEFENSE.com now for all your coaching needs.

This innovation defensive coaching lesson includes everything a coach needs to implement these game-changing strategies.

Among the combo defenses dissected in this lesson are the Box and 1, the Triangle and 2, the Diamond and 1.

 

Content includes:

  • Engaging Video Lessons
  • Drills and Implementation Practices
  • Q & A
  • Bonus sections features – Offenses vs Combo Defenses, Tracking and Possession Charts

Related: 3 Great Defensive Drills to Improve Help and Rotation


Resource:


The Coach Unplugged Podcast

Cover for Basketball Coach Unplugged ( A Basketball Coaching Podcast)

Ep 1406 Office Hours and Combination Defenses


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Triangle and 2 Combination Defense

Triangle and 2 Combination Defense

Developing basketball defensive systems stands as one of the most important aspects for any coach out there. While designing offensive plays might be more fun, crafting the right defensive system might make more a difference between winning and losing. A good defense feeds directly into offense and it makes scoring that much easier. Basketball coaches implementing combination defenses, like the Triangle and 2 defense, can make things even more difficult for opponents. 

Many coaches believe it’s better to sport a simple offense and complex defense, rather than the other way around. How a coach crafts their team’s defensive approach often dictates the very identity of the team. Also, not all players, particularly at the youth level, will have the same natural abilities on the offensive end, but most players can be taught complex defensive schemes and excel.

What is the Triangle and 2 Defense?

The Triangle and 2 defense stands as an innovative defensive strategy for implementation by basketball coaches. This combination defense seeks to limit the scoring opportunities for the offensive team’s top perimeter players. A variation of the Box and 1, the Triangle and 2 defense combines zone and man-to-man concepts in an effort to neutralize the opposing team’s scoring wings.

The biggest advantage of implementing the Triangle and 2 is the disruptive nature of the defense. Offenses that rely heavily on one or two players to create scoring opportunities remain particularly susceptible to this strategy. Also, opposing teams that incorporate specific timing and flow in their offenses sets find this defense frustrating to navigate. That said, this defense can be neutralized by opposing offenses built around talented low-post scorers.

Implementing the Triangle and 2 Defense

Triangle and 2 Defense The Triangle and 2 defense uses a combination of zone and man-to-man principles in its setup. This defense is designed specifically to frustrate the best perimeter players on any offense. It leverages the alignment to force other offensive players to take key shots for the opposing team.

But there are weaknesses that can be exploited, beyond post touches. Offenses that shoot well from behind the three-point line find additional space on the perimeter against this defense. Also, because of the specific nature of this alignment, the middle of the zone tends to be a weaker point. The Diamond and 1 defense works better to help neutralize shooters..

Using this type of defense can often catch an opposing team off guard, especially during the first meeting of the season. Most basketball coaches prepare their offenses to deal with man-to-man or zone defenses, often forgetting to add prep time for what some consider a “junk” defense.

Implementing the Triangle and 2 defense leans on defensive principles already established in other base defenses. Coaches find this defense relatively easy to implement thanks to the simple and straightforward nature of the responsibilities. The chasers play man-to-man, often in an aggressive, ball-denial fashion. The other defenders then create the zone to protect the rest of the floor.

Points of emphasis for this defense include securing the rebound to limit second-chance opportunities, and collapsing to the triangle when star players touch the ball. The zone defenders must be in position to both rebound and provide help when necessary.


Learn the Combination Defense to beat the BEST team on your Schedule!

Go to COMBINATIONDEFENSE.com now for all your coaching needs.

This innovation defensive coaching lesson includes everything a coach needs to implement these game-changing strategies.

Among the combo defenses dissected in this lesson are the Box and 1, the Triangle and 2, the Diamond and 1.

 

Content includes:

  • Engaging Video Lessons
  • Drills and Implementation Practices
  • Q & A
  • Bonus sections features – Offenses vs Combo Defenses, Tracking and Possession Charts

Related: 3 Great Defensive Drills to Improve Help and Rotation


Resource:


The Coach Unplugged Podcast

Cover for Basketball Coach Unplugged ( A Basketball Coaching Podcast)

Ep 1406 Office Hours and Combination Defenses


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Basketball Combination Defenses

Basketball Combination Defenses

Developing basketball defensive systems stands as one of the most important aspects for any coach out there. While designing offensive plays might be more fun, crafting the right defensive system might make more a difference between winning and losing. A good defense feeds directly into offense and it makes scoring that much easier. Basketball coaches implementing combination defenses can make things even more difficult for opponents. 

Many coaches believe it’s better to sport a simple offense and complex defense, rather than the other way around. How a coach crafts their team’s defensive approach often dictates the very identity of the team. Also, not all players, particularly at the youth level, will have the same natural abilities on the offensive end, but most players can be taught complex defensive schemes and excel.

Basketball Combination Defenses

A basketball team that uses combination defenses employs a strategy that incorporates two different defensive systems. This normally manifests as a combination of zone defense and a man-to-man approach. The most well-known example of this approach is the Box and 1 defense. Some refer to these approaches as “junk” defenses, but when used correctly, they can really throw off the rhythm and timing of opposing offenses.

