Pick up a pair of proven defensive basketball drills from Northern Iowa head men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson. These “fundamental” drills are considered crucial pieces of Jacobson’s practice plans throughout the basketball season (Yes, even in March) and are considered to be very effective tools for improving team defensive play.
Numbers Rebounding Drill
Overview/Set-up: Start in a 3-on-3 format and get the ball up top. There will be three defensive players in the middle of the lane facing away from the basket, almost stacked but spaced apart by a foot. Meanwhile, there are three offensive players around the horn, two in opposite corners, and one up top.
The Action: The first defensive player is 1, the second is 2, and the third is 3. Those are their assigned numbers. The coach will pass the ball to one of the three offensive players around the horn. The coach will also call out a number. That assigned player will then go out and contest the basketball. For example, if the coaches passes it to the top and calls out 1, the first player will come out with high hands and contest the shot. The remaining players will communicate and then split and block out to get the rebound. As for the offensive players, all they do is catch the ball and shoot.
Coaching Points and Tips: When blocking out, whichever way the offensive guy goes, it’s important to get our contact and ride with him. If he goes to the middle of the floor, we must front pivot, put a forearm in his chest, ride with him, open up, put your tailbone into his legs, and block out from there. Then go get the rebound. If the offensive player goes baseline, we need to pivot, get inside the man, ride with him, and then go get the ball. Fight until you come up with it.
Set-up: In this 3-on-3 defensive drill, three offensive players will set up around the horn with three defenders as well. The ball starts up top midway between the top of the key and half court.
The Action: The drill starts with an advantage for the ball handler. He will drive it hard to the hoop until he gets stopped. The defender’s job is to catch up and get things leveled off. The help defenders must stay and help.
After a pass to either wing, the new ball handler will sweep and drive baseline as hard as they can. Our job defensively is to cut this off. We can do this in two ways: Work on taking a charge OR cut them off and hold your ground. Next, the ball handler will pass it baseline to his opposite teammate. From here, the help defender will look to bat that pass down. After the deflection, a coach will take a second ball and pass it to the opposite wing player. Finally, players will scramble, recover, and the action is now live from this spot.
Goal: Get a stop out of this, whether through a knockdown, steal, rebound, charge, etc.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Ben Jacobson: Fundamental Drills for Basketball Practice.” To check out more basketball DVDs featuring drills for both offense and defense, head over to our basketball library.
Looking for ways to increase intensity and toughness on the defensive side of the ball? In this week’s team concepts feature, Northern Iowa head basketball coach Ben Jacobson reveals three energetic man-to-man defensive drills that will provide a solid foundation for your practices.
Overview: This first drill works on technique and building the mindset that “We will guard the basketball.” It’s a great drill to do during the first few months of practices.
How it Works: Start in the far baseline corner. When players get to the elbow, they should make a jump stop. After this, make a reverse pivot, make three defensive slides, turn, and sprint to half court. Make a jump stop at half court. Then make a defensive slide all the way across half court. Next, repeat but on the other side of the court. Finish by sliding across the baseline to your original starting point.
Keys to the Drill:
-Shoulders and head must stay level. Widen your hands out.
-On jump stops, make sure your feet are wider than your shoulders.
-Players should say, “Push push push” while making a slide. Talk the entire time.
This is one of Coach Jacobson’s favorite drills. An offensive player starts at half court and must get the ball to the end line. They are NOT trying to score. The offensive player must stay inside the free throw line extended area on both sides. He/she only has this alley to get the ball to the endline. Defensively, it’s all about working on technique and avoiding fouls. There will be some contact, but it’s essential to do this drill without fouling.
Tips: Start with the dribble alive. Turn the defender as many times as you can. Any time the ball goes outside the lane lines, you must move back three feet and start again. Keep your feet on the ground with hands wide. Rotate through three offensive guys and then switch defenders.
For this final drill, it’s a similar set-up to the last drill except now we are starting from the wing area and the offensive player is looking to score.
Defensively, don’t get beat baseline. Look to level the dribble off going toward the top of the key. Trace the basketball with one hand. It’s the job of the defender to stop the offense with a loose ball recovery, charge, or defensive rebound. The offensive player only has three dribbles. Look to go through three offensive players before switching out. Defenders, get those hands up and chest out on every shot.
