This article was written by Chris Capko, who is on the men’s basketball coaching staff at the University of Southern California. Coach Capko was previously an assistant coach at Georgia Southern and Stetson University. He was a member of the All-Academic Big East team in his junior and senior years as a player for the University of South Florida basketball team.
Individual Basketball Defense
At Georgia Southern, we start our defensive buildup with individual technique. The very first thing taught for each player is to have a dig hand, deflection hand, and be within one arm’s length of the defender. These are three of the most important components of our defense.
Philosophically we want to apply immense ball pressure and believe these three components are the catalyst for our team basketball defense. We believe that since we want to apply pressure to the ball, our post defense must be consistent with that. We will work on defending and fronting the post daily as well.
While we emphasize these components every day, these are really drilled hard through 1-on-1 defensive basketball drills at the beginning of the season.
Help Basketball Defense
Once we have taught defense from the individual aspect, we will begin to move to two-on-two and three-on-three. From there, we will begin two teach help-side defense and proper positioning off of the ball. This starts with guys jumping to the ball once their man has passed the ball.
At this point, we will walk through help positions once the ball has been driven and a rotation is necessary. Like most programs, this part of our man defense is drilled daily through various team basketball drills after the 1-on-1 part has been completed.
From here, we begin to get into our 5-on-5 work as a team. At this point, we will introduce our screen and roll defense. We primarily trap ball screens. Like anything else we do, we break it down, but essentially begin the break down when we get to 5-on-5 so our guys can see the big picture.
Defending Game Actions
Now is the time we will introduce different actions we anticipate guarding throughout the season. Flex cuts, down screens, staggers, screen the screener, etc. Many of these actions are guarded on a scout specific basis, but we want our guys to have a defensive basketball foundation for how we want everything defended.
We will use several different basketball drills, and we break every action down in a 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 to drill, but first introduce in the 5-on-5 portion so all of our guys can see where they should be if we are faced with having to defend it in a game.
Building up Man to Man Defense in Basketball Conclusion
Building your basketball team defense and maintaining our team’s principles as a basketball coach is a daily battle. If your kids can maintain their effort every day, it makes everything a lot easier. The one thing that we don’t have a breakdown for but is demanded every day is communication. With tremendous effort and communication, you can miss an assignment or get beat off the dribble, but overcome a lot of mistakes.