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The Pack Line Defense

The Pack Line Defense

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.

Sean Miller Pack Line DefenseIf 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.

The Pack Line Defense

Jim Boone Pack Line Defense DVD

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 …

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2 comments

  1. I have ran this defense for the past 8 years. It was only last year that I got Coach Mack’s newsletter highlighting the Pack Line defense. It is great for girl’s basketball (any level), or younger boys (middle school). I have never ran it with high school aged boys.

    I feel that you get the benefits of playing zone (solid inside defense) with man concepts. Defenses get confused and struggle to identify if it is a man or a zone D. Your players are hard to screen and always in great position to stop penetration.

  2. Thanks for the article. Tony Bennett and UVA ran this defense this year as well and I am pretty sure they had the number one ranked defense in the country. To me though a lot of defenses are equal, it is just finding the best fit for your team, and then getting your players to buy into that style of defense.

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