3 Simple Tricks That Will Instantly Double Your Defensive Quickness

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You can literally double the quickness of your team just by incorporating a few simple techniques.

This quickness allows you to take away easy shots and scramble to close out, even when you get beat to the hole. Quickness simply makes a defense difficult to score against.

Tip #1 - Teach your players to move on the pass, NOT the catch.

This tactic alone can double to quickness of your team and make it seem like you have a super quick swarming defense.

You must train your players to start moving to their correct defensive position when the ball is leaving the fingertips of the passer.

This makes a huge difference because most players will start moving to the correct defensive position when the ball is caught. In fact, most players think that is what they are supposed to do. And they have developed this bad habit at an early age.

By simply by moving on the pass, you get an extra second to get to your position. In fact, many times your players can actually get to their position at the same time the ball arrives!

So all you need to do is require your players to move on the pass during each defensive drill. This is most effective during 4-on-4 and 5-on-5 shell drills. They should literally be moving when the ball leaves the passers fingertips. But don't leave before this happens; because you don't want to fall for pass fakes.

You should also make it a point to explain the reason why they should move on the pass. Simply by demonstrating the huge difference in a close out drill will do the trick. Set your players up in the close out drill. Have them throw a skip pass and move on the catch. Then have them throw a skip pass and move on the pass. The offensive player that catches the ball won't be able to get their shot off. It will be ridiculous how big of a difference this makes.

Tip #2 - Drill your players into the habit of always keeping their knees bent in an athletic stance, even when they are two passes away on help side defense!

Now imagine you have five defense players that all move on the pass. And ALL of them have their knees bent and they are ready to move...

You have just converted from a slow easy to score against defense, to a fast extremely tough defense in just two steps!

It's easy to illustrate this point...

Just line up your fastest player on the team and the slowest player on the team and let them race 15 feet. Have the slowest player bend his knees in an athletic stance. Then have the fast player stand straight up. Yell, "Go!"

The SLOW player will win every time!

Tip #3 - Let your players know who they will be guarding ahead of time.

An easy way to improve mental quickness and anticipation is to study your opponent. Some of your smart players will sit on the bench or maybe even watch game tape to become familiar with the moves of the player they will be guarding.

But you need to let your players know who they will be guarding ahead of time so they can study their moves.

For more defense tips, check out our new basketball defensive system.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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MLipenk says:
11/16/2017 at 4:44:46 PM

Pratyush Singh, As a coach, I completely understand what you are saying. It will happen with aggressive defense, but it is worth the risk to get steals and quicker on-the-ball defense. Most kids at the younger ages are quite robotic in their rotation of the ball from wing-to-wing and even telegraph their passes. All too often defenses are content to sit back and take a break and watch it happen.


MLipenk says:
11/16/2017 at 4:38:04 PM

I ran a "move on the pass" drill one night with the team. The very next game one of my quick-but-timid players got 4 steals off the wing pass. It works when they do it.


Deanna says:
9/27/2016 at 9:24:08 PM



Heidi says:
9/30/2014 at 10:46:04 AM

I'm a newbie and I don't really get tip #1. Does it mean if your guarding say #6 you start running when #6 passes? Aren't you supposed to guard your player only?

  1 reply  

Helpside Hoops says:
11/27/2019 at 7:30:42 AM

The idea is that with every pass, the defensive players have to shift. If they are on the ball, they will now be in help or denial positions. If they move when the pass is made, they will be to their new spots quicker.
This is especially important when moving to help positions to stop a quick drive before it happens. Moving after the pass is made will mean they are still rotating when the offensive player makes their drive and cannot properly help or may foul in the process.


James Sappington says:
3/22/2014 at 11:36:21 AM

Another defense quickness tip, always point your leading toe into the direction of the slide. This gives you more stability and speed than if your toe was pointed perpendicular to the direction of your slide.


Antonio Douglas says:
8/26/2013 at 12:55:06 PM

I like this


Antz says:
8/18/2013 at 8:43:55 PM

thanks for the great tips from you guys, i am a newbie one in coaching an elementary players and you give a lot of help for me... young Filipinos love basketball so much


Mcditto mothibedi says:
4/5/2013 at 6:16:28 AM

Gr8 advice, will definately put this into practice.


Pratyush Singh says:
11/28/2012 at 12:43:04 AM

As a player, tip #1 sounds effective, as it can lead to a high number of turnovers for the offensive team (interceptions), but for example the point guard fake passes to the 2 and passes to the opposite wing, meanwhile the person guarding the 2 has already 'jumped' the fake pass (anticipating the point guard would pass to the 2) leaving a back door cut for the 2 guard (the defensive player would be slow getting back, as he/she tried to intercept it but failed). Kinda hard to explain, but does it make sense what i am trying to say?


Ken says:
1/17/2012 at 4:56:00 PM

William -

I think you already answered your own question.

I am the best shooter on the team at my high school and i am only a 10th grader, but my coach thinks that d-fence is 100% of the game, and im getting about 12 points a game in 3s alone and i still cant get that varsity uniform and there are only 7 people on the entire vasity team, i was just wondering what else i can do, i play ok d-fence but we have no offensive game besides our posts "

Its obvious that your coach is defensively oriented, so thats what you have to do, Improve your defensive game. Dive on loose ball, take a charge every time you can, rebound and play great helpside defense. OK in his book is not good enough... Look at the three tips and then work on your game. Good luck, hope this works out for you.


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