Those who have been around basketball for awhile are probably somewhat familiar with the term pack line defense. The defense was made famous by former coach Dick Bennett, who began using his system while coaching at UW Stevens Point, and later at UW Green Bay, University of Wisconsin and finally University of Washington. Today colleges and high schools throughout the country use his system or a variation of it, and even NBA teams have used his system. To learn a little more about the history of pack line and Dick Bennett take a look at this article from Sports Illustrated.
The basic premise of the pack line defense is fairly simple: Lots of on ball pressure and lots of help defense. The help defense is ‘packed’ inside an imaginary line about one or two steps inside the 3 point line. Despite it’s ‘simplicity’ however, the defense like any good defense is far more difficult to master than it sounds. Good pack line defense requires teams to have five guys working together as the movement by one player affects the movement of the others. Because of this, it’s simplicity may not be all that simple for teams to master.
If you like what you read below about the pack line defense, you might want to check out some of the videos that Championship Productions has to offer, including one from Sean Miller who is a firm believer and user of the pack line defense with his teams both at Xavier and now at Arizona. There are some other good pack line based DVD’s including one on drills used to build the pack line defense by current Xavier coach Chris Mack. Check out the video below of the Jim Boone video on the pack line defense.
While recently surfing the web for some pack line defensive notes I found this great PDF that details the principles, drills and terminology used in the pack line defense. The document is from the Xavier Newsletter’s that some of you might be familiar with. This particular document though was written by Washington Huskies women’s coach Mike Neighbors who previously coached at Xavier. Enjoy and as always I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below or through Facebook and Twitter.