How To Build Your Defense During The Preseason Without A Ball and Without Assistants

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When developing your defense, here is something that will give you a huge edge over your opponents this season...

With the following article and videos, you learn how to build your defense during the preseason... without a ball... without assistants... and without breaking state rules!

And it works with any defense...

In most states, there are rules that forbid you from using a ball during the preseason.

However, you are allowed to do conditioning without a basketball.

And even if you're not allowed to be on a basketball court...

You can go outside, to a tennis court, or to a conference room. You can use cones for points of reference to accomplish the same thing.

Can you imagine having your defense installed before day 1 of practice!?

Then you can spend a ton of time on your offense, skill development, and other tactics.

There are even reasons to do this if you have no preseason restrictions...

But we want to get the video first, so we'll explain those below.

3 Short Video Clips That Shows You How To Develop Your Defense in the Preseason

The innovative 35-year coaching veteran Don Kelbick demonstrates the coaching method below.

Don actually discovered this simple idea and used it to his advantage when he was coaching high school basketball for a few years. His teams produced 6 Division I players and was ranked #1 in Florida 28 out of a possible 34 weeks.

When Don builds this defense in his Match Up Zone Defense Video, there are over 20 drill progressions that flow seamlessly together and improve retention based on prior progressions.

In the video clips below, you will see a few of the progressions for building your defense.

Video 1 - Explanation

Don explains why he uses his teaching method.

Video 2 - Stance and Perimeter Pass Progression

This is the 3rd progression of Don's off-ball drill to give you a visual of how he progresses. It covers defensive stance and defending backdoor passes and perimeter passes.

Video 3 - Final Off-Ball Drill Defense Progression

This is the final progression of the drill to give you a big picture of how Don progresses through all of the principles for teaching off-the-ball defense. As you can see, it is a highly efficient way to first teach the principles in a team setting.

As you can see now, this way of coaching is a tremendous benefit because....

  1. You don't need offensive players.

  2. You don't need a basketball.

  3. You don't need assistants - especially helpful for youth coaches.

  4. You can apply this to ANY defense since these defensive principles are universal.

  5. You can save practice time teaching the defense. Don't have to deal fumbled passes and can progress through each concept very quickly.

This leads to fewer headaches, more early season wins, and possibly even more post season wins...

Because now you've had more time to develop your team than you typically would have.

Why You Might Even Use This Coaching Method During The Season

Since I've learned of this method, I've personally used it with youth and middle school teams. And we didn't have a preseason.

That's because this method can...

  1. Save you tons of practice time.

  2. Help you progress quicker through the defense.

  3. Allow you to focus on a particular aspect of the defense rather than all of the concepts at once.

How This Saves You Practice Time & You Can Progress Quicker

When you don't have a basketball to deal with, you don't have to wait for the offensive player to pass the ball. You don't have to deal with players passing the ball in the wrong direction.

When you don't pass the ball, you don't have to deal with bad passes, the wrong pass, or fumbled catches.

Rather than taking 8 to 10 practices to build a solid defense, you might do it in 5 or 6 practices by saving time.

You Can Be A Beginner Coach And Still Have Success

This is one of the biggest issues most beginner coaches have when first coaching. I know that I did.

When you have 8 to 10 players on the court at once, it's hard to make sure everybody is doing everything correctly from a defensive standpoint. And you feel like you have to watch and correct 50 different things at once!

While you certainly get better with experience, even the 30-year seasoned vet won't catch everything.

And that's what's great about Don's method... you can focus on one action at a time.

And you can instantly tell if somebody is doing something incorrectly because...

  • Everybody is doing the same thing.
  • You know exactly what to look for because you are telling them what to do with your voice command.
  • There are fewer players to focus on.

Well, we hope this tips get to a great start this season! If you'd like to learn more, take a look at Don Kelbick's Match Up Zone Defense videos.

More About Don Kelbick

Don Kelbick is the creator of the Attack and Counter Skill Development System. He is a regular contributor and has been featured in multiple videos for Breakthrough Basketball.

Don has trained Olympic Gold Medalists, NBA Champions, NBA All-Time 3-Point Leaders, NBA Defensive Players of the Year, and many other professional, college, high school, and youth basketball players. He also has 25 years of college coaching experience at the D-1 and D-2 levels.

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


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midd44 says:
10/8/2019 at 3:46:37 PM

For Massachusetts:
MIAA Handbook 40.4
A coach may not directly or indirectly require an athlete to participate in a sport or a training program outside of the MIAA defined sport season.

Voluntary conditioning sessions open equally to all students in a school and which are entirely devoid of sports-specific activity may be conducted between seasons provided no candidate is either required to participate or penalized for not doing so.


Jim says:
10/8/2019 at 11:30:35 AM

Our AD (in Michigan) says we cannot do this under our state rules.


Ray Card says:
10/8/2019 at 9:03:01 AM

I think most coaches have considered doing this. And some of us have tried it and met resistance from athletic directors. No one seems to have gotten a difinitive answer from the state powers. So I ask you, since you are encouraging it, is it legal in Iowa and Illinois? Please don’t duck the question. I think you owe that to coaches to find out in the states you sell videos and send out newsletters. Love your videos.

  2 replies  

Joe Haefner says:
10/8/2019 at 12:00:27 PM

Ray, I wish we could get this accomplished! We wouldn't have to just do this for all 50 states, we've had visitors from every country on Earth.

Then you can start breaking things down by conference. There are conferences that have different rules agreed upon by participants. Does anybody have something about preseason conditioning? I don't know.

While I'm not aware of youth and middle school rec leagues that forbid this, maybe there are.

We don't have the manpower to get this accomplished.

I'd highly advise to check with your AD, state association, conference, or any other governing body that makes the rules.

Even if you have to wait until day 1 of practice, it still can be an effective tool to teach the foundation of your defensive principles.


midd44 says:
10/8/2019 at 4:07:06 PM

my $0.02: i don't think Joe H owes it to anyone to find out if a coach can hold out of season practices. if it's your team, take responsibility to know your rules!!! if Joe was wrong with his info and your team got penalized, that's on the coach not Joe!!!

here's what i found for illinois, that took me almost 3 minutes to look up {and i coach in Massachusetts and posted MA rules below}:
Illinois: 5.041 Boys Basketball Season Limitation

No school belonging to this Association shall organize its Boys Basketball teams, practice or participate in interscholastic conests earlier than Monday of Week 19 or later than Saturday of Week 37 in the IHSA Standardized Calendar.


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