Combination defenses can be very devastating to any team not prepared to attack them. Like all defenses, they have their strengths and weakness. However, timing is the most critical factor to their success. One of the biggest problem of using combination defenses is that most coaches do not take the time to prepare a team sufficiently enough for them to be real effective. Combination defenses, like all defenses, need to be practiced and refined. To be successful the Box, Diamond or Triangle zones shifts need to be practiced and chaser(s) need to be adequately trained and developed.
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The key element to combination defenses is the ability of the chaser(s) to deny their assigned opponent the ball. This strong denial will not only keep the ball out of the hands of the opponent’s star scorer, but will also completely disrupt and break down the opponent’s set plays and continuities.
Chaser(s) must be provided with the defensive tools for them to be successful. In addition to possessing strong pass denial skills, they must be well school in playing cuts, especially back cuts. They need to be taught how to properly “V-Step” to get around screens. They must box out and prevent their opponent from obtaining any offensive rebounds and second efforts on all shot attempts. When their opponent does receive the ball, they need to protect against drives, and have a hand up on all shots. They must not foul. Keeping their opponent off the free throw line is of the utmost importance to the success of any combination defense.
Coaches must also work with their post players as chasers. In cases where the opponent’s post is the star player, the chaser must possess good individual post denial skills. In some cases, this may result in the post chaser facing their opponent with both hands up in order to deny them the ball. Teammates must also help out by having active hands and applying pressure on the passer.