This will be a short post but I want to give a special emphasis to my least favorite statistic (maybe). I do not like on-ball steals. This is a risky play and can often lead to getting beat and also drawing fouls. The best place to get steals is on poor passes (never gambling though).
If a player is in good help-side defense they can jump a pass and get a steal if they read the play properly. Another great emphasis that I place is for players to deny once the ball is dead. What this means is that when I ball handler picks up their dribble they are no longer a threat to drive. This means that once we see this, we pick up our man in a full denial.
The first type of defense that you need to emphasize with your players is on-ball defense. If you can lock down the person that you are guarding, then you are a tremendous asset to your team. As a coach, it is crucial to try and get your athletes to where they are able to be strong on-ball defenders.
It is a tremendous mistake when coaches teaches players to slide constantly in the full-court. Your athletes are going to have to be able to slide and sprint when guarding someone. A major point of emphasis that I always like to teach is watching the offensive players waist. You can fake with your eyes and fake with the ball but you cannot fake with your waist.
Here are some other teaching points that I bring up when implementing on-ball defensive fundamentals:
Give a bit of a gap in order to stay in front of the defender.
Push off with the opposite foot of the direction you are going in order to power into a defensive slide.
Don’t reach at the ball or defender unless you know with 100% certainty that you are going to get the ball.
When sliding, don’t allow your back foot to come over to far and work on balance.