Everyone, if they put in the effort and practice can be a great defensive player. Defense requires effort, determination, aggression and concentration. Using these principles can make any team competitive and can carry you through rough shooting nights or keep you in games against other outstanding defensive teams. We have tried to build a reputation for being a tough, physical group that leaves a lasting impression on the teams we play. We play a high tempo, up and down style that requires our players to be in outstanding shape and very physical with their opponent at both ends of the floor. Getting our players to buy in to our style is contagious and they love not sitting back and waiting for the offense to come to them, but attacking the offense. We hear our players after games talking about how they love to see the way other teams look in the second half of games when they have nothing left and they know they are beaten before the clock runs out and the buzzer sounds.
When we compete, we want our team to have a defensive goal, something specific that we try to do every possession, whether playing full court or half court defense. Our goal is simple “Get the ball back.” A few years ago we sat down as a coaching staff before the season started and put together what we considered our “blueprint for success.” We put together a lot of team goals, some that we never even shared with our players, but goals we used to measure our successes and failures to highlight our strengths and weaknesses. Out of all the statistics and philosophies we tossed around about defense, my favorite is still let’s just go “Get the ball back.”
In all aspects of the game coaches are constantly trying to find a better way to prepare their teams for the season and every coach has their own philosophies and beliefs specific to what they coach and teach the best. It’s been consistently demonstrated that there is no one right way to play the game and be successful. Every coach must be true to themselves while developing ideas and answering internal questions about the way they want their team to compete.
I have been fortunate enough to listen to, speak with, and read about how coaches from the youth level to the NBA approach the teaching of defense. Below are some coaching notes that I have pulled from different coaching clinics, readings, conversations, and experiences as a player that are what I believe in. I encourage other coaches to take the same approach to develop their own philosophy and in a way that they are comfortable teaching and that they believe in. Your players will know if you are invested in what you communicate. It’s not what you teach, or how much you know, it’s what you emphasize.
Coach Justin Duke
Played at Linn Benton CC for two years and in the IBL for one season
Scio High School Girls Head Coach – HAVOC AAU Boys Head Coach
Back to Back State Title Game Appearances 2010-11, and 2011-12
League Champions 2012, Coach of the Year 2012
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