Coaching Basketball Defense
How to Guard/Deny the Passing Lane

There is ONE Fundamental Basketball Skill in coaching basketball defense that will change the game more than any other - NO, it's not give the ball to your best player and let them go - it's the concept of what we call:

1-Pass Pressure

Deny the Passing Lane

The fundamental skill of being able to DENY an offensive player the basketball, is one of the MOST IMPORTANT things to teach a youth player in coaching basketball defense.

An Offensive Player CANNOT score, if they do not have the ball. We EMPHASIZE strongly, the concept of 1-Pass Pressure to all the kids as we teach defensive fundamentals.

We start with a simple goal - DO NOT LET YOUR PLAYER HAVE THE BALL!

This will usually make the kids THINK one step ahead. Most youth basketball players THINK the first step is- "If my player gets the ball, then I will try hard NOT to let them score."

We want them to think ahead of that, and realize it is better NOT to let the player they are guarding even get the ball. When coaching basketball defense, developing a mentality of DENYING THE BALL is a most important.

Doesn't that mean they have to be faster than the person they are guarding?

Basketball Defense

NO, again we a learning "how to play" by using our feet and position for an advantage, not relying on our speed, quickness, or being physically stronger.

In coaching basketball defense, we teach the importance of ALWAYS SEEING 2 things:



Understand - How Many Passes Would it Take for My Player to Get the Ball?

When the Offense has the ball, there are usually at least 2 players within 1-Pass of the basketball - in other words - they are the next receivers available from the ball.

These are the players - WE DO NOT WANT TO LET CATCH THE BALL!

How do we do that? - by establishing 1-Pass Pressure Position



Basketball Defense

THE PASSING LANE - the lane the ball must travel to go from the ball handler to your man.

We use a string or rope and extend it from the ball handler to the man we are guarding in 1-Pass Pressure as shown in the picture.

When we deny the path of the string, the player we are guarding CANNOT get the Ball!

Defensive Stance After seeing the PASSING LANE,

BUTT to the BALL
CHEST to your Man

Get FEET Perpendicular (cross ways) to the PASSING LANE

Look straight ahead and see both Ball and Man, but do not look at either one - use peripheral vision

Put the STRING through your PALM

Youth Basketball Defense

Common Corrections in Coaching Basketball Defense - 1-Pass Pressure:

- Feet will be PARALLEL to Passing Lane.
Most common because it is natural to have feet square to what we are looking at. We are looking straight ahead at the Passing Lane, BUT, we MUST get our feet cross way or PERPENDICULAR to the Passing Lane. If we have our Feet PARALLEL to the passing lane, the first step the Offensive Player makes to the basket breaks the line of our feet and we are beat backdoor.

- String does not go through palm.
For some reason, the kids will put their hand in the passing lane but NOT turn their palm toward the ball. That's the first thing they have to do to steal the pass and dribble, so we might as well have it ready for that steal!

Most defenders will stand right next to the player they are guarding and chase them around like a puppy dog. We tell the kids that the closer you stand to the player you are guarding, the harder it is to guard them. Sound somewhat backwards to them at first, but then we explain....

A 1-1 POSITION would be right next to the player we are guarding, kind of like looking in a mirror, every step the offensive player makes, we have to make one too. It's a lot of work and seems like the player we are guarding is really fast.

A 2-1 POSITION would move us off and towards the ball another step or two, in fact many coaches refer to this as off-and-towards, or on-the-line-up-the-line Defense. We use the Term 2-1, because the kids seem to remember it. When you say "Get in a 2-1", they get it, and move away from the players they are guarding towards the ball.

The 2-1 makes the defender take a step for maybe every 2 steps the offensive player takes - a BIG advantage even when that player you are guarding is bigger and faster.

MOVEMENT - From 1-Pass Pressure Stance

Coaching Basketball Defense

The movement from 1-Pass Pressure Stance is the same as the footwork in a Heal-Toe Ball Pressure Defensive Stance.



Always keeping the BROOM in, we move forward with the ADVANCE STEP, backward with the RETREAT STEP, and always maintain a 2-1 Position. Broom stays in between knees, and we step - slide keeping head level and not bobbing up and down in good 1-Pass Pressure DENIAL Stance.


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