March 19, 2004, Newsletter Issue #154: DEFENSE

Tip of the Week

A good defense may create turnover opportunities, that typically lead to easy transition baskets. Missed shots give the defense rebounding opportunities to start fast breaks. But most importantly, defense simply gives your team STOPS! It is difficult for your opponent to go on big scoring runs when you are keeping them from getting good shots.

On the other hand, your chance of good scoring runs increases because, even if you are having an off night at the offensive end, your lead can go from 4 to 6 to 9 and so on - if you are not letting your oppponent score.

How does a team do that best? There are scores of different methods. Not every team may have the ability to get out and creat turnovers, but it is undisputed that shooters miss "contested shots" at a great rate. So whatever defensive method is employed, it should be developed with the philosophy of being in position to contest shots. We like to talk about "ONE CONTESTED SHOT!" That implies that, if you get a shot, we are going to have a hand up on that shot AND you are only getting one - because we are going to get the REBOUND!

That being said, with the evolution of basketball into a more "attack oriented" competition it is becoming increasingly difficult to sit back and simply "defend" your basket. It is becoming more important on defense to be the agressor - not the reactor. A lot of this has to do with the role of the official. There is soooo much contact in the game today that officials are allowing more and more. If they don`t, they feel that the game will become a free throw contest and they will be calling fouls the whole game. So they "let the kid`s play", and wait until they see a percieved "advantage or disadvantage" to the contact before blowing the whistle.

Too often, an attacking offensive player will create a contact situation that get`s the officials` attention. Then, the "reacting" defensive player continues with the contact - and the defense get`s whistled for a foul.

So, be the aggressor. Not to the point of fouling, but put the offensive player on the defense. Have them worry about the "attack"! Put them in "danger"! Make the offense worry about "protecting" the ball, rather than running their offense or getting good shots. Then contest those shots and rebound. Now YOU are off to the races !

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