(English) The coach should determine the basic defensive structure that a team is going to use and it may have a number of elements for example:

  • Half court defence – “man to man”, denying reversal passes;
  • Full court pressure defence – 2-2-1 Zone Trap, pick up at free throw line;
  • On Ball Screens – Trap or “under” with hard “show”.

Within this structure the coach may teach a number of different tactics, such as different techniques defending screens or defending post players. The coach may then choose tactics based upon particular opponents and this may be changed in preparing for a game or changed during the game.

The degree of complexity that the coach can include when preparing the team will depend upon the level of experience of the players and also considerations such as how many hours the team practices each week.

With less experienced teams, preparation often focuses on re-iterating the basic defensive structure chosen for the team. With more experienced teams, preparation focuses on the strengths of the opponent and how they are best challenged.

In considering the opponent’s strengths, the coach will consider:

  • The tempo the opponent prefers;
  • Tendencies of post players – are they passers, rebounders, scorers;
  • Tendencies of perimeter players – are they scorers off the dribble or off the pass;
  • Screening action commonly used.

The coach can then choose tactics that they believe will negate the opponent’s strengths. For example:

  • Double team particular players (e.g. a low post player) or in particular situations (e.g. ball screens);
  • Deny the ball to particular players (e.g. fronting a low post player) or a particular area on the floor (e.g. deny pass to the wing but allow pass to the corner);
  • Force the play to a particular side of court (e.g. deny a pass to the right hand wing but allow a pass to the left hand side);
  • Playing a zone defence against a team that is a strong driving team;
  • Full court pressure against a team that prefers a slow tempo (the team may also play a faster tempo on their offence in an attempt to quicken the tempo of the game);
  • Playing a strong denial defence to disrupt the opponent’s movement of the ball.

In selecting the team’s defensive tactics the coach must also consider what the team prefers to play and what is their “natural” game style. Changing too much can result in disrupting their own team. They may also change the tactics at times during the games and then revert to their normal game style.

Within the team defensive strategy the coach may also change the individual responsibilities that player’s have, choosing “match-ups” that they believe will be to the advantage of their team. This could include, for example, starting a different player than they normally do on the basis that this player is able to defend a particular opponent more effectively.

The coach may also opt to put less pressure on some of the opposition players, effectively allowing them to shoot in order to be able to put more pressure on the player’s that score the majority of the opponent’s points. This may include:

  • “Stepping off” a player on the perimeter that is usually a passer, in order to more aggressively deny other players’
  • Setting a double team against a scorer, allowing passes, and then denying a pass back to the scorer;
  • Moving to a strong help line position, allowing a pass to a player that is not a strong scorer, to place more pressure on dribble penetration;
  • Not moving to help position when the ball is penetrated by a player that prefers to pass and instead remain in denial position.