Saw this clip from Illinois State demonstrating “Loading to the Ball.”

Have been looking for clips to use as examples for our program to better understand off-ball positioning when applying full-court pressure man-to-man. Athletes at the lower levels tend to have a good idea on a half-court being in “help” position when their offensive matchup doesn’t have the ball. However, in full-court situation players tend to stay occupied (“hugged-up”) with their matchup too frequently. The video above can be a great drill to use at any level focusing on full-court to half-court defensive principles

Loading to the Ball

Considering more and more teams are looking to play with a higher tempo; transition defense is increasingly becoming a point of emphasis for coaches to teach.

“Loading to the Ball” is a great way to stifle primary ball-handlers from putting pressure on the defense early in possessions via dribble penetration. Typically, this is done by the inbound defender or trailer by shading toward the ballhandler bringing it up the floor to keep them in a confined space – discouraging any idea to attack offensively.

Control the Optics

One more thing to consider that can have an impact against opportunistic offensive players is by creating a visual presence defensively. Controlling the optics refers to shrink the floor by – Sight of Hands – being as big and wide as possible while getting back defensively.

There are a few clips in here showcasing the Boston Celtics doing a good job slowing Cleveland’s early offensive break. Someone specific to watch is Al Horford (#42) or Aron Baynes (#46) when they get below the ball how they stay wide as possible and look to immediately clog driving lanes.


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