Planning a Full Court Man to Man Defensive Strategy

A Full Court Man to Man Defence tends to be one of the defences that most coaches have as part of their overall strategy. However many coaches never think about the possible detail that can be built into a Full Court Man to Man defensive strategy. When thinking about possible options concerning the development of a Full Court Man to Man strategy then the first step is to develop a framework under which the different principles and rules can be underpinned.


Full Court Man to Man Defensive Strategy Diagram 1
Full Court Man to Man Defensive Strategy Diagram 1

One of the simplest techniques that can used to help clearly define the different options to be used in a team’s Full Court Man to Man defensive strategy is to break the basketball court into principle or rule specific areas. In the diagram to the right a basketball court has been divided into a number of areas and then numbered. Each of these areas can have separate and very different rules applied to each section of the floor.


A basketball court however could be broken down into sections in any number of different ways. This is really a choice left to the discrepancy of the coach and their judgement on what their team is capable of handling by way complexity in the defensive strategy. More sections or less sections are all considerations a coach must contemplate when deciding on what to build into their teams Full Court Man-to-Man strategy.


In this example, the following rules have been applied to guarding offensive players with the ball in each area. The movement of the ball is from the bottom to the top of the court diagram.


If the dribbler is in areas One and Two the defence will attempt to contain the progress of the ball. Defensive players will play “straight up” on the offensive player setting their defensive stance squarely in front of the dribbler. The defence will attempt to contain the offensive player for three dribbles or three defensive slides as a goal.


If the offensive player enters area Three then the rule for this section of the floor is to turn the dribbler. The goal for the defensive players within this area is to try to turn the dribbler three times before the ball crosses halfway.


In the areas Four and Five a sample rule might be to channel the dribbler into the sideline. The tactic within these areas would revolve around taking the ball away from the usual starting position of an opposition’s offense. For example if the offense started from the point position then defence would attempt to move the ball handler to the elbow or foul line extended so this would change the offenses orientation. In this section the aim is not be beaten off the dribble and so the secondary goal in this area is to contain the ball outside the three-point line.


When the ball is in areas Six and Seven then the dribbler will be directed into the long corners of the half court. In these areas the defenders will look to deny middle penetration by the dribbler and instead have the player ideally move towards the baseline where help defence rotations are placed to assist and contain issues.


The rules described above are examples only of what can be implemented in a team’s Full Court Man to Man defensive strategy. These are by no means the only options available for teams to utilise. Tactical aspects such as trapping, run and jump and zoning are all possibilities to be thought about and considered when choosing the right overall game plan against the opposition. Once a number of different tactics have been introduced to a team, there is no reason from week to week the employment of different elements could not be utilised that specifically counters their opponent’s strengths and style of play.


The aim of any Full Court Man to Man defensive strategy is to limit the output by the opposition’s offense. By having a wide range of tricks up the teams sleeve and utilising advanced tactics such as sectioning the court with regards to Full Court Man to Man defence this will hopefully help in achieving this goal. This type of Full Court Man to Man defensive strategy builds a complexity which is often hard to scout and plan for which is always an advantage for any team.


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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

3 Comments on “Planning a Full Court Man to Man Defensive Strategy

  1. This is excellent. Strait up man pressure is a lost art, used to be a mandatory change up to zone pressure. I found this site on Google images. Looking forward to exploring the whole thing now!

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