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Half Court Defensive Essentials

(See more by John Becker)

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Item Number: BD-05648

Half Court Defensive Essentials

Half Court Defensive Essentials

Build a man-to-man defense that will protect the paint and challenge every shot!

  • Close out with the "loop" technique to deter drives toward the middle of the court
  • Strategically select your defensive vocabulary to help your players focus on saying what really matters
  • Get breakdowns that work on rotating to stop dribble penetration to maintain a strong defense

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with John Becker,
University of Vermont Head Coach;
4x America East Coach of the Year ('14, '17, '18, '19);
3x America East Tournament champions ('12, '17, '19);
4x America East regular season champions ('14, '17, '18, '19);
2x NABC All-District I Coach of the Year ('18, '19);
2018 CollegeMadness.com Mid-Major Coach of the Year;
2x U.S. Basketball Writers Association District I Coach of the Year ('17, '19);
2017 ECAC Coach of the Year

It's time for defenses to evolve in response to offenses at all levels modernizing towards ball screens, dribble penetration, and perimeter shooting. In this video, you will see how John Becker has adapted his man-to-man defensive system to combat the most pressing threats of this era. Becker's "Contain & Contest" defense at the University of Vermont prioritizes playing five defenders against the ball at all times to protect the paint and eliminate scramble situations. You will learn the essential teaching points for this defense through eight practice drills that are used daily by Coach Becker.

The Contain & Contest defense is built on a foundation of mastering closeouts and on-ball defense, off-ball positioning, and scrambling to fix disadvantage situations.


Two drills will help your team perfect their closeout technique to prevent dribble penetration and contest every shot. Partner Closeouts will teach your players to break down into a proper on-ball defensive stance to cut off any drives to the middle. Becker goes into detail on all the fundamentals that make great on-ball defenders, including hand placement, foot angles, and advancing or retreating on fakes.

Four Spot Closeouts challenges players to stop drives and pressure the ball once it's picked up. Coach Becker also explains how to loop into your closeout for better angles to contest the ball.

Off-Ball Positioning

Vermont commits to Shell defense every day to train their man-to-man principles. The "Shell Positional" drill will help you build the team aspect to this defense. Learn how to deter dribble penetration while still pressuring passing lanes with the "50" position one pass away from the ball. Becker shows you unique adjustments to his weak side defender that puts them in better position to assist on help rotations.


Great defenses must prepare for the worst. Even though a basic tenet for this defense is to prevent rotations, Becker still believes his players need solutions for when breakdowns occur. Four different practice drills will emphasize to your players the importance of communicating, decisive movement, and recognizing the most immediate threat. Dribble penetration concepts are added to the basic Scramble Drill to teach players their help rotations and recovery on kick-out passes. Additionally, you'll see how to add a fourth trailing defender into the drill to simulate transition defense.

Ball Screens

Becker also presents a strategy for defending side ball screens. You will see how to aggressively disrupt the path of the ball handler while still covering the screener on two and three-man sides.

Upgrade your man-to-man defense to excel versus today's most common offensive tactics with this video featuring Coach Becker!

73 minutes. 2020.

See more products by: John Becker

See related products: Man-to-Man Defense
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