2 Competitive Defensive Drills that Get Results

An effective defensive drill should really get your team some key repetitions in practice, reinforce core principles, and replicate game-like situations. In this week’s Playbook Series, we’ll focus on a competitive group drill before getting into denial defense. Check out these two new drills and use them to spice up your practices this year.

Four Groups Defensive Drill

Submitted by Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA

Divide the players into four groups of two all over the court. The “O’s” have the ball and “X’s” are the defenders. Tell your defensive players to guard the ball for three slides, forcing the ball to the sideline. Meanwhile, the ball handler tries to beat the defender off the dribble.

After the initial slides, both players line up outside the three-point circle (elbows extended) and the ballhandler tries to beat the defender to the basket. The defender should look to force his opposition to the baseline. The players sprint back to their original spot, switch roles, and do it again.


Defensive Denial Drill

Submitted by Alex Allen, Mohawk HS, Marcola, OR

Overview: This effective drills is used to work on the following defensive skills: denying the passing from the point to the wing, denying the ball from the corner to the wing & the post, and using the chest to fend off the offensive player as they make a ballside cut and denying him/her the ball. This drill also gets players to also work on 1-on-1 defensive and offensive skills.

Set-Up: The drill begins with a coach holding a ball at the point and players at positions 1 to 5. 1 is on the right wing area, 2 in the right corner, 3 on the right low block, 4 on the left wing, and 5 in the left corner. Emphasize players on defense they mustbe intense on defense and offensive must make players work hard.

Action: The first defensive player starts by denying the pass from the point to the wing. Player 1 V-cuts back and forth from the wing to the block. The coach passes to 1, either on the wing or via backdoor pass. Next, the coach passes the ball to 2 in the corner. 1 steps aside. Pass the ball to 2 and attempt a few passes down low to 3. The defender covers 3 and defends the post-up and works on post-up defensive strategies.

The ball is then reversed from 2 to the coach, across to 4 and then to 5. As the ball is reversed, the defender down low must adjust accordingly and switch ballside positioning. After 5 gets the ball, 3 cuts hard to the near low post. The defender must chest 3 off as the pass looks to go down low from 5. Once 3 has the ball, he can go 1-on-1 with the defender. See if you can run this drill on both sides of the court simultaneously. Rotate offensive players through each rep.

Keys: We are only working on one defender at a time here in different denial situations.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “35 Dynamic Defensive Drills” by Winning Hoops. To check out more set plays and drills, simply head over to our basketball library.

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