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In this week’s Playbook Series, we highlight three proven defensive drills that focus on transition basketball. Competitive and effective at improving defensive recovery, these drills should become staples in your future practice plans.
Never Too Late Drill
Submitted by Will Mayer, Middletown North HS, Middletown, NJ
“Never too late” runs for three minutes before the offensive and defensive players switch off. A coach is on the sideline and inbounds the ball to either player 1 or player 2. Meanwhile, player X2 is starting at the hash mark, gets back on defense while X1, positioned on the opposite foul line, sprints in behind to provide catch-up defense in transition.
Look to put a scoring system in place where an offensive basket counts for one point and a defensive stop or turnover results in minus two points for the offensive team. After both teams have played offense for the three minutes, the team with the least amount of points must run laps.
Two Player Recovery Drill
This next transition drill uses the same time limits and scoring system as the previous drill. Player 1 begins the drill by passing to player 2. Player 2 then passes to player 3. Meanwhile 3 and 4 attack defender X1 in a 2-on-1 situation. X2 must sprint back as soon as X1 makes his or her pass and tries to provide defensive help while on transition.
The offense rotates after each possession in the following manner: 5 goes to 1’s spot, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to the end of 4’s line, and 4 to the end of 1’s line.
Breakdown drill for 2-2-1 Full Court Press
Submitted by Larry King, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
This breakdown drill enhances your team’s presses using groups of three players. To begin, there are three offensive players going against three defensive players playing over a full court. O1 starts in the right corner, while O2 and O3 are located at half court, one on each side of the floor. X1 is positioned on the foul line in the backcourt, x2 is at half court, and x3 is at the foul line in the front court.
Restrictions for the offense: O1 must take three dribbles before passing to either O2 or O3. O2 and O3 must catch the first pass in the front court. O2 and O3 cannot cross into the backcourt to catch a pass.
The drill begins with X1 passing the ball back to O1. X1 forces O1 up the right sideline and must prevent O1 from dribbling to the middle of the floor. At the same time, X1 and X2 are trying to trap O1 just before or just beyond half court. X3 is trying to steal the pass that O1 is trying to throw to O2 or O3. If the pass cannot be stolen, X3 must quickly get back under the basket ready to play 1-on-2 against O2 and O3 until X 1 and X2 recover and come back to play help defense.
The goal for the offense is to score in a fast break situation. If there’s no score, the play should evolve into a 3-on-3 contest.