How To Win More Games With Less Talent - Al Marshall's Aggressive 2-3 Zone Defense
Look at these crazy defensive stats produced by one program!
This defense held their state tournament opponents to 29.7 points BELOW their season average.
This defense led the state in defensive field goal percentage for six straight years!
This same defense helped normal athletes win 86% of their games over the coach's last 11 years.
And this program is from a small public high school. There isn't any recruiting. And they didn't have any D1 players.
And I grew up playing against these teams and later coaching against these teams. I can guarantee you, there is nothing special or extraordinary about the athletes. They weren't any more talented than our teams.
But the way they played defense is extraordinary!
And you'll also learn how this defense helped multiple coaches take a huge step with their programs... like winning the state championship!
The Solution To Winning More Games... Even With Less Talent
Coach Al Marshall of Cascade, Iowa accomplished the amazing feats above...
He did so after switching to a 2-3 zone defense after nearly 30 years of coaching man to man defense.
And this isn't your typical lazy 2-3 zone defense. It's super aggressive! It's also very adaptable to your strengths and your opponent's strengths!
Along with the accolades above, Coach Marshall also...
- Won 738 games - 3rd all-time Iowa high school basketball
- Smothered and held teams to 31.9 PPG during one season
- Earned induction into the Iowa basketball Hall of Fame.
But we want to explain why and how you can do this, as well. We believe if you do it half as well, you'll have a lot more success.
Even if you're a man to man defense coach who refuses to switch to zone, you definitely need to read this!
It could be the difference, like it was for me, in making it to the state championship game... or like coaches Nate Sanderson or Kiley Yates who won state championships.
Additionally, I'm going to tell you how it greatly improved our zone offense while being super efficient with our practice time.
Picture of the South O'Brien High School boys' basketball team from Paullina, Iowa celebrating the school's first ever state championship! They used Coach Marshall's 2-3 zone defense. Kiley Yates is the head coach.
Why Coach Marshall Switched to Zone Defense After Another Depressing Loss...
Head buried in your hands after an excruciating loss in the postseason. Walking off the court with your chin tucked because you're filled with a plethora of emotions. And you're trying to avoid eye contact.
And next, you get to enter a locker room with a lot of teary eyes because another season just ended.And to make matters worse, your opponent played out of their minds and knocked down nearly half of their 3-point shots. You know... the guy who shoots 17% for the season from three just happens to knock down 6 threes against you.
I think we've all been there... at least once.
Coach Marshall had been coaching nearly 30 years and yet another season ended this way for him.
Al Marshall taught and played sound man to man defense every single year.
After another loss where the opposing team made numerous 3-pointers, he thought... "Why am I playing man to man defense if I'm still giving up the 3-point shot?"
So Coach Marshall concluded that he was going to teach a 2-3 zone defense.
And that excruciating loss was probably the best thing that happened to his coaching career.
And we hope it could be the best thing for your coaching career... or at least help you win a few more games per season.
Just look below at what happened to Coach Marshall's win percentage after he made the switch!
Won 86% of Games Over 11 Years! Averaged 21 Wins and 3 Losses per Season
The last 11 years of Coach Marshall's career, he won 86% of his games! He went 234-37.
He averaged 21 wins and 3 losses every season!
Previously, Coach Marshall had won 63% of his games with a record of 504-291.
Coach Al Marshall went to the state tournament three straight years from 2014 to 2016. In 2016, he retired.
He went from good to GREAT!
This is why we believe bad teams can become average teams. Average teams can become good teams. Good teams can become great teams.
And really good teams can become state champions. Below, we have the proof to back that up from numerous coaches.
But first, read these mind-boggling stats about Marshall's 2-3 zone defense.
This is a picture of Coach Marshall leading his team through a 5 on 5 drill with the 2-3 zone defense. This same defense helped Coach Marshall and the Cascade Cougars lead the state of Iowa in defensive scoring 8 out of 11 years.
Why This Zone Defense Helped Al Marshall Lead the State of Iowa in Defense... 8 of 11 Years!
From 2006 to 2016, Coach Marshall led the class in defensive scoring 8 out of 11 years.
And two of those years, he was 2nd. And the difference was less than 0.5 points per game each time.
So it's very obvious that he knows what he's doing. And he's able to win with it!
Quite simply, this is how Coach Marshall did this, they...
Eliminate good shoots and force the other team to take poor and even horrible shots.
Reducing your fouls and the number of free throws that your opponent attempts... the most efficient shot in basketball.
Mentally frustrated opposing coaches and players. This created a vicious cycle of bad shots and bad plays.
Let's get into it...
