Here are some points for teaching your team to run a simple match-up zone.

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1 A Simple Match-Up Zone Steve MacKinney This is a man-to-man disguised as a zone, or it is a match-up zone. What you call it doesn't matter as long as it confuses the offense and gets them standing around trying to overload your zone when you are really playing man-to-man. The advantages of the match-up zone are many. Your big kids stay around the basket and your smalls stay outside. You have block out responsibility defined. Cutters and screens are defended without giving up easy shots. There is always pressure on the ball and help around the basket. You can gamble occasionally because you know there is help behind you. Here are some points for teaching your team to run a simple match-up zone. 1. Sell the offense on the idea that you are in a zone - yell "2-3" or "1-3-1" or whatever look you are giving the other team first. 2. One of your guards should match up to the ball with his hands up and staying off several feet until the dribbler gets within shooting range - usually at the 3 point line. Any player defending the ball uses the same technique - hands up,deny passes to the basket area, stay back to deny dribble penetration and be just tight enough to stop the shot. 3. All other players start in your 2-3 or and then each one matches up to the closest offensive player. This may change your zone to a 2-1-2, 3-2, 1-3-1, 1-2-2, or whatever the offense looks like. Keep selling the "zone look" by keeping your hands up and facing the ball, but be in man-to-man position by being between your man and the basket (except defend post players by playing between the man and the ball). Sag as far toward the basket as possible without being so far away that your man could catch a pass and shoot before you get to him. 4. JUMP TO THE BALL (good rule for man or zone defense). Every time the ball is moved by pass or dribble, all defenders move toward the ball. 5. Handling screens - It is understood that you are going to switch on every screen or cutter so you don't want to be calling "switch" and give away the fact that you are really playing man-to-man, so just call "screen coming". 6. Handling cutters - stay with your cutter until he gets close to another offensive player, then switch. Call "cutter coming" so the other defender is ready to take him as he come through. 7. Handling penetration - since we are all ball oriented and sagging off our man toward the ball and basket, there should not be many penetrations. When this does happen, they should run into other defenders very quickly and have to kick it out. Practice help and recover with a low closeout. If the player receiving the kick out pass is a good shooter and is going up to shoot, run at him and try for the block. If he fakes and drives, there is plenty of help behind you. Better to have him drive into traffic than knock down an open shot.

2 8. Handling post entry passes - since we are fronting posts and defending the passer with our hands up and since the other players are sagging into the middle, it should be hard to pass to the post. If they do, swarm him with the closest helper and everyone else drop down a step or two (jump to the ball) ready to help. 9. Rebounding and transition - since each player has a man, blocking out is the same as in man-to-man except you can release a player to leave when the shot is taken to get some cheap baskets. If the shot comes from the wing, the player who contested the shot is usually the best one to release since most rebounds will go to the opposite side from the shooter. The other team's point guard may not get back since your point guard did not run down the floor. Since your players are usually in the same spots on the floor on defense, they will usually have the same responsibility in your transition offense, which means you will have the right people in the correct spots more often. 10. To make it even more confusing for the offense, run a straight zone sometimes and straight man sometimes switching defenses on the fly. By using coded calls, it won't be obvious to the other team what defense you are calling. For example, "Red 1-3-1" might equate man-to-man, "Black 2-1-2" could be the match-up zone, "Green 21" could be straight zone, etc. For teams which use a shot clock and which have different offenses against zone and man-to-man, you make them waste a lot of time by switching defenses as soon as they get reset into their offense. 11. Shot clock modifications: As the shot clock winds down, the defense should put more pressure on the ball and run at shooters to force them to pass or drive and prevent any shot for a few seconds until theshot clock expires. Many teams will try to run an isolation play when the clock gets under 10 seconds. By scrambling and doubling the ball, you can usually prevent a good shot for at least 3 or 4 seconds or force one of their poorer shooters to take the shot. Match-up Zone Defense Coach s Clipboard, Match-up zone is a "combination" defense, combining elements of man-to-man defense (on ball), and zone defense (away from the ball). This is a zone defense that acts a lot like a good man-toman defense. The on-ball defender closes-out and plays tight like in a man-to-man. The zone away from the ball resembles man-to-man "help-side" defense. Be sure to see the animation (which is much more detailed) and also this page: Complete Match-up Zone". A good man-to-man defense looks like a zone away from the ball (help-side defense)... see Basic Defense. The match-up zone resembles what we years ago called a "switching man-to-man", where defenders switch freely with one another, so that your defensive big men stay down low and your quick guards are on the perimeter. This discussion also reminds us that "a good zone looks like a man-to-man, and a good man-toman looks like a zone." An advantage of the match-up defense is that it may confuse the opponent in trying to figure out what defense you are actually playing. Also, it may dictate or affect the offense's basic set and