A Box and 1 takes your team’s best defender and task him with disrupting the playmaking opportunities of your opponent’s top perimeter scorer. At the same time, the additional four defenders will play a zone in the form of a box, hence “box and 1.” This combination defense can be a polarizing topic among basketball coaches. And, like other defensive schemes, this approach comes with advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious pro to this defensive approach is trying to neutralize, or at least render inefficient, your opponent’s top offensive player. One significant con of this defensive strategy arises when your team’s best perimeter defender is also your team’s best offensive player.

Another example of basketball combination defenses is the Triangle and 2. This approach uses two chasers instead of one, with the three other defenders creating a triangle zone. The two bottom defenders take the low blocks while the third member of the triangle mans the nail. Coaches can invert the triangle if more defensive pressure is needed at the elbows.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Combo Defense

Strengths:

  1. Confusion – This forces the opposition to run an offense completely different to their normal playing style. Forcing the opposition to make massive changes to their game-plan is always a good thing for the defense.
  2. Star Players Will Get Frustrated and Tired– Imagine how frustrating and tiring it will be for their star players who are unable to get open while their teammates pass the basketball around and take shots.
  3. Easy to Implement – Easy to teach using man principles.

Weaknesses:

  1. Middle of the Zone and the mid-range jumper – The middle of a zone is always the most vulnerable position on the court for the offense to exploit. It’s imperative that your weak side players are always in the correct position to deny the pass into the middle of the zone.
  2. Can’t be used often against great shooting teams – If the team has patience and moves the ball they will find open shots.

Related: Basketball Team Shooting Drills

Resource:


The Coach Unplugged Podcast

Cover for Basketball Coach Unplugged ( A Basketball Coaching Podcast)

Ep 1406 Office Hours and Combination Defenses


If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

The Basics of a Box and 1 Defense

The Basics of a Box and 1 Defense

The Box and 1 Defense stands out as possibly the most well-known “junk” defenses available to basketball coaches. This defensive strategy tries to limit the scoring opportunities of your opponent’s best player. This is accomplished by installing a combination defense that relies on both man-to-man and zone principles.

A Box and 1 takes your team’s best defender and task him with disrupting the playmaking opportunities of your opponent’s top perimeter scorer. At the same time, the additional four defenders will play a zone in the form of a box, hence “box and 1.” This defense requires excellent athleticism and anticipation on the part of the single defender, while emphasizing communication and rotation for the box players.

This defense stands built around the chaser’s ability to hound an opponent. The zone defenders cover the perimeter areas adjacent to their respective side of the floor or implement weak side defensive principles.

Pros and Cons of the Box and 1

The Box and 1 defense can be a polarizing topic among coaches. And, like other defensive schemes, this approach comes with advantages and disadvantages.

The most obvious pro to this defensive approach is trying to neutralize, or at least render inefficient, your opponent’s top offensive player. This remains particularly effective against teams whose offense is predicated around one player scoring the majority of points. The ball-denial aspect of this defensive approach often short-circuits an offensive possession, something that comes in handy in games using shot clocks or in end-of-game situations.

Another pro to using a box and 1 is it’s also very effective against squads with below average perimeter shooting abilities.

One significant con of this defensive strategy arises when your team’s best perimeter defender is also your team’s best offensive player. The chaser’s defensive responsibilities eat up his energy, which limits his offensive effectiveness. This approach leads to fatigue for the chaser, so ideally, this player isn’t your top scorer as well.

Perhaps the biggest con of installing a box and 1 defense comes from the formation itself. The middle of the floor often opens wide for the opposing offense, especially in ball reversal situations. One clear point of weakness is the high-post area. If the offensive team is able to get the ball into the high post, then the box and 1 becomes vulnerable to offensive tactics such as corner skip passes or high low action near the basket.

Other cons with this defense include isolating post defenders from help and creating potentially easier scoring opportunities for secondary playmakers.

Basic Rotations in a Box and 1 Defense

The basic formation of the box and 1 defense features the “chaser” matched up on the perimeter while the other defensive players set up the box on defense. This initial set up covers the elbows and well as both low blocks. Depending upon the initial offensive actions, the defense must communicate and rotate to cover.

The graphic below shows X2 as the “chaser” defender, matched up with offensive Player 2.

box and 1 defense

The initial offensive action in the figure above results in a pass to the wing. The box defenders prevented a dribble drive and forced that first pass. X1 follows the pass on the first rotation, while X3 rotates to the high-post or “nail” defensive position. X4 fronts a low post pass while X5 slides into the lane. X2 can shift into help-side position, but with the box and 1 defense, ball denial remains his main focus.

A pass to the corner involves additional defensive rotation. X4 applies ball pressure, while X1 slides to help side. X3 remains covering the nail and X5 covers any low post cuts. X2 remains tethered to Player 2.

Points of emphasis for these defensive rotations include: quick closeouts and communication. Defenders need to contest open jump shots, as well as prevent dribble drives.

Example 4If the offense gets the ball into the high-post area, the box and 1 becomes vulnerable to breaking down. The defense needs to adjust its rotations accordingly.

The primary method of mitigating that is to have one of the bottom zone defenders sprint up the lane to quickly cover the player with the ball. For this case, X5 covers 5 while X4 stays back to protect the basket.