This Forces Your Opponents to Take the Worst Shot in Basketball
Here's how Coach Marshall once led the state in scoring defense with 31.9 points per game!
Coach Marshall's teams have high and wide hands. When you look at the zone, it reminds me of an octopus. It looks like a bunch of entangled arms and legs everywhere!
It appears that there are ZERO open driving and passing lanes.
As a result, players don't attempt to penetrate the zone as much. This reduces the number of high-percentage shots in the lane.
It also reduces drive-and-kick shots.... another high percentage shot.
If somebody dribble penetrates, your best shot blockers and shot contesters are ALWAYS in the lane.
When you do ATTEMPT to drive, you have scrappy guards clawing at the ball without fouling.
Then you look up and there's a big getting ready to block or contest your shot.
There are no easy baskets close to the basket. Every shot is contested or deterred.
On 3-point shots, you also have your best perimeter defenders.
This means that they can quickly recover and contest perimeter shots. And they can do so without fouling.
Your defenders are placed in positions of strength.
The zone defense eliminates almost ALL open 3-point shots by using a "bounce-back" technique.
Traditionally, you worry about giving up open 3-pointers against a 2-3 zone defense. This is not the case with Coach Marshall's zone defense.
With Marshall's zone defense, you use your bottom players on the zone to defend the initial shot on the wings. Then you quickly bounce back to defend the basket when the guard defender recovers.
This forces your opponent into contested, perimeter jump shots.
And statistically, what's the worst shot in basketball? Contested perimeter jump shots. This is what Coach Marshall's zone defense forces you to shoot.
And often, the opposing team gets extremely frustrated. Then they start shooting 25 foot contested jump shots.
They go from poor shots to horrible shots.
The result is leading the state for 6 straight years in defensive field goal percentage.
If you want similar results, here's how to take action now...
How You Can Develop and Teach Al Marshall's Zone Defense - With Step by Step Instructions
We were really excited to develop this video because it shares the secrets behind the best zone defense we have ever seen...
Al Marshall's Aggressive 2-3 Zone Defense ...The Defense Your Opponents Will Hate!"
The Video/eBook package gives you the drills, coaching tips, and step-by-step instructions on how to develop a great 2-3 zone defense.
A defense that has helped multiple coaches win state championships!
What You'll Get in this Video and eBook Package
Chapter 1 - Introduction and Keys to a Successful Zone Defense
- Why the Al Marshall Zone works.
- The 3 critical goals that drive your defense.
- The 3 critical principles you need to emphasize to make the defense effective.
- Who should use the zone defense.
Chapter 2 - Initial Setup and Basic Slides
- Whiteboard and on court demonstrations.
- Basic slides and positioning.
- How to handle various passes and situations.
- How to handle screens and movement.
- How to cover the short corner and high post.
- Keys to a quick defense.
- How to take away the easy shots.
Chapter 3 - 12 Drills to Build Your Defense
- Drills to develop quickness and anticipation.
- Drills to keep players in their stance.
- Close out drills.
- Situational drills.
- Overload drills.
- All the drills that Al Marshall uses to build his defense.
Chapter 4 - The 2-3 Zone in Action
- Live demonstration of the zone defense.
- Key teaching points.
- See how the defense comes together, takes away easy shots, and frustrates the offense.
Chapter 5 - Common Offenses & Teaching Points
- Learn how to defend various offenses like 4-out 1-in, short corner, and so on.
- See Coach Marshall make corrections and teach in a practice environment.
- Learn key teaching points and tips to make your zone defense more effective.
Chapter 6 - Defending Set Plays
- Learn how to defend against set plays.
- See how Coach Marshall defends the common set plays that he runs into.
Chapter 7 - How to Make Adjustments
- One of the keys to their success is making adjustments. Learn how Al Marshall makes defensive adjustments.
- Learn how to make in-game adjustments.
- Learn how to make adjustments based on your personnel.
- Learn how to make adjustments based on your opponent.
- Learn how to adjust your zone to accommodate athletic guards.
- How to stop great shooters.
- How to stop great post players.
- Alternate coverages for you to consider.
- How to extend the zone and apply more pressure.
Chapter 8 - Q & A with Al Marshall
- Find out the keys to his success.
- Learn how your offense can affect your defense.
- Learn how to get players to buy in.
- Learn how to incorporate the defense into your own program and situation.
- Keys to getting a competitive edge.
Chapter 9 - Closing Thoughts
- Final words of wisdom.
- What you should do next and incorporating the defense in your program.
Approx. running time is 110 minutes.
23 Page Supplemental eBook
For your convenience, we have diagrammed the 12 drills included in the Al Marshall 2-3 zone video and documented a step-by-step process for you to implement the zone defense.
