"Helping coaches coach better..."

Newsletter #285 - February 14, 2024


Today's Quote:   "A lot of coaches want guys to be loose for games. I never wanted them to be loose. I wanted their hands sweating, their knees shaking, their eyes bulging. I wanted them to act like we were going to war." - Jerry Tarkanian


Today's Theme... Junk Defenses and defending a team with a star player

First, several points about junk defenses, or combination defenses.
1. If your team is better than the other team, there is no need to use a junk defense. Just play your good man-to-man, or your good zone.
2. Do not base your entire season’s defensive plan on junk defenses.
3. If you use a junk defense, use it as a diversion, or something to confuse the opponent.
4. If you use a junk defense, realize it is a gamble, can often be beaten, and you must be willing to drop it quickly.

Defending a team with superior talent or a star player is always a challenge. There are a variety of junk defenses that can be tried in this situation, or a coach may simply choose to make some adjustments in his/her usual man-to-man or zone defenses. Whatever the situation, through good scouting, know what your opponent likes to do on offense and try to neutralize or take that away from them.

No matter what kind of defense you play, make the "star" player work hard, not only on offense, but also make him play defense. Don’t let him rest on the defensive end. Take the ball at him and expose him to picking up some early fouls. If they try to protect him by using a zone defense against you, put your better shooters on his side of the floor, and try to get most of your shots in his "zone". 

On defense, know the "star's" tendencies. With a perimeter player who likes to drive to the hoop, or who is very quick, have your defender drop back an extra step. If he prefers going right, overplay him and force him left. If his main forte is outside shooting, deny and stay up tight on him. A low post player who likes the baseline drop step, take that away and force him to the lane.

See "Junk Defenses" for more on these topics:

  • Man-to-man defensive adjustments against a "star" player
  • The "star" is the point guard
  • The "star" is a wing-forward player
  • The "star" is a low post player
  • "Box and 1" defense
  • "Triangle and 2" defense
  • "Inverted Triangle and 2" defense
  • "1-3 and a chaser" defense
  • "3-1 and a chaser" defense
  • "Diamond and 1" defense


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