How Champions Play Defense

Coach Rob Smith

Welcome to the third in a series of installments from Coach Rob Smith, East Lansing Girls Varsity Basketball Coach.  Coach Smith began his coaching career in his home town of Montague and has held basketball and softball coaching positions at Lowell, Elkton-Pigeon-Bayport, Grand Rapids Northview and Bath.

He and his teams have earned seven straight CAAC-Blue Conference Titles with four consecutive district and regional titles.  The East Lansing Varsity girls were State basketball finalists in 2008 and earned the State Class A Varsity Girls Basketball Championship in 2010!

Coach Smith is an eight time recipient of the Lansing State Journal Class A Coach of the Year and 2008 Michigan Coach of the Year!!

This installment features Coach Smith addressing the question of what a youth player should do to improve their defensive skills.

It is really important that players train in and out of the season so they can carry their basketball weight.  Players should eat healthy; get enough sleep and live a healthy life style.  Training like a champion requires that all areas of health are taken into consideration.

Every player should own and use a jump rope!!  Players should work on speed jumping with both feet as well as individual feet.  Footwork is so important to becoming a better defensive player.  Players can also do a “Dot Drill” ( ) to help increase their foot speed and agility.

When it comes to defense — a player’s mindset is so important.  A player needs to understand and internalize what their role is on defense.  They should be thinking about what they have to do to guard the other team’s best player.  They need to know the tendencies of the person(s) they are going to guard.  A player on defense should play as hard as they can on defense for the duration of the game. 

It is also important for players to quickly learn from their mistakes and make adjustments in how they are playing defense.  They should ask themselves, “How did the other player beat me and how do I adjust so it doesn’t happen again.”

I hope you found this installment from Coach Smith helpful.  Please stay tuned as the next installment from Coach Smith will address the five core covenants of how to play like a champion.  Do not forget to leave any comments or suggestions!!


About rheadmore

I spend my working day at a great higher education institution by the name of Michigan State University. I try to spend a majority of my free time coaching youth sports, baseball and basketball are my favorites. This blog is dedicated to enhancing youth coaching and helping youth become successful and well contributing members of society. This philosophy was passed on to me by my father who always stressed leaving something better then the way you found it. I have been trying to live by those words for most of my adult life. Thanks for checking out my blog.
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