In the game of basketball, the game between two opponents is and forever will be about who outscores who when the game is over. Now with that being said, both opponents need to play some DEFENSE when one is on offense trying to limit their opponent’s scoring to help with being called the winner at the end of the game because they outscored the other. Defense takes pride, commitment, technique, will, and mentality if you want to be a good defender and when watching a game, if any of these are lacking in one individual or a team, the score of a game will reflect that.
There is an ART to playing defense that can come out to be a beautiful picture when executed the right way. My wife and I when we ran different programs started everything we wanted to do on the basketball court behind the bases of defense. Our motto “You can’t score unless you have the ball!“ We taught our players without telling them this specifically but training their mentality first to think these three things when it comes to defense: 1. Guard the ball. 2. What’s our technique? 3. What’s our scheme?
Notice I said, Guard the ball for #1. It’s a big difference between guarding the ball and guarding your man. Some coaches use the term, “guard your man” when trying to tell their players to guard the ball. Players understanding concepts were very big keys for us, so we talked and taught in a way of such thing. Guarding the ball meant to our players, that if you are guarding someone who currently has the ball, then you are guarding the ball, eyes on ball using your technique to move with the ball. Guarding your man refers to if you are guarding some one currently without the ball. Now #2, What’s your technique, simply is the defensive techniques you teach in whatever defensive scheme you are running from one possession to the next. For example, if you are defending the ball at the top of the key in a man defense, are you forcing the ball handler left or right sideline to baseline? #3, What’s your scheme, simply means what kind of defense we are playing during one possession or another and the actions we are doing out of them. For example, in a 2-3 zone defense are we trapping in the corners or just playing an area? All of these things would help us paint the picture for our players so they can display the artwork on the court.
For coaches out there, I want to give some tips you can use with your team to prepare them to make some great DEFENSIVE ART on the court:
1. Make sure your players are conditioned to play the style of defense you want to play. They are not going to play 40 min of press defense if they are only conditioned to play 2-3 zone all game.
2. Make sure your players understand the style, concepts, techniques, and the schemes in the defenses you want to run in the game. Remember, a player’s understanding is not just from them saying they understand but also showing they do.
3. Make your defensive practices become a mentality for your players so it becomes their habitat.
These tips along with a lot of other things my wife and I implemented within our programs helped us produce some great DEFENSIVE ART that led to a lot of success and I hope some of these things can help you as well.