Thursday, January 29, 2009

Defensive Progression for Teaching M-M

I am a big believer in teaching man to man defense to your players. Zone can win you some games and get you some great looks, but I believe most successful teams have a good man to man backbone to rely on. I love teaching the game and I think this progression I do daily in practice goes a long way to help. I do the drills in the following order:

Mass Stance (5 Minutes)
-Have players get in lines and get into their stance. Go around and make sure they are in proper stance (butt down, back straight, hands out, knees not pointed in, etc). Then I have them go to chopping their feet while staying in their stance. Then I point and have them slide the way I point. When I bring the ball up and pretend to shoot, they have to close out. Very simple drill and very elementary, but I want to make sure that my players are as technically sound as possible.
-Points of Emphasis: Proper stance, active hands, call ball, call shot on the close out, point your toe the way you want to go, hand up in the direction the player is going and the opposite hand in the middle to take the crossover, and STAY LOW!

Full Court 1 on 1 (5 Minutes)
-Players line up at one end of the court. The first two players play one on one down the floor. They finish and sprint back around the outside of the floor back into the line. If the offensive player scores, the defense has 5 pushups, if the defense stops them the offense has 5 pushups. De La Salle HS in Minneapolis does this and they are a very good defensive program. I like it because you will NEVER have to play a kid 1 on 1 FC so if you can do it this makes you a much better defender.
-Points of Emphasis: Stay low in stance, point toe the way you are shuffling, back straight, call ball, active hands, turn them as much as possible before half court (to slow them down) then once they are over half court get them to a side and keep them there (hopefully weak hand side).

Close Outs (5 Minutes)
-One player starts at the top of the key, the other players start in a line under the basket, first player has the ball. The player with the ball throws out a good chest pass to the player at the top of the key. They sprint out and close out on the ball. The player with the ball has three dribbles to score - again make it competitive with pushups. I like the way De La Salle teaches closeouts in terms of going from 2 hands up to 1 after the initial close out. A good way to teach it. I will change the drill and have me as the passer and the defender start in different spots and close out. For instance, me on the wing, the player they are guarding on the point, and them on the line up the line ready to close from there. Again, simple drill but it teaches kids how to be technical with what they are doing.
-Points of Emphasis: SPRINT OUT to close the gap, high hands and low butt, call "ball", start closing out 5 feet from the ball with short choppy steps like a linemen, be ready to react to the shot or drive by the offense.

Wing Denials (5 Minutes)
-I really like this drill in terms of teaching good footwork and positioning. Put a chair on each wing. Have the coach at the point with the ball. The players start in a line in proper position as if they were guarding the chair. On your signal, they slide at an angle to the block, as if guarding a cutting wing, they pivot on their bottom foot, shuffle across the lane opened up, pivot on their front foot and close again on the opposite block and shuffle out to the other chair so they would be in proper position in relation to the ball at the point. Make sure they see the ball at all times, if they don't I will gently lob it at them to catch them unaware.
-Points of Emphasis - See ball and "man", stay low and in good stance, proper slides, proper verbals (help, help, help), active hands, point toe the way you are going, pivot properly.

2v2 1 Side (5 Minutes)
-Divide the court in half length wise. One offensive and defensive player at the point area, one at the wing. Point has the ball. Play two on two. Offense can move and cut, but can only drive middle (because of help). Play 2 on 2 and work on positioning. Kind of a chance to put all the invidual stuff together.
-Points of emphasis: Proper verbals (help when off ball, ball when on ball, cutter if cutting, drive if driving, etc), proper positioning (on line up line for me when off, pressure ball when on), staying in stance at all times, helping early and often, recovering hard, proper close outs

Shell Drill (10 Minutes)
-Very basic drill, but one that I LOVE. Have the offense start in a 4 out 1 in look (can really have any look actually). Have the defense match up. Offense stays stationary and passes the ball around. I like to have the offense hold the ball for 3 seconds before passing to start and then speed it up at the end. I will do this for the first five to seven minutes switching guys in and out on defense. Then I will usually get something I want to focus on and have the offense do that - for example: pass and cut, drive and kick, screen, etc. And really focus my guys and defending that specific look.
-Points of Emphasis: VERBALS (must talk), proper positioning in relation to the ball, move on AIR TIME (when the pass is caught everyone should be in position), proper defensive position at all times.

1 Down Transition (10 minutes)
-I like this drill because it works on transition defense, which is one of the most under taught aspects of the game, and lets us put everything we have worked on into live practice for ten minutes. You put the players into two teams (I go yellow and black b/c of colors). One team of five starts spread out on the baseline facing the opposite basket and is the offensive team in the drill. The other team is spread out at the FT line extended facing someone on the baseline. The coach starts with the ball behind the players on the FT line extended. The coach throws the ball to one of the offensive players on the baseline and the offensive team takes off toward the opposite basket. The defense takes off too, except the player who was lined up across from the player the ball was passed to. That defender has to run down, touch the baseline, and then get back into the play. The other 4 defenders have to stop the 5 on 4 break long enough for their teammate to recover.
-Points of Emphasis: Order of operations in transition defense: rim-ball-man, protect the rim-stop the ball-THEN find your guy, close out on shooters, communciate for matchups, get into our man to man, play proper man to man defense.

So, there it is. Nothing special at all, but it is something that I like and believe in. Hopefully it helps some of you out. Thoughts? Let me know!

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