These are some of my beliefs about playing a pack style defense.
Regardless of the style of defense that you play, I hope these thoughts might help you to define and refine your defense.
When you try to stop everything, you stop nothing.
The number one goal of our defense is to allow a low defensive field goal percentage.
Control the dribbler. Determined to keep him out of lane.
Keep the ball out of the lane by gapping (that keeps us from having to rotate and miss block outs).
Gapping is more important than gambling for steals.
Be a high energy defensive team every night and outlast the opponent every possession
Make them shoot contested shots 18’ and out, then block out, pursue the ball, and chin the rebound
Defense involves continually performing one responsibility after another, until we have the ball.
Players who do not play defense as hard as possible do not play.
Any player with desire and determination can learn to be an adequate defensive player.
Playing hard will make up for a lot of defense mistakes.
We use both our defense and our offense to control the tempo of the game and the number of possessions.
Individual concentration, awareness, anticipation, recovery, and communication are vital.
Defense is successful when each player concentrates each possession on recognizing, anticipating, and executing.
A defensive attitude is essential. The players need to feel that they are difficult to score against and must take pride in the defensive aspect of the game.
Great defensive teams cover up mistakes.
You recover as soon the ball is picked up. Help as far outside the lane as possible. Same on screens.
Teams don’t get beat the help they get beat on better recovery—so we must practice and stress recovery.
Ball is more important—talk the switch—no penetration.
STANCE knees bent—feet wide) Tail down, Weight on balls of feet. Heels slightly up.
POSITION Do not go for a steal and take yourself out of a play. That is false hustle and it hurts our team.
VISION AND AWARENESS (see the ball and man—sink to see). Be ready to help on the ball.
Trace the ball with other hand. Hands off. Don’t foul the game away or put yourself on the bench with foul trouble.
Know the man’s strengths and play the appropriate gap. Our scouting report will make what that exactly is clear to the players.
FORCE OUTSIDE. When the man with the ball spins, or turns his back we trap him.
When the dribble is picked up, we apply pressure—“Up” is our call so everyone knows the ball is up. Make the ball uncomfortable.
Forward pivots, hands above shoulders on block outs.
You can only do two of the three from: deny, help, recover. We choose to not deny and place our defenders in the help gap to begin with.
Foul only for profit. Switch for profit.
Great defensive teams take charges and don’t reach or swing.
Take the charge in front of the basket, in the lane, and on the baseline. It is impossible to get a charge call in the middle of the floor.
Help across and down—never from the basket out.
Guard two places at once by using defensive fakes.
Give quick help with early recovery. Helper sees own man.
When we recover, we recover to the ball or to a gap, not to a man (unless he has the ball or is in the post)
Don’t deny past the level of the ball.