Get Instant Lifetime Access to Al Marshall's Aggressive 2-3 Zone Defense for only $59
"Al Marshall Is One of the Best Coaches I Know..." - Greg McDermott
Greg McDermott is the current head coach Creighton University. Under McDermott's tenure, they have ranked as high as #9 in the country.
He also coached his son Doug who was National Player of the Year and finished 5th all-time in NCAA scoring.
Here is what Greg said...
"Al Marshall is one of the best coaches that I know. And I was lucky enough to play for him in high school. He, among other coaches, has been instrumental in my coaching development. In addition to coaching basketball, he taught me the value of hard work. And we all know that he does an unbelievable job with his 2-3 zone defense."
Don't Decide Now (60-Day Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee)
This defense has the potential to save you 10 points per game! I know that's a lot...
But if you have an average defense, this can definitely happen.
Even if it's only 5 or 6 points per game, that can make a big difference!
This can literally be the difference between you winning 40% and 70% of your games...
It can be the difference between you making the state tournament and winning the state championship.
In fact, if it doesn't get you at least 5 points per game, ask for a refund.
And if for any reason, you are not fully satisfied with your purchase at any time, we'll be happy to give you a full refund.
No questions asked. No making you feel bad.
You can even keep the program as our way of saying "thank you" for trying it out.
How This Keeps Your Best Players on the Floor and Requires Less Depth
Legendary North Carolina coach Dean Smith once said, "The key statistic is getting to the foul line."
And the free throw is by far the most efficient shot in basketball.
According to Nylon Calculus, the free throw in the NBA was at 1.51 points per possession. While three-point shots were at 1.08.
So from a defensive standpoint, you want to reduce free throws.
Of course, numbers would be slightly different for high school and college, but you get the picture.
The diagram above shows that in the NBA, teams scored 1.51 points per possession when shooting free throws. It is by far the most efficient shot in basketball. As a defense, you want to minimize free throws.
With Coach Marshall's drills and coaching points, he shows you how to master your positioning and the use of your hands. This means fewer fouls for you and fewer free throws for your opponents.
And because you don't foul as much, the opposing team doesn't get in the bonus. This means they don't shoot free throws... the most efficient shot in basketball!
Additionally, this means you can keep your best players out there longer.
In the 2016 state semifinal and championship games, Coach Marshall played 4 of his 5 starters almost the entire game. They only played 6 players.
This means you don't need as much depth to win!
Coach Marshall's Teams Only Fouled 11 Times per Game!
My gut always told me that Coach Marshall's teams fouled less, so I went back to look at past stats when my teams played him. This is what I found.
For the 8 games we played them, we had 150 fouls compared to Coach Marshall's 88 fouls. We averaged nearly 19 fouls a game. They averaged 11 fouls a game.
There was only one game in which we tied or had fewer fouls. That was the only game that we won on a buzzer beater.
And I guarantee that a lot of our fouls were stupid fouls... there are frustration fouls that come with playing against Cascade's zone defense.
And this means you get to shoot more free throws while the other team is not.
You get to shoot the most efficient shot in basketball at the end of the game while your opponent does not.
The diagram above shows that over the 8 games that I played Coach Marshall's Cascade Cougars, we had nearly twice as many fouls. Cascade had 88 fouls while we had 150 fouls. This is part of the reason that they won 7 of those 8 games.
Like a Football Team... Your Defenders Are Put in Positions of Strength
The defensive players in the zone are trained similar to American football. Lineman, cornerbacks, linebackers, and safeties. They are specialists.
They are put in position of strengths to stop the other team from scoring.
They also have fewer responsibilities to learn than a traditional man to man defense.
Because your players are able to get hundreds and hundreds of repetitions with fewer situations, they become better at defending those situations.
Why This Is Great for Postseason Play... and Held the State Champion to 31 Points Below Their Average
In the conferences that I've coached and played, most teams played man to man defense.
So if 80% to 90% of the teams you face play man to man defense, what are you going to practice the most against?
It's not worth your time to spend the majority of your season on zone offense for a few games every year.
Coach Marshall took advantage of this situation. He said to us, "How can they fully prepare for our defense in just two days?"
This not only works in the regular season, it works in the postseason. Just look at what Cascade did during one of their state tournament appearances.
First round game - held Osage to 27 points. This was 32 points below their average.
Semifinals game - held Pella Christian to 36 points. This was 26 points below their average.
State championship game - held Western Christian to 42 points. This was 31 points below their average!
So think about that... They held the best teams in the state by an average of almost 29.7 points per game.