3 get them out of their usual comfortable set. With the match-up, you can show a formation, which may force the offense to go with a or a 3-out, 2-in set. If you show a or a match-up zone, the offense may change to a 2-1-2, or 2-3 set. So you may be able to put them into something they are less comfortable with. As in any aggressive man-to-man defense, pressure the ball at all times, front the low post, deny the passing lanes, and give help on inside penetration. Now let's look at some defensive sets and how to match-up. You can create your own match-up rules so long as your players all understand and know the coverage patterns. In the diagrams below X = defense, O = offense Match-up Zone (Diagrams A and B) Refer to Diagram A. Here your match-up faces a offense. You see in the diagram how your defensive players match up with the offense. X1 takes the point (O1), and X2 gets the right wing player (O2), while X3 comes out to pick up the left wing (O3) Refer to Diagram B. The match-up zone faces a 3-out, 2-in offensive set. The coverage pattern is identical to that in Diagram A, except that X5 will drop down to the low block and pick up O5.

4 One guard defensive front match up zone. By using either the or set, you may be able to force the offense out of their usual 1-3-1, or 3-out, 2-in offense and into a set. Refer to Diagram C. (1-3-1 match-up zone vs offense) X1 picks up the guard to his right and X2 gets the other guard. X3 drops down to get the player in his/her corner and X4 gets the opposite corner. X5 has the middle. Refer to Diagram D. (1-2-2 match-up zone vs offense) Again X1 and X2 pick up the two guards (O1 and O2) and X3 gets the wingcorner (O3) on his side. X4 picks up the opposite corner (O4) and X5 moves up to defend the high post (O5). Match-up zone vs Stack Offenses Refer to Diagram E. Here's how to match up against the 1-4 stack offense. X2 should play the gap between O2 and O4, and X3 plays the gap between O3 and O5. Both of these defenders can try to deny the pass to the wing and help when the ball gets to the post player at the elbow. If X2 (or X3) gets beaten by the back-cut, then X4 (or X5) must recognize this and pick up the cutter, while X2 (or X3) slides over to pick up the post player (O4 or O5) that was vacated by the switch. Refer to Diagram F. Here's how to match up against the 1-4 low stack offense. X2 should again play the gap between O2 and O4, and X3 plays the gap between O3 and O5. Both X2 and X3 can attempt to deny the pass to the two offensive players they are gapping. X4 and X5 three-quarter front the two low post players. X1 plays good man-to-man defense against the point guard (O1). So far, so good...

