2-3 Zone Defense: 4 Effective Drills to Prepare for Game Situations

Pick up four essential defensive drills that have become staples for Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse men’s basketball program. The following drills focus exclusively on the 2-3 zone and place a particular emphasis on the footwork, movements, and techniques of the top two guards in the alignment based on different offensive schemes.

2-3 Zone Defense Drill No. 1

This is a great drill for the guards to learn how to play the wing players and not give them easy access to the high post. The drill will have three offensive players going against two defensive players. The ball comes all the way down the court and the players must get into their typical positions in this defense.

The emphasis here is square on the top two defenders making the right reads and adjustments based on the schemes of the offensive guys. The high post offensive player is often played by a coach and he’s just there to make it realistic. The ball does not get entered to the post player yet.

2-3 Zone Defense Drill No. 2

Now every play is going to end with a shot. The defensive players must work on positioning and boxing out based on where the shot takes place. For instance, one player must bust it across the lane to the other side while his teammate must get to the middle. Positioning is very important and players must run to their spots.

2-3 Zone Defense Drill No. 3

Next, the players must react and move based on the high post player receiving the ball. Eventually a shot will go up. This is basically combining the two drills above.

2-3 Zone Defense Drill No. 4

Finally, the defenders work on how to defend a backscreen set at the foul line by the offense. Players must anticipate this and get over the top. To help, look to get a hand in on top. Coaches, be sure to place a major emphasis on footwork and technique.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD  “All Access Syracuse Basketball Practice with Jim Boeheim.” To check out more videos in our All Access library, click here.


There’s a way to compensate a quick swing to corner with the bottom zone line. Hard to explain writing it though.

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