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PostPosted: 26 Nov 2018, 14:37 

Posts: 214
I will be coaching 7th grade girls this season. I had them last year as 6th graders. That was their first season of true organized, competitive ball. We'll have about 5 of those girls back this year and probably another 5 or so that will be very inexperienced. The athleticism should be pretty decent, just no real playing experience across the board.

I've been reading a lot about and watching a lot of videos on the Packline Defense as I initially thought that would best suit this group. I feel pretty good about installing it and troubleshooting it so that's not the issue. But I've been second guessing things the past few days. I keep thinking I should go back to my more extended version of halfcourt m2m D....denying 1 pass away, forcing sideline-baseline, etc.

Or do we start with the Packline principles and then as the season goes on start to shift into some more halfcourt m2m pressure and extend our defense as our talent and experience allows us?

This is a marginally skilled group and I was thinking packline would help us be conservative early on and stay competitive, while not really taking away any defensive principles that I feel they should be learning.

I'm on good speaking terms with our high school coach and he commented that he doesn't really care what we're doing, he just wants girls with a good foundation of skills and understanding of the basic principles. His one comment about packline was that it's a hard D to be playing if you're trailing late in a game. To that end, I was already planning on using some fullcourt m2m with trapping rules as our offset D.

I know I'm doing a ton of thinking out loud here, so I apologize. But I think there have been some great conversations on here so I'm hoping this starts another!

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2018, 09:17 
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Sounds like it's 6, one half dozen or the other. :)

I don't think you can go wrong either way. My only potential concern is this...

Be careful about packing things in too much. Kids can get lazy and lose out on development opportunities with some of the packline defenses out there.

Just as an example, we play a team that really packs it in. They have a lot of success with it at youth level! Win lots of games. They try to get up on the ball but not too tight. This results in very few inside shots and lots of outside shots for youth team. Results in mostly misses.

At high school level this defense would get killed because outside shooters would tear it up.

But more importantly, the players are not working very hard. It's too easy. They are hanging out in the lane most of the time. They don't need to move very far when the ball is passed around. I think these kids are missing out on development opportunities. I think if they were a little more aggressive their foot speed would get challenged, foot coordination and patterns would get challenged, on ball defense would get challenged, would have to make better close outs, move quicker on flight of ball, etc. Where our kids are getting put in challenging situations and having to work their tails off on the defensive end!!

Jeff Haefner

PostPosted: 27 Nov 2018, 09:45 

Posts: 214
I completely know what you mean. And that's part of why I'm having this internal struggle.

I want to challenge them as defenders but I do have a big concern with giving up a lot of penetration with this group.

I'm trying to think of a hybrid way to play it. One thing I know for sure is that we are going to pressure the heck out of the ball. If you are guarding the player with the ball we are going to demand you put great pressure on that player. Away from that I want to at least have our defenders one pass away in more of a gap position instead of being on the line, up the line and denying the pass.

Because of the approach of putting high pressure on the ball, I still think our players are going to have to closeout good, cover distance and defend well.

And I will also make sure players understand that if they have an instinct that they can jump a pass and make a steal or deflection, then go for it. And hopefully as the season goes on and they start to develop strong defensive foundations we'll be able to amp up and extend our defense little by little.

Is there even such thing as a hybrid packline? LOL
(reminds me of a quote I heard this offseason: "Imitate, then Innovate")

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