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Defenders have a warrior mindset. Defense is as much mental as it is physical, which makes defense both skill and attitude. To defend at a high level, a player must develop a tough mentality that commits to defending every possession, maintaining and playing in a stance, communicating with teammates, denying passing lanes, helping and recovering, and allowing nothing in the middle of the floor.

A true defender, a complete player, has an attitude on defense that says, “I will not get beaten whether guarding the ball, denying passing lanes, or helping off the ball. I will play every possession in a rock solid defensive stance. I must get low and stay low while defending the ball because there is no other way to defend. I will not let fatigue beat me. I will master and conqueror fatigue because every possession counts and defense wins games. I will maintain a stance and execute perfect footwork. I will be aggressive in stopping dribble penetration by keeping my head on the ball and my body between the ball and basket, forcing the ball toward the sideline and baseline.

Nothing will get into the lane because that is our HOUSE. I must communicate with my teammates at all times and be in position to help my teammates because the ball is not getting in our HOUSE no matter what. Every shot will be contested and every shot called out. I will fight for position and attack the boards because every rebound is mine. I will dive on the floor because every loose ball is mine; possession of the ball is that valuable. I will never have my hands down while defending; they must be active and ready to deflect passes and take advantage of mistakes made by the offense.

My movement will be strong, powerful, explosive, and disciplined. When my body gets tired and wants to cheat a possession, my mind takes over because it is stronger than my body, and I force myself to allow no one to play with more energy than me, to allow no one to out hustle me, to allow no one to out work me, or to allow no one to defend harder than me.”

There is skill that needs to be developed and practiced to defend at a high level, but defensive skill without this mindset and attitude will not get the job done.