5 Look at Diagrams G and H below. How are you going to defend these cuts? In Diagram G, when the cutter (O2) moves away from the ball (to the weak-side), X2 can stay with and bump the cutter, and deny the pass, and then switch with X4 once O2 moves to the corner. Now X2 has O4 and X4 has O2. In Diagram H, this is a more threatening situation with the cutter moving ball-side. Here it might be easiest just to have X2 stay with O2 man-to-man all the way to the ball-side corner. Now, X1 and X3 may need to slide one position leftward as the offense rotates back around to the other side. In other words, after the ball-side cut, X2 is now on the right wing (X3's former position), X3 is on top on the right (X1's former position) and X1 now has the left top spot (X2's former position). However you do it, you must have a solution for these cuts, and must drill them thoroughly in practice so everyone under- stands what to do. The other option, which is even more simple, is to have just one rule... once the initial match-ups are done (on that particular offensive possession by the opponent) and you have affected the offense's basic set, everyone plays man-to-man, using the concepts of on-ball, deny and helpside defense (see Basic Defense). Refer to Diagrams G and H... you must have a solution for defending these offensive cuts. Now, go to this page for a complete match-up zone, with all the details regarding how to rotate and defend cutters, handle screens, hi-lo, flash cuts, etc. This will help you decide how you want to handle these various situations Match-up Zone Defense Coach s Clipboard, Contributed by: Coach Ken Sartini (aka "Coach Sar"), Arlington Hts, IL. Coach Sar ran this match-up for years with his high school team. But first take a look at the general article on match-up zones. Also be sure to view the animation. An advantage of the match-up zone defense is that it may confuse the opponent in trying to figure out what defense you are actually playing. Also, it may dictate or affect the offense's basic set and get them out of their usual comfortable set. You can show this match-up zone, and the offense may change to a 2-1-2, or 2-3 set. So you may be able to put them into something they are less comfortable with. As in any aggressive man-to-man defense, pressure the ball at all times, front the low post, deny the passing lanes, bump the cutters, and give help on inside penetration. In this article, we will discuss Coach Sar's match-up zone and demonstrate how to deal with cutters. This is one of the difficulties with the match-up zone. Players can get confused as to how

6 to rotate to pick up cutters. Offensive players cutting from side-to-side are usually not a problem as the defenders can easily switch this. But confusion can occur when the cutters are moving from high to low, or when the offense overloads one side. In this discussion X = defense, O = offense. There are 10 rules in this defense: 1. Use a set with X5 in the middle. 2. X5 plays O5 man-to-man at all times, while the other four defenders rotate around X5. 3. If O5 steps outside, X5 has him/her man-to-man. 4. Play the flash cut to the high post or elbow man-to-man. 5. When defending against the dribble, stay with your man and switch zones (not men). 6. Switch on screens. 7. Rules for covering shallow ball-side cuts (see below). 8. Rules for covering deep ball-side cuts (see below). 9. Rules for covering weak-side cuts (see below). 10. Play the baseline cut man-to-man. Rule 1. Show a match-up set with X5 in the middle. By using the set, you may be able to force the offense out of their usual 1-3-1, or 3-out, 2-in offense and into a set. See Diagram A. X1 picks up the guard to his right and X2 gets the other guard. X3 drops down to get the player in his/her corner and X4 gets the opposite corner. X5 has the middle. Rule 2. X5 plays O5 man-to-man at all times, while the other four defenders rotate around X5. So if O5 goes down to the low post, X5 goes with him and plays him man-to-man. The other four defenders will rotate around X5. Rule 3. If O5 steps outside, X5 has him/her man-to-man. See Diagram B. Again, X5 is man-to-man with O5 at all times, even if O5 steps out on the perimeter. X5 may sag back a little inside if he/she knows that O5 is not a good outside shooter. However, if O5 can shoot the outside shot, then X5 must play up (on-ball) on O5.

7 Rule 4. Play the flash cut to the high post or elbow and high-low post situations man-to-man. See Diagram C. Again, X5 is man-to-man at all times. But when the other post (O4) flashes high, X4 stays with him/her man-to-man and tries to get a hand in the passing lane to deny the pass from the wing. X1 drops down to help deny this pass as well. X1 faces the wing (and ball), putting his/her right foot alongside the left foot of O4. The important rule here is, X1 must not let O4 hook his leg, else when the pass goes back out to O1, X1 will not be able to recover, and O1 gets the open three-point shot. Coach Sar says that the high-low post offense gives this defense the most trouble. Work on this a lot in practice (against the high-low set), and master how you are going to cover each situation that arises. Against some teams who play a lot of hi-lo, it might be best to play both X5 and X4 man-to-man at all times against O5 and O4... something to consider. Also see Diagram K below. Rule 5. When defending against the dribble, stay with your man and switch zones (not men). See Diagram D. O1 has the ball and dribbles right. X1 will stay with O1 and X2 now takes X1's zone on top. You switch zones, not men. Rule 6. Switch on screens. See Diagram E. Switch screens on the perimeter. X1 and X2 will switch men (not zones) on the on-ball screen. X2 takes O1 and X1 gets O2. X2 and X1 are in the same zones as they were at the start of the screen. They switched men, while maintaining their same zones.

