1. “See your man, see the ball.” – This command is used on defense to make sure every player has their “head on a swivel” constantly seeing their man and seeing the ball. This is crucial to good individual and team defense.
2. “Jump to the ball.” – This command is used on defense to ensure that each player is moving towards the ball on each pass. A good defensive team has “everyone on a string” meaning they all move simultaneously towards the ball as it is moving around in the half-court.
3. “Wall-Up.” – This refers to the player guarding the man on a finish close to the basket. The action of “walling up” means you challenge the shooter with your arms bent at the elbows and hands straight up in the air. This action ensures a good challenge and makes sure the defender doesn’t foul.
4. “Passer.” – This command is used in 2 on 1 situations where the player dribbling the ball looks as if he is gonna make the pass. This helps cue the lone defender back to play the passing lane after making it look like they will step in front of the dribbler.
5. “One more.” – When the defense is caught rotating, making “one more” pass will often lead to an even better shot for the offensive player. This extra pass can not only lead to a better shot but also could lead to a better driving line to the basket.
6. “2nd gear.” – This is a command used when a guard gets the defensive rebound or receives a quick outlet pass that could lead to a fast break. “2nd Gear” means to utilize the extra speed that the ball-handler has to burst into the front-court. This usually leads to a layup opportunity or numbered advantage.
7. “Get to the body.” – This command is used to alert an offensive player to attack the defenders body in a finishing situation close to the hoop. In finishing at the basket, “offense wants contact, defense doesn’t” and if the offensive player jumps off two feet and attacks the body they will be less likely to get blocked.
8. “Show your hands.” – This is used when a defender is applying good ball pressure on the ball-handler. Yelling “show your hands” alerts the defender to get their hands off the offensive player and make sure the ref doesn’t call a foul.
9. “Reverse it.” – This command is used to signal the team that the ball is getting stagnant and staying on one side. When the ball is reversed from side-to-side the offensive team becomes more difficult to guard because the defense has to shift accordingly. Ball reversals are critical to good offense.
10. “Hop back.” – This command is used to alert the ball handler to make a hop back dribble move. The hop back dribble is crucial to handling tough defensive pressure and breaking the press.
11. “Relay.” – This command is used to signal the guard or forward to look up the sideline and “relay” the ball up the court. The pass moves faster then the dribble and players who can look up the sideline and “hit ahead” are very valuable to the team.