Note: Many of the principles I use come from Bob Huggins' book, Building a Man to Man Defense. I highly recommend this book.


The purpose of our defense is to support our overall team goal, which is to get 50 shots per game. Our defense will do this by doing the following: Additionally, playing this style of aggressive defense in practice will force our offensive players to work harder to get open. They will need to learn how to move without the ball.

How We Will Accomplish Goals

The defense will use these principles to achieve the goals:

Teaching Points

  1. Footwork
  2. Positioning - On the Line, Up the Line

On the Line, Up the Line

On the line, up the line is the term we use for the position of the defensive player who are not guarding the person with the ball. All players "off the ball" should draw a direct line between their man and the ball and then position themselves on that line. This maneuver accomplishes the following things:

Sprint to Help

The term sprint to help is used when a defender goes from checking the ball to being in a help position on the line, up the line. The natural tendency of the defender is to drop more toward the basket than toward the ball.

Description of responsibility the defender has when his player passes the ball.

Pistol Position

The off-the-ball defender is to be in the pistol position. Correct pistol position:

Coaching Points

The coaches will reinforce the defensive system as follows: