Defensive Rules & Package by Steve Smiley

Defensive Rules & Package by Steve Smiley

This article was originally featured on Coach Smiley’s blog: He has a TON of great information on his website. Check it out!

Coaches – Here’s an idea that we think is really important, that you could use with your program.

Throughout the years, we have modified and updated our Defensive Rules / Package to fit our team for the particular season that we are approaching (each year typically sees a couple modifications).

While each team and each philosophy will vary, we do believe that it’s imperative to have something on paper to share with and constantly review with your team (which for us means adding to our player’s notebooks for continual review).

Here is an example that doesn’t incorporate all of our defense, but gives you the basic idea:

Philosophy:  Our individual and team defensive rules are successful when each player concentrates each possession onrecognizing, anticipating, and making plays.  We are an attacking defense that takes away the opponent’s strengths and dictates the tempo of the game.  WE DETERMINE THE OUTCOME OF THE GAME.


Defensive Rules


  1. Transition & Talk


  • From our offensive board coverage & turnovers


  • No points off turnovers


  • Three tailbacks to board every time (2/1 weak side)


  • Halfback at his proper adjusted depth


  • Fullback at the half line




– Backflow / Wolf the Ball

  1. Ball Pressure (Control, Steer, Zipper)


  • Six inch zone, line of scrimmage


  • Front hand above ball, back hand sickle


  • Sickle as you JUMP TO BALL TO DENY


  • Steer at wing


  • Zipper at wing, crotch on top leg


  • Control funnel – ADJUST GAP AS WE SEE FIT


  • Strive for a DEAD call
  1. Anticipate Quick Rotations


  • JUMP TO BALL for position


  • Attack ball penetration (Brick wall)


  • On and up the line, fake traps


  • Ball below circle – “hoop” is both feet on ball side


  • “High I” is both feet on man side of basket


  • We adjust like a free safety in football






  • Closest man rule à X-out


  1. Keep It Out


  • Be in proper stance and proper position


  • Anticipate (quickness=vision, position, anticipation)


  • Attack and stop ball penetration one yard outside of lane
  1. Keep It Off


  • Head in the passing lane


  • Ball side of down screen
  1. Shot Pressure


  • We pressure every shot, proper hand on lay-ups


  • Front hand on jump shot – do not short arm


  • Brick wall on power – Jail if under board


  • Smaller guard can strip & pressure




  1. BOPCRO (Block Out, Pursue, Chin Rebound, Outlet)


  • Forearm in chest & butt in gut“Pop Him”


  • Easiest Turn, with Hands Shoulder High

Stance – you are always a better athlete when in the proper stance and in position.

Vision – 75% on the ball & 25% on your man

Position – vision puts you in the proper position

Talk – Your mouth never stops moving (intelligent talk)

Anticipate – The proper stance with vision puts you in the proper position to recognize, anticipate and make a defensive play.

Four Keys to Great Defense:


  1. Developing a defensive conscience


  1. Tremendous pressure on the ball


  1. Quick ballside (fake trap) and helpside rotation


  1. Attacking and stopping ball penetration







Defensive Package:


1— Man to Man Pressure


2— Match-up


  1. Regular with bumps


  1. Fist with traps


3 —1-3-1


4 — Flat 2-3 (Trap Below Free Throw Line Extended)

Attacking/Trapping the Post:


  1. Off the passer
    1. On the pass
    2. On the dribble
  2. Wolf off a dork
  3. High I
  4. Low I automatic

Follow Coach Smiley on Twitter!!!

smileyThe 2014-15 season marked the first season for Steve Smiley as an assistant coach at Weber State. He joined the Wildcat program in August 2014.

Smiley came to Weber State after spending the six years as the head coach at Sheridan College, a national junior college powerhouse in Sheridan, Wyo. In the six years with the Generals, Smiley posted a 153-43 (.780) overall record and led Sheridan to four North Sub-Region 9 titles and two runner-up finishes. His teams also advanced to the Region 9 Final Four four times and appeared in two championship games. Smiley was twice named the North Region Coach of the Year.

During his time at Sheridan, Smiley had 21 players sign to play NCAA Division I basketball and a total of 38 players moved on to the four-year level. He coached two players who earned NJCAA All-American honors and nine players who earned All-Region honors. Several players wen on to play professional basketball across the world.

In addition to head coach, Smiley also worked as the Athletics Director at Sheridan.

Prior to his time at Sheridan, Smiley spent two seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., where he worked under the winningest coach in NCAA history, Don Meyer. During his time at NSU, the Wolves posted a 50-12 record. Smiley was also the head assistant coach at Black Hills State University during the 2005-06 season.

A native of Denver, Smiley graduated from Northern State in 2004. He was a three-year starter with the Wolves and led the Northern Sun league in assists for three straight seasons. He ranks second in NSU history in career assists with 537. As a senior he was named the NSIC Defensive Player of the Year and the league tournament MVP. He helped lead the team to a 24-7 record and a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

He played high school basketball at Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo, where he was a four-year starter and earned All-State honors twice. He also led the state of Colorado in assists during his junior season.

Smiley and his wife Nikki have two children, Madden and Avery.

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