Don Meyer’s 6 defensive absolutes

With 923 wins, Don Meyer was one of the most successful coaches in NCAA men’s basketball. Here are his six defensive absolutes that helped towards the success of this teams:

  1. No easy baskets whether in transition or the half court.
    • Make the opponent work and earn everything they get.
  2. No 2nd shots of any kind
    • Too many good defensive efforts are wasted because of failure to get the defensive rebound. This can be actually demoralizing in many situations
  3. No uncontested shots
    • This goes back to #1 somewhat in that we don’t want to allow easy and free looks at the basket. Don’t allow mediocre shooters to become good ones because you don’t contest the shot.
  4. No penetration into that paint/post area
    • This means no penetration off the pass as well as the dribble. When the ball enters the middle of the floor and in particular the post area there are too many options available for offence.
    • Try to limit the things they can do by keeping it out of the middle.
    • If it does get in there then attack the ball and dig it out as quickly as possible.
    • Offensive rebounding is also a way a team can get the ball in this area and we have already said in #2 that can’t happen.
  5. Pressure the basketball as much as possible
    • #3 certainly implies pressure on the shot. Pressure the dribble, the pass, and the catch as well in order to take the individual or team out of their comfort area.
    • Making the people dribble, pass or catch going away from the basket is a good rule of thumb.
    • How much you are able to pressure may vary from game to game or year to year depending on your personnel, but going back to #1 were the opponent must earn everything they get is critical. Make them work!
  6. Communication pulls it all together
    • It lets you know that your players understand what it is you are trying to accomplish.
    • It creates a team cohesiveness and promotes unselfish play.
    • It says you are in this together and it takes everyone doing their part to be successful.

Enjoyed this article? Don’t forget to check out Don Meyer’s 6 offensive absolutes.

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