Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

(This issue begins a 2-part article on teaching individual defense.)

“More than anything else, playing inspired defense is a matter of will.”

Phil Jackson

We have to get the ball in order to play with the ball!

Defense gets the ball! Period!

Defense is too important to just hope that players will get it. The coaches must teach it.

Not too far into my coaching career, I became acutely aware of the importance of teaching defense. Early on, I had been just setting up defenses and walking players through their positions and assignments. I realized that just telling the players to play defense wasn’t getting the job done. I learned ‘what’ and ‘how’ and then I began to teach every component, from the placement of the feet and the stance, how to react, how to play on the ball and off the ball, against cutters, in the post, etc., etc. We were rewarded with better play and I became a fully dedicated advocate of teaching defense.

Defense is so integral to the overall success of a program it cannot be afforded a cursory inspection, like I was doing in the first few years. Once we teaching-coaches know the ‘how’, it can then be taught easily enough, then drilled to perfection the same way we develop offenses—over and over and over, until it becomes UNCONSCIOUS COMPETENCE!

In my more than forty years of coaching, I have come to the following realizations about defense:

1. There is often a lot of generalization rather than specific teaching being done;

2. Many coaches believe zone defenseis easier to teach than man defense;

3. Defensive skills are easier to teach than offensive skills. Creating a good defensive player is infinitely easier than creating a good offensive player;

4. A team can play good defense and win even when the offense is having an off game;

5. Defense has always created most of my offense.

By admin