coaches today are more about scouting talent instead of teaching.
The players have the responsibility of winning games but often they are
weak in defense. Most players have an abstract view of what
defense is and when they are not doing it right the coach is screaming
on the sideline.
What I have discovered as I conduct coaching clinics around the World
is that coaches need to pay attention to their coaching
fundamentals. Defense is my most popular clinic for coaches
because I force them to start at the beginning. Defense is an
essential coaching fundamental that any coach must be proficient in
It is critical to start your defense with one-on-one drills and
progress slowly after the concepts are learned. Players have the
big picture about how it’s suppose to work but they don’t understand
why they are doing it. It can take up to 20 drills, or more, to
explain the fundamentals of One-on-one defense before you can move to
So how do you teach in a progression? You want to
start with a solid foundation and build on prior knowledge; take it
step by step. Always start on one-on-one, then "progress" to
two-on-two, then three-on-three, four-on-four, and finally
five-on-five. The point is, don’t jump around. If you can
not break your defense down from one-on-one all the way to
five-on-five, then you don’t understand your own system enough to teach
it. If a coach does not have a system, they should study
and develop their fundamentals and get educated on how to create their
own defense and how to break it down and teach it step by step.
Teaching in a progression will help you organize your practices by
forcing you to create drills in secession and solidifying your
knowledge of defense. Also, if you have problems mid-season you can go
back and re-run the drills for a particular area and discover where the
breakdown is. The goal is to break your system into teachable
chunks which fit nicely into your practice, focus on maximizing the
amount of repetitions the players get and minimizing the amount of
Coaches need to create a defense plan and have their
players execute it. The key to any good plan is in how it is
communicated. To me, that is really the essence of coaching, is being
able to communicate and teach your players, BUT first you must have the
fundamentals to create a plan that is worth communicating.
Don’t forget, we coaches, can not play the game for our players, but we
owe it to our players to send them out to play with as much solid
knowledge as we can teach them. Don’t be shy, don’t be lazy –
keep your coaching fundamentals strong and never stop learning.