Personally, I don't think it matters if every team plays a 2-3 zone defense. Coach Marshall's defense is special, particularly, the way he teaches it and shows you how to teach it. There is no way to prepare for it!
This chart shows how difficult it is to score against Coach Marshall's 2-3 Zone Defense. At the 2016 state tournament, Coach Marshall's Cascade Cougars held their opponents to an average of 29.7 points below their season average!
You Have More Practice Time for Offense, Skill Development, and Schemes!
As mentioned above, it doesn't take much time to set up. In fact, it takes less practice time to be really good at the defense.
A few years ago, my high school coach Kevin Barnes said this to me...
"Joe, besides being able to win some extra games strictly because of this defense, I don't know if people realize the value it provides on offense.
Because it's so simple to teach the zone defense, you don't have to spend as much practice time on it.
And now you can spend more time on offense, skill development, and schemes. It helps you win more games because your offense improves too."
Coach Kevin Barnes and the Anamosa high school 2015-16 basketball team. Coach Barnes is a big fan of the 2-3 zone defense. In the past, it has helped compete and win more games with less talent.
How This Defense Frustrated an All Conference Guard so Much... He Flipped the Bird to the Crowd
As mentioned earlier, this defense frustrates you like no other. My senior year I was an All-conference guard and I shot 19% (4 for 21) against them.
And in that same year, another really good guard in our conference had similar frustrations. This guard SHOULD have been unanimous 1st team all conference.
However, he got extremely frustrated during the game against Coach Marshall's Cascade Cougars. In fact, he turned around and flipped two birds to the whole Cascade crowd! This is why he wasn't unanimous 1st team.
And this type of frustration is routine when you play Coach Marshall's 2-3 zone defense.
Almost every team that had great guards just suffered against this defense.
If you were able to catch any of their state tournament games, you could visually see it. I was fortunate to watch it online.
All State guards were getting so frustrated that they started shooting contested shots from the NBA 3-point line. Horrible shots.
In the 2016 semifinal game, a guard who was first team all state scored only 5 points on 2 of 9 shooting. He averaged 19.5 PPG for the season.
In the 2016 quarterfinal game, nobody on the opposing team scored more than 6 points.
This Defense Makes Your Opponents Hesitant and Indecisive!
As mentioned above, I can personally relate. I've played and coached against the zone defense.
The defense creates so much indecision and hesitancy. It doesn't matter how much you talk about it and prepare for it. When you get out there, you are just overwhelmed.
There are never any open driving lanes. When you get in the lane, somebody is contesting every shot.
You have to be extremely careful with every pass because they're masters at anticipating and deflecting passes.
Most times, you end up 25 feet from the basket catching the ball.
Then you get frustrated. Then you start making stupid decisions. Then you start making bad passes and taking bad shots.
Now, imagine yourself in Coach Marshall's shoes. Your opponents are shooting contested 25 foot jump shots. You're probably going to win a lot more games!
This High School Girls' Coach Won Back-To-Back State Titles! "Most User-Friendly Zone Video I Have Ever Purchased"
Nate Sanderson is the head coach of Springville high school in Springville, Iowa. In 2015, his team got 2nd place. In 2016 & 2017, they got 1st place! While coach Sanderson left, Springville won a 3rd straight championship in 2018.
Here is what Nate said...
"I can tell you that the structure and drill progression we learned from the Al Marshall 2-3 Zone Video was instrumental in helping us implement the 2-3 Zone Defense after being a man-to-man coach for most of my career prior.
Al does an excellent job explaining court positioning and player responsibilities, as well as adjustments for a lot of common actions we've encountered since going to the 2-3 Zone.
His video is by far the most comprehensive and user-friendly zone video I have ever purchased.
We've had a lot of success running exclusively 2-3 Zone since we made the switch including a state runner-up finish, and two state championships!"
Coach Nate Sanderson and the Springville girls celebrating their 2016 state championship victory. Coach Sanderson used the 2-3 zone defense to pull out the close win.
How Our Man to Man Defense Team Went to the State Championship Game Because of the "Secret Weapon" Zone Defense
During the 2010-11 season, I was an assistant varsity coach at Blue Valley Northwest in Overland Park, Kansas.
We ended up playing in the 6A state championship game that year.
And during the season, there were two games that went down to the last second. And in both games, the opposing team had the ball.
Even though we primarily played man to man defense, our coach used a sneaky little tactic that tricked two veteran coaches.
We showed a soft man to man full court defense. Then when they passed half court, we transitioned into a 2-3 zone defense.
In both games, the opposing players and coaches were baffled. And both games ended with them shooting a desperation shot that had little chance to go in.
And you could argue that those two games were vital for us making the state championship game.
