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Step-By-Step Approach At Practice

by Brett Matzuka

Understanding that each player is an integral part in the defensive machine precludes all other aspects of defense. Getting everyone on the same page is of utmost importance as 6 players playing together and fulfilling their responsibilities does not equate to a block. So, this is the initial step in teaching team defense. 

From here, it is a matter of understanding the defense we are running (zone, man, clam, junk, etc.) and the duties of each player in the defense thereafter. It is also important to understand the purpose of the defense. Is it containment-based or high-risk-high-reward? What are we taking away and what are we giving them? Questions of this order are important because they give each player an understanding of the overall objective and their personal responsibility. 

For example, you can play man defense with a one-way force, but do you want the downfield cutters to be pushed away, under, both? 

From here, I would set up an offense and put a defense on them, and walk through the different forces/defenses and what they give and take away from the offense. Let the defense see what the offense sees, what options are available and which are not, and what options are more rewarding to the offense than others. After walking through, let the two teams play for sometime and try things out. Give them a chance to see what works and what doesn't, and improvise a little. 

After they played for a while, I would bring it in and let the two teams talk about what they found to work and what didn't. This would lead into drills, which would emphasize these specific traits. For example, if we were working on forcing straight up and having the downfield cutters push their guys out, I would run a drill with a 1-on-1 cutting situation where the cutter has 5-stall counts to get the disc, getting rewarded for beating the defender under, nothing for getting the disc long, and defender getting rewarded for a block. 

If the team is working well and understanding everything, I would then move on to try and show switching and poaching; I would not introduce this, however, unless they were confident with the defensive tactics up to this point. 

Switching and poaching can be extremely useful and advantageous, but only under the confines of a well-executed team defense. The advantages of poaching or switching are nullified if the defense is not playing together as a single unit; ie a well-timed switch or poach with everyone on the same page can lead to a team block, however, a well-timed switch or poach without everyone together can lead to a quick offensive point.

huddle Issue 13 Teaching Team Defense

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Real Time Space For Real Time Results
by Jaime Arambula

Don't Screw The Team
by VY Chow

Give Specific Calls To Your D
by Adam Goff

A Little Theory & A Lot Of Practice
by Kris Kelly

Step-By-Step Approach At Practice
by Brett Matzuka

Limit Handler Play, & The Caterpillar Drill
by Pat McCarthy

Communication & Vision
by Miranda Roth

A Quick Example: Defending The Dump
by Ben Wiggins




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