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Coach Fran Fraschilla believes in really looking at defense in terms of preparation prior to the season, and making sure that drills are logical, progressive, and habitual. He also believes in the “Overload Principle,” where conditions are created within the drills that are harder for players than game situations. The ‘Switch Drill’ and ‘Change Drill’ are two drills that instill this principle and build communication and mental toughness for players.
The Switch drill is a variation of a drill made famous by Coach Bob Knight. Watch how Coach Fraschilla shows this as a drill that will promote a tremendous amount of talk defensively. The drill begins in a 4-on-4 Shell Drill setting. The offensive team will pass and cut until the coach makes a “Switch” call. At that point, the offensive puts the ball on the floor and the offense goes to defense, while the defense goes to offense. One restriction is that when you switch to defense, you cannot guard the man that was guarding you.
The Change Drill progresses from the Switch Drill, by working on defensive transition and building defense from the inside-out in a full-court setting. The Change Drill is run until the coach says “Change”, which initiates the offense going to defense and defense going to offense, but this time the players are changing ends.
Teaching Points: For the Switch Drill, this promotes a tremendous amount of communication and teamwork to get the ball stopped, and keep it out of the lane. And for the Change Drill, this forces talk amongst the players, and also for the new defensive team to sprint back to the paint and immediately build their defense out.
Huntington Prep Head Coach, Rob Fulford, has produced 23 NCAA Division I basketball players from 2010 – 2013 including Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Deng. Help defense is the name of the game in this next clip which features both the “Sword Fighting Drill” and the “Help & Recover Drill.” The “Sword Fighting Drill” is used to practice stopping dribble penetration into a gap of the defense and then recovering. While the “Help & Recover Drill” uses the same concepts except in a 3-on-3 setting.
Player Movements: In the “Sword Fighting Drill”, players pair up across from each other and simulate coming together to stop a dribble drive. They will touch hands to stop the ball and then recover or close out to their man with a hand up to contest a potential shot. Coach Fulford stresses quickly stepping in to help and then to step out to recover. This is a simple drill but it really drives home the need to recover with a hand up if that ball handler kicks the basketball to a shooter after he is stopped driving middle.
In the “Help & Recover Drill”, three perimeter players are looking to drive the ball into the gaps of the defense. The defenders must help or pinch to stop the dribble. As with the “Sword Fighting Drill”, the defense must recover with a hand up to contest a shot when the ball is kicked out to the perimeter.
Teaching Points: React quickly and stop dribble penetration (Prevent gap penetration). Recover quickly with a hand up to contest a potential 3-point shot
The previous clip can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Huntington Prep High School Basketball Practice.” To view the latest video selections on Player Training, click here.
Coach Fran Fraschilla is an International Basketball Analyst for ESPN and he believes in building great habits on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor. Watch how he teaches how to guard a down screen in a 4 on 4 setting, and how he tailors the drill to fit the personnel and philosophy of his team.
Player Movements: Watch as Coach Fraschilla teaches the players how to switch the same down screen. Players follow his philosophy of “Switch Equals”, and the 3 Rules of Switching: Talk, Touch, and Take.
Drill Tips: This switching style is ideal for defensive teams where players are the same size.
Experienced U.S. Lacrosse Women’s National team coach, Amy Bokker, puts together a defensive drill that is sure to prepare defenders of all levels to focus on the fundamentals of their defensive approach. Her ‘Defensive Box Breakdown Step Drill’ is a great way to start off partner work with a defensive mindset to get a lot of reps in before going into a small game environment.
You begin the drill with (4) cones and (2) players. Set up a rectangle about 15 x 8 yards. Players will begin on opposite sides of the rectangle (15 yards away from each other).
The player that starts off with the ball will play defense, she will pass the ball outside of the box to the attacker, drop her stick and work hard to quickly make contact with her attacker as high as she can and as quickly as possible on an angle. She will do this 5 more times and then become the attacker.
After each partner has played defense, have the defender then utilize her lacrosse stick and concentrate on presenting the lane she wants the attacker to take by taking away the strong side with her stick and continuing to keep her defensive focus.
- Body Positioning: Approaching at an angle to force your attacker out of the box
- Good Footwork: Breaking down your steps to keep the attackers movement lateral (east/west vs. north south)
- Good Hand Positioning: To control your attacker, turn her back and slow her down.
Rollins College Head Coach, Dennis Short, led his team to a 2012 NCAA Final Four appearance and knows what can take your defense to the next level. Coach Short’s defensive instruction segment provides great information on how to dictate where you want your attacker to go rather than reacting to your attacker.
Staying behind the attacker is key when they tuck in. This allows your defender to make a check on the opponent’s stick. It will also help you block the attacker from rolling and giving your fellow defender the chance to come to help.
As the defender comes toward an attacker, line up the inside shoulder with the attacker’s shoulders. Run with the attacker in a trail position and keep your stick up. The defender will continue to stay behind and on the strong side of the attacker.
For better “team” defense, focus on the mechanics of the body and hand positioning of forcing. Always maintain a trail position!