In addition, one or both of the top zone defenders can help double team or triple team the ball to encourage the high post player to pass it to the perimeter.

The chaser, which is X2, shouldn’t sag off the target because the ball is in the high post. In other words, if X2 were to sag off, then Player 2 could easily receive the ball from 5 such as with a corner skip.

Players must communicate in this defensive setup. If they don’t, they will fail. Forcing players to talk and think on their feet as they scramble is making practice harder than what they will likely face in a game situation. Defenders must be aware of the ball handler. The ultimate goal is to stop the offense from scoring, so help defense must be alert and stop the ball when necessary.

Variations of the Box and 1 Defense include: the Triangle and 2 as well as the Diamond and 1.


Learn the Combination Defense to beat the BEST team on your Schedule!

Go to COMBINATIONDEFENSE.com now for all your coaching needs.

This innovation defensive coaching lesson includes everything a coach needs to implement these game-changing strategies.

Among the combo defenses dissected in this lesson are the Box and 1, the Triangle and 2, the Diamond and 1.

 

Content includes:

  • Engaging Video Lessons
  • Drills and Implementation Practices
  • Q & A
  • Bonus sections features – Offenses vs Combo Defenses, Tracking and Possession Charts

Related: 3 Great Defensive Drills to Improve Help and Rotation


Resources:

The Coach Unplugged Podcast

Cover for Basketball Coach Unplugged ( A Basketball Coaching Podcast)

Ep 1406 Office Hours and Combination Defenses

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

3 Great Defensive Drills to Improve Help and Rotation

3 Great Defensive Drills to Improve Help and Rotation

During the offseason, coaches often work on more efficient ways to use their practice time. One of the top approaches in this regard remains combining skills within certain drills. Layering concepts within specific exercises helps speed the process along for some players. One good examples of this is defensive drills designed to improve help side positioning and rotation.

If your players cannot closeout effectively on defense, your Help Defense scheme won’t really matter. Poor closeouts can destroy any defense. When developing your defensive drills, keep in mind how they want their team to improve over the course of the season. That improvement gets jumpstarted in practice with targeted exercises. Coaches often have a set of their favorite basketball practice drills aimed to do just that.

Here’s a look at three great defensive drills to improve the help and rotation for your defense next season. 

Defensive Drills: Overload Scramble

defensive drills

For most basketball offenses, putting the defense at a disadvantage is often the aim. These situations require a scramble mentality from the defensive players in order to recover. This manifests on the court in rotations and notably in transition to matchup. The overload scramble stands as one of the most effective defensive drills to teach just that.

Overload scramble forces your defensive players to communicate and rotate throughout the drill. The setup involves a 4-on-3 advantage for the offense, meaning someone will always be open. But defenders can keep things under control with good positioning and effort throughout the rep.

The ball starts on the wing, and the defenders leave the backside offensive player open. Defender 2 should shade toward the ball to negate a drive, while Defender 3 should sag back in more of a help-side position. As the ball is passed, defenders have to leave their player, scramble to cover the ball or be in a good help position. The ball can be skipped and players are allowed to dribble penetrate in their areas (but are mostly stationary early on as you learn rotation).

Points of emphasis for this drill include: Effective Close Outs and Effort. Your defenders should be going all out on closeouts, but stopping short to prevent dribble drives. Defenders should also put forth maximum effort. Make sure they are sprinting to areas. This drill can also be done as a 5 on 4 type of drill.

Defensive Drills: No Paint Penetration

defensive drills

The next one of the great defensive drills is called No Paint Penetration. This exercise aims to eliminate dribble drives into the lane. The mentality for the defense focuses on protecting the painted area and not letting the ball handler enter this space. Defenses that allow too much dribble penetration find themselves collapsing then rushing for closeouts.

The No Paint Penetration drill also allows defenders to practice proper defensive habits and rotations. This drill’s setup features four offensive players on the wing and four defensive players. The coach starts with the ball as the defenders matchup along the perimeter. Coach starts drill with a pass from the top. The object of the game is to keep the ball from penetrating into the lane.

With each pass, defenders should slide into either on-ball or help-side position. The offensive players should look to drive after the catch, and kick to another teammate if covered up. Offense gets a point if they penetrate into the lane, while defense gets a point for each turnover. The first side to three points win the set.

Points of emphasis for this drill include: Effective Close Outs, Effort, and Avoiding Excessive Fouls.Your defenders should be going all out on closeouts, but stopping short to prevent dribble drives. Defenders should also put forth maximum effort. Make sure they are sprinting to areas.

Defensive Drills: Whistle Change

The last of these defensive drills is called the Whistle Change. This drill incorporates the scramble mentality, but emphasizes communication above all. Often, the scramble matchup happens in transition, however, here it’s done in a half-court set.

The drill begins with a simple five-on-five setup where the offense tries to score on a possession. Defense should work in a man-to-man scheme, focusing on help-side positioning throughout.

When the coach blows the whistle, the offense puts the ball down and switches to defense. The defense quickly switches to offense. But here’s the twist, the players are not allowed to matchup with the one they were previously guarding/facing.