Northern Iowa head men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson is a big believer in constantly working on fundamental drills throughout the year. This 3-on-3 Defensive Shell Drill is one of Coach Jacobson’s favorite and most effective overall drills, a tool he uses every day to help build his team’s defense.
The Set-Up: Get a player guarding the ball. The other two defensive players are just off the opposite elbows and playing in a help position. Meanwhile, the two other offensive players are on the wings to begin. Start things off by passing the ball to the wing. Next, as the ball is moved to the wing, the guy at the point will set up just off that elbow. The opposite defender will set up just below that midline in the paint with his ballside foot slightly forward.
Start the drill with all three defenders inside the lane line and facing a coach with the ball under the basket. The coach will throw the ball out to any of the three offensive players. Make sure that players yell out BALL as they approach their opponent. Other players should get into their help positions. Next, make 4 or 5 passes and then rotate. Be sure to move fast between reps. Also, there should be no dribbling for the offense to start.
Angle of Approach: When the ball gets thrown from the top to the wing, it’s important to maintain a proper angle of approach to get to the basketball. In other words, we must get underneath the ball and approach head on. Therefore, players should first step down the floor. Now, they will be able to approach so they go head on with their weight back and both hands high and yelling “Ball.” The angle is something players must really work at. Also, don’t approach on the high side or else you can easily get beat baseline.
When it comes to guarding the dribble, the goal for the offense is to look to drive and get two feet in the paint with the basketball. As for wing players, their job is to beat defenders baseline or turn to the middle and get into the paint. If you do drive it, you must return to where you started and stay there. There should be no screening or moving.
Look to go 12 seconds and have the defense keep the ball out of the paint and guard the baseline. Rotate after the 12 seconds. The overall amount of seconds that the offense gets into the paint determines how many sprints the defense must do after the drill.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Ben Jacobson: Fundamental Drills for Basketball Practice.” To check out more basketball DVDs featuring drills for both offense and defense, head over to our basketball library.
No matter if it’s the preseason or middle of the season, Northern Iowa head men’s basketball coach Ben Jacobson works on fundamental skills with his team throughout the campaign — whether it be shooting, passing, dribbling, or rebounding. In this week’s team development feature, learn two effective fundamental basketball drills from Coach Jacobson that should pay immediate dividends with your squad this year.
While a very basic drill, the two minute layup drill is a great way to start practice. It’s typically run at the start of practice to get their minds working. It also promotes communication and works on passing and catching at the same time.
Put two minutes on the clock. Players must make 22 layups in two minutes. Jacobson’s players have gotten to 23, though it took some practice. However, the only way to reach that goal is to make each layup, make sure they are clean, and ensure the ball doesn’t hit the rim or hit the floor. In other words, you can’t have any errors.
Start at the free throw line at the far end of the court. Three players at a time should be spread out evenly. Players are just passing and catching all the way down the court. Be sure to shoot each layup without a dribble. As it comes through the net, the next guy in the middle will grab it and start up with his new group. The ball should never hit the floor, so be sure to use only chest passes. Tip: The rebounder should grab the ball on the run. Each pass has got to be on the money.
This drill works both offense and defense. You need one player on offense and one player on defense. The goals of the drill are to defend without fouling, contain the dribble, turn the ball handler, and don’t foul.
Guarding the basketball is the key to our entire defense. With that said, players must be able to play 1-on-1 basketball. Remember, if you can guard the basketball, you don’t have to be in help defense as long and you don’t have to go into rotations.
The offensive player will handle the ball starting at half court. He can only work within the free throw lines extended out to half court. He must get the ball from the half court line to the end line. This player is not trying to score but rather attempting to get to the endline with a jumpstop. Defensively, we are working on turning the player and making it as hard as it can for the offensive player.
Key to playing defense: Keeping your feet on the ground and being in a position to defend. Positioning is very important.
Note: If the ball is knocked loose, go get it. You can also run this drill with one offensive guy vs. three defensive players or one defensive guy against three offensive players. This will really work each player and give them increased reps against fresh troops.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Ben Jacobson: Fundamental Drills for Basketball Practice.” To check out more videos featuring drills and fundamental skills, head over to our extensive basketball library.
We have recently released four new basketball DVDs featuring Ben Jacobson (UNI), Chris Mack (Xavier University), Homer Drew (Valparaiso University), and Brad Brownell (Clemson University)! Check out the practice drills, zone offense, and the pick and roll offense from these top coaches!