If you grew up playing basketball or have been around basketball in your life, then you have probably heard a player shout “cookies” on the court. 🍪

I can’t tell you what led to that cookie call, but most likely you heard it directly after a defensive player stole the ball clean. It could have been after a perfectly timed steal on a counter dribble. Maybe it was a strip as the ball was raised into the shooting pocket. Or it might have been a poke out that led to a wide open layup or dunk. The situation I can’t tell you, for sure.

What I can tell you for sure is…

While most of the crowd and attention is focusing on the easy layup or dunk and two more points on the scoreboard, the coaches that understand winning are adding points to a different column, points off turnovers and defensive stops.

This is where Cookies as a program starts to reveal itself. When you start to look at basketball from a different perspective, then you’ll start to see how important defense is to the success of both an individual basketball player and team. You’ll also start to question what it means to really play defense and to be a good defender. These are the questions we had ourselves as we created this program.

The main question. How do I become a better defender?

So, we started to research programs and coaches that had specific training or clinic material that was focused on defense and here’s what we found;

DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS 🏆

IT TAKES AN IRON WILL 🛡️

One of those items mentioned to be a good defender came down to effort. Or as the overused phrase goes, “It Takes an Iron Will” to be a great defender. This made me frustrated because it made me believe that if I didn’t have an iron will, then I couldn’t become a great defender. Also, how do I find out if I have an iron will? You see where I’m going with this. There had to be more to becoming a great defender. We started getting warmer.

BREAKDOWN & SHUFFLE TO CLOSE OUT

As more detailed information started to show, one thing was super obvious to me; NOTHING HAS CHANGED! Or at least the coaches that are teaching defense on a higher level are not sharing publicly (when I say public, I mean online) their newfound thought and breakdown on how to play good defense or even some mental aspects of being a good defender other than the “iron will” thing.

Now, if the title is throwing you off. Shuffling your feet to breakdown on a closeout is a very antiquated version of closing out and is really a technique that is being taught because it’s always been taught that way. Not necessarily because it’s the most effective way to closeout. We cover a closeout in our program that is making players better defenders with one change.

To summarize, the more I dug into the information available, the more I realized how important it was to create a step by step program to becoming a great defender.  We will dig into this idea over the next several blog posts, so make sure to subscribe to get new posts sent directly to your inbox.