Someone on defense (anyone but the on-ball defender at the time), rushes to pick up the ball. The other defenders move to offensive roles, while the previous offensive players become defenders. However, the new defenders can’t matchup with the person who was previously guarding them.

Points of emphasis for this drill include: Communication and Stopping Penetration. Players must communicate in this drill. If they don’t, they will fail. Forcing players to talk and think on their feet as they scramble is making practice harder than what they will likely face in a game situation.Even though players are matching up in the drill, they must be aware of the ball handler. The ultimate goal is to stop the offense from scoring, so help defense must be alert and stop the ball when necessary.


Related: Defensive Closeout Drills for Basketball Practice

Resources:

The 5 Minute Basketball Coaching Podcast

Cover for The 5 Minute Basketball Coaching Podcast

Ep: 112 Building a Defensive Culture

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Defensive Closeout Drills for Basketball Practice

Defensive Closeout Drills for Basketball Practice

During the offseason, coaches often work on more efficient ways to use their practice time. One of the top approaches in this regard remains combining skills within certain drills. Layering concepts within specific exercises helps speed the process along for some players. One good examples of this is defensive closeout drills.

Developing a practice plan can be one of the most daunting tasks for a coach at any level. Coaches need to consider the talent of their team when assembling the plan. They also need to keep in mind how they want their team to improve over the course of the season. That improvement gets jumpstarted in practice with targeted drills. Coaches often have a set of their favorite basketball practice drills aimed to do just that.

Basketball Practice Drills: 1-on-1 Closeout

If your players cannot closeout effectively on defense, your Help Defense scheme won’t really matter. Poor closeouts can destroy any defense. This one of the defensive drills helps improve individual closeout technique, much like the next one.

The 1-on-1 closeout drill remains fast-paced, keeping playing contesting shots and preventing dribble penetration. It forces individual defenders to practice within a game-like setup. Making this drill 1-on-1 adds a layer of accountability for each player.

The setup for this drill puts the defenders near the basket while the offensive players stand on the win. The defenders start with the ball and passes to the wing, following their pass. Each defender’s job is keep the ball out of the lane and force a contested jump shot. Following that, the defender must box out and rebound.

Points of emphasis for defenders in this drill include: Sprint To Eliminate Offensive Advantage, Keep Your Hands Up, and Position Appropriately. Variations of this drill can involve the passes coming from different angles and/or the “loser” staying on defense.

Basketball Practice Drills: Basic Defensive Closeout

Basketball Practice Drills

The first basketball practice drill that holds a great deal of value is a basic close out drill. This drill should be a regular for any team playing man-to-man defense. In addition, this drill aids in the instruction of help-side defense.

In this drill, two players start on the floor, occupying the wings. The defenders wait in a line beneath the rim and one positions himself in the “help side” spot in the lane. The drill begins with a skip pass from one wing to the other. The defender is expected to run from his help side position to close out on the shooter.

This drill can use a coach as the passer, or rotate players into that position. Coaches should emphasize defensive placement and positioning when integrating this drill. The close out defender should not over-run the shooter, but stop just before with one hand up.

This drill can be altered to force the shooter to drive baseline. The drill can incorporate another defender at that point, who also moves into help side positioning.

Here’s good video example of this drill.


Related: 3 Developmental Rebounding Drills for Practice

Resources:

 

Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep: 376 3 Favorite Practice Drills from Coach Steger

If you found this useful, don’t forget to check out additional blog posts at TeachHoops.com. Also, check out TeachHoops on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

3 Developmental Rebounding Drills for Practice

3 Developmental Rebounding Drills for Practice

Rebounding can be the key between a win and a loss. Furthermore, rebounding can be the key to winning a championship. So when building out your practice plans, it’s important to incorporate rebounding drills. This remains especially true at the youth level.

A defensive rebound signals the end of a possession. The ball has changed hands and now the court flips. If you’re allowing your opponents to grab offensive rebounds, you’re extending those defensive possessions. Giving up offensive rebounds hurts momentum and often leads to surrendering easy baskets.

But rebounding isn’t only integral on defense. Offensive rebounds lead to put backs and help build your team’s confidence. If you can grab just five more offensive rebounds per game, that could equate to as many as 15 points more per contest. That’s something that can help your team win the majority of its games.

So here’s a look at three developmental rebounding drills for your youth basketball practice.

Rebounding Drills: Teach Technique

The key to becoming a good rebounder is understanding the form and technique. There’s more to becoming the next Dennis Rodman (from a rebounding perspective) than just jumping and trying to grab the ball. You need to find a player to box out, make contact, then explode to secure the rebound.

rebounding drills

For this rebounding drill, set up two lines on either elbow at the free throw stripe. Each line has its own ball. The players will toss the ball off the backboard, then race forward to secure the rebound. After grabbing the rebound, the player should plant, pivot, and pass to the next man in line.

This drill sets up a controlled environment in which the players can focus completely on the task of rebounding. Points of emphasis for this drill include instructing your players to leap as high as possible when going for the rebound. It’s important to high-point the ball. Players should land in a wide stance, with both hands securing the basketball.

