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Defense May Be the Secret Weapon YOU Need

ou train endlessly!  You shoot when its hot out, you shoot when it rains, and even when you get tired of the snow in the winter you shovel your driveway just to have a place to get buckets and dream.  But why in the hell are you not getting any better?  Sure you make more shots here and there, other days you miss everything, but more importantly you still get the same number of minutes when the season comes around.  As a player, your basketball training isn’t working for you.  As a young player I was just like you.  I found the same frustrations and had zero reason as to why I was not improving or becoming the player I dreamt of.  It took most of my high school and college career as a basketball player to understand what was holding me back.  It was how I was training, what I focused on while training, and my need to train outside the basketball court.

Defensive is by far the most under-rated skill to have in the game of basketball!  Mastering the art of being a great defender on the basketball court will more than likely open more doors for you as a basketball player than any other skill.  Coaches are in love with great defenders, and select them without question faster than any other type of player.

I found this out first hand when I was struggling to make myself standout among the best players on the west Coast my junior year in high school.  Surrounded by D1 commits, I was getting crushed in a field of over 500 other players who were invited to try out for our state best traveling teams.

It is because of my experiences that I am able to let you in on the 3 reasons why your current training will fall short of achieving your basketball goals.  I was unfortunate enough to learn these lessons through years of sweat and failure.

  1. Defensive Players Stand Out: So many players focus on scoring and offense.  KWUB project players train to be elite scorers with high shooting percentages, its one of our main focuses in our player development program.  Few players however focus on perfecting their defense as a way to stand out.  It is because of this over-focused effort by players to stand out by scoring that you as a player need to focus on defense as way to set yourself apart from the pack.  Coaches are naturally drawn to players are shut down scorers.  The truth is that most coaches start at least one player who can shut down opponents.  In order to quickly catch a coaches attention and prove your worth, start by concentrating your effort on shutting down your opponents on offense, especially the best ones.
  2. Great Defenders Have Heart Not Talent:  Its easier said than done when your efforts on offense have worn you out, but giving 110% effort on defense is where it all starts.  Defense rarely is talent based, it is instead based on how bad a player wants to be a great defender.   It takes true heart and gutsy effort to hustle down the floor and work to get a stop.  This work and intense effort by great defenders to earn every stop is what ultimately wins games, as well as what coaches love to see.  As a player your philosophy on defense should be to NEVER let your opponent beat you to the SPOT or score on you.  If you carry this challenge with great pride and take every time you fail personally, you are already well on your way to being your teams best defender.
  3. Coaches NOT Only Favor Defensive Players, They NEED THEM: Great defenders catch the attention of coaches not only because of they are rare, but also because great defenders are essential. Good coaches know they need defenders to win games.  So knowing this makes a player who is determined to stop opponents on defense an essential part of any winning program.  Coaches who win games year after year make defense their highest priority when training their teams.  Coaches look for players that can fit into that mentality of tough defense, and are more willing to start players who show their dedication to stopping opponents on defense.
  4. Great Defenders Create Offense:  You have heard this before, and have more than likely seen it at middle school and high school level play.  That pesky team that put that unforgiving press on you last season.  The kind of press that couldn’t be broken, with each pass creating yet another turnover for a layup.  This is defense creating offense in the most extreme case and we have all been on each side of it.  Smart coach will put players on their team, and choose their starters based on defensive ability so that turnovers happen and fast break points flow freely.  This is why you need to work extremely hard to become a great defender.  Coaches need defenders to put presser on the offense not only in a press but in a half court set as well.  Great defenders fit easily into teams that are built to apply pressure and create offense.
  5. Great Defenders Fit Well in Team Defenses: Defense can be complex when you consider keeping your man from scoring is only a small part of being a great defender.  Great defenders also have to understand how to play great team defense.  Great coaches know how to implement team defense whether it be in a zone set or man-to-man.  Players need to understand how to play help defense and recover, bump cutters, and to box out defenders.  These team defensive concepts are essential to understand and more important for players to master when trying out for teams.  Know these defensive skills makes a player extremely valuable to ALL coaches, essentially ensuring your name comes up when the starting line up is called out.

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