Watched some Spanish League action (Supercopa Espana) earlier this morning. I'm not familiar with all the teams, but I did recognize Tau Ceramica so that's who I watched for the first half. It's was a decent game all around, very good defensive intensity by both teams, but Tau definitely played with more intensity.

From the start of the game, I couldn't help but notice how many turnovers that Tau had forced. It was only after I looked at the replays that I realized that most of them came from deflections. We always talk about pressure defense and trapping, etc.. But one of the best ways to force turnovers is by having active hands. Now, there is a difference between gambling for a steal and having active hands. Watch some great deflections from Tau from the first quarter,

On-ball Defensive Deflection:

I watch a lot of kids these days and their hands are on their hips. That's why as coaches, we should be emphasizing proper defensive stance and hand positioning at an early age. We say, bottom hand covers the ball, the top hand is up high, so that you can get those deflections like so,

Deny Defensive Deflection:

Most of you probably teach deny 1 pass away. But also key to the positioning is where and how their arms and hands are positioned. The outside arm should be outstretched with palms out and thumbs down. That way when an errant pass comes, it will deflect off your palm and you can gain control for the easy score, like so,

Help-side Defensive Deflection:

Like a zone defense, on help-side, you want to make sure your players have their hands outstretched. Don't make it easy for your opponent to make a pass in traffic, keep those arms outstretched for the deflection,


I think deflections are a philosophy kind of thing. I know some coaches who don't want to emphasize deflections because kids get into a gambling mindset which can be dangerous. On the flip side, deflections can generate its fair share of turnovers and therefore easy baskets the other way, based on M2M halfcourt offense without pressing. Tom Crean, now of Indiana, is a coach that always preached deflections, and Dwyane Wade was one of his best deflectors. Anyways, some food for thought...

For video info on individual development drills, I recommend taking a look at Tom Crean's DVD on Competitive Practice Drills. Coach Crean, formerly of Marquette is now the head coach at Indiana. To discuss this and many more of your favorite basketball topics, head over to the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk with other coaches from around the world.