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By becoming proficient at help-side defense, your team will be well on its way towards playing dominant man-to-man defense. In this week’s team concepts feature, follow along with legendary basketball coach Bob Knight as he breaks down help-side defense in a half-court setting.
When it comes to help-side defense, it’s important to remember that there’s a line right up the middle of the floor that separates help-side and ball-side. For help-side defenders, you want to stay one step on your man’s side of the basket. Up top, players should be slightly open to the ball and with hands out in the passing lane and down. Meanwhile, in the post, play your man one step slightly open to the ball and one step on the man side of the bucket with the ball above the foul line extended.
When the ball is moved to from the top to a wing area (let’s say the left wing for this simulation), all players should be focused on the ball. Watch the clip below to see the players move now when the ball goes from ballside to helpside.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Bob Knight: Advanced Tactics & Techniques for Man to Man Defense.” To check out more videos featuring Coach Knight, click here.
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.
In this week’s edition of All-Access, we return to Lawrence, Kansas for a behind-the-scenes look at a Kansas men’s basketball practice. Head coach Bill Self leads his squad through defensive stations, which includes back/fade screens, fronting the cutter, and down screens. Follow along with Coach Self and the Jayhawks and look for ways that you can implement these drills with your own squad this season.
First the team breaks down to three baskets for three different defensive stations. Essentially, each station breaks down the shell drill, which the squad eventually gets into later in practice.
Notes: Players must go full speed at all times. Also, every time that a player closes out, it’s critical to keep the hands high.
The action starts with the down screen station. Players go 2-on-2 with a separate passer and work on proper down screens (both offensively and defensively). Then the action moves into fronting the cutter, where in a 1-on-1 situation, the bigs must fight for positioning down low. Finally, we switch to back/fade screens at the third basket.
Watch below as the Jayhawks rotate through the drills and seamlessly transition to a different defensive technique. When implementing this drill on your home court, always look to switch sides of the floor in each rotation as well.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Kansas Basketball Practice with Bill Self.” Check out our entire collection of All Access videos by clicking here.
In this week’s Playbook Series, we highlight three proven defensive drills that focus on transition basketball. Competitive and effective at improving defensive recovery, these drills should become staples in your future practice plans.
Never Too Late Drill
Submitted by Will Mayer, Middletown