Sometimes we get caught up in the run and gun of offense or fundamentals of half-court defense that we forget probably one of the most important parts of the game which is transition defense IMO. I've never been one of those coaches that felt it didn't matter if the other team scored as long as we get out and score before the other team gets back. I think that just opens up a slippery slope where all of a sudden defense is not priority number 1 anymore.

I went through some notes today from a Larry Brown clinic and they had some great drills on transition defense. They had all kinds with a 3v2+1, 5v3+2, and finally the 5v4 shown below,

Coaching points:
1. 4 defenders in a scramble situation, you must teach them how to scramble properly
2. offensive execution and finding open man vs only 4 defenders
3. transition defense vs cherry picker
4. transition offense and defense with execution coming back
5. coach and teach the entire game, the sum of all the parts

5 on 4 in 1/2 court:

- offense runs a set play/motion vs 4 defenders. 5th defender is cherry picking at other end
- 4 defensive players try to get a stop (rebound or steal) and pass quickly to 5th defender cherry picking
- if offense scores, stay in 1/2 court and start over
- defense must get a stop to be on offense

Transition Defense:

- when the defense gets it they are in transition
- this really teaches transition defense to get back and stop the cherry picker


I think emphasizing transition defense also sends a message to your team that you won't tolerate laziness even at the expense of good offense. One of my pet peeves was players who would score and lope back on defense hoping to be the cherry picker going back the other way. As a coach, when you look the other way when you see that happen, you're basically telling the player "it's OK as long as you score".

For more transition defense video info, take a look at Doc Sadler's DVD on Full Court to Half Court Defense Transition. Coach Sadler is the head men's basketball coach at Nebraska. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's of Basketball Forum to talk about this and your favorite basketball topics.