Fratello Fundamentals

Defend off the ball.  I get a lot of questions about how to defend the likes of LeBron, Kobe and Durant. The answer is there’s no way to shut them down, but you can certainly slow them down. The key is to defend aggressively before your opponent has the ball.  That’s where defense starts — it puts the defender in a proactive position rather than a reactive one.

Once your man gets the ball in his hands he is in a position to attack. As coaches we want our players to aggressively guard their men off the ball because it gives the defender an opportunity to cut off the attack and creates the following strategic advantages:

  • Makes your opponent work harder and exert more energy to get the ball in his hands
  • Frequently frustrates the skill player and baits him into taking revenge in one and one play outside his team’s system
  • Disrupts the opponent’s offensive sets causing broken plays and tough shots against the clock
  • Isolates the ball handler leading to one on one play, tough passes and turnover opportunities

When it comes to defending a superstar prevention is the best medicine. Ball denial is a simple, fundamental technique that only requires will and effort. By playing hard, off-the-ball D you will limit your opponents’ touches and make them work hard for their points.


  1. You’re on top of the game. Thanks for srhiang.

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