Monday, July 16, 2018


We were certainly sad to hear of the passing late last month of Coach Mike Heideman.  He was an outstanding teacher of both motion and defense — including the Pack Line.  He was a part of Dick Bennett’s staff at Wisconsin Green Bay and later was head coach there as well. 

Heideman told Bennett, 'I would like to help you build a very solid Division I program,'" Bennett recalled earlier this year. "Over the next number of years, that happened. I received most of the credit. But the real truth is, the guy who did not get near enough credit was Mike Heideman.”

Coach Heideman was an excellent clinician and we have some great notes from hearing him twice. Today we’ll share a few clinic notes from Coach Heideman:

It is a mark of the best coaches to adjust or even change when circumstances dictate. Of the change from pressure defense to gaps, Coach Heideman said, “Survivial forces us into the Pack Line Defense.” 

1. Build from the basket out.  As Bennett would often say, “How you defend the low post dictates how you defend everything else.

2. Heideman referred to the arced area as “a house...and we don’t want to let anyone in our house.”  In fact, they had no problem with passes around the arc unless they were of the penetrating nature.

3. Ball Defense started with the defender’s heels on the arc.

4. They gapped on non-ball defenders by placing them inside the arc.  Bennett would be known for placing another arc 3 feet inside the 3-point arc as a place where non-ball defenders would be located when their assignments were on the perimeter.

A key teaching point on ball defense that we incorporate is when the ball handler has the ball above the waist we “Jump Up” putting extreme pressure on possible passes or shots.  When the ball drops below the waist, we “Jump Back” to defend possible dribble penetration.

Heideman taught all non-ball defenders to be in a slightly open stance towards the ball.  Our terminology is “show your hip to the ball.”  And he wanted them “up the line” but “off the line” in the gap.  It should be noted that they did deny passes inside the arc but even then it was only an arm in the passing lane — their terminology was “scratch the passing lane.”

Helpside principles remain very similar to their pressure days:
     --Ball above the free throw line = one foot in paint
     --Ball below the free throw line = both feet in paint

Post defense was a complete dead front.

On screens away from the ball, it was important to Heideman to defend them all the same.  He wanted simplicity and consistency.

“Take the shortest route” was terminology used wanting them to slide through on the ballside.  If it’s a curl cut, the screen defender is responsible for extending and bumping.