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Frank Martin's Half Court Pressure Man-to-Man Defense

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Frank Martin's Half Court Pressure Man-to-Man Defense

Frank Martin's Half Court Pressure Man-to-Man Defense

Get drills and principles to build an aggressive, fast-paced defense that relies on trusting teammates!

  • Learn drills that build wing ball screen defense and force players to rely on their communication and rotations for a stop
  • See how to defend various screening actions in a 4-on-4 setting, including UCLA (smash), inside; and stagger screens
  • Discover a closeout drill that teaches form, a big step on the dribble, and discipline when defending on the ball

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with Frank Martin,
University of South Carolina Head Coach;
2020-21 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Guardians of the Game Award for Inclusion:
2017 Final Four appearance;
2017 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year;
former Kansas State University Head Coach;
2010 Big 12 Coach of the Year;
2010 USBWA District VI Coach of the Year;
2010 NABC District 8 Coach of the Year

Through practice footage and on-court clinic instruction, Frank Martin dissects the details for building his team's pressure half-court man-to-man defense. These drills will help you build a defensive unit capable of shutting down opponents on a consistent basis. Martin's smothering defense combines an aggressive man-to-man defense with pack line principles. Every drill has a purpose to teach his players how to communicate and build trust with each other and the coaching staff.

Defense Set-up

As a coach who firmly believes in pressure half-court defense, Coach Martin begins with the most basic concept of pressuring the basketball. The pick-up point of the defense is at the half-court line with the on-ball defender working to force the ball one way while keeping it out of the middle. By being on the line, up the line, and getting skinny, teammates are able to pressure the ball. This forces the offense to dribble and look for dribble pull-up shots instead of finding open teammates with a better scoring opportunity.

Martin's defense comes down to attitude and aggressiveness. Pressuring the ball and passing lanes up the line fuels defensive intensity. This level of intensity leads to the opponent getting taken completely out of their offense.

Post Defense

Martin wants defenders to be closer to the ball than their man, which means post players must work to break contact with the offense and stay up the line. As the ball moves below the free throw line, post players get to the baseline and close the gap between the ball and post offense. They must also be able to guard away from the basket, developing a quick first step to cut off their defender.

In the Short Closeout drill, post players progress from a closeout where they square off. Offensive players add a dribble so defenders can work on a big, quick first step to level off the dribbler.

4-on-4 Full Court

Coach Martin uses 4-on-4 Full Court to install all of his principles that were taught in break down drills. By extending his aggressive man-to-man principles, he looks to wear out the opponent and force turnovers late in the game. Players must be able to 'sell out' in help if the ball handler beats their defender. The second line of pressure must use the principle of stunt and stay to force the ball handler to make a decision in the open court.

Once in the half court, Martin's defense is put to the test defending ball screen action, cross screens, and down screens. As the ball screen occurs, help side players shorten the gap between the ball handler and their man, assuring there is help on the post player that rolls or pops.

Using a constant full court build up drill, your players will attack the basket in the open court and learn to never give up on the play as a defender. Starting with 2-on-1 and building to 3-on-2, players apply their stunt and stay principle in the open court, forcing offensive players to make a choice between keeping the ball or passing in a tight space.

Ball Screen Coverage

Continuing to build on his ball screen coverage, Martin has players work on going under the screen. In this half court situation drill, athletes work to be up the line, on the line, and closer to the ball than to their man. The corner help side defender must slide up the line to stay with a shooter rising from the corner and cut the gap on the post player rolling to the basket.

The Cut Defensive drill is used by Coach Martin to teach defensive breakdow

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