Rebounding Drills: Outlets

The next of these three rebounding drills adds a layer of progression. The outlet pass remains one of the most important developmental skills for a rebounder. These passes can easily jumpstart an offensive possession. The best outlet passes get ahead of a defense and allow for a fast break.

rebounding drills

The set up for this drill mimics the previous one. However, in addition to the lines at the elbows, two more lines exist on the wings. The wing lines receive the outlet passes.

As with the first drill, the first two players will throw passes off the backboard and go get the rebound. Rebounders will pivot out and make a crisp outlet pass to the wing. The wing player then fires a pass to the next person in line.

Points of emphasis for this drill include rebounders going up strong with two hands, chinning the basketball on the grab, then landing with a wide base. The wing player should call for the ball by yelling “Outlet! Outlet!” from their spot on the perimeter. A variation of this drill might involve having the wing player start along the baseline or another spot, then running to the wing to receive the pass.

Rebounding Drills: Zone Boxout

The last of these rebounding drills involves using a zone defense set up. Rebounding stands as one of the weaknesses of a zone defense. Zones can be susceptible to allowing offensive boards if the proper rebounding technique isn’t used. This happens because offensive players come at different angles against a zone than a man-to-man defense.

This drill forces the defenders to find and contact their offensive counterparts before securing a rebound. Even if your team doesn’t run zone defenses very often, the principles of this drill remain valuable.

rebounding drills

For this drill, five offensive players stand on the perimeter, while two defenders await inside near the basket. Each player on offense is given a number, 1 thought 5.

The coach calls out two of those numbers as he attempts a shot. The defenders must find the two crashing offensive players and box them out before securing the rebound. In the graphic, the coach said 1 and 4. The defenders meet the offensive player and block them out, then crash the boards. You can rotate the groups as needed. This drill can also be completed with fewer players, including an option for three on offense and one defensive rebounder.


Related: 4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

Resources:

Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep: 323 Rebounding Strategies


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Basketball Passing Drill: Passing Lanes & Patience

Basketball Passing Drill: Passing Lanes & Patience

Developing a patient team can be one of the most difficult aspects of coaching. Young and inexperienced teams tend to rush through sets and often leave scoring opportunities unexplored. These teams need to reduce turnovers and play with more purpose. So finding the right drills and competitive practice games becomes a challenge. So here’s a look at a basketball passing drill that works on both the offense and the defense simultaneously.

Basketball Passing Drill: Passing Lanes and Patience

The Passing Lanes and Patience drill promotes multiple things. For the offense, it promotes patience and making good passes. It stresses the importance of working for great shots. It also helps build habits like crashing the offensive boards.

For the defense, this drill promotes getting into the passing lanes, blocking out, and limiting teams to one shot. It stresses toughness in taking charges and playing hard without fouling.

The Set Up

This basketball passing drill requires two even teams. The drill uses competitive 5-on-5 action that should be high intensity.

Coaches implement four 2:30 minute quarters for the drill, with a 45 second break in between each segment. The two teams split time as offense and defense, alternating after each quarter. Subs can be incorporated with each dead ball situation.

basketball passing lanes

The Rules

Coaches set a specific number of passes the offense must complete. (We do 6 passes.)

The offense “scores” 1 point if they reach that number of passes without a turnover or deflection. They also get 1 point for each offensive rebound. The offense gets 3 points for made three-pointers, but 4 points for a made two-point field goal. We stress working for great shots.

The defense “scores” 1 point for each deflection of a pass. They get 2 points for a steal, and 3 points for limiting the offense to one shot in a possession. They get 4 points for each charge drawn. The defense loses a point when a player commits a foul.

basketball passing lanes

COACHING POINTS

  • Emphasize the importance of getting in passing lanes to get deflections & steals. On the line, up the line is a way of life for our program.
  • Discuss scoring with teams & ask them why they think 2’s are worth more than 3’s in this drill & ask them why they think securing a D-Board after one shot and taking a charge are worth so many points.

Kyle Brasher
Gibson Southern High School
Social Studies Teacher
Lady Titans Basketball Coach

Related: Favorite Basketball Practice Drills

 

 

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Using The Funnel Down Defense

Using The Funnel Down Defense

Scheming the right defensive system for your team remains one of the most important parts of preseason preparation for any basketball coach. While defensive principles may largely be the same from year to year, the athletes on the team might not be. Coaches must gear their strategies and approaches to fit the capabilities of their players. That makes systems like the Funnel Down Defense so valuable. Funnel Down stands as a versatile defensive weapon for any team, no matter the level.

The Funnel Down Defense

funnel down defenseThe basic principle of this defensive set up is to prevent opposing offenses from comfortably using the middle of the floor. Funnel Down creates “gutters” outside the volleyball lines, which are present on most high school and even college courts. Defenders force dribblers into these gutters and funnel them down the line to the next man. The ball is pushed down to the baseline and toward “strike zones,” or trap areas in the short corner.

Ideally, the offense never centers the ball, or swings the ball to the weak side of the floor. This defense focuses on shrinking the court for opposing offenses. Funnel Down tries to prevent offenses from effectively using 60 percent of the court.

Funnel Down is purposefully built to get opposing offenses out of their normal rhythm and flow, resulting in turnovers, and bad or rushed shots. When deployed in games that feature a shot clock, the effectiveness of this strategy is further amplified because the offense must spend time getting out of the trap zones.

