Defensive physicality: A Rob Yanders specialty

The Basketball Movement is a place that encompasses every aspect of the game - from offensive skill, defense, and beyond.

Rob Yanders, founder of The Basketball Movement, is always pushing his players to be the best men and women they can be. On and off the court, TBM prepares players to be disciplined, respectful team players.

There are many lessons to be learned out on the hardwood. Robert taught me (@WilHarrington) multiple lessons through the sport of basketball. One that stood out to me as a relatively under-sized player was defensive toughness and physicality.

Rob is not the biggest player himself, so he can bring perspective to players of all sizes. In his career (and still today), he played like a player much bigger than he is.

Robert taught me about defensive toughness the hard way

I was invited to one of Rob's many camps one Summer when I was probably 14 or 15 years old. I had been playing for a while at this point, but still certainly had plenty left to learn.

Skill-wise, I was a little behind most of the players at the camp. I was among the shorter players there as well, so I was feeling like I had a lot to prove. As always, Robert had us doing unique and engaging drills that had players visibly improving with each passing moment.


Towards the end of the day, we started doing more "game scenario" drills that acted as small scrimmages. Rob is a pretty hands-on teacher, so he inserted himself in some of these drills, often matched up with myself since he is a guard.

He kicked my butt.

I was a pretty quick kid, but he managed to make me look like I had cement blocks for shoes. He kept one hand on me at all times, which is common to keep track of the player being guarded. What was uncommon was the firmness of that stiff-arm. Without fouling, he managed to dictate my every move.

He also used his body to establish a strong based and plant himself in front of me everywhere I tried to go. I felt like a big, strong post-player was shadowing me on the perimeter - it was exhausting and frustrating as an offensive player.

So what to do?

I could have plowed through him and starting picking up offensive fouls (in a drill...), but I decided to just soak up what he was doing to me and make mental notes of everything.

We finished the day with a full court 5-on-5 scrimmage. I did not start in the game but was prepared to make an impact coming off of the bench

A lot of the players I guarded were not only bigger than me, but at least as fast. I kept a strong hand on them at all times and tried to be a pest, cutting them off everywhere they turned and staying low. I picked up some charges and was able to prevent my man from doing what he wanted.

I carried that defensive physicality and tenacity forward as a player, eventually being known as a defensive specialist - an important piece to any team.

I have said this before, but I will continue to say it again and again: Parents, get your kids involved with Robert Yanders and The Basketball Movement. It helped me grow as a player and in my discipline and toughness as a person. Contact us here to make this happen as soon as possible.