2 Highly Competitive Defensive Drills that Pay Dividends

Check out these two defensive drills designed to promote solid fundamentals, repetition and competition amongst teammates. Read through the explanation of each drill before seeing them performed in action and on the court with real players and coaches. Look for ways to implement these drills with your own team to add a few wrinkles to your next practice.

3-on-3 Compete Drill

Submitted by Ron Twichell, Fort Zumwalt West HS, O’Fallon, MO

This is a high-energy defensive drill that Coach Twichell runs at the end of practice every day. It’s highly competitive and his players love it.

Two coaches/managers should be on the baseline and two more coaches/managers should be at half-court. Next, three defenders should be ready to take on three offensive players. The rest of the team is evenly distributed behind those lines. The defense must force three consecutive stops, either via missed shot and rebound, steal, forced turnover or charge. The three defenders must stay in the drill until they get three stops. If the offensive team scores, the next group steps in to play offense.


Shot Fake and Close Out Drill

Submitted by Tom Oswald, Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, TX

This is a versatile and effective drill that Coach Oswald uses for offensive and defensive purposes, but particularly for defensive work. The drill is especially helpful in the areas of closing out and defensive help.

Begin the drill with three offensive players positioned behind the perimeter three-point line, with two on opposite wings and one at the top of the key. Meanwhile, one defender should begin under the basket and one coach/manager should be behind the three-point line. There should also be a single-file line of players under the basket on the baseline.

The coach initiates the drill with a pass to any of the offensive players. The defender executes a close out that fits within the team’s own defensive philosophy, likely forcing the opposition to the middle or the baseline. The defender guards the player with the ball for two defensive slides.

The next person in line also steps in and must be ready to provide help on any penetration. Offensively, the player with the ball will execute a shot fake, sweep or can penetrate either to the middle or baseline with the intention of getting to the basket. If there’s help, the player should pull-up and pass to a teammate. Teammates must also slide to spots along the three-point line with feet and hands ready for a kick-out and shot.

Here’s the rotation for the drill. The initial defender becomes an offensive player. The help defender becomes the close out defender and the penetration player goes to end of line.


The previous drills can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 35 Dynamic Defensive Drills” by Winning Hoops. Check out more plays from the Winning Hoops collection by clicking here.

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