Why Use Funnel Down?

This defensive system provides coaches with a versatile set up, adaptable to almost any talent level. Funnel Down can be paired with any base defense. It doesn’t matter if a team normally runs man-to-man or zone, funnel down can work either way.

When used correctly, this system disrupts any offense by keeping the ball on one side of the floor. Funnel Down seeks to “pin” opposing offenses to the sidelines and forcing them into traps. This creates an urgency in dribblers that often speeds them up to a point where they are uncomfortable. By speeding up the dribbler, the offense becomes more mistake prone, leading to game-changing turnovers.

And this defense can be taught by any coach, to basically any team. The lesson linked below provides all of the video tutorials, drills and practice plans needed to implement this system. Funnel Down might be the only defense a team needs!

The versatility of this set up allows for any type of athlete to be used on the floor. The defense creates difficult angles for passing and shooting, especially once the ball handler enters that baseline trap area. Funnel Down uses the sideline and the baseline as extra defenders to leverage pressure on the floor.

Incorporating this system into your routine forces opposing teams to spend extra time preparing. That ultimately robs opponents of time to prep for other parts of their game plans.

For more on how to implement this game-changing defensive system, Click Below for the Limited Time Offer!

Click Here for More about the Funnel Down Defense! 

This limited time offer includes teaching sessions and video drills, PDF diagrams, practices plans, a cheat sheet, and a coaching community!

Related: What is the Funnel Down Defense?

Resources: 

Coach Unplugged Podcast:

Ep: 1142. Funnel Down Defense

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What is the Funnel Down Defense?

What is the Funnel Down Defense?

Basketball coaches often find themselves scheming for different ways to defeat the best team on their schedule. Many of those schemes are oriented around the defense. Coaches searching for ways to streamline their practices and become more efficient in their instruction need to look no further than the Funnel Down Defense. This approach provides coaches with a tried and true defense system that dictates pace and generates turnovers.

The Funnel Down Defense

Funnel Down uses something most basketball courts feature and many coaches dismiss: the volleyball lines. This defense focuses on shrinking the court for opposing offenses by pushes ball handlers outside of that key stretch of the floor. Funnel Down tries to prevent offenses from effectively using 60 percent of the court. Instead, it forces them to the perimeter, operating on just 40 percent of the floor.

This approach attempts to keep the ball on one side of the floor. It speeds up opposing offenses to the point where they become mistake-prone. It also shrinks the usable floor space for the offense.

Funnel Down is purposefully built to get opposing offenses out of their normal rhythm and flow, resulting in turnovers, and bad or rushed shots. When deployed in games that feature a shot clock, the effectiveness of this strategy is further amplified because the offense must spend time getting out of the trap zones.

Three Key Concepts of the Funnel Down Defense

Funnel Down Defense1. Pin the ball on the sideline

2. Funnel the ball to the baseline

3. Trap and Rotate in the short corner

The design of this defense borrows its terminology from bowling. The task of the defense remains to “funnel” the ball along the “gutter” of the court to the baseline, where a trap awaits in the “strike zone.” Funnel Down seeks to keep the ball out of the “alley,” which is the main stretch of center court inside the volleyball lines. The traps occur in “strike zones” positioned at the short corners.

Ideally, defenders pressure the ball into the gutters, avoiding the centering pass. This is called a “pin.” This tactic overplays the ball handler away from the middle so that the ball can’t be swung.  Defenders stay ahead of the ball handlers by sprinting, not sliding, trying to stay half a body width ahead of the dribbler. This discourages penetration and funnels the ball toward the trap areas.

The defender “up the line” covers a man below the ball level on the court. This defender needs to remain between his man and the ball in order to help. The defenders continue to “funnel” the ball along the sideline, encouraging the dribblers to head toward the baseline. Once the ball enters the “strike zone” in the short corner, that triggers a trap and weak side rotation.

For more on how to implement this game-changing defensive system, Click Below for the Limited Time Funnel Down Defense Offer!

Click Here for More about the Funnel Down Defense! 

This limited time offer includes teaching sessions and video drills, PDF diagrams, practices plans, a cheat sheet, and a coaching community!

 

Resources: 

High School Hoops Podcast

Ep: 161. Funnel Down Defense

 

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4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

Block out the Block-out (#3 thing I no longer teach on Defense). Tom Izzo gets the credit, but I thought of it first! (Just kidding). I did realize this point on my own as a coach, however, and only later learned Izzo agrees with me 🙂 All this before I get to my 4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound.

Izzo deserves credit for his courage, for he challenged the Big 10 Creed that when rebounding a player must first Find his (or, a) player, Spin around, Put his butt into gut, Spread his arms & legs out (wide), Lean back into his man, Hold him there for, say, 2 seconds, and THEN go get the ball.

How many years have we seen coaches teach this same thing to players? Answer: Too long. Truthfully, it doesnt work, at least not for anyone outside the paint.

The only thing that matters in rebounding is getting the ball. Anything more is just a dance. What does matter is what I outline below, which is what I now teach regarding How to Rebound. First, though, some background.

