All-Access Kentucky Basketball: Charges, Stunts, and Lunges

In the latest edition of All-Access, we return to Lexington, Kentucky for an exclusive look inside a University of Kentucky men’s basketball practice. Follow along as head coach John Calipari walks through a number of team defensive drills focusing on charges, stunts, and lunges.

Charges and Loose Balls

First, we’re going to teach players how to dive and take charges. According to Coach Calipari, if players think that if they dive they will get hurt, they will never dive for a ball. Therefore at Kentucky, the coaching staff teaches players to grab the ball like a football player and roll to your back. They now understand that it doesn’t hurt to dive. Plus, the fans go crazy when you do this in games.

It’s essential that players know how to dive and take a charge. In terms of stance, you  need to get down and get back. You should be landing on your back and butt with your hands up. If you put your hands down, it’s easier to injure your wrists.

The drill starts with a coach driving to the basket and a player stepping up and taking a charge in the lane. Then this player gets up and dives for a loose ball on his back. You should not hit any elbows. Also, don’t get your hands underneath you. There’s where you can get injured. That’s also why it’s important to practice this stuff.



With this drill, players head down to the corner and are guarding an offensive guy. A coach will drive and as he drives, the defensive player must time his stunt. As the player stunts, the coach throws that pass and the player will look to intercept it. It’s important for players to time this. Also, you need to have an act and let the opponent think you are coming. Stab at him and then go. Do this drill on both sides of the court.



Coach Calipari’s teams will do this lunge drill from the beginning of practice until March or April. It’s vital to teach our players how to guard the basketball. The other stuff is easy because it’s team-oriented. But guarding the ball is about you. When a player drives, look to lunge out whichever way he goes. Follow along below as Kentucky works through sets of single, double, and triple lunges.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Kentucky Basketball Practice 2010-2011” with John Calipari. To check out more college teams in our All Access lineup, visit our basketball DVD library.


John Calipari is a great coach. Basketball is not only Xes and Os, but it’s a matter of attitudes and perspectives!

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