Defensive Identity Tool

Updated: Apr 27

Use this Defensive Self Assessment Questionnaire to work on establishing your program's defensive identity.

One of my favorite talks from the past few months was delivered by Coach Luke Yaklich on Building your Defensive Identity. Coach Yaklich has become one of the hottest names in College Basketball Coaching circles in recent years. His name became nationally recognized while serving as defensive coordinator under John Beilein at Michigan. During his time there his teams became one of the best defensive units in the Big Ten. This past season he served in that same role for Shaka Smart at Texas, and he was recently hired as the new head coach of the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Coach Yaklich's talk touched on many topics including; his own defensive beliefs, some of his favorite vitamin drills, and some general coaching wisdom. However, the part of his talk that resonated with me the most was his advice for building your own defensive philosophy. To him, if we could better define what we believe in, what we will tolerate, and what we will emphasize we can make the improvements that are necessary to make us a better defensive team.

Creating the Tool -

What I wanted to do to make better use of Coach Yaklich's clinic talk was to create a document that summarized his key points in creating a Defensive Identity. I would take his "Philosophy Questions" and turn them into a Google Doc that coaches could then use to narrow down their own ideas.

Coach Yak's Philosophy Questions:

1. What is your Mission on Defense?

2. What do you Emphasize?

3. What are your year-to-year Principles?

4. What are you going to hold your Team Accountable to?

5. What are you going to hold your Players Accountable to?

Concluding Thoughts -

While weighing all that information that is currently available I feel like this type of self-assessment activity will bring a ton of value. Instead of learning something new perhaps re-examining our past performance and streamlining our own Defensive Philosophy will be the better use of our time. So your homework for tonight is to fill out this Defensive Identity Tool and narrow down your own defensive philosophy. In doing so it will force you to put your own defensive beliefs on paper and perhaps see where some gaps in your thinking might exist.

You can find Coach Yaklich's Full Clinic Notes here -

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