In this week’s Playbook Series, we highlight three highly-effective defensive drills that will give teams a ton of reps in a short period of time. Covering themes such as help-side defense, charging, and low post defense, these proven drills will pay major dividends for your squad this season.
3 Plus 1 Drill
By Len Garner, North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, GA
Easy to run and very efficient, the “3 Plus 1 Drill” improves your players’ knowledge of team defense and rotations and teaches them how to give and receive defensive help.
Set up three defensive players around the perimeter just inside the three-point arc. Place a fourth defender in the middle of the lane. Also, three offensive players are positioned outside the three-point arc and around the perimeter. These players are looking to move the ball side to side and penetrate with the goal of scoring.
Meanwhile, the defensive players must work on containment, help-side defense, and middle post player rotation. The player in the middle (X4) must communicate with his teammates and alert them of picks, slide-throughs, and more. Run a pre-determined number of offensive possessions or run the drill for a set time limit and then switch up the groups.
Defensive Command Drill
By Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA
Divide players into four pairs (with four offensive players and four defensive players). Next, a coach will call out a defensive command. The defensive commands are:
Shooter – The offensive player shows the ball as he/she would to shoot. The defender works on close out techniques and sliding to the shooter. The player with ball does not shoot.
Passer – A player must guard the offensive player while he/she waves the ball around looking to make a pass.
Charge – The offensive player dribbles at the defender and the defender takes the charge. To avoid injury, teach proper charge techniques before doing this drill.
Five-Second Count – The offensive player dribbles for a few steps and then picks up the ball. The defender closes hard and swarms him for five seconds, simulating a forced turnover. The defender must guard at game-like intensity and at full speed.
Low Post Command Drill
By Jason Graves, Ritenour HS, Saint Louis, MO
Take the same drill set-up as before but now place an offensive player in the low post. Tell your defenders to guard the player with the ball and then drop down and guard against a low post entry pass. Work the defensive technique into whatever your team is specifically working on. The offensive players should look to score.