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Ultimate Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball


Defensive Plays for Youth Basketball

Any coach will tell you that you can't win games without good defense, and you can't be a complete basketball player without being a good defender. We've already covered the basics of a good defensive stance and outlined a drill to help your players master it, so now it's time to talk about team defense. There are two basic defenses your players should know, the zone defense and man-to-man defense.

In a zone defense, each player on the court is responsible for defending a certain area rather than a specific player from the other team. The most common is a two-one-two zone, meaning there are two players at the top on either side of the free throw line, one in the middle a little farther back and two more down low on either side of the basketball hoop. This type of defense makes it hard for offensive players to dribble to the hoop and make an easy shot. Just make sure that your players don't get lazy. A zone defense doesn't mean your players should just stand in one place. They need to move within their designated area and adjust as the offense moves the ball. The goal is to force more outside shots [source: Miniscalco and Kot]. Once your kids get the hang of playing zone defense, you may want to try introducing man-to-man defense.

Man-to-man defense requires a greater individual effort from each player on the court, because each is solely responsible for one player on the other team. The goal is to keep one's player from getting the ball and scoring. The biggest problem with a man-to-man defense is that it allows the other team to take advantage of the weaker players on your team, and it may tire your players out faster, too. Unless your players are fairly advanced for their age, it's probably a good idea to stick with the zone defense [source: Miniscalco and Kot].

Lastly, you'll need some inbound plays. Keep reading to find out more about them.