Coach Jack Ramsay was a proponent of playing pressure defense. He believed that applying pressure would force offensive teams into difficult situations.
What follows are his set of 10 Principles of Defensive Team Play developed and adopted to best incorporate pressure defense into game strategy.
- Maintain a defensive stance, knees flexed, head up; foot nearer vertical court division forward; hands in close while moving; forward hand up on man with ball; eyes on mid-section of opponent with ball.
- Overplay near or next potential pass receiver.
- Use peripheral vision to see both man and ball — but especially the ball.
- Never turn your back on the ball. Face the ball, keep the lanes jammed by backing through as offensive man moves without the ball.
- Use defensive shuffle in defensive movements; rely on position of body to impede offensive moves. Don’t cross feet in movements.
- Slough off men without the ball (except the next potential pass receivers), look for pass interception, pick up driver or pass receiver, or draw charge from offensive player; keep position between man and ball.
- “Jump switch” on all lateral back-court offensive movements involving the ball; “hedge” on vertical moves involving the ball, using defensive fake.
- Defensive man playing screener has option of doubling-up on ball when it seems a sound risk.
- If defender has given up his man in an attempt to steal and has failed, he must be quick to pick up the open man in recovering.
- Concentrate individual defensive efforts around the position of the ball; strive to get possession at every opportunity.
Commonly known as “Dr. Jack”, Coach Jack Ramsay was possibly best known for coaching the Portland Trailblazers to the 1976-1977 NBA Championship. Dr. Jack was also widely known for his broadcasting work of NBA games. Ramsay was the seventh-winningest coach in NBA history, and a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
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