Man to Man or Zone Defence

Over recent years, coaches have debated the argument of the importance of teaching man to man or zone defences. The fact is both forms of defence have their place.

There is a strong argument that a good zone defence is made up of man to man principles. If players do not understand these principles they will struggle to play effective zone defence. Zone defence is based around defending an area and any player who comes into that area. In man to man defence, players have a responsibility for guarding a particular player and also have responsibilities to help guard the player with the ball. Help responsibilities mean that defenders will be in a different area of the court to where the player is and they must always see the ball and their player.

In a zone defence players are defined as guards, forwards and a centre and may end up playing their whole life in one area. It is expected young players will develop at a faster rate if first introduced and taught man to man principles and fundamentals. The main arguments underlying this include:

– It gives each participant the experience of defending a player in a wide variety of situations.

– It gives each participant the necessary understanding of team defensive concepts to play effectively no matter what type of defence is implemented.

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