8 Rule 7. Rules for covering shallow ball-side cuts. See Diagram F. As the pass is made from O1 to 02, X3 moves to the help-side line. Then when the shallow cut is made, X3 will slide over to the ball-side corner to pick up O4. X1 drops down and covers 03. X4 rotates out and picks up the shallow cutter 01. Notice how X1, X3 and X4 all rotate to the ball clockwise around X5. Optional man-to-man coverage for Rule 7. See Diagram G. You could also decide to play this cut man-to-man with X1 staying with O1. Whatever way you decide to play it, practice it and make sure your players all understand their assignments.

9 Rule 8. Rules for covering deep ball-side cuts. Diagram H shows a deep ball-side cut. As the pass is made from O1 to 02, X3 jumps to the help-side line. X1 drops down with the cutter O1. Since X3 is already in help-side position, X3 will then take the cutter O1 all the way to the opposite corner. X1 will slide over and get O3. X4 moves out with O4. Once again, as with defending the shallow ball-side cut, X1, X3 and X4 rotate around X5 to the ball. Optional man-to-man coverage for Rule 8. See Diagram I. You could also decide to play this cut man-to-man with X1 staying with O1. Whatever way you decide to play it, practice it and make sure your players all understand their assignments. See Diagram J. Here's a situation with both posts low (a 3-out, 2-in set). The weak-side wing makes a cut to the ball-side corner to create an overload. Here, X2 follows O2 down and then X4 picks up O2 and stays with him/her to the corner. X2 gets O4. Remember X5 is man-to-man with O5 at all times.

10 See Diagram K. Here's a similar situation with a deep ball-side cut except that first, O4 flashes to the high post or elbow. You recall from Rule 4 above that the flash cut is covered man-to-man, so X4 moves up to the high post with O4. Now if the weak-side wing (O2) cuts to the ball-side corner, X2 will have to play this man-to-man to the corner, since X4 is occupied playing O4, and X5 never leaves O5 (always man-to-man). Rule 9. Rules for covering weak-side cuts. See Diagram L. A weak-side cut is non-threatening, being away from the ball. The baseline defender (X4) will pick up this cutter (O2). X2 will initially stay with and bump the cutter and then flare out and pick up O4. Rule 10. Play the baseline cut man-to-man. See Diagram M. Baseline cuts on ball reversal must be played manto-man. As the ball is reversed from O2 to O1 to O3, O5 cuts to the high post and O4 runs the baseline to the ball-side corner. You can see that X4 MUST cover O4 all the way to the corner man-to-man, as there is noone else to cover O4 (remember that X5 is always man-to-man on O5). A final note... However you decide to play these situations, make sure you practice all of these scenarios so that your players understand their assignments. Remember your goals: pressure the ball at all times, front the low post, deny the passing lanes, bump the cutters, and give help on inside penetration. Basic Man-to-Man Defense Coach s Clipboard, Good offense wins games... great defense wins championships. Believe it! When your offense is struggling, good defense can keep you in the game until your shots start falling. How are you going to catch up the second half if you are down 12 at the half?... by playing great defense.

