A good defensive team may take some chances in the full or half court areas. They may mix their defenses in various ways. But a great defensive team is always solid in the scoring area. If we make this commitment, we can be good as any team defensively.
To excel in team defense, you must be willing to do certain things:
• Put playing defense high on your list of priorities – have pride in playing it as an individual and team.
• Talk on defense.
• Be willing to give yourself up to help on defense. We are always defending against penetration; each man defends his man, the ball, and the foul lane.
• Be willing to identify with the rebound and loose ball.
• Have the courage to be physical – to put your body on people, to make the first hit on block outs, and to defend cutters.
Once we are committed as a team to playing the most consistent defensive game possible, our basic plan in setting our half-court defense then follows:
• Be a great transition team. Stop the fast break, easy sideline break, or easy early offense shot. Make the opponent have to play us 5 on 5, not 2 on 1.
• Push the ball to a sideline so we can establish a strong side defense. Then, we can set our weak side help defense and make the try to beat us on the entry side of the court.
• Stop easy penetrations and swings to the weak side by having our team defense set quickly.
• Stop the low post attack. Prevent easy passes in and also prevent scores, if the ball does get inside (i.e. weak side help, trap, etc.).
• Rotate to cover up any opponent who was left open because one of our defensive teammates left to attack a penetrating drive or low post pass.
In the end, each player must commit himself to his teammates. He must be willing to say he will give his best to help his teammates get the defensive job done. It is not enough to say, “I’ll get mine, you get yours.” You must be willing to say, “I’ll get mine and yours too, when you need me.”
By being willing to give help to attack every penetration into our defense and to rotate to every open man we will be able to challenge every shot in good shooting range.
When the day arrives that each teammate feels we are going to war together and that each man has his teammates to back him up, we will have a team we can be proud of, and one that will win consistently.
Coach Quotes on the Importance of Defense
“You win in this league on defense.” – George Allen on the NFL
“Winning is more related to good defense than good offense.” – Dr. Jack Ramsey on the NBA
“My philosophy of defense is to keep the pressure on an opponent until you get to his emotions.” – John Wooden, UCLA
“It’s fun to play defense. It’s fun to watch the opponent sweat on offense, start complaining to the officials, and eventually be taken out of the game because he’s making so many offensive mistakes.” – Maury John, former college coach
“Defense is the great equalizer. It’s the chief characteristic of the champion and the trademark of the underdog.” – Dr. Jack Ramsey