For some reason I was thinking a lot about defense this weekend. Having a great defensive team can help you create a psychological advantage with your team. Similar to the way that teams who have a fast-breaking mindset, a great lockdown defense has the ability to boost the confidence of each individual player and also of the team as a whole. I went through some notes and came across this great set of handwritten notes with Mike Krzyzewski talking M2M halfcourt defense at a Nike Clinic. Thanks so much to the original author (email me if you want credit) and hopefully these will help you as much as they did for me:

Components of Good Defense

1. Conditioning. Never rest on the defensive end.
2. Courage. Don't be afraid to dive for loose balls, or to take a charge.
3. Intelligence. Understand the defense in game situations.
4. Habits. Constant reps. Do defensive drills daily all year long.
5. Attitude. Have a positive defensive attitude. Don't fear failure. Players must have confidence in themselves and their teammates.

Principles of Defense

1. Vision. See the ball at all times
2. Move as the ball moves. Make gradual adjustments if at all possible
3. Communication. The glue that holds all 5 players together. Players must talk and concentrate on what's happening on the floor at all times.
4. Aggressiveness. But don't foul
5. Force to the Outside.

Try to keep the ball outside.

6. Stop ball reversal. The more you force the offense to move, the more chance of them making a mistake.

After O1 passes to O2 on the wing, X1 gets in the passing lane to force O1 away to receive a return pass for a ball reversal,

Priorities and Rules

1. Pressure the ball. Requires an effective stance, wide and on balance.

On dead ball, all out pressure,

2. Stop the penetrating pass. Ball-you-man position. Good stance and balance. Arm extended in the passing lane. Eyes primarily on the ball.

Make the offense catch the wing pass going AWAY from the basket,

3. Stop the penetrating move. Be ready to help on the drive
4. Jump inside to help. If ball goes to low post, post defense gets behind the offense. Wing to point defense helps inside on the post. Keep your back to the basket.
5. Stop ball reversal.

If you've finished reading this post, you might be wondering why all defenses don't look like this? Where are its weaknessess? In the 2008 NCAA Tournament, Belmont nearly backdoored their way to a major first round upset with Duke escaping with a 71-70 win. So yes, this aggressive up-the-line-on-the-line M2M halfcourt is extremely susceptible to teams running a lot of backdoor. But I think that is where your coaching ability to adjust comes in to play. You should have a gameplan for each game which assesses:

- your team's ability compared to your opponent
- how much pressure you want on the ball as a result
- where the point of pickup will be
- whether to trap or not

Anyways, if you are a big Duke fan or know one and you're already thinking of what to get for that coach you know for Christmas, check out Mike Krzyzewski's new All Access Duke Basketball Practice 4-pack DVD which includes 438 minutes of practice and Q&A with Coach K.