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The "Mayhem" Amoeba-Style Defense


(See more by Ryan McCarthy)

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Item Number: BD-05248A
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The "Mayhem" Amoeba-Style Defense



The "Mayhem" Amoeba-Style Defense

Implement a "morphing" zone-type defense that uses pressure man-to-man and zone defensive principles!

  • Use five practice breakdown drills to implement the most important fundamentals for defensive success
  • Learn how to position your players in the Amoeba defense to take advantage of their individual strengths
  • Get proven strategies to defend common offensive actions to prepare your team for the rotations and responsibilities they'll need the most


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with Ryan McCarthy,
University of Alaska-Anchorage Women's Head Coach;
2016 NCAA DII Runners-up;
97-7 over the last 3 seasons (2015-2017);
Back-to-Back-to-Back Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament Champions (2015-17);
2x NCAA Division 2 West Region Coach of the Year; 2x GNAC Coach of the Year

Coach Ryan McCarthy has created a Mayhem style of play by using full court pressure to create turnovers into points. Using his Mayhem style of play, Coach McCarthy's team has led NCAA DII in steals per game for four consecutive seasons (2014-17) and have finished in the Top 5 in scoring defense, turnovers forced and turnover margin.

Learn how to turn up the pressure with your half-court defense to create turnovers using the "Amoeba" 1-1-3 defense. Ryan McCarthy has improved upon the blueprint created by legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian to create a version of the defense that can be sustained through an entire game. This defensive style will combine both pressure man-to-man and zone principles to be as disruptive as possible for your opponents.

Using chalk talk, on-court demonstration, and game footage, Coach McCarthy details the intricacies of his Amoeba defense. You will learn the responsibilities of each player on the floor, practice breakdown drills to teach the necessary fundamentals to play this system, trapping opportunities, and how to counter the primary offensive strategies used against this defense.

Build-Up Team Drills for the Amoeba Defense

Learn five practice drills that will teach your players critical concepts to successfully implementing the Amoeba defense.

  • The Forcing to the Baseline drill teaches your players how to closeout and apply intense ball pressure. Players will also learn how to control the direction a dribbler attacks towards the baseline and how to force turnovers on dead ball situations.
  • The Ball Pressure Jump drill teaches your guards how to help one another through rotations when one player gets beat.

Other drills will teach your players how to aggressively switch ball screens, take away your opponent's presence down low by fronting the post, and rotate to protect the rim when the ball goes to the corner.

Countering Offensive Strategies

McCarthy demonstrates the effectiveness of this match-up zone by showing you the rotations and responsibilities of players against the most common offensive strategies that will be used against this defense.

  • Odd front alignments - See how to match up your defenders as the ball is brought down the floor, disrupt ball reversals with extreme pass denial, and eliminate options when the ball is at the high post or even force turnovers with digs from different angles. You will also see how to take away cutters when the ball is at the short corner with the X-Out rotation.
  • Even front alignments - Learn how to shift defenders along the perimeter with the reverse bump. Completely neutralize pick & pops by aggressively switching defenders.
  • 1-4 High Sets - Continue to match-up your defenders and apply strong denial with players closest to the ball while providing help support with weak side defenders. Get your players to anticipate dives from the posts. You'll also see how to take away weak side flashes by bumping your defenders.

Additionally, you'll see how to smother the paint when opponents try to go with a double low post alignment. You'll also learn how to bump defenders when teams try to distort your match-ups with shallow cuts into the corners.

Trapping Opportunities

The unusual rotations, aggressive ball pressure, and disruptive pass denials will undoubtedly help you create 'Mayhem' on the basketball court. However, if you want to crank up the pressure to the absolute max, McCarthy gives you trapping options that can make opponents "melt."<


This item also belongs to the following series!

See more products by: Ryan McCarthy

See related products: 1-1-3 Zone
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