Nowadays, defense becomes more and more emphasized, compared to offense. Playing outstanding defense enables your team to basically rule basketball games. However, the problem is how to keep, or maintain, the aggressiveness of players in playing defense. Coaches take this a challenge and makes necessary interventions to help their players in being consistent with defending the opponent.

In connection to this, these are the following things to consider to help you stress out the necessity of defense for your team:

1. Emphasize the objective of defense.
Your players have to realize the importance of playing correct defense. This will be the foundation of your team in building a defensive system. Without the objective of pursuing defense your basketball system will suffer in whole. Surely, a player can’t take defense seriously if he does not understand how important it is to game of basketball.

Now, how do you emphasize your defensive objectives? What I felt worked well with my teams is to build objectives together with your players. This way they get to know the X and O’s. The challenge comes in maintaining that goal in their hearts and minds. With this, you can keep on reminding your players about your defensive goal before and during practices and actual league games.

2. Institute a consistent strength and conditioning Program.
Defending the ball and the basket is never easy. Sometimes, defending may be more physically demanding than going for offense. Stressing defense would be ineffective if your players are not physically prepared for competition, so this is a vital part.

You should institute a consistent program for your team’s strength and conditioning. Work out and exercises should be properly scheduled. This should be done in an organized manner, if you create a timetable for your team’s activities. The key idea here is that you have to keep your players ready to go for defense at any time.

3. Teach the proper techniques of defending.
Another important factor to effectively stress defense to your team is to teach them the proper techniques of defending. Defending is not just blocking the way of your opponent to stop him. It includes smart thinking with regards to properly positioning your arms, hands, legs, feet, and body in general. As the coach it is your responsibility to widen the knowledge of players, and assist them in enhancing their corresponding basketball defensive skills. When your players already know the appropriate manner of defending the ball, it will be easier for them to respond to your call for a defensive play.

4. Constantly remind the team to do transition defense.
Stress defense to your team by constantly reminding them to execute it, especially in transition plays. This is forgotten by players in some cases when playing basketball games. This may be due to the effects of the pressure of a close game, causing the players to experience mental lapses. The solution to this is to keep on reminding your team to get back on defense, whether or not, the ball goes into the basket.

5. Confront defensive shortcomings of your team.
One effective way of stressing out defense to your team is to make them realize their imperfections or shortcomings of their defensive skills. Players learn from their mistakes. If you notice that your team is not executing proper defense, you should point it out right away. You tell them how they could do better in defending the opponent. Motivate them!

What happens if you ignore to confront this issue? Your team will not be aware that they are playing bad defense. They will keep on playing, so do not be afraid to remind them from time to time.

6. Always communicate with your team, and instruct them to execute proper defense.
Do not get bored by the thought of constantly reminding your team to play defense. Players listen to whatever comes from your mouth. They learn every single thing about basketball from you, and they trust your judgment as a coach. You have to recognize that you have the voice to influence your players on how to act or play basketball. Use this as an opportunity to stress defense to your team.

7. Let the players be familiarized with the team’s defensive system.
This is vital for the entire team to execute the defense as a unit and you’ll be more succesful in games, if you defend as a team. This makes them a strong team and separates their level of basketball skills from their opponent. Moreover, a good defensive team is one of the most difficult teams to beat. Therefore, you have to involve every player to learn your defensive system for them to get used to it. Their familiarity to your system will allow them to function as one.

8. Encourage your players to be aggressive in defense.
Stressing out defense should accompany a higher level of encouragement. You do not just tell them to play defense. You have to encourage them to be aggressive. Aggressiveness cannot only be seen on offensive situations, but also in defensive scenarios. And so, when players are aggressive with their defense, they will give all they have in defending the ball and the basket.

9. Implement a philosophy of winning ball games through defense.
As what I have explained above, defensive teams are the toughest teams to beat. You can further stress out playing good defense to your team by implementing a philosophy of winning ball games through defense. When players succumb to this philosophy, they will be greatly motivated to do defense. Players will love to win ball games, and they know that one way to do that is to do defense.

Defense can help your team go the distance in any competition. Do not underestimate the power of playing tough defense, and keep on encouraging your team to play proper and aggressively.

[info_box]Picture credit: JMRosenfeldCreative Commons Attribution[/info_box]
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