Recently I happened to be watching another coach practice with his team. Dutifully, they did the 3-Man Box-out Rebounding Drill. But this time I saw what was actually happening each time the coach shot the ball. When his shot went off, his players looked AWAY from the ball, to find a person to go try to box out. They ran AWAY from the basketball to go get that person.

Then when they got to where that player was, they tried to turn around to locate them with their butts. But by then that offense player (who was facing the basket, and watching the ball the whole time), easily got around the spinning rebounder. In 80% of time the boxer-outer rebounder never even made contact with the moving, reacting offense player. No contact! Instead, just wasted effort, and an unsuccessful solo dance.

I have since noticed this same phenomenon at other practices (disclaimer, including at my own!)

4 Steps to Get a Basketball Rebound

This is what I now teach on the 4 Steps to Get a Rebound:

First, ASSUME every shot is going to miss (this may sound obviously, but most of our players assume every shot is going to be made–which is why 90% stand there watching the shot floating in the air toward the basket, and dont move). They assume the ball will go in; a good rebounder knows it will not.

Second, ANTICIPATE where the missed ball is going to bounce after it hits off the rim or backboard. And while anticipating, take your first step in that direction. Go when no one knows where, not after it is obvious. Let me ask you as a coach, isnt rebounding more about positioning than player size? Will not the smallest, slowest player on the floor get the rebound if he is in the right place, than a taller guy who is out of place and gazing flat-footed?

The truth is, most players stand where they are and hope the ball bounces to them. Almost none move. The next time you are at a practice note how many stand where they are when the shot is taken, and dont move more than 4 inches in any direction. Instead, they freeze & gaze.

Third, POSITION yourself between the ricocheting ball and ANY other player who may be standing in that same area on the court (even if it is your own teammate). As coach, I am okay with one of my players getting in front of another of our players, to grab the rebound. The point is to get the rebound; it doesnt matter to me who on our team gets it.

Fourth, JUMP to meet the ball at the highest point in the air. Again, this sounds obvious. Yet it is surprising how many players only partially jump, if at all; and, instead, they assume the ball will come to them, so they wait for it.

One of my original observations about basketball is this: The first-mover wins the play. And, rebounding is all about who moves first, to the right place, and there jumps first & highest.

Watch your players–are they dancing, or actually getting the ball?

Related: Shell Drill, Rebounding and Transition

Resources:

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1-2-2 Basketball Press

1-2-2 Basketball Press

Developing the right defensive approach can often be one of the most difficult tasks for coaches at any level. Defense often directly leads to wins. As the cliche goes: Defense wins championships. So when a coach is faced with the decision to develop a pressure system for the team, there are a number of choices. Among them, the 1-2-2 basketball press stands as an effective option, especially for coaches with developing teams.

1-2-2 Basketball Press

1-2-2 basketball pressThe good thing about the 1-2-2 basketball press is that it’s fairly easy to coach. This press also stands as a relatively safe option for coaches who don’t want to leave the back line of the defense open. This press also becomes particularly effective when the player at the top can provide ample pressure on the ball.

This defensive alignment takes advantage of a team’s best athletes. The primary strength of this press remains the constant application of ball pressure. This press also allows the defense to control the tempo and flow of the ball game. It can be particularly useful in places that incorporate a shot clock.

The 1-2-2 press allows the defense to trap along the side line. It often forces the offense into awkward counter alignments, which can lead to mistakes and turnovers.

While other full court presses, like the 2-2-1 or “diamond” press, try to leverage the back court to force a turnover, those alignments often leave the back end lightly covered. The 1-2-2 press keeps a pair of players back, doubling that back line.

This press can be useful in breaking an opponent’s offensive rhythm. It can also be folded back into several different half court zones or even a man-to-man.

Coaches must stress protecting the middle of the floor when implementing this press. Coaches should also stress trapping along the side line.

Communication is key with this press, like any other, because each offensive pass will require a defensive realignment on the floor.

Watch the video below where Coach Collins and Coach Jaryt Hunziker talk through all of the alignments and permutations of this press.

Related: Basketball Full Court Presses

Resources:

Coach Unplugged Podcast

Teach Hoops

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Basketball Full Court Presses

Basketball Full Court Presses

When talking about basketball full court presses, coaches refer to the defensive tactic of applying pressure on the offense the entire length of the floor. Depending upon the style of the press itself, a defense might pressure the ball before it’s even been inbounded. Well-drilled teams often find the use of a full court press to be a game-altering proposition.

Before deciding on a press, coaches must understand the limitations of their team. The defense must be well-conditioned and disciplined in order to effectively use a full court press. If not done well or correctly, the full court press might surrender easy scoring opportunities on the other end.

Reasons for Basketball Full Court Presses

The reasoning behind implementing any style of basketball full court presses remains applying pressure to the offensive unit. Presses allow the defense to control the pace of a game. Presses also allow for the defense to create transition opportunities on offense.

If a team is trailing in a game, a full court press might provide the best chance at scoring quick buckets. The press could result in a turnover, or it might force the offense into a quick shot on the other end. Either of those outcomes provides the defense with another opportunity.

In states where the games are played with a shot clock, using a full court press can burn valuable seconds off the clock. Presses often result in lob passes across the court, which rob the offense of their time.

