“Defense wins championships.” A lot of people like to say that when a great (or two great) defensive teams are in the title game. I don’t believe in that. I’m a defensive guy, but I don’t believe in it.

Great teams win championships. There are a lot of ways to do it. Great offense can win a championship. Balance wins championships. There are a lot of different ways to win a championship.

But what great team defense can do for you is two things – it allows you to sustain elite success over the long haul, and it can separate you from other teams.

Great team defense travels. It helps overcome injuries. It values toughness, which allows you to get more out of some of your less talented guys. It gives your kids confidence. It doesn’t rely on talent. And it separates you, because to be honest not that many teams are doing it.

Great team defense is more under you control than great offense, because it doesn’t rely as much on talent. You might have the most talented offensive players in your league, but there are going to be nights where the ball just doesn’t go in – and there isn’t much you can do about it. Great team defense rarely takes a night off.

Most coaches are happy when they see the ball going in on offense. They want to see crisp execution and made shots. Most coaches would prefer to coach offense. There are a lot of coaches at all levels who aren’t as comfortable teaching defense, so they don’t spend a lot of time on it. They spend the majority of time working on offensive execution.

I don’t believe in “defense wins championships.” Great defensive teams that can’t score will struggle to win. But great team defense gives you the best chance to win night in and night out, regardless of the circumstances. Build a great team defense within your program and you give yourself the best chance at consistent success.

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