3 Keys To Coaching Man-To-Man Defense | STACK Coaches and Trainers
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

3 Keys To Coaching Man-To-Man Defense

March 10, 2013 | Michael Coleman

Must See Basketball Videos

No matter what level of play, all basketball teams share a common goal: have the higher score when the final buzzer sounds. A strong offense is your playmaker, but defense wins games.

Although some coaches favor active zone defenses, in my opinion a man-to-man defense is your best bet to win championships. Why? Because a man-to-man defense forces your opponents to make decisions fast—and therefore commit more mistakes.

One approach to teaching man-to-man defense is a weekly progression. It's a strategy that Coach James Jennings of University Academy (Kansas City, Mo.), who trained under legendary basketball coach Bill Shay, firmly believes in. The following is the progression he uses to coach a man-to-man defense.

Begin with stance and footwork

Improper stance and bad footwork are how you get beat on the court. Stay low and wide with your weight on the balls of your feet, and keep your back flat, head up and arms out to your sides. Make sure your feet are active and that you are ready to react to the ball or the player you are covering. (See Improve your footwork with these drills.) Remember, you have to be great on the defensive end every day.

Focus on ball pressure

This is critical. Whether you play in the passing lanes or play a pack line, two things are needed: stopping the drive and pressuring the ball. Without ball pressure, your opponents are free to run their offense at will. Then, once you apply pressure, how will you guard the post? In high school basketball, this is tough to do because of the players' unequal size. Most coaches do not have a 6'4" (or taller) player who can dominate the post. Coach Jennings has his players front the post to prevent opponents from getting into solid post position. Do not let the opposing post player get to the block.(See also Improve Your Ball-Handling With Brandon Knight.)

Communication and rotation are key

Players must understand their assignments on the help side. Always be where you're supposed to be. Defense has to be drilled every day. How many times during a game have you seen a team needing a critical stop, then just when they're on the verge of getting it, someone fails to rotate and they give up a layup. Most of the time, it's because of poor communication. You must throw off the timing of the offense and keep the other team from running free through the lane. Closing out on shooters properly must be drilled at all times. High hands, running shooters off the three point line and making contact on the boxout will lead to a solid man-to-man defensive team. (Check out 5 Traits of Great Basketball Leaders.)

Topics: BASKETBALL
Michael Coleman
- Michael Coleman is the co-founder of the Kansas Basketball Academy Foundation (KBAF), a non-profit organization whose mission is "to provide high quality workouts and exposition...
Michael Coleman
- Michael Coleman is the co-founder of the Kansas Basketball Academy Foundation (KBAF), a non-profit organization whose mission is "to provide high quality workouts and exposition...
Must See
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 22,297,866
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 19,171,830
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,221,535

Featured Videos

Olympic Marathoner Ryan Hall: A Day in the Life Views: 327,109
Path to the Pros 2015: Danny Shelton Views: 161,266
Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Views: 228,843
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

How Greg Nixon Converts Strength to Speed
Views: 959,609
Corey White's Off-Season Guide to Making Plays
Views: 1,396,869
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 2,790,359
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 3,917,254
Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,359,926

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Offensive Line Drills That'll Help You Keep Your QB Clean

Winter Soccer Workout to Improve Ball Handling

Why Basketball Players Must Improve Their Weak Hand

Basketball Dribbling Drills: Use Chaos to Develop Killer Handles

These 3 Route-Running Drills Will Help You Get Open

3 Things You Are Doing Wrong In Your Basketball Training

4 Soccer Drills to Shoot Better While on the Move

How to Create a Killer Crossover Without a Basketball

5 Drills to Improve Your Soccer Dribbling Skills

WATCH: 5 Post Moves From Nerlens Noel

How Ryan Mathews Returned to Highlight Reel Status

4 Drills That'll Help You Become an Elite Running Back

Shooting Drills That Will Make You a Knock-Down Shooter

Why You Shouldn't Specialize in One Sport Too Soon

Drills for a Better Pole Vault Swing

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

Wide Receivers: Learn to Catch Every Jump Ball, Every Time

How to Improve Your Football Skills Mid-Season

3 Secrets of the NBA's Best Shooters

This 13-Year-Old Girl Would Strike You Out

Success With Health: How Trevor Bauer Increased His Velocity

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

QB Skills and Drills: How to Master the Bubble Screen

Basketball Shooting Technique: How to Shoot a Floater

5 Things You Can Learn From Playing Pre-Season Basketball

Drive Defenders Crazy With These Super Moves from NBA Legends

3 Steps to Better In-Game Baseball Hitting

Andrew McCutchen Is Raking His Way to Consecutive MVP Honors

Improve Your Jump Shot with Core Strength

Become a Better Point Guard With This Training Program

The 4 Fundamentals of Hitting a Baseball

How QB Ryan Tannehill Beats the Blitz

Use These 3 Principles to Improve Your Basketball Defense

Build a Better Layup With These Basketball Speed Drills

Improve Your Basketball Passes With Med Ball Exercises

4 Tips to Become a Better Softball Pitcher

Boost Your Fastball With This Weighted Baseball Workout

Softball Pitchers: How to Play Your Best Over a Complete Season

Develop an Unstoppable Crossover Dribble With Just 3 Drills

2 Drills to Help You Play Lockdown Basketball Defense