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The Sheep Dog Change-Up Defense


(See more by Terry Layton)

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The Sheep Dog Change-Up Defense



The Sheep Dog Change-Up Defense

Discover a unique and innovative defense to disrupt offenses with a look they've never seen before!

  • Get multiple trapping options out of the Sheep Dog defense that can lead to turnovers and easy baskets while speeding up the pace of the game
  • Learn how to use the Sheep Dog defense to double down on the post and contain an effective interior scorer
  • Teach defensive footwork to deny lane penetration and learn how to rebound out of the Sheep Dog defense


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with Terry Layton,
Nike Scout and International Consultant for Latin America;
300+ Wins at the High School, Junior College and College level (in the U.S.);
300+ wins at the International level; Nike
Talent Scout for Latin America; International work with Athletes in Action

Developed for short-term situations in basketball, Terry Layton has formulated a defense that is designed to keep the basketball in the outside lanes of the court. While this defense is still a work in progress, it is based on several concepts that are tried and true in basketball.

Basic Concepts of the Sheep Dog Defense

To get an understanding of the Sheep Dog defense, Layton begins by teaching the concept of the five-lane court. Dividing the court into five lanes with the idea of pushing the offense to the sideline is the goal of this defense. Each lane serves a purpose for this defense.

The outside area along the sideline is known as the "green alley," the area where Coach Layton wants the ball to go. The area just inside the green alley is known as the "yellow street" while the middle area of the court is known as the "red freeway" - the area of the court where the ball should never be in this defense.

The Sheep Dog defense is predicated on forcing the ball to the outside. To do this, Layton doesn't want the pass to the wing denied so the ball goes to the green alley as much as possible.

Drills and Techniques

The Green Alley Progression Drill is used to teach the concept of keeping the ball along the sideline area. Once players understand the basics of keeping the dribbler along the sideline, the drill picks up the pace by having the dribbler attempt to dribble towards the "yellow street" and the "red freeway" against the on-ball defender.

The pressing nature of the Sheep Dog defense is further accentuated with the progression drills designed to utilize full-court pressure in a dead-ball situation. Starting with 2-on-2 drills, defenders are taught about the importance of forcing the ball to the outside and keeping it in the green alley.

The Block-and-Stop 1-on-1 drills get attention as to how to guard the basketball in the front court. Working on two sides, a defender guards the basketball and works to keep their head below the ball while keeping the ball in the green alley. The series progresses from basic 1-on-1, to guarding against a jab step, to the offensive player playing with a three-dribble limit.

Finally, 5-on-5 play is taught with the Sheep Dog defense becoming a 'herding', pressing defense as it tries to force the ball up along the sideline into trapping areas. Layton also takes you through a number of rebounding drills and the concept he uses when teaching rebounding to limit second chance opportunities for your opponent.

Trapping Concepts

Trapping situations will arise from time to time thanks to keeping the ball along the sideline and extending the defense. Trapping is important to make sure that the ball-handler cannot go to the middle or up along the sideline without resistance. Coach Layton covers proper trapping technique and how to rotate out of the trap.

When setting the trap, Layton teaches two important concepts. The first is to make sure that the trappers each have one foot touching each other's foot to prevent the ball-handler from stepping through the trap. The other is to keep hands up and active without reaching so that the pass out of the trap is more difficult.

Utilizing the "nearest-man principle," Layton discusses how to rotate once a pass is made out of a trap. The principle instructs the player who is nearest to the ball when received by an offensive player to cover the receiver immediately. From there, Layton's defense teaches the trappers to retreat to the goal and be ready to help.

Short traps are also introduced as a way to increase the pressure in half-court defensive situ


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