Coaching Basketball Defensive Notes

These notes are from Bob Starkey’s Basketball Coaching Blog, He has been posting for several years and there are hundreds of posts with ideas to make your program better.

The following are notes from Jim Boone’s lecture on Pack Line Pressure Defense at the TABC Coaching Clinic in San Antonio.

Don Meyer: Write it all down
Get all the good ideas but know you can’t use them all
Fortune 500 Companies — note takers

Pete Newell: “Basketball is the most over-coached, under-taught game.”

3 anchors of your program
◄Sureness – take care of the ball
◄Shot Selection
◄Team Defense

Why Pack Line
1. Can you beat the best with your defense
2. Does your defense all you to win on the road
Rick Majerus: “Winning on the road is about the paint.”
3. Does your defense improve as the season progresses
4. Does your defense progress in post season

Knight: “You get what your tolerate.”

“Know Your No’s” — non-negotiables
1) No Fast-break Lay-ups
2) No Baseline, Nothing to the Outside
3) No Paint (911)
4) No Direct Drives
5) No Rhythm Threes
6) No Second Shots
7) No Fouls

There must be Consequences if the Ball gets to Paint:
1) Take the Charge Foul – Take the Hit and protect the Basket
2) Block the Shot – Best shot block opportunities come from Help
3) Get a Deflection – Help the Helper – Force the Next Pass
4) Hard Foul, we do not want to foul but we are not giving up lay-ups

Rick Majerus: “Those to whom defense is not important will have the best seat in the game.”

The following are Part II of my notes from Jim Boone’s lecture on Pack Line Pressure Defense at last week’s TABC Coaching Clinic in San Antonio. Jim has been a life-long friend and a special member of my coaching circle. He is absolutely one of the best teachers around and an excellent clinician.


1. Pressure on the Basketball (based on ability/athleticism)

“Kobe” – (Driver/Shooter) — elbows bent…finger touch closeness
“Rondo” – (Driver) — “Sometimes not to guard is to guard.”
“Curry” – (Dead 3)

Closeouts are about seeking leverage

Doesn’t like to switch — wants to maintain the integrity of the match-up

JB: “We are an eye-to-eye” program.”

Utilize echo yells

2. Already in Help

Chuck Daly: “Defense can’t guard two things in a row.”

Guarding non-ball defender
◄2 feet in Pack
◄Closer to the ball than your man
◄See ‘em both
TP: Defend with near arm, near leg (no open stance)

2/2 Full Court — Seal the gap
TP: Get off and get ahead

Tates Locke “Rule of Two”
◄2 minutes to Teach a Drill
◄2 days to Learn the Skill
◄2 months to make it a Habit.

JB doesn’t use a whistle in practice…wants player to be able to lock into his voice.

3. Can’t keep them from getting shots but can influence where those shots come from.

Things we can control:
◄Conversion Defense
◄Defensive Rebounding
◄Low Post Defense

JB likes to “Red” the post — double big to big

All players are denied pass inside of 16’
JB: “We don’t get to the mid-line on help because we don’t deny.”

Don’t concede post feed.

Side Ball Screen (Outer Third)
“Body Up” – make ball use screen
“Body In”
Screen Defender: Hand on hip
2 Steps Thru

High Ball Screen—Level/Show

JB: “If I was a high school coach I’d have an alternate defense for playing from behind.”

Al McGuire: Greatest emotion is winning
2nd Greatest emotion is losing
Winning goes to the head
Losing goes to the heart
Must learn to move forward

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2 comments for “Coaching Basketball Defensive Notes

  1. Doug Johnston
    July 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    We are a sideline baseline team forcing to our baseline help and rotating as the ball is put to the floor. We are also on the line up the line and not hugging our man. There are no direct line passes. We are moving on the pass and not on the catch. We pinch at the elbows denying dribble penetration to and in the paint. We have a foot in the paint or midline when we are 2 passes away. When the ball is on the opposite side we bump the cutter and stay in the passing lane to make the passer pass away from the basket. We either front with weak side help or cover the post entry pass by being 3/4 deny. This philosophy has allowed the teams that I have coached to have a winning percentage of over 75%. If you understand the concepts and are willing to play hard nose defense you can always play for me.


    Doug Johnston
    Rocklin High School
    Freshman Mens Basketball
    Rocklin California

    • Coach Brian Williams
      August 8, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks for the input Coach!

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