Basketball Defense
Coaching Youth Basketball

Teaching Basketball Defense is fun, just not as fun as Teaching Offense. OK, YES, I said it, and I really mean it. OFFENSE wins games, DEFENSE wins Championships - we have all heard that one, and so have the kids. The reality is most of us want to shoot the basketball and score, and we only play defense so we can get the ball back and shoot it again!

If you ask a group of youth coaches the question - How much of your practice time do you spend on DEFENSE? Many will answer over 50%.

I'm not an expert on how much practice time should be devoted to DEFENSE at the youth level, but I'm pretty sure 50% is TOO MUCH.

We teach Man-to-Man DEFENSE exclusively for the youth player.

Zone DEFENSE will be easier to teach, play, and in most case, win more games for your team, BUT, Zone Defense WILL NOT teach the kids HOW to play DEFENSE. It is absolutely true, teach them to play good man-to-man defense, and they can easliy learn and be effective playing a zone defense. BUT, let them play zone defense, and they will struggle down the road when they are playing man-to-man. Again, we are TEACHING the kids HOW TO PLAY the game of basketball. Man-to-Man Defense is highly recommended for ALL youth basketball teams!


Basketball Defense

ON-BALL - Youth Basketball Defense - Stance and Movement

OFF-BALL - 1-Pass Pressure Denial Defense



Basketball Defensive Stance


Defense IS a very important part of the game, and in fact, many kids can have success with Defensive Fundamentals much earlier than Offensive Skills. So we teach DEFENSE as soon as the kids start playing and emphasize

STANCE - Heel-Toe w/ Broom In

MOVEMENT - Advance, Retreat, Swing

VISION - See Ball and Man

POSITION - On-Ball, 1-Pass, Help




We teach that you play DEFENSE with 3 Things.

- MIND

- HEART

- FEET

Defense - Establish Stance

The MIND - tells you what to do

The HEART - gives you the desire to do it - it's not easy to play D

The FEET - put you in a position to make plays Defensively

We always ask the kids - "What did we NOT say we play defense with?"
ANSWER - Our HANDS and ARMS

QUESTION - What do you do with your HANDS and ARMS on defense?
ANSWER - You FOUL with your HANDS and ARMS!

If your FEET are doing the right things on DEFENSE, your HANDS and ARMS will naturally be in a good position to make the play.




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