How we approach Half Court Man Defense by Russell Hodgkiss
I’d like to talk a little bit about how we approach half court man defense. It is my firm belief that the best way, and maybe the easiest way to build a winning culture, is by playing great defense. It promotes toughness, a team first attitude, is maintainable, and, maybe most importantly, you don’t need a ton of fundamentals to be good at it. Some of you may find the way we play odd, and hate it. Even if that is the case, I hope that you find parts that you like and are able to implement those parts in your defense. We’ll begin by talking about our half court defense. I’ll include drills and diagrams as we go to try and give you an idea of how we go about building and teaching our style.
Half court man defense. Our first building block is our stance. Everyone must be in a stance at all times on defense. If a player is not in a stance, I assume that they are too gassed to play, and have them come sit with me. Our stance is likely a bit different than most. We like legs to be wider than shoulder with apart. We bend at the hips, just sitting our backside down. We like to have our entire foot in contact with the floor, weight on the balls of our feet. Why so wide? I believe that a wider stance limits our players ability to “bounce” when sliding. We want to maintain contact with the floor as much as possible. A player who in the air when they slide, can’t change direction until they come back down. That’s why NASCAR’s don’t fly. Keep the rubber on the road. Also, we like to take charges, not block shots. A wide stance limits the kids ability to jump and try to block shots. They can get a hand in the shooters face, but shouldn’t be able to jump and swat, and send shooters to the free throw line.
We play the ball with our head on the ball, ball side hand mirrors the ball, and the off hand is low for rip through and crossovers. On drives we want our hands up above our head. A hand that gets low is a hand that’s going to have a foul called on it. We would rather body up as much as possible on drives, but keep hands where the officials can see them. We do NOT want to give a foot for the offense to attack. We want to keep our feet, hips and shoulders square at all times do NOT open the gate!
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