The junk tandem defense.
A brief conversation with a former coach several years ago produced a defense that would help the Clinton basketball team amass a lengthy series of victories in conference, tournament, and state playoff appearances.
At the time, I was bemoaning our upcoming game against a powerhouse conference opponent that had three quality offensive players. About the best we could hope for was to slow them down a little.
The question was how could we do it? And that's when fate intervened in the person of Brad Mitchell, a retired basketball guru. After listening to our moans, he suggested a defensive scheme that I had never heard of. It was called the "Tandem Defense" and it had worked very well for him in Indiana, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
He thought it was worth a try and it took him about 15 minutes to break it down for us. It was a revelation, it did the job for us, and we have been using it ever since.
"Tandem" combines man and zone principles much like the triangle-and-two and the box-and-one. As shown in Diag. 1, it is a sort of jump defense with our three best players, usually our quickest people, matched up against the opponents' three best offensive men.
Our other two defenders, called the "Tandem," play what amounts to a zone. They set up one behind the other in the lane, as shown in the diagrams, and remain constantly vocal and active, talking to each other as they work at three things: play helpside, cut down the passing lane, and rebound.
Their three matchup teammates offer no helpside defense. Their primary job is to deny the basketball to the offensive threats, whom we have identified in the scouting reports.
We instruct our match-up men to: (1) jam and force their assigned man away from his strongest side, (2) never leave their man; remain within two steps of him whenever he doesn't have the ball, and (3) whenever a shot is taken, block out your man.
By aggressively pursuing these tactics they will frustrate their opponents, encourage the opposing coach to remove his players from the game, and (3) wear them down by forcing them to work so hard to get open.
If one of the opposing threats happens to be a post player, we match up by fronting the past and sandwiching him with a tandem man. Check Diag. 2. Our chaser uses his quickness to help offset the opponent's size.
Whenever we call for a full-court press and one of the matched-up attackers is not handling the ball, we have out top tandem man pull out to the ball in the backcourt. Check Diag. 3.
If one of the unmatched attackers flares out on the baseline for a pass from the wing, as shown in Diag. 4, we have one of the back tandem man (D-2) move over to the edge of the paint and challenge the shot with his arms up, while the other tandem man (D-1) retreats at an angle to the edge of the paint.
We understand that whenever the opposing baseline man is an offensive threat, he must be guarded.
In closing, remember this is a junk defense, and a team cannot sit back in it for an entire game. Still, it is very effective from a tactical standpoint and we have had much success with it.
If you will adjust the Tandem Defense to your team needs and personnel, you should have fun (and success) with it.
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|Author:||Squibb, James D.|
|Publication:||Coach and Athletic Director|
|Date:||Nov 1, 1997|
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