By Shane Dreiling, Team Arete
It is important that we take pride in our defensive effort. This is one area of the game that can and should be constant. We will play harder than anyone else in the nation.
SEE THE BALL
We must be aware of where the ball is at all times, even if it comes at the expense of the man we are guarding. An offensive player cannot score without the ball. Guarding a player with the ball our position is BALL-YOU-BASKET.
PRESSURE THE BASKETBALL
The key of our defensive philosophy is that we must look to apply IMMEDIATE and CONSTANT PRESSURE on the ball. We must force the ball to be dribbled to the outside, take away the outside shot, and take away any easy ball movement. We must attack the ball without fouling, or giving up our stances, or allowing penetration. TOUCHES, DEFLECTIONS, COVER THE BALL. Guarding any player one pass away our position is a DENY STANCE-ON THE LINE, UP THE LINE. If the ball is on the side of the floor, we keep one body part in the passing lane. This means that the defender is between the offensive player and the ball. We want to put the offensive team under constant siege for the full game. “FOULING NEGATES HUSTLE.” We want to play aggressively and smart using sound techniques and principles.
It is essential that all five players communicate with each other. Calling “ball”, yelling “help”, “skip” or “double” helps ensure that all five defenders will be in good position and know what is happening on the court. Three talking rules: Early, Loud and Often.
NO DIRECT PASSES OR DRIVES
We want to make the offense throw passes below or above us, not through us. Therefore, the only acceptable pass to give up is a lob pass. We force the offense to their weak hand to take away the straight line drive.
STANCE AND SPACE
Our basic stance is bucket down, chest out, hands and feet shoulder width apart with hands high and out. Our left foot, left hand is forward. WEWANT TO PUSH THE PLAYER AWAY FROM THEIR STRONG HAND. When guarding the ball, our outside hand should mirror the ball, trying to touch the ball as often as possible. Our inside hand is our deflector hand. Defensively, we want to take up space and we are looking to defend in the neutral zone.
SPRINT TO THE BALL
Any time the ball is passed YOU MUST SPRINT TO THE BALL. Move on airtime. Make gradual, quick, immediate adjustments in your stance. You must be in position before the ball is caught. Sprinting to the ball allows you to be in proper position to front cutters, avoid screens (be a moving target), and help teammates. Any time the ball is dribbled you must make the proper ball side or help side adjustments in positioning.
TRANSITION AND COMMUNICATION
Quick, organized transition with communication by all five players is a must for a great defensive team. We must STOP THE BALL. We must sprint to the level of the ball, eliminate all cheap baskets, and make opponents go against our set defense. NO LAYUPS, NO THREES, NO FOULS, NO SECOND SHOTS. When in doubt, recover to the paint and then find their man.
QUICK HELP AND EARLY RECOVERY
There is no such thing as helping too quickly. This is not a suggestion but a requirement. We protect the gap and deny one pass away. When your teammate steers the ball into the next outside gap, be ready to provide quick help with your rear to the ball. When you help, you must recover on line to your offensive player as the ball is picked up. When guarding screens, we must talk and communicate with our teammates. It is our goal not to switch when facing screens. Rather, we want to hedge and recover, opening a gap for our teammate to slide through so they can continue guarding their man.
BLOCKOUT AND OUTLET
Our defensive effort is completed when we have POSSESSION OF THE BALL (ICE). We use the word ICE (Identify, Contact, Explode) to relay our rebounding message. When the ball is shot we must have ALL FIVE PLAYERS fulfilling their rebound responsibility until the ball is CHINNED. Our team will rebound covering the paint in a triangle shape with our guards blocking out then moving to the elbow areas. We want to play the odds when rebounding a jump shot and will flood the weak side with a guard to give us additional rebounding strength. If we don’t get out rebounded, we will not lose.
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