Full-Court Match-Up Pressure Defense
on August 13, 2007
I was horribly disappointed with this product. Either Tubby Smith is holding his cards close to his chest, and isn't telling how to really implement his press in this video, or he's a great recruiter... because in this video he shows no signs of being a good teacher.
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I don't particularly like bashing Coach Smith, because I've admired him and his program for a while, but this product just was sub-par.
First of all, let me qualify myself by explaining a little bit what I was looking for.
I believe that what system you run (whether offense or defense) is less important than how you teach it. In fact, I believe that an excellent system that is poorly taught will rarely be more effective than a simple, elementarily predictable system that is excellently taught. Like many coaches, I bought the video with the hope of not only finding out about Kentucky's full court press, but how I could teach it better.
As a player in my former days, and now as a coach, the one thing I absolutely abhor was having 10 guys out on the court as the coach went through and discussed in detail with each one what they were supposed to do. Players find it boring, and knowing what to do is not as helpful as getting reps doing it. Why not have the kids perform a few breakdown drills to learn the different features of the press? The saying "Tell me, I forget; show me, I remember; let me do it, I understand" applies here. Players are much more likely to learn how to press if they get reps trapping and rotating 3-on-3 before jumping right into 5-on-5.
One of the first things Coach Smith says is that teaching the matchup press takes a long time. After seeing this video, I believe it! 10 guys standing on the floor, and Coach Smith thoroughly explains what each one should be doing. After the inbounds pass, the action is stopped again, and the lecturing to each of 10 players commences again. With each pass the action stops and there is more talking. About 5 minutes into the "drill" Coach Smith decides then is the time to explain to the players what sort of defensive stance he wants them in. I didn't get out a timer, but I'll bet it took 10 minutes before the ball crossed half-court.
Coach Smith discusses trapping, but didn't really give any guidelines as far as what sorts of situations his players should trap in. He pointed out that his players play on-the-line up-the-line defense, and a minute later has his players sagging up to 10 yards off their man to "deny the long pass". Obviously, pressuring the ball with on-the-line up-the-line D and sagging are both important in a balanced defensive scheme, but Coach Smith never said when he wants his players to do what.
Interspersed in this video is segments of full-speed action. The action rarely lasts more than 1 pass or 1 dribble, though. (What is that, about 1/2 a second?) Before there's more stopping and talking. Do 10 players really need to stop everything to hear what one guy did well by having his palm turned up? Why can't they be doing a drill, practicing slapping at the ball from underneath while the coach is talking? Or maybe they're high-level athletes with lots of experience, and don't need infantile drills like that... but then why bother stopping practice to point it out?
It seemed like this video had very little thought put into it -- and this was brought to a focus by the fact that there were only about 3-4 "takes" in the whole video. That is to say, Coach Smith would talk for 15-20 minutes straight, without the cameraman ever thumbing the switch off. I got the feeling that this 54-minute video took about 60 minutes to film and edit. Come on! I paid money for this!
Now, I realize that not every coach out there coaches the same way, and others might well find this video to be helpful. If you didn't resonate with anything I said, and like the idea of having players consider practice "boring", go ahead and give the video a shot.
In the meantime, I found videos like Bo Ryan's "Applying and Attacking Pressure" to be a much better video at teaching zone press, and Jim Larranaga's "Scramble Defense" to be a much better video at teaching man-to-man pressure.
This video is a good one to pick up if you're at a coaching clinic and they're handing them out for free. Otherwise I wouldn't spend money on it.
If you really want this video, I'll swap it with somebody out there for a box of Oreos...