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Basketball.... defending spread offense in Man2Man

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7 replies to this topic

#1 TimNJsoxfan

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:31 PM

In my sons 8th grade rec league, we are required to run man defense in periods 2 and 3. No big deal.

My question is this.

A team decides to spread out in a 1-2-2 offense with the guard up top and the other 4 players spread out beyond the 3pt arc in order to open up the paint area. Like so...

Posted Image

We have to be in a man 2 man... now do my guys need to be all the way out by the 3pt line with "their" man, or can they be a step or two inside the arc?

This will be run against us numerous times I'm sure, hell Im gonna run it against other teams as well. I have guys that can defend the guard, but I also want the other 4 there for support and not just standing out by the arc watching like the other team wants us to do.

Edited by TimNJsoxfan, 10 December 2012 - 06:31 PM.

#2 wutang112878

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 06:58 PM

For 8th grade basketball, there is maybe what 1 or 2 kids a team that could actually shoot well enough to make the 3pt shot an efficient one right? If thats the case, I understand the reasoning behind forcing everyone to play man to learn skills, but I would argue teaching all 5 players to be right at the 3pt line at all times is some pretty poor defense teaching. Say #4 has the ball in the corner, are you supposed to tell the guy guarding #3 to be within arms length of him and not introduce the concept of help defense and defending the paint? That wouldnt be teaching the game correctly.

#3 TimNJsoxfan

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:18 PM

Thats what I dont want to do, is have my guys standing out right on their man. I want them off their man a bit but still in a man 2 man defense. If they are within a step or 2 of their man, but still guarding the paint, is that still considered man2man? I would think it is right?

#4 Captaincoop

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 07:50 PM

Absolutely. The defender on the ball should be within arm's reach of his man to defend the shot and disrupt passing, but the other defenders should be in different positions depending on where they are on the court relative to the ball.

Against the offense you've set up above, I'd have the 4 and 5 defenders shading a few steps towards the lane, in a position to collapse and help if the ballhandler tries to dribble into the lane. They're two passes away from the ball, so should have plenty of time to close out against their man if the ball makes it that way.

You have a couple of different options for how to play #2 and #3 above, but if you're trying to teach the game (rather than adjusting for the fact that these kids probably aren't a threat to shoot threes effectively), you could have them play about a step off their man and a step toward the key - so they are in a position to anticipate and deny the pass from #1, but also to help against a dribble drive or get their hands on an attempted skip pass to the corner.

One of the best things you can do for kids that age to learn help defense is to run through the shell drill:


This will help them learn proper positioning/rotation based on where the ball moves...and understand that there are different responsibilities depending on where you are relative to the ball.

edit: To address your question more philosophically - whether you are in man-to-man defense or in zone defense should be defined by how your players are reacting to ball and player movement by the offense, not by where they are standing at any given moment. If one of the offensive players comes cutting across the baseline, and your defender passes him off to the next defender instead of chasing him through - that would be playing zone defense. If you're teaching the principles above to your team, no one in the league should be complaining. Hope that helps.

Edited by Captaincoop, 10 December 2012 - 07:54 PM.

#5 TimNJsoxfan

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 08:04 PM

Coop... thank you!

So M2M you are still guarding an area of the floor as long as your man is in that area. If he leaves that area, you must go with him. If the man with that ball comes into your "area", you can leave your man to double team or "help" your teammate defend. Basically?

#6 riboflav

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 12:19 AM

Against 5-out, your 4 and 5 defenders need to each have one foot in the lane and then your two wing defenders can play the gaps or be in deny - most important decision you have to make.

When two passes away (4 and 5) should always have one foot in the lane. Wings in gaps if you don't want your ball defender on an island and you want to help with them first or you can deny the wings if you want to be more aggressive and only help with 4 and 5. In deny, only help needs to come from help side... always. That way it's consistent and will help teach the kids proper rotations. Ball defender should apply aggressive but intelligent pressure and mirror the ball.

Also, keep ball above the elbows and below the blocks in deny - influence sideline and baseline. For gap coverage, don't give up baseline. Because it's all about where help comes from.

EDIT: I should have added that you should do what your HS coach wants and I'm really surprised that your HS coach would not have dictated a strategy by now. These kids will be trying out for HS next year at this time, after all.

Edited by riboflav, 11 December 2012 - 10:13 AM.

#7 TimNJsoxfan

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 11:42 AM

EDIT: I should have added that you should do what your HS coach wants and I'm really surprised that your HS coach would not have dictated a strategy by now. These kids will be trying out for HS next year at this time, after all.

This is a rec league with 7th and 8th grade boys, not the Middle School team. Im sure that team is instructed by someone under the HS team so there is continuity when moving up.

#8 riboflav

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:38 PM

I still do it with my rec league as they supply most of my Frosh team and some of them eventually migrate to JV. But, each region is different I guess.