Richard Pitino, the University of Minnesota Head Basketball Coach, goes 3-on-3 full court everyday in practice. This drill helps your players develop lateral quickness while pressuring the basketball. You must defend with your feet and slide, not hand check.
Drill Summary: The drill starts in the half court, but once there is a stop or a made basket both teams will go up and down. Coach Pitino does not want his wings denying in the half court. He wants them to protect the paint and help off the dribble. This is a great conditioner for your players as well. They can work on pressuring the ball and handling full court pressure while getting in better basketball shape.
Coach Pitino talks about the scoring system which he uses for practice and games. It rewards his players for deflections and charges taken.
1) Pressure the basketball and speed up the ball handler.
2) Create an overall fast tempo. If your opponent plays at a faster pace, they will be more than likely to turn the ball over.
3) Don’t deny the wing in the half court. Be sure to be in position to help on dribble penetration to protect the lane.
Miller Grove (GA) High School Head Coach, Sharman White, has been an extremely successful coach with strong defensive basketball teams. Coach White takes you through a defensive reaction drill that pits one defender against three different offensive situations. The player must react to the coach’s commands and perform various defensive fundamentals for success.
Drill Setup: Three cones are placed on the court and given a color name. A cone is placed at the left short corner, right short corner and top of the key. Three guys are put on offense at each cone with one defender under the basket.
Drill Summary: The player must react to the coach’s call. This helps gain great reaction to certain areas and situations on the court. Below are a list of situations at each cone:
Sean Miller, the University of Arizona Men’s Basketball Coach, explains the responsibilities of help defense and how to properly close out on to the basketball so that you can challenge a shot and contain the dribble at the same time. The ability to close out effectively will make you a great defensive player.
Coach Miller puts a great deal of emphasis on teaching how to properly close out on to the basketball within the high school, grade school, and youth league levels. He stresses that it’s critical to understand the “Ball, You, Man” concept at an early age. Defenders, not playing the basketball, should be in help position and seeing the ball on one side of the floor and the person you’re responsible for guarding on the opposite side of the floor at all times.
Once the ball is in the air and on its way to the person you’re responsible for guarding, you must close out on the ball. When closing out on the ball, you must be quick, but also under control so the offensive player does not blow by you and get into the paint with the dribble. High hands are also crucial when closing out on the ball so that a jump shot can be contested.
1) “Ball, You, Man” while in help position defensively
2) To start your close out begin with your foot which is closest to the man you’re guarding
3) Steps go from big to small when closing out
4) Low body
5) High hands which are bent at the elbow
6) You should be able to reach out and touch the offensive player who possesses the ball
Bill Self, the University of Kansas Head Basketball Coach, drills the habits of good man-to-man defense everyday with his Shell Drill. In this clip of an early practice, you will see the intensity that he demands from his young Jayhawk team.
Shell Drill: Front the Cutter and Down Screens
In this 4 on 4 version of the classic shell drill, the coach will start with the ball and then pass to an offensive player. The offense is playing live and trying to score out of two situations – one situation is setting a down screen, and the other situation is making a basket cut after making a guard to wing pass. The defense must defend by properly guarding a down screen, and fronting the cutter after jumping to the ball. You will hear Coach Self emphasizing important defensive concepts such as talk, jump to the ball, close out with high hands, and stay in stance.
Fran Fraschilla shows how a team can communicate early and switch like positions (guards only or forwards only). This is a good drill for a team to learn and practice man-to-man defensive situations.