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Defensive fundamentals
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Defensive fundamentals


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Defenses in basketball can be complex but they all stem form basic principles. This presentation was given at the FIBA COACHES CLINIC: LEVEL ONE MODULE II in Windhoek, Namibia

Defenses in basketball can be complex but they all stem form basic principles. This presentation was given at the FIBA COACHES CLINIC: LEVEL ONE MODULE II in Windhoek, Namibia

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  • 1. Defensive Fundamentals: Man to Man Defense
  • 2. Understanding man to man defense• Every defense will have man to man principles. Most zone concepts will derive from man to man defenses.• No penetration, be it dribble penetration or baseline.• No open looks; defenders must close out on opponents with ball.• Help-side; one pass or two passes away there is always help on screens, cuts and denying the pass.
  • 3. Defensive Stance• Everything begins with a good defensive stance.• A players feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart with knees bent and legs flexed.• The entire foot is on the ground with the weight equally distributed onto the balls of the feet.• The player is in a sitting position with the upper body leaning slightly forward and back remaining straight. Shoulders are square to the offensive player.• Arms are bent, hands extended outside the knees with palms up.• The player’s head is up centered in the stance and slightly over their feet.• Eyes are focused on the midsection (waist) or chest of the offensive player.
  • 4. Understanding Man to Man
  • 5. Defensive stance contd.
  • 6. Defensive Footwork• In order to contain an offensive player with great one-on-one defense, every player must be able to execute a proper defensive slide.• A proper defensive slide starts with a good defensive stance.• The proper way to move when guarding the dribbler is to step and push off.• This accomplished by stepping sideways with the lead foot (the foot closest to the direction in which the player wants to go) then pushing off with the trail foot to catch up.• When stepping and sliding, it is very important that the defender does not cross their feet, or bring their feet together.• While stepping and sliding, the defensive player should remain under control and avoid galloping.
  • 7. Defensive Zig Zag Drill• Check out this video with Coach Lenny Wilkens on the defensive zig zag drill.• Coach Wilkens covers key points on footwork and the importance of staying in front of your man.• G7M
  • 8. On the ball defense• We want defensive pressure on the ball at all times. This will cause offensive turnovers and give outside shooters difficulty getting the shot off.• Over-guard toward the offensive players strong side. If your man is right-handed, over-guard that side and make him/her go left.• Keep the palm of your lead hand facing up. Try to get at the ball from below, not by slapping down it, which results in a foul. Your other hand should be in the passing lane.• Slide with your opponent, and try to get him/her to stop the dribble, and then close in and apply pressure.
  • 9. On the ball defense contd.• Dont "reach-in".• This causes you to lose your balance and defensive stance, and you become easy for the offensive player to get around.• Dont get into the bad habit of reaching-in and taking a swipe at the ball as the offensive player dribbles around you.• Instead move your feet, hustle, stay with your man, and prevent him/her from getting to the basket by maintaining good on-ball defensive stance.
  • 10. Lockdown Defense• Kobe Bryant is one of the best defenders in the NBA and the game of basketball.• Here you see him locking down Dwayne Wade from one end of the floor to the other and forcing Wade to make a turnover.• ZI
  • 11. Close-out• Defenders must learn to "close-out" on the player with the ball.• Once the offensive player receives the pass, the defender should rush toward the ball-handler in a low stance. The last several steps should be quick, choppy steps to stop your momentum (so the defender doesnt dribble around you).• Your baseline line foot should be back in order to force the ball-handler toward the baseline.• As you approach the ball-handler, snap your shoulders and head back to help slow yourself down.• Close-out with the inside hand high in order to contest the outside shot, and the outside hand low to prevent a cross- over dribble into the middle.
  • 12. Close Out Drill• The close out is a skill that’s key in defense but even more so for perimeter defenders.• Here is Andre Iguodala on how to close out and some keys on stopping your opponent from getting any good looks.• WeE
  • 13. Off the ball defenseDenial:• When guarding an offensive player who is one pass away from the ball, you should be denying the ball, clogging the passing lane.• Denying your man the ball, keeps him/her from scoring. Play the passing lane and stay between the player youre guarding and the ball.• Place your foot and hand nearest the ball slightly forward, and turn the palm of your hand toward the ball, so that you can reject any incoming passes.• Be in a position to see both your player and the ball. If the ball- handler stops the dribble, you have a "dead ball situation" and everyone should close in on their man, in "full-denial".
