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.
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