Attack Dribble: Defensive Points of Emphasis

This entry is part 4 of 24 in the series Dribbling Actions

Attack Dribble gives coaches the opportunity to teach the most important defensive concepts. The best teams make a commitment to playing good defense. It’s not just something that they talk about. It’s something they practice and something they do.  Playing defense starts with defending the ball.  If you can’t defend dribble penetration, you’re going to struggle.  What better place to teach this than at the beginning?

Different coaches are going to have different philosophies about how to play defense. Any philosophy can be taught. Any of them can be effective.  It’s the idea that it is taught right along side the offensive concepts that is important to me.

A.  On ball defense
On ball defense is where defense starts. If you can guard the ball well, it’s a lot easier to do everything else. It’s easier to defend off ball screens. It’s easier to defend on ball screens. It’s easier to defend the post. Teams don’t have to help as much, which means they don’t have to recover as much. Recovering less means fewer closeouts.  Fewer closeouts means less opportunities to get beat, which starts the cycle all over again.
B.  Closeouts
Closeouts are the toughest skill to perform on the court.  Taking away an open shot without giving up a drive from a disadvantaged position is very difficult.  Even good on ball defenders can’t play on ball defense if they don’t closeout well. This layer provides numerous ways to drill closeouts.
C.  Help and recover
It’s inevitable that players are going to get beat off the dribble. What do we do when that happens?  How do we help?  Where does the help come from? When we get beat, we have to recover.  Once we help, we have to recover.  In an ideal world, we’ll never get beat. We don’t live in an ideal world.  At least I don’t.
D.  Help the helper
We learned to help and recover, but now we have to learn how to help the person who helped. This is all about defensive rotations.  How do we rotate defensively? If we’re going to have a chance to cover all the possible outlets, we have to rotate correctly.
E.  Taking Charges
Rotating is important. Making the offense pay for their aggressiveness is game changing. Learning how to take charges avoids fouls and changes the momentum of games. Most charges are taken when someone is attacking off the dribble. Makes sense to teach it at the same time right?
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