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3 Coaching Points for Better Defense

  • Author:
    By Jeff Haefner
  • Date:
    Oct 20, 2010

When it comes to developing a solid basketball defense, having players that are quick on their feet is paramount for any winning strategy.

With these simple tricks, you'll be able to double your team's defensive agility, helping them to take away easy shots, scramble to close out, and ultimately, making them difficult to score against.

Move on the Pass

Teach players to move on the pass, NOT the catch. This basketball coaching tip alone will boost your team's defensive quickness. Players should be taught to always start moving to their correct defensive position when the ball leaves the fingertips of the player that's passing it, NOT when their teammate catches the pass.

Just by training players to move on the pass and not the catch, your team will gain an extra second or two to get into their defensive position, giving them the upper hand against the opponent.

Remember that while you want your players to anticipate the pass and move when the ball is released from the passer's fingertips, you want to make sure that they do not move BEFORE that point. If a player moves before the ball is released, they run the risk of falling for a pass fake and potentially leaving their opponent open for an easy, uncontested shot.

Knees Bent

Instruct players to keep their knees bent in an athletic stance. When players are conditioned to always be in an athletic stance with their knees bent, they are able to gain speed and quickly move to their defensive positions simply by being ready.

Not a believer in this simple trick? Line up your fastest and slowest team members with the slower player starting in an athletic stance and the faster player standing up straight. On your mark, have the two players race 15 feet. And the winner is...

The slower player will win every time.


Let players know who they'll be guarding. Players that know the habits and moves of their opponents are better prepared to defend them. For this reason, it's beneficial to your team members to let them know who they'll be defending in advance. Players can then "scout" their opponents to get a sense for what they need to do to effectively defend them.

This can also be accomplished by simply having a player watch the opponent from the bench during the game, or watch game footage of them to see what they're up against before they get out on the court.

By making these simple adjustments, your team will be able to successfully boost their speed and become a powerhouse defensive contender.

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