With a lower seed, we might have played the state championship team in the quarterfinals instead.
So it could be critical for you to have this zone defense in your back pocket for strategy purposes. It could also be the reason you make it to the state championship game... like us.
Improves Your Zone Offense Because...
I found that before I started teaching this zone defense to practice against it... my zone offense wasn't good.
As soon as I made this change, our zone offense improved quite a bit.
We actually had opposing teams switching from zone defense to man to man defense. This never happened to me before.
And it takes very little time to teach.
At the beginning of the season, I spent about 30 to 45 minutes teaching the 2-3 zone defense.
I did this over two practices.
I had each player learn one spot. This allowed me to be super efficient in teaching the defense.
After you teach the foundation, you can spend 10 minutes running the 5v5 to refresh and emphasize key points.
You can do this once a week or every few weeks depending on your situation.
Also, if you have an assistant, you can have them coach the zone defense while you practice zone offense. This is the most efficient way to do it.
"One of the Best Resources I Have Seen in My Coaching Career"... Been Coaching Since the Early 1970s
Check out what George Steyer from Medina, Ohio said...
"I started coaching high school basketball in the early '70s and have used a wide variety of resources since then - books, articles, audio tapes, video tapes, DVD's, etc.
Many times I was disappointed in the resource and felt it was a waste of my time and money. Coach Marshall's Video does not disappoint you - it is everything the promo promises it will be! It is one of the best resources I have seen in my coaching career.
Coach Al gives you everything you need in an easy to follow step-by-step format to incorporate the 2-3 zone with your team - philosophy, drills, slides, adjustments for different offenses, variations of the zone, etc."
"Explains How to Defend Short Corner and Quick-Hitters"
Here is what Carlos Lopez from Pueblo, Colorado said...
"I have purchased every zone defense book and video out there. Coach Al Marshall's video is the best I have seen.
The past videos that I have purchased did not explain how to defend the short corner. Coach Marshall explains this in detail and shares different ways to make adjustments in the short corner.
He also explains how to defend different quick hitters. I believe the only thing left out was defense transition into the Zone. Everything else was accomplished. You will not be disappointed!"
First Ever State Championship After Switching to the 2-3 Zone Defense out of Necessity!
Coach Marshall's zone defense is a big reason that we won the state championship, made another state tournament appearance and were competitive the season before that.
In the 2013-14 season, we made a change to the zone defense out of the necessity. We had a young, inexperienced team that lacked size and strength. Post defense and rebounding were going to be major concerns. We finished the season .500 after a rough start.
Well, it worked quite well for us the following year. We made our first state tournament appearance in school history in 2015. We set the school record by winning 22 games!
In the 2016 state tournament, we held our first round opponent to 49 points below their scoring average and won the state championship for the first time in school history after entering the postseason unranked.
At South O'Brien, we finished 25-3 and we held opponents 42.5 points per game while they shot just 36 percent from the field.
- Kiley Yates - Head Boys Coach at South O'Brien High School, Paullina, Iowa
Coach Kiley Yates clapping on the sidelines during the state tournament. Coach Yates helped lead South O'Brien of Paullina, Iowa to the school's first-ever state championship.
"Doesn't Leave You Wondering How He Teaches His Players the Progressions..."
Here is what Johnny Griffith from Exeter, New Hampshire said...
"This is a terrific video set. The teaching of the 2-3 itself is not that different from what you'll see in, say, Jim Boeheim's videos, etc.
What really sets this video apart is the clarity of the teaching and, even more so, the breakdown drills that Al Marshall so clearly illustrates with his players.
More than any other video I've ever seen, Al takes the time to break things down clearly and coherently and doesn't leave you wondering how he teaches his players the progressions or how he breaks the defense down into its composite parts.
I highly recommend this for any coach interested in installing and running a 2-3 zone."
More Effective Against Overloads and Big Guys Sliding on the Free Throw Line
Here is what Coach McManis from Vienna, Virginia said...
"To anyone looking to improve their 2-3 Zone defense I've found this to be an exciting find. Although I've ran a 2-3 for the last few seasons, I did not realize how much I was missing to make it more effective against overloads and big guys sliding on the free throw line.
Just the boiler plate basics explained simply, but in greater detail, helped my defense understand exactly why they were doing what they were doing and when to do it.
This has really made our team and tougher team to score on, which is a must if you are shy on good shooters. It made our defense better because it really works on pushing offensive opponents to one side, pinning them there and forcing teams into taking low percentage shots.
I have no doubt if you are new to the 2-3 or have been running it for years you will learn something from this.
Five Stars + and well worth my money.."
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All the best,
Joe and Jeff Haefner
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