The A, B, C’s of Defensive Basketball

I ndividual and team defenses, if practiced and coached properly, will pay off with many wins. Defensive dividends in basketball depend upon the individual player knowing their A-B-C’s of defensive basketball.

A lways take pride in your defensive work, always be between your opponent and the basket. Aggressive defense is winning basketball. Hustle on defense, it pays off!

B e Alert. Be ready for defensive changes or be ready to help as needed.

C oncentrate on your opponent, study them. Check their strengths and their weaknesses. Know how to break them down with good “D”.

D etermine that you will improve your defense. Do it now – today; tomorrow is too late – you will be sitting on the bench.

E valuation – You are constantly being evaluated as a player. Coaches in their scouting reports always look for the weakest defensive player to attack. Stay low, move your feet, and be active with your hands.

F ailure to pick up on defense has lost games. Face your opponent, turn your back and they will score. Lazy players soon find a way to the bench.

G rab those boards. Get inside your opponent and box out. Get off your feet on all rebounds. Go for the ball – reaching won’t get it – jumping is a must.

H ustle on defense. Hustle is that intangible factor makes for winning basketball and team morale. Remember, next to heart, hustle is the greatest asset that a defensive player possesses. Do you hustle or do you loaf?

I f I player – if I had picked up my assignment earlier, if I didn’t turn my head, if I didn’t cross my feet, if I didn’t stand up on “D”. Are you an if I type of player?

J ack knife and jump on all rebounds. Just reaching, just wishing, will JUST not get you the rebound. You must JUMP!

K eep your head; foolish players make foolish fouls. Keep your eyes on the ball and man; keep the proper angle: Ball – You – Man. Keep your opponent boxed out. Keep hustling.

L earn your ABC’s of sound defense. LOVE the game on the defensive end too!

M an-to-man is the basis of all defenses. Know your man-to-man rules and you will be able to adapt to any defense. Remember: Ball – Deny – Help rules on defense.

N ever underestimate your opponent. Never walk on “D”. Never fail to communicate with teammates. Never, Never, Never, Quit!

O pportunity – take advantage of the opportunities that playing good defense gives you and your teammates; taking the charge, a steal, a deflection, and a defensive rebound.

P ercentage basketball wins games. Can you average 45% in field goal shooting and 75% free throw shooting? On defense what percent of the rebounds do you get, or do you let a teammate do it? How many drives do you stop? How many interceptions do you make or turnovers do you force per game? Pay the price – conditioning will get you ready to play aggressive defense.

Q uick reflexes – Catlike reflexes can be acquired if you practice at game speed every day. Quitters seldom play all-out on defense – defense calls for a gut check.

R ebounds are the backbone of winning basketball. Offense sells tickets, defense wins games, and rebounding wins Championships.

S peed on the defense is important. Using your head is more important. Spirit, speed, and brains are hard to beat.

T alk on defense. If the man with the ball is yours call “ball”, if you are one pass away call “deny”, and if you are in the help-side position, call “help”.

U nited we stand, divided we fall. Understand defensive team concepts. Individual defense must be strong in order for team defense to be strong. Don’t be the weak link that opponents look for. Take pride in your defense.

V ictory depends upon good team defensive play. It is not good enough to say, “I stopped mine.” Be prepared mentally and physically to play hard, smart, and together.

W inning games is accomplished by defending, which requires heart, hustle, and guts. Help your teammates. Think TEAM first. Think on “D”.

X marks the spot where your Red Zone or “No Man’s Land” is located – the spot that you and your teammates must defend at all costs. In other words, a commitment to stopping the drive and not allow your opponent two easy points.

Z ones – in addition to man-to-man defense, you must also know the proper techniques to play zone defense. Playing zone defense is not a rest stop. Let them shoot over you, and around you, but not in the middle of your zone defense. Make them work for a good shot. Box out and get those rebounds.

Amelia J. Bell

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