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Today’s subject deals with early defending. When a player loses possession of the ball, frequently the first thing they do is to put their head down. Next they start to go back to get into a position to defend. The thing this doesn’t take into consideration is that the opposing team is probably going to be slow in making the transition from defense to offense so, if the players who just lost the ball can be quicker in making the transition to defense than the opponent is to making the transition to offense, they can frequently win the ball very quickly. The key is, as soon as a team has lost the ball they have to have the mentality of trying to win it back right away. Of course, this has to be done with some thought and if it’s not the best place on the field to do it, or because of some other factors such as spacing this isn’t realistic, than it might be better to get back and compress the field defensively. One of the keys to making the quick transition from offense to defense is for there to be a lot of communication. Since the tendency is for a player to put their head down upon making a mistake, if the players behind them can encourage them to make the transition quickly, than it will be easier for him. Also, it has to be something that is practiced on a regular basis. Whenever playing a keep away or possession game in training, when there is a lot of possession, the players that lost the ball should IMMEDIATELY try to win it back. This is the difference of doing a drill and playing the game. In a drill, when there is a loss of possession, everyone stops and does it again. When playing the game (even if it’s in training) the players have to think about these transition periods. The players and teams that make the transitions from offense to defense and defense to offense quicker are usually the ones who are successful so keep this in mind the next time you go on the field to play. Thanks Coach Stiffler. **************************************************