Why Zone Defenses Struggle in Basketball?

ron zone book

As a coach who played some zone defense with his teams, these are the most common areas that need to be watched and addressed when opponents are finding it easy to get and make open shots:

  • lack of condition-be watchful for fatigue, here are some indicators:
    • arms down at sides
    • coming out of stance
    • not moving feet
    • lack of talk
    • lack of deflections
  • lack of ball pressure-a tremendous benefit of zone defense is that the on-ball defender knows where their help is, the defender needs to get in the offensive players “bubble” to force a dribble or make it tough to pass freely
  • not contesting shots
  • lack of rebounding-zone defenders need to form a triangle around the basket, perimeter defenders need to crash the help-side board and free throw area
  • getting split-zone rotations need to get one player on the ball through strong rotations and communication
  • defenders not aggressively “stretching” their floor area until the appropriate defender arrives
  • inside defenders not getting and staying “vertical” against inside shots
  • not having a strategy to cover when the ball gets the foul-line area, ball screens, overloads, and short corner coverage

I hope these tips help your zone defense be more effective.  Check out my video playlist on the Ball Match Up Zone.   Here are some other articles on this defense.  Have a great day!