There are a lot of reasons to teach zone defense. What I want to show readers here is how, by using man-to-man techniques while deploying zone defense, you can make your defense so much stronger and effective.Logic and good teaching procedure would use plateaus of learning, moving fromindividual lessons to 1-on-1, then 2-on-2, and so on, until reaching full team execution of man-to-man defense. It does no good to teach the team game before a child has been introduced to and hopefully mastered well enough the individual aspects of defense. When every player can play both on-the-ball and off-the-ball, the rules used in teaching these techniques will easily lead right into teaching team defense. It’s basically already been done at this point, because with five players following their individual on- and off-ball rules, they’ve got the basic structure for the team defense. Now it’s just a matter of teaching how to play and be effective as a group. It’s very difficult to teach (read virtually impossible) zone defense in this same manner. Zone defense doesn’t lend itself to individual teaching and plateau building before arriving at the team game. We coaches pretty much across the board install a 5-man set to begin teaching zone defense and we pretty much all teach a similar structure—regardless of the zone set (1-2-2, 1-3-1, 2-1-2, etc.). We teach five men facing the ball in the set we’re using, and having backs turned on offensive players who may be behind the defense and away from the ball. Of course, let’s not forget the age-old declamations for players to get their “arms up”, and to slide laterally, in unison.