“Are These Four Things Alive In Your Defense Everyday?”

November 15, 2019


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With the college basketball season only a few games old, I thought I’d share a few defensive “controllables” with you. These are physical things. Nothing to do with defending actions or stopping a particular type of personnel. These 4 things do not require elite talent – just a daily commitment. I know you guys are busy, so here you go….

  1. VOICE – I tweeted about a month ago the importance of “voice violence” in the gym.  All winning gyms have it.  This isn’t just random shouting or repeating choice phrases.  Nope.  I’m talking about strong, specific, urgent, and forceful communication that is needed for the moment, drill or practice segment. “Here we go, y’all” is fine when its time.  But “WATCH THE MIDDLE PICK AND ROLL SMITTY!  WEAK! WEAK! I’M WITH YOU! I’M WITH YOU!” That’s the winning stuff.
  2. HANDS – Active hands (whether man or zone defense) “tighten” the windows for the offense to see things.  I love the phrase “All we need is a fingertip”.  A finger-tipped pass can cause a deflection.  A deflection can create a steal.  A steal can generate an easy basket or dunk….which can start an 8-0 run.  Opponent timeout.  Momentum shift.  All because of a fingertip.
  3. CHEST – With the rules now limiting physical on the ball pressure (until conference play – wink), it’s crucial to be able to stay in front of the basketball anywhere on the floor.  Making the drivers play “through your chest” is a strong visual.  No angles.  Square the ball up and keep “numbers on numbers” (A Karen Aston-ism).  Does this take focused work daily? Yes.  But is it a controllable?….Absolutely.
  4. FEET – Every player’s feet are needed to make the great defensive music work.  Indiana Pacers Assistant Coach Dan Burke has a great phrase “Everybody is faster when we’re in the right position”.  Active feet AND correctly positioned feet allow a player – and the whole defense – to be places EARLY.  And beating the offense to spots over the course of 32, 40 or 48 minutes makes all the difference in the world.

I wish you all the best for a healthy, locked in, and fun season.  I hope this and the other blog entries have made your wheels turn a little bit!  More to come…..


Find Joy in the Game,

Alan 🏀

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