Do You Change Defenses Coming Out of a Time Out or The Beginning of a Quarter?

By Ken Sartini
I think that changing defenses after a time out depends upon your talent. If you are loaded you might be able to stick with what you do. Some coaches say to do what you do best and I certainly agree with that.

As for the coaches of younger kids I would stick with m2m defense. Teach them how to defend and play the game. Once you get to the higher levels such as high school varsity I believed in changing defenses to help control the tempo and keep the other team off guard.

At the beginning of a quarter or coming out of a time out is an excellent time to change to a different defense. For example, if you were running man to man defense before the time out, then switch to a zone defense for one possession. This can frustrate the other team because they are discussing what they are going to do -- like run a set play or a different offense. By changing the defense you confuse the other team. That affects their confidence, confuses them, and throws off their rhythm. This results in... ADVANTAGE YOU.

During the timeout, you were doing the same thing. Discussing what you were going to run coming out of that stoppage of play, both offensively and defensively. Defense was never a problem... but if you discussed a m2m play and they went into a zone you better have a plan B. I never wanted to give them too much in the time out or between quarters because they have a tendency to forget.

My suggestion for younger coaches is to keep it as simple as you can, run things your kids do well offensively and defensively. Hopefully you are teaching them m2m defense, preparing them for the next level. IF you coach at a higher level... switch the defense even if it is only for one possession. You can also change defense during a free throw situation.

What do you think? Do you change defenses after time outs? Leave your comments below...

Coaching Resources

How To Win at the End - Volume 1 - Over 35 situational end of game plays.

How To Win at the End - Volume 2 - Over 45 situational end of game plays for different situations than Volume 1.

Tempo Control & Delay Sets - Control the game and protect the lead with 12 different sets to choose from.


Most Likes First   Oldest First   Newest First

Coach Henry says:
12/19/2011 at 11:24:19 PM

I really enjoy reading all the articles you put on here. this is one of the best sights that i could ask for as a varsity boys coach. I may not always agree with some stuff and not use stuff but there is always something once in a while that really fits my philosophy and team. Thanks for what you do...its very much appreiciated!


Sane says:
6/9/2010 at 6:54:39 PM

I do not change defenses simply for the purpose of changing. If it is the end of the game and there is one possession left, we might change in order to win that possession (and the game) however we don''''t have enough practice time tor be proficient in multiple defenses, so we try to be very strong in our m2m


MDennis says:
2/27/2010 at 2:08:08 PM

good tips. I do this with my team all the time. My teams usually press a lot so after we've gone on a run with the press and the other team calls a time out to set up a press break, I usually drop back into zone for 1-2 possessions and go right back to it.


Leave a Comment
Email (not published)
Five times one is equal to?  (Prevents Spam)
 Load New Question
Leave this Blank
    Check this box to receive an email notification when someone else comments on this page.