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Five Keys To Becoming a Better Defender

2 min read

Jeff Sparrow, POINT 3 Alpha

by Jeff Sparrow, POINT 3 Alpha

I teach defense.

It’s tough to teach defense if you were never a great defender yourself, or you haven’t come across a great defensive mind as a coach or mentor.

I think it’s easier to make an average player good and a good player great on the defensive end than it is to fix an 18-year-old’s jumper.

Here are my five key elements to becoming a better defender.

Jeff Sparrow teaching players

#1 – KYP (Know Your Personnel)

I say KYP to my players a million times.

Know exactly who you are playing, what they do well, and take that away. You need to know everyone’s tendencies when you step out on that court. So if that opponent has a great left to right crossover, you better make him do something different to try to beat you. Now when he does beat you, make sure he doesn’t score on you the same way twice.

#2 – No Excuses

You have to develop a mentality of No Excuses. You can’t just come out on the court, get beat, and say “that kid is good.” It has to hurt you badly when someone scores on you. You have to build a culture of No Excuses. Players need to take pride in getting stops.

#3 – Always Look in the Stomach

Don’t look at the ball, watch your opponent’s stomach to determine movements. That’s how you can determine where they are going to move to and can anticipate.

#4 – Always Dictate

You have power when you are on defense. You should never be on your heels. You should always dictate. You have the ability to force left or right, jab at them, and consistently move your feet. Your feet should never be stationary.

#5 – Never Jump

Never, ever jump. Keep your hands up and contest shots. I can’t stand when players pick up two quick fouls off of one head fake.

If you follow these five simple rules, you will definitely continue to improve as a defender and bring more value to your team!

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