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Incredibly Effective Defensive Drills: The 4-on-4-on-4 Drill

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - Leave a Comment

In this week’s team concepts feature, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich reveals one of his all-time favorite defensive drills. Extremely competitive and fast-paced, this particular team drill helps establish defense as the foundation of your squad. Coach Popovich will first walk through the drill and hit on key coaching points before letting the players go full speed for multiple reps. 

4-on-4-on-4 – How it Works

This is a competitive defensive drill that helps establish defense as your core. According to Coach Popovich, it’s also a drill that tells you how minutes will be determined. In other words, if you can’t play defense, you’re not going to play as much.

This half-court drill is more basketball oriented than other defensive drills, which is a big reason why Coach Popovich uses it  so often with his own team. At the end of the day, you win by playing defense.

Start the drill off by eliminating pick & rolls and post ups. Now this is real basketball. You can pass and go through or pass and screen away. You can dribble all you want. You score by making stops. The first team to 7 stops is the winner.

As soon as the ball goes through the net or the play is over, the next team is ready and waiting at half court. The reward for the defense making a stop? Staying on DEFENSE. Meanwhile, the previous offense moves off the court and a new team comes on and attacks. If you score, your reward is to go on defense. There are no points rewarded for scoring. You only accumulate points for stopping. If the defense doesn’t get possession, it’s not a stop.

Drill at Full Speed

On the heels of walking through the drill, the three teams of four are now ready to play at full speed. Since we are eliminating pick & rolls and post ups, it’s crucial that players are moving well out on the basketball floor.

Coaching Points: The new defense must pick up the new offense instantly during transitions. There’s simply no room for a slow response. If you are slow reacting,  you’re going to get burned. Also, be careful not to shoot too quickly or put up bad shots. You can get into a hole real quick and have agitated teammates at the same time.

The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Gregg Popovich: My Favorite Drills and the Motion Offense.” To check out more videos featuring defensive concepts, click here

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