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Newsletter #281- December 20, 2023


Today's Quote:   "Winning is more related to good defense than good offense" - Jack Ramsay

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Today's Theme... Bob Kloppenburg's SOS Defense

The SOS Pressure Defensive system by former NBA defensive genius Bob Kloppenburg is based on the concept of total disruption. The defense is pro active and attacks the offense, forcing offensive players into uncomfortable positions on the court, where scoring is difficult. Instead of the defense reacting to what the offense is doing, the offense finds themselves reacting more to the defense. The SOS defense stops scorers, decreases second shot chances, and dictates game tempo. You can generate a lot of "offense off defense" with the SOS.

Implementing SOS Tactics - In implementing the SOS tactics, Coach Kloppenburg suggests that if you already have a pretty good defensive system, rather than completely changing it, just add those SOS tactics that you think might help within the framework of your own defense.

Six Keys of the SOS System

Key #1 - Fundamental Player Defensive Skills are Taught in a Simple to More Complex Progression
No defensive system will work if your players are not skilled in defensive fundamentals, both on and off the ball. And no system will work if players are not motivated to play great defense. You have to make it a priority, instilling enthusiasm, a work ethic, and pride in playing great defense. The teaching breakdown begins with 1-on-1 techniques and drills, progressing to 2-on-2, and up through 5-on-5...

Key #2 - Communication - Key S-O-S Words Identify and Trigger Defensive Actions
Coach Kloppenburg stresses certain key words for defensive communication. Each key word begins with one of the S-O-S letters. Just like the commonly used defensive terms of "ball", "deny" and "help", so it is with the SOS key words. They help players communicate and work together as a unit. The talking is stressed in practice and games. On-ball defensive keywords are "Set", "On", and "Smother"...

Key #3 - Defenders Force Offensive Players to Specific Checkpoint Areas on the Court
Forcing opponents into uncomfortable areas of the court (where scoring opportunities are poor) is a main key of the SOS defense. Coach Kloppenburg calls this "Operation Checkpoint". Defenders are taught how to direct the offensive player away from high percentage scoring areas to low percentage "checkpoint" areas. SOS post defense and SOS baseline and side screen defense are discussed as well.

Key #4 - Switching 2-on-2 Screens
Aggressive switching of on-ball and off-ball screens is an important aspect of this tough, pressure defense. Switching helps eliminate confusion and defensive hesitation and when done correctly and aggressively, can frustrate and force the offense away from what they originally intended to do. Keywords "Screen", "Over", and "Switch" are used... 

Key #5 - Stopping the Fast Break Begins in the Backcourt
To stop an opponent's aggressive transition, fast-breaking offense, coaches stress "get back on defense!" Yes that's important, but Coach Kloppenburg also wants to start pressure in the backcourt... getting to the outlet pass, and stopping or forcing the dribbler to a checkpoint area, while other defenders sprint up and deny the long passing lanes up the court. He also discusses full-court presses ("Basic Shadow", "Shadow Up", "Shadow Face", "Shadow Blitz" and "Shadow Lock") and half-court presses ("X" and "Red" presses).

Key #6 - Each Defender has a Clear-Cut Specific Role
The SOS system is truly a "team defense", not just five individuals. All are communicating and working together. Each player has a specific role and must follow the rules and rotations. Little is left to chance as all the possible scenarios are covered. The entire team takes on the enthusiasm of playing nasty, tough defense, working together like a machine, forcing the offense out of their comfort areas.

Success breeds excitement and pride in your system, pride in playing tough defense. Tough defense frustrates and "annoys the hell" out of opponents. Tough defense is what leads to upsets. Your team may not be a an offensive powerhouse, but it's not so bad if the opponent can't score either! Underdogs take heart... the SOS system can be an equalizer.

For the details, see:
SOS Pressure Defense - Half-Court Defense

SOS Pressure Defense - Full-Court Defense

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