Implementing a consistently, high-energy full court press also affords the coach with the ability to expand the team’s rotation. Having 10 to 12 players capable of performing at a high level will leverage these high-energy attacks.

Types of Basketball Full Court Presses

While there are a number of variations available and different vocabularies, basketball full court presses often boil down to a few basic set ups.

A full court man-to-man press creates a chaotic, scramble environment that allows the defense to control the pace of the game. This option can incorporate a ball-denial approach for every player, or for specific offensive players. An initial overplay might dictate where the ball gets entered. From there, the man-to-man press allows for multiple trapping opportunities in both the full court and half court.

A soft version of the man-to-man full court press might simply force a zig-zag break from the offense, which would burn valuable seconds and might disrupt play timing.

Common zone full court presses include the 2-2-1 and 1-2-1-1 (sometimes called the “diamond press”).

The 2-2-1 press might be particularly valuable to a team that uses a 2-3 zone, or some other configuration, as its base half court defense. The 2-2-1 full court easily folds back into a half court zone. It also applies pressure to the ball and forces the offense to use the sidelines. This pressure moves the offense into potential trapping areas and tries to key to ball out of the middle of the floor.

The 1-2-1-1 or “diamond” seeks to trap the initial offensive pass. This press often allows the offense to initiate the action to a specific spot, then converges from there. The trap applies immediate pressure deep on the floor, so any turnover can be quickly turned into an offensive opportunity.

What to Consider Before Installing a Press

Coaches must evaluate their roster before deciding which full court press will be most beneficial. Some of the other considerations include: when to press, and when to remove the press.

Many presses are implemented following a made field goal, made free throw or off a dead ball. Coaches might mix and match their approach, but those are typically the options. The decision to remove the press usually comes when either the opponent easily navigates the pressure, or the defense is not running it properly. Zone presses often fold back into half court zones at a given point.

Beyond those considerations, others include denying the entry pass and protecting the rim. Denying the entry pass might make an initial trap difficult, and this can be beat with a pass over the top. Protecting the rim might use a safety, or a player rotation.

Trapping the basketball provides the defense with its most high-leverage play in any of the full court presses. But coaches must be clear regarding the expectations for their team when trapping, both on and off the ball. Are there specific areas on the floor that always signal a trap? What do the weak side defenders do?

As with anything, communication is key to a successful full court press.

Related: Basketball Defensive Systems

Resources:

 

Click Here for Coach Ted Anderson’s Pressing and How to Teach It PDF packet.

 

Coach Unplugged Podcast:

Ep: 717 Pressing How and Why with Ted Anderson (Part 1)

Ep: 718 Pressing How and Why with Ted Anderson (Part 2)

Teach Hoops

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Basketball Defensive Systems

Basketball Defensive Systems

Developing basketball defensive systems stands as one of the most important aspects for any coach out there. While designing offensive plays might be more fun, crafting the right defensive system might make more a difference between winning and losing. A good defense feeds directly into offense and it makes scoring that much easier. 

Many coaches believe it’s better to sport a simple offense and complex defense, rather than the other way around. How a coach crafts their team’s defensive approach often dictates the very identity of the team. Also, not all players, particularly at the youth level, will have the same natural abilities on the offensive end, but most players can be taught complex defensive schemes and excel.

Basketball Defensive Systems

Basketball Defensive SystemsOne key consideration for any coach, when creating their basketball defensive systems, should be the capability of the team. Depending upon the skill level of the players, a coach needs to adapt their system to fit what the team can actually do. The system itself becomes the terminology the coach decides upon, and what each call represents for the players on the floor. 

One particularly useful approach when designing a defensive system is to divide the court into quarters. “Four” represents full court. “Three” represents three-quarter court. “Two” represents half court. And “One” represents the three-point line.

Dividing the court in this way allows for the defensive system to have clear calls from the sideline. This concept is also very simple for players to understand. 

From there, a coach needs to decide what defensive approaches are best suited for the team.

Basketball Defensive Systems Optionality

What makes a defense complex isn’t the core concept itself, but the constant variations. If a team were to run the same base defense through each possession, it’s only a matter of time before the opposing offense feels comfortable and adjusts. This is increasingly true as the competition improves.

So when a coach decides upon their defensive approaches, most will settle on a base defense, but also install variations and special attacks. For example, a team’s base defense might be man-to-man, but a coach will also install a half court zone, as well as some sort of press. Some coaches layer multiple defensive approaches as a season progresses.

Basketball Defensive Systems

Once the base defenses are installed, players run through the different progressions to understand the key principals. A coach will have a man-to-man defense, then perhaps zones with even fronts and odd fronts. Players practice with each approach and learn the specific terminology. From there, it’s a matter of bringing the system together.

The calls from the sideline would combine the defensive approach and the pickup point. So one call might be: “Red 4” which would signal to the players a full court, man-to-man press. Another call might be “Blue 2”, which would be a half court, 2-3 zone.

Coaches can play with the terminology and defensive approaches, but the optionality is what makes these basketball defensive systems complex. Constant changes frustrate opposing offenses and create opportunities for the defenses.  

Related: 4-on-4 Cut Throat Basketball Practice Progression

Resources:

High School Hoops Podcast:

Ep: 118. Basketball Defensive Systems

Teach Hoops

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