11 Simply scoring more baskets won't do it if you allow the other team to score also. You must keep the opponent from scoring by playing good defense and rebounding, to allow your offense a chance to get back into the game. Everyone on the team has to play good defense, because one weak link will cause the entire defense to fail, and a good offense will eventually find out who the weak defensive player is. Playing good defense involves hustle, inspiration and perspiration (sweat!). You gotta want to play good defense. Defensive skills are fairly easy to learn, unlike some offensive skills, and everyone can learn to become a good defender. If you are a poor, non-aggressive defender, you will hurt your team. These are the important elements in playing good "D" Stance and Focus Your weight should be on the balls of your feet (not your heels), and your feet should be about shoulder width apart. Keep your knees bent and your back straight. Keep your head up, eyes forward, arms out with your palms up and elbows bent a little. Watch the offensive player s bellybutton, especially if he/she is quick and hard to stay with. The offensive player can fake you with a head fake, eye fake, arm or shoulder fake, or a jab-step, but the belly-button will always go only in the direction that he/she is going. Slides When guarding your opponent, slide your feet sideways, using quick, short steps, and don't get your feet crossed. Don't hop. If you get beat in the open floor, don't just yell for help... turn and sprint after your opponent. Once you get in front of your man again, get back into your defensive stance. See video clip. Close-out on the ball receiver Defenders must learn to "close-out" on the player with the ball. Once the offensive player receives the pass, the defender should rush toward the ball-handler in a low stance. The last several steps should be quick, choppy steps to stop your momentum (so the defender doesn't dribble around you). Your baseline line foot should be back in order to force the ball-handler toward the baseline. As you approach the ball-handler, snap your shoulders and head back to help slow yourself down. See video clip. On the Ball Over-guard toward the offensive player's strong side. If your man is right-handed, over-guard that side and make him/her go left. If your opponent is on the right wing, drop your left foot back a little toward the baseline and overplay a little toward the offensive player s right side, as this will give you time to react to a move to his/her right. Try to force offensive player to the baseline. Once at the baseline, set the trap, and do not allow any further penetration along the baseline.

12 Keep the palm of your lead hand facing up. Try to get at the ball from below, not by slapping down it, which results in a foul. Your other hand should be in the passing lane. Slide with your opponent, and try to get him/her to stop the dribble, and then close in and apply pressure. Don't "reach-in". This causes you to lose your balance and defensive stance, and you become easy for the offensive player to get around. Reaching in also results in fouls and free throws for the opponent. Don't get into the bad habit of reaching-in and taking a swipe at the ball as the offensive player dribbles around you. Instead move your feet, hustle, stay with your man, and prevent him/her from getting to the basket by maintaining good on-ball defensive stance. If you get beat, sprint after the offensive player and beat him/her to a spot where you can once again resume your defensive stance.

13 Denial Clog the passing lane and prevent the player you are guarding from getting the ball, that is, "deny" him/her the ball. When guarding an offensive player who is one pass away from the ball, you should be in denial. Denying your man the ball, keeps him/her from scoring. Play the passing lane and stay between the player you're guarding and the ball. Place your foot and hand nearest the ball slightly forward, and turn the palm of your hand toward the ball, so that you can reject any incoming passes. Be in a position to see both your player and the ball. If the ball-handler stops the dribble, you have a "dead ball situation" and everyone should in close on their man, in "fulldenial". In "full-denial", the defensive players should be "on the line". To explain this concept, imagine a line extending from the ball to the person you are guarding. In fulldenial, you should position yourself so that you are on this line, body toward your man, but with head and eyes turned toward the ball, and your ball-side hand up in the passing lane. If your man is a long distance, or two passes away from the ball-handler, you can play a little "up the line", that is a little ways from the imaginary line towards the hoop. The distance, or spacing, up the line depends upon the speed and quickness of the defender and the distance his/her man is from the ball. On a long pass, the defender should still be able to move toward the line and intercept the pass. If instead the defender initially played "on the line", his/her man could make a back-cut and get open. Playing a little "up the line" prevents the backcut, and still allows for the interception. Help and Recover. Diagrams E and F below teach how to give help and recover on the perimeter. Rather than play a "full-denial", defenders one pass away play a little up the line and step or two toward the ball in order to help stop dribble penetration. Here O1 tries to dribble-penetrate. The X2 defender gives help and O1 is prevented from penetrating, and has to dish back out to O2 (Diagram F). The X2 defender then has to rotate quickly out to on-ball defense on O2, and the X1 and X4 defenders are now in deny, a little up the line and a step or two toward the ball, while the X3 defender moves into help-side (Diagram F).

14

15 Helpside When your opponent is two or more passes from the ball, you should be in "help-side" position. This will allow you to be in position to help your teammates against the ball penetrating the paint. This involves dropping off your man some (but without losing sight of him/her), and sagging toward the ball-side. In the diagrams below, see the imaginary red "help-side line" which goes through the middle of the lane. Many coaches teach that if the ball is above the free-throw line, the help-side defender should have one foot in the lane (Diagram A). If the ball is below the freethrow line, one foot should be touching or staggering the help-side line. Stay between the ball and your man. Be ready to help defend against another player driving or cutting to the hoop, and "help" your teammate who may have gotten beat. Once the ball comes back to within one pass from your player, you get back into deny position. If the ball is skip-passed to your player, you quickly close-out and play "on-ball". See diagrams below. Remember, good defense is "team defense". Man to man defense is a team defense just as much as zone defenses. Here is a good quote: "The best man defense looks like a zone and the best zone defense looks like a man. Defending the Low Post There are three positions the defender can assume when defending the low post player. 1. Playing behind the offensive post player. Here the defender plays directly behind the offensive player. This may be advantageous if your post defender is much taller than the offensive player, and has a good chance of altering or blocking the post player's shot. But do not let the offensive player back you down under the basket. Use your legs (use a strong stance with knees bent) and your lower body strength to keep the offensive player out... but do not put your hands on the post player's back as you may get called for a pushing foul. 2. Full-fronting the low post player. Here the defender moves directly in front of the offensive post player, between him/her and the ball, and denies the pass. The wing defender should put pressure on the ball in order to make the pass to the low post, or the lob pass, more difficult. Fronting may backfire if the offensive player is taller and can easily seal for inside position and get the high lob pass. Another disadvantage is the defender is out of position for the rebound, and the post player may be able to score just by sealing for inside position and receiving the inside pass, or by getting the rebound and put-back. 3. Three-quarter (or one-half) front the low post player. This is probably the best method. Instead of directly fronting the low post player, the defender "straddles" him/her with one foot in front and one in back, standing sideways to the offensive player with one hand in the passing lane. If the ball is below the free-throw line extended (in the

16 corner-wing area), the defender should play on the baseline side of the post player, making contact with the post player's inside (baseline) shoulder, and with the left arm and hand out in the passing lane. If the ball is passed out on top (above the free-throw line extended), the defender should slide chest to chest with the post player and move to the post player's high-side (or laneside) shoulder, again with a hand up at all times in the passing lane.

17 Trapping (setting the double-team) In trapping, one defender should first stop the dribbler, often along the sideline or baseline, or in one of the "trapping zones" (see below). Trapping zones are those areas where the offensive player definitely does not want to get caught losing his dribble. It's like getting caught in a corner. Once the ball is stopped, the second defender sprints over and double-teams the ball carrier. They obscure the ball-handler's view, and get into the passing lane. Their knees are adjacent to each other to prevent the ball-handler from "splitting" the trap. The position of their hands should be at the same height as the ball. If the offensive player holds the ball high to "throw over the top", the hands should be high. If the ball is low, the hands should be low to prevent the bounce pass. Do not reach in! "Reaching-in" changes a good situation into a bad one (now the player goes to the free throw line). Instead, the trapping players should deny the player from getting the pass off and get the 5-second call, or force her to make a bad pass, which is intercepted by one of your teammates. The yellow zones catch the player in the corner. The red zones are excellent trapping zones, since the offensive player cannot retreat across the 10 second line. The blue zones are good trapping zones because the offense has to worry about the 10-second count. Controlling the Game Tempo With Match-up It takes time to effectively attach the match-up zone, if played correctly there are no holes or seams for easy penitration. Teams must over pass to find and easy shot slowing down the tempo of the offensive team. More passing equates to more opportunities for turnovers. Playing catch up against the match-up zone is extremely difficult. The match-up zone has one defender guarding the attacker with zone help nearby, driving is minimal, one-on-one situations or minimal and pick and rolls are virtually eliminated. Types of Match-Ups Teams can play their match-ups three ways: They can contain; they can lane; or they can pressure. Following is a definition of each: A team permits perimeter passing while containing, they gain greater coverage inside. To lane a team places its defenders in the passing lanes. Denying the receiver the ball. This eliminates the rapid reversal of the ball from one side of the court to the

18 other. Teams that employ reverse action as a way to beat the match-up can be laned, but the defensive team must not allow itself to be spread so wide that seams are opened up. Pressure and stunts offer a third method. Traps are used to force turnovers, and speed up the game. A good time for pressure is when you are down by several points late in the game and the offense trys to stall.

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