  • 14. Off the ball defense contd.• In "full-denial", the defensive players should be "on the line".• If your man is a long distance, or two passes away from the ball- handler, you can play a little "up the line“.
  • 15. Off the ball defense contd.
  • 16. Contesting, Denial, Help-side• Duke Men’s Basketball is known for their great team play especially on defense.• They manage to do this because each player plays sound defense individually, allowing them to play stronger as a unit. Here is a drill they use to stress the 6 points of contesting:•
  • 17. Off the ball defense contd.Help-side:• When your opponent is two or more passes from the ball, you should be in "help-side" position. This will allow you to be in position to help your teammates against the ball penetrating the paint.• This involves dropping off your man some (but without losing sight of him/her), and sagging toward the ball-side. Be ready to help defend against another player driving or cutting to the hoop, and "help" your teammate who may have gotten beat.• Once the ball comes back to within one pass from your player, you get back into deny position. If the ball is skip- passed to your player, you quickly close-out and play "on- ball".
  • 18. Off the ball defense contd.
  • 19. Defending Cuts• Another important aspect is to deny the pass to a cutter moving through the lane. Here the defender must try to keep between his man and the ball, denying the pass.• One technique the defender can use is to "bump the cutter" off his/her intended pathway by getting position and riding the cutter away from the basket. "Bumping" may not be a good term as it may imply "hitting" the cutter, or something "dirty".• Rather, it means getting inside position on the cutter, or at least an arm in front in the passing lane, much like the ½ or ¾ fronting of a post player.
  • 20. Defensive Shell Drill• The ever famous shell drill. This is one of the best drills for teaching team defense.• Take a look as Coach Greg Lansing’s Indiana State performs the drill:• Osc
  • 21. Defending ScreensHelp and Recover or Hedging:• When hedging a screen the screeners defender comes out to impede the ball-handlers progress forcing the ball-handler to take a few retreat steps.• This allows the original defender to recover on the check and the screeners defender can recover back to his original defender.
  • 22. Defending Screens• You could simply switch ball screens, especially if no size or quickness advantage is given up. The screened defender could slide under, or slide through the screen (between the screener and the screeners defender).• But you may give up an open three-point shot, as the ball-handler may shoot the outside shot, rather than dribbling around the screen. This is not a problem if the ball-handler is outside his/her shooting range.
  • 23. Trapping• In trapping, one defender should first stop the dribbler, often along the sideline or baseline, or in one of the "trapping zones“. Trapping zones are those areas where the offensive player definitely does not want to get caught losing his dribble. Its like getting caught in a corner.• Once the ball is stopped, the second defender sprints over and double-teams the ball carrier. They obscure the ball- handlers view, and get into the passing lane.• The position of their hands should be at the same height as the ball. If the offensive player holds the ball high to "throw over the top", the hands should be high. If the ball is low, the hands should be low to prevent the bounce pass..
  • 24. Trapping contd.
  • 25. Taking the Charge• Footwork. Make sure your players have 2 feet firmly planted and that they dont shuffle their feet before or after contact. This will result in a blocking foul instead, exactly the opposite of what we want to accomplish.• No fear, you must not be afraid of contact. Yes, it will hurt, and its not a glamorous thing, to be knocked down. But someone on your team must be willing to take one to the body.• Fall straight back onto your butt, again its not a charge if you squirm or fall sideways or hit shoulder to shoulder. You must take a solid hit into the chest and fall straight down onto your butt.• Anticipate, like basic M2M principles, if you are taking a charge from the weakside, you must be watching the ball and anticipate the dribblers move. If you are taking a charge on your defender, you must anticipate when they make their move to the basket and get there before the dribbler.
  • 26. Taking the Charge• Taking a charge can be a game changer or swing momentum when your team needs it most.• Shane Battier of the NBA is not only a excellent defender but is one of the best charge takers in the league. Check out what he has to show you about taking the charge:• M
  • 27. Defending the out of bounds play• First, defend the basket for the inbounds pass. We position the ball defender such that our opponent cannot make a direct pass to the basket from out of bounds.• Second, switch all up screens. Many successful out-of-bounds plays have a screen-the-screener action. At least one of those screens comes from the baseline up.• We switch all the screens that originate from the baseline. This helps us defend multiple screens and defend the basket.• It also helps us accomplish one of our basic defensive principles where we like to keep our post defenders in the post and our perimeter defenders on the perimeter.