Mike Dunlap: Organized Fast-Paced Transition Defense

Mike Dunlap: Organized Fast-Paced Transition Defense
Item# BD-05196
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Product Description

Implement Mike Dunlap's seven keys of transition defense!

  • Establish shot balance to determine who's going to the boards and who's getting back on defense when the shot is taken
  • Discover disadvantage drills to reinforce transition defense
  • Understand the concepts of sprinting back and matching up in transition defense

with Mike Dunlap,
Loyola Marymount University Head Coach;
former Charlotte Bobcats Head Coach;
former Metro State Head Coach, 2x NCAA D-II National Champions, 2x NABC Division II Coach of the Year

A veteran of coaching on the college, international, and professional levels, Mike Dunlap uses this on-court demonstration to discuss what's included in an effective transition defense. With teams trying to use their athleticism and their quickness to play at a faster tempo, playing solid transition defense has never been more important to a team's success.

Elements of Defensive Transition

Coach Dunlap discusses the seven elements for an effective transition defense designed to slow down offenses that like to get the ball and run:

  • Shot balance
  • Stop the ball
  • Sprint your lane
  • Match up
  • Rotation
  • Contest all shots
  • Rebound

Many of the concepts that are discussed come from concepts other coaches, including Tom Izzo and Rick Majerus, have used in their coaching careers.

Rebounding and Shot Balance

One of the most important aspects of transition defense that's discussed by Dunlap is getting a balanced floor on a shot. The transition from offense to defense and shot balance begins on the raise of the shot by the shooter. From there, rebounding and get-back responsibilities are put into practice.

Dunlap wants to send three to the boards on every shot by creating a rebounding triangle. To achieve this, three rebounders are assigned to the two blocks and an area in the middle of the free throw lane.

vMeanwhile, the two remaining players get to designated spots so that they are ready to get back on defense and slow down the other team's transition offense. One player is designated to get back to the top of the key and the other at half court. These players will sprint back first and try to protect the basket and lane areas on the break.

Sprint Back and Match Up

If the offense isn't able to get the rebound on a missed shot or if the ball is stolen, it's imperative that the offense convert to defense and sprint back quickly. More importantly, the defense must be able to match-up against the offense as quickly as possible.

More important than getting the right match-up at the outset is the importance of sprinting back. Even if the match-up is not assigned, getting matched up against an offense becomes important. For this to be effective, an element of trust has to be established by the players.

5-on-5 Evaluation

Dunlap uses this drill to set up a realistic transition phase. Starting the drill at the three-quarter court, which would allow an element of containing the basketball, you are placing an emphasis on pressuring the basketball immediately and setting up your defense off of that. Ball pressure is a must, and forcing your opponent to change direction up the floor allows your defense to get back and set up. This drill runs for six possessions, and the one priority is guarding the basketball. This drill can be adjusted to set up to allow how many you are sending to the basket, and who falls back into transition.


Building off the 5-on-5 Evaluation drill, this drill allows you to build on your defensive rotations. The drill can be set in the half court with a time frame to get a shot up. You're still instilling how many you send to the offensive glass, and still have an emphasis on ball pressure immediately. Communication is important, players must talk to know who is picking up the basketball and who picks up the other defensive assignments. The pressure allows for players to rotate and get back into position.

Use this great resource from Coach Dunlap to improve your team's transition defense today!

Produced at the 2016 Phoenix (AZ) clinic.

75 minutes. 2017.

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