As coaches and teachers of the game, it is important that we teach our youth the importance of defense and how it can turn into open floor offense, which most kids enjoy! Do you think it is easier to teach man-to-man or zone (2-3)?
- Coach Julz
Its easier to teach a zone like 2-3 or 3-2 or 1-3-1 even all of which have strengths and weakness's but to be honest if your begining out I believe you really have to nail home the importance of man defence.. It teaches accountability and also leads to held defence but most importantly your player really takes ownership and has to work hard in learning great defence... Throw that into a zone and watch the defence work
You really need to coach man to man first. The importance of stopping your man and being a helper off the ball--- verses-- a zone defense mindset and not ever thinking about helping, sinking, boxing out a person, ... but only watching your area? If you teach zone... then switch and try man... your kids will have a tough time. If you want to have a good defense make your weakside man to man defenders keep both feet in the lane and not ever with their man. You must rep it constantly in practice over and over.
I agree that teaching man to man "first" is common sense. It's basic, easy to understand, and an efficient way to introduce defensive concepts. Zone is important, but I find that my younger kids see zone as and excuse not to work as hard which we all know is not the case. Once the kids get older they start to grasp zone concepts a little better. I think we can all agree that it's important to spend a good amount of time on both because every coach has a different philosophy and different ideas on defense.
I coach a girls travel/feeder team...they are 5th graders now and I've had them since 3rd grade...we just finished our 3rd winter league and 2nd fall league this year. M2M first...as we get older, we'll play more zone out of necessity but give me M2M any day.
.I teach my kids to play man to man first and we run that 90% of the time. We have played 2-3 and 3-2 at times (when we had big leads or were playing in tourneys where we played multiple games in a day to save some energy). My girls have a good grasp of help line and trusting their teammates so we were effective in either set.
I think Zone is a bit confusing to newer/younger kids and ..Zone defense masks weak defenders in my opinion.....in the end...if a kid can play hard nosed M2M D...there is a coach that can teach him zone. Learn M2M first...
Let's be clear....the best Man to Man Defenses look like Zone Defenses. Likewise, the best Zone Defenses look like Man to Man Defenses. Either way, Defense is built on the principles of effort, awareness, communication, and help.
I agree, teaching Man to Man is an absolute coaching necessity. It is NOT easy to teach! But newer coaches don't understand that until they begin teaching it. Frankly, the ability to go Man to Man is entirely dependent on the skill level of your team, and the skill level of your opponent. You can be pro-Man to Man all day long, BUT...there are teams that will expose your inability to defend them 1 on 1. Period! Therefore, as you are teaching one....you must be teaching/introducing the other.
With my team, an 11U/5th Grade team, we are WAY more creative Defensively than Offensively. We Press Full Court in Man to Man face and inbounds deny; we Press Full Court in 1-2-1-1 and 2-2-1 sets; we Press 3/4 Court in a 1-2-1-1 setup; we use Full Court Man to Man basic (no gambling....just sound defense....which can really frustrate teams); we run 1/2 ourt Man, 1/2 court 3-2, 1/2 Court 3-2 matchup Zone, and 1/2 Court 2-3. We also get creative on inbounds plays, typically matching up, and sometimes collapsing whatever zone we are in....just giving different looks.
I agree with Coach Julz....DEFENSE FIRST! Especially if you like transition. You know, basketball is basketball. You have to defend, and you have to embrace the transition that comes off of good defense. And, too.....there's sooooooo much more!