When thinking about great defense in basketball here are some basic principles to think about and consider when teaching the concept:

  1. FORCE THE BALL SIDELINE-BASELINE

I personally prefer to force the ball to the Sideline and Baseline and to use them as another man on the floor making the job of the player much easier.  I you think about it if the ball is on one side of the floor in the half court, using the sideline and baseline makes it 7 defenders instead of five (5 of your defenders plus the sideline and baseline make it 7).  In addition, a baseline shot is the worst shot on the floor from a percentage standpoint. Have your players always force the ball to the sideline and baseline and keep it there.

 

2. THE BIG 3: GUARD THE ELBOWS, THE LOW BLOCK AND THE SPLIT/MID LINE.

By teaching your players to guard the Elbows, the Low Block, and the Split/Mid Line and clearly defining these places on the floor by definition early, often and continuously your players will have a greater understanding.  No player should be able to drive into the lane/key from the top, a wing, or corner.  Weakside players must straddle (one foot on one side and one on the other) the Split Line/Mid Line. Put blue tape on the floor from one baseline to the other baseline in the center of the key in teaching weakside defense and straddling this line. This is a great way to teach the concept full court and in the half court.

 3.  ONE ON THE BALL AND 4 IN A BOX CONCEPT

Another great way of describing defense is ONE ON THE BALL AND 4 IN A BOX.  In this way you can also use the Elbow and Block and Split Line to help and apply this concept.  If the ball is up top….One one the ball and 4 in a box (2 on the Elbows and 2 on the Blocks). If the ball is on the wing…One on the ball and 4 in a box (one on Elbow, one on the Block, 2 on the Split/Mid Line).

4. ON BALL SCREEN DEFENSE RULE: 2 BIG STEPS TO THE BALL

There are 8 ways to defend the screen and roll play.  However you decide to defend it a great general rule applies to the 3 weakside players not directly defending it.  When 2 players are defending the screen and roll, tell your other 3 weakside defenders to TAKE 2 BIG STEPS TO THE SCREEN AND ROLL ACTION OR TO THE BALL.  By doing this, they will put themselves in perfect position to help, rotate, or protect the basket without over helping.  It makes sense, it is easy, and effective!

5. TALK ON DEFENSE…THE ELC RULE: EARLY, LOUD, AND CONTINUOUS!

Talking on defense is essential and the reason you talk on defense is to get an advantage over the offense.  Using ELC: Early, Loud, and Continously, your team will create improved communication to work together, talk loud, and continuously to create a great habit from the beginning of the game and from game to game. Communication leads to advantage, which leads to trust and players wanting to play for and with each other on the defensive end of the floor.