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In this week’s team development feature, former Naismith High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year Kevin Boyle breaks down effective ways to compete against bigger, more athletic teams on the defensive end of the floor.
So how exactly do we guard people that are bigger than us? Well, if I am more athletic than you, the first thing I want to do is make the game full court. I want to play you between the foul-lines and not let you post up or pass to the wings and dump it in.
Additionally, look to get very aggressive and in the face of your opponent. Be active. Second, challenge every pass. And finally, when pressing or trapping, consider using a diamond press against a team with lower fundamentals. However, if it’s a well-coached team, they know where the traps are. Therefore, against the better teams you should trap man-to-man.
Don’t double team big guys in the backcourt. Never waste the trap in this situation, even in the diamond press. Deny everyone else hard and make the big dribble up the court. With dribbling full-court as a likely weakness, this player is more likely to make a turnover.
Use two players for this drill and start at midcourt. One player has the ball and will dribble hard to the basket and make a layup and the other one will follow. The trailing player gets the rebound.
Next, the shooter touches the foul line and gets ready to play defense against the rebounder on the baseline only. The player with the ball will shuffle side-to-side along the baseline and the defender must now guard aggressively wherever he goes. It’s about getting quickly on the ball after a make.
Get four players for this drill. It’s essentially the same drill as before except now you are going to work on getting the ball inbounds. One player will work on getting open while the other will guard his man three-quarters. When guarding, dig into the opponent with your forearm and chest, push them low, be in a position to steal, and try to be in a good defensive position if they do get the ball. Get pressure right away.
Also, if you are facing a very athletic guard, it’s important to get below the level of the ball. In other words, the player previously guarding the inbounder will now drop and help defend the speedy guard dribbling up the floor.
In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to Durham, North Carolina for another exclusive look inside a Duke men’s basketball practice. This time, head coach Mike Krzyzewski leads his squad through full-court and team shooting drills.
With the full-court drills, players run through a 3-man weave to a 2-on-1 break and even a 5-man weave to a 3-on-2. Coach K also gives explanation on why the team chooses certain drills and then highlights specific techniques, tips and roles for each.
Finally, with shooting drills, Coach K explains why basketball teams should simulate offensive sets to practice game-like movement and shooting. He also reveals the shooting drill used by Team USA at the Summer Olympics that proved to be quite popular among the players.
Coach K frequently caters Duke’s full-court drills to simulate the different ways you can come down on a fast break. For instance, there’s the conventional way, where you come down the court and just fill a lane. And then there’s the 3-man wide, which is a different look. Here, one player will go ahead, and then there might be a quick screen. But the goal is still to net that easy layup. Also, the key when coming down the court is to get different looks than just the conventional layup.
The first time down the court, it’s a standard full-court 3-man weave. Then on the way back, the last player to pass to the layup guy moves back the opposite way and acts as the defender. The two other players streak down the court to finish the 2-on-1 fast break.
Once again we are working on different game situations. Remember to keep good spacing here. Players will go down the court on a five-man weave. Then, two players will step back and play defense on the other end. It’s key here to make quick decisions. Look to swing the ball fast on offense.
Remember, it’s important that the corner man is ready to shoot the ball at all times. If not, the near defender can close out and shut down the play.
According to Coach K, there are never enough shooting drills. He makes an emphasis to have his staff make up a number of different drills that will personalize the drill for the offense. In other words, don’t just have shooting drills. Instead, have shooting drills that will simulate the kind of shots that will be taken in your offense. Plus, put your players in a variety of different game situations.
It’s common for Duke’s shooting drills to go 3-on-0, but all three guys will get shots. It’s something that the US Olympic Team did a few years ago and it simulated the speed and type of shots when the team actually ran its offense. The key is for everyone to get involved and moving. If there’s ever a lull in a practice, this is the perfect “pick me up.”
Here’s a tip when simulating a wide move, which is a wing ball screen. Many times, the point guard will end up in the corner and we get a lot of corner shots. A versatile on the ball screener can slip, roll, post and pop. He’s a threat from all of those. One way to get your best player shots is to make him a screener. This forces the defense to defend the screen and then the screener gets open looks.
Plus, Duke makes an emphasis on always throwing the ball high. Also, it’s key for a big guy to keep his hands up all the time. A big man will be a great player if his hands never go below his waist. Look to try that with your own big guys. Go an entire game or practice looking to implement this technique. This way, he will stay tall and wide and can be ultimately more effective.
The following clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All-Access Duke Basketball Practice with Mike Krzyzewski.” Check out more All-Access videos in our extensive basketball library.