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Teaching Defense: This is a youth basketball teaching progression for team defense. The individual and team concepts start with the most basic concepts and advance once the players are able to execute the fundamental during a game. It is important to understand the age and skill level of the players.
Defensive fundamentals are easier to teach than offensive fundamentals. A player with ZERO offensive skill can be a great defender! Defense is half the game, so a good portion of practice time should be devoted to individual and team defense.
Transition Defense: This is CRITICAL! Do not give up easy lay-ups. When there is a change of possession, players must SPRINT to the defensive. Stop drills and do pushups if team is not calling out “I’ve got Block!” “I’ve got Ball”
1. SPRINT TO THE BLOCK (& paint) (“Ball & Blocks”): The 1st thing we do on defense! It all starts here. Once a basket is scored or the other team gains possession ALL 5 PLAYERS sprint to the paint! “Ball & Blocks” is an added concept to make sure we do not let players get behind us to the blocks for a lay-up. The “ball and block” concept can take away any chance of a team getting a layup in transition if we have 3 defenders back. It might be wise to have 1st player sprint to RIGHT BLOCK, 2nd player get ball, 3rd player get LEFT block. DRILL, 3 line ball reversal blow the whistle and players sprint to the sports. Very important to teach angles.
2. STOP THE BALL & STAY WITH THE BALL! The #1 goal of our team defense is to STOP THE BALL! Once a player has sprinted to the BLOCK and covered the RIGHT BLOCK, the next player calls “I’ve Got Ball.” This player leaves the paint to pick up the player dribbling the ball at the top of the key! Work hard to keep the ball out of the paint! the 4 other defenders are in the paint ready to help if the ball defenders get beat! Force the player to pick up his dribble.
3. SCRAMBLE: STAY WITH THE BALL & SWITCH MEN: DO NOT LEAVE THE BALL is a difficult concept for players to understand, but it is so important. In transition defense, match-ups will be messed up. Each player will not be covering his assigned man in many cases. The player who picks up the ball, will stay with the ball for the entire possession. This means the other players must adjust and pick up the other 4 man. Some players may be able to stay with the assigned player, but at least one will not.