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The Tribe

Dynamic Defense is a leveled system for teaching individual and team basketball defense. It includes first a grading system so that players and coaches (and parents for a lot of you) can be on the same page as it relates to an individual's defensive development. Then, a curriculum for improvement within each level and also through the levels. Level 1 teaches what it means to Guard the Ball and then spends the rest of the time equipping the player with the skills to meet those requirements. Within Level 1, there are three grades of defenders: Great, Good, and OK. The following video is an excerpt from our new video package, Dynamic Defense. You can check out the breakdown of each video as well as the Dynamic Defense trailer here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeEDqymhfzQ Of course, we all want our players to be Great Level 1 defenders but that’s not always how it works out. It’s even possible (according to my definitions of Great, Good, and OK) to be a Great Level 1 defender when guarding Player X while being only a Good Level 1 defender when guarding Player Y. If you’re a Great Level 1 defender, you take away all three aspects of an offensive player's Triple Attack: The Shot, The Drive, and The Pass.

Every basketball coach wants their players to take charges, but let's face it, on just about every attempt to draw the charge it's a 50-50 chance that the call goes either way. With the speed of today's game, it's getting harder and harder for officials to determine (in a split second) what is and what isn't a charge. Ultimately, it comes down to what a ref thinks she sees and even then many times the reasons given for the call don't sound anything like what's in the rule book. When I saw Mano Watsa and Sefu Bernard teach this skill during one of their PGC Basketball camps, I knew I had to capture it for Dynamic Defense. Their teaching progression and drills were simply excellent! You’ll find two of their teaching points on this excerpt from Level 1 of Dynamic Defense.

Ever since we released the Read & React Offense a few years ago, coaches have been asking about the other side of the basketball coin - defense. Actually, they would ask, "So, what about a Read & React Defense?" And, for almost three years now, we've been teasing you about a leveled system of teaching defense. We're calling it Dynamic Defense instead of Read & React Defense, though. Actually, we never considered Read & React Defense because… well, because it didn't make sense. So, why Dynamic Defense?

In a previous post, we mentioned the importance of visioneering and highlighted this quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Every great endeavor begins with a vision of something greater than yourself, but until it's shared and internalized by the team, it will get no traction. So, as a coach, you are responsible to create (or at least mold) your team's vision. You are the captain of that ship after all. You can develop a successful vision for your basketball team by making three commitments:

I define a "situation" as an offensive action that engages two or more defenders simultaneously. For example, most screening actions create situations, an attacking drive generates a situation, and many times just feeding a competent post player instigates a situation. If your opponent lacks cohesion as a defensive unit, a single situation may be enough to break them open for a score. The reality, though, is that most defensive teams are better coached and more prepared: they are capable of helping and recovering as well as double-teaming and rotating back without giving up a scoring opportunity. Read & React Offense Basketball Pick and Roll But, just because a team can handle one situation doesn't mean they can handle two or three in a row, or even two or three simultaneously. Set this as a goal for your Read & React team (especially when you come up against better defensive teams): every possession, force the defense to handle more than one situation back to back or at the same time. Below are a couple of examples of how you can do that.

When defending a player on the wing, you should do everything you can to keep the ball from being dribbled into the middle. This means forcing, influencing, or shading the ball towards the corner/baseline and then working hard at stopping the drive (by yourself) before the attack reaches the short corner. Basketball defender guarding a basketball dribbler The above sentiment is nothing revolutionary, but let's examine why it works.

When the ball drives baseline, there are several factors in favor of the defense:

  1. The offense is actually decreasing the usable court space.
  2. The baseline becomes a defensive “sixth man”.
  3. Shooting angles are not as good as being in the middle of the floor (read: shooting percentages drop).
  4. Natural passing angles are fewer and more difficult.
  5. Non-ball defenders seem to drop toward the goal more easily than when the ball is driven into the middle.

Dear High Ball Screen, This is difficult for me to say (well, write). I just want to be friends. I know. I know. We've had some great times. And, I'm sure there will be more to come, but right now, I just need some… space. You see, we've had this love affair for a long time. Heck, you were probably the first screen I was introduced to as a young basketball player. I appreciate everything you've done for me. I'll always cherish our memories. Letter to the High Ball Screen But, I recently got to thinking. Are we as compatible as I think we are? Do I love you because my previous coaches told me to? Are you just a Sacred Zombie Cow? Or, do we really fit? I needed to know (for both our sakes) so I decided to test it out on the biggest stage I could find: the NCAA National Championship game - theoretically the two best non-professional basketball teams in the world. It would be perfect. I would chart all the amazing impact you made in that game and fall in love with you all over again. You know, just like when we were younger. Well, that's what I thought would happen.