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Teaching Team Defense: The Ultimate Use of Whole-Parts-Whole

Teaching Team Defense: The Ultimate Use of Whole-Parts-Whole

Teaching team defense is the ultimate use of applying the Whole-Parts-Whole approach to coaching. Coaches should start by showing the players the overall concept of team defense. Perhaps a video or a quick walk through and show how this defense reflects everything they believe in. You show/demo what you want them to be great at as a team, the Whole. By showing them the Whole first, players have a better sense of what they are working towards. It helps to answer the question of, “Why are we doing this?”

Coaches should then break the Whole down into the Parts and then gradually build it back up to the Whole. For example, the coach should start with proper on-ball defense, with a focus on stance, balance and footwork. Perhaps adding several 1v1 type drills and games can help reinforce these basic fundamentals.

Next, the coach should then proceed to teaching the adjacent defense either through using 2v2 or other types of drills. Focus on the positioning and decision-making in when to double/slide or switch. Again, adding 2v2 will also enable the players to develop that competitive skill and apply these fundamentals in small-game like situations.

Teaching the concept of “help” and being able to properly position themselves to see man and ball would be the next Part to teach as you are gradually building back up into the whole. Using a 3v3 type drill will reinforce all of the areas taught so far; on-ball, adjacent and help. Kudda is a firm believer that most of practice time should be devoted to 3v3. Players will maximize touches, players can not hide, lots of opportunities to apply fundamentals in a game-like scenarios (tactical Skills) and allows them to develop their ability to Play the Game. Plus the added competition keeps players engaged for longer time. For ideas about drills and activities to use, refer to this series of videos for teaching man-to-man defense for basketball. (Note similar concepts and teaching progressions for lacrosse can be applied)
Videos (Only Kudda members will be able to view and can also view Parts 2 and Part 3 in teaching these progressions))

You gradually build it back up into 5 man defense for basketball, 6 man for boys lacrosse or 7 for girls lacrosse; the Whole again.

The key is to first give the players a vision for what the end result is (the Whole) before breaking into the Parts. Try this concept when teaching any type of defense; man-to-man, zones or hybrids of the two. Another reason to use the Whole-parts-whole approach…I really think that we need to show kids the “WHY” of what we do. By breaking it down into the parts and building it back up, the players will have a better understanding on the WHY.

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