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Huntington Prep (WV) has produced such stars as Andrew Wiggins (Top Recruit for the 2013-2014 College Season) and Gorgui Deng (Starting Center for the 2013 National Champion Louisville Cardinals). Head Coach, Rob Fulford, has his team perform the ‘Ironman Drill’ which Huntington Prep uses to promote toughness within its basketball program. It is made up of four components, three of which are on the defensive end of the floor.
Athlete Movements: The player in the drill first must contend with contact in the post. That player is pushed and bumped. Second, that same player must dive for a loose ball near the opposite sideline and simulate tipping it to a teammate. Next, that same player must simulate being in help defense inside the lane and taking a charge from a coach, who drives middle. Finally, that player caps off the drill by receiving a length of the floor pass and converting a layup or dunk down on the opposite end of the court. Not only does this drill teach toughness, but it also encourages enthusiasm among the team.
1) Accept that there is contact in basketball
2) Proper timing when diving for a loose ball
3) Make sure your shoulders are square and feet are set when taking a charge
4) Sprint the floor and time getting to a long pass for a layup
The previous clip can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Huntington Prep High School Basketball Practice.” View the latest video selections on Player Training.
Watch as Assistant Coach Jason Breyo, at Lambert, Georgia High School, teaches the basics needed for good defensive play. It begins with a Five Yard Side-to-Side drill (without sticks). The next progression of this drill is to incorporate the players stick called the Five Yard Side-to-Side drill (with sticks). The conclusion of this progression adds an attackman.
How it Works: Cones are placed on a line about 5 to 10 yards apart. The player is to step behind the first cone, stand in an athletic stance on the balls of his feet, with his hands out front; Then shuffles to the other cone and back. The next progression of this drill now incorporates the player’s stick. The player is to lift their stick in the air, because of the uncertainty which direction the offensive player will go.
The last step is to add an Attackman. The defensive player is to keep his stick in front of the offensive player, lift it at the end, and place it again in front of the offensive player as he changes direction. This part of the drill also gives the offensive players an opportunity to practice cradling with one hand and changing hands in order to keep their body between the defender and the ball.
Drill Tips: When shuffling to the cone, be sure that the players do not cross their feet.
Jason Breyo, Assistant Coach at Lambert High School in Georgia, introduces the youth players to the concept of transition defense, otherwise known as stopping the fast break opportunity. The goal here is to slow the fast break to allow the other defensive players to get back and help.
How it Works: In this segment, he stresses to the defensive player to play the man with the ball.
Drill Tips: Do not commit too early or over commit so that the offense can recover and play the pass to the other player and be in a position to play that man.
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.