Teaching the Deflection

I was reading some more notes as I always do everyday and one thing that caught my eye was a note from a Tom Crean Marquette coaching clinic. In it, Crean was quoted as saying that deflections were one of the most important stats that they kept on their players for offense or defense.

Coach Crean is the head coach at Marquette and coached Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Crean states that Wade was the best player he ever coached in terms of deflections, says Wade average 9.2 deflections a game. Coach Crean feels that in a 40 minute game, 35+ deflections a game plus allowing 42% or less opponent FG% will lead to a 85 to 90 win percentage (don't ask me how he came up with those numbers, they are his numbers.

There is a drill I saw recently that teaches the deflection quite well, plus it also teaches help defense and the baseline closeout.


You will need 3 lines, 3 players on the floor with 2 balls and 1 coach or manager. There are actually 2 parts to the drill, and we want to keep score defensively. 1 point for not deflecting and 1 point for an unsuccessful stop.

X1 starts off underneath the basket, as if playing the lowside I defender in a M2M help defense. O1 and O2 start out at the corners. O1 moves first running to the low block then L-cuts to the top of the key. X1 is suppose to move after O1's L-cut and beat O1 to the spot and deflecting or intercepting the pass from the coach. If the deflection is not successful, add 1 point for X1.

Baseline help:

After X1 deflects the pass, the coach passes the second ball to O2 in the nearside corner. O2 will wait for the pass, then drive baseline.

X1 will immediately go to cut off the baseline drive by O2 after the successful deflection. X1 should force middle then play tough 1-on-1 defense preventing O2 from scoring. Score 1 point for the X1 if an unsuccessful stop.

Unsuccessful Deflection:

If X1 is unsuccessful in the initial deflection, then play 1-on-1 defense up top after O1 catches the ball.

Score 1 point for X1 for an unsuccessful defensive stop.

Add retribution for the defense depending on the number of points. So 3 points, 3 sets of lines or 2 points, 2 sets of lines, etc...

For video info on individual defensive development and drills, I recommend taking a look at Tom Izzo's DVD on Rebounding and Man Defense. Coach Izzo is the long-time head coach of Michigan State. I also have lots of notes so head over the X's and O's Basketball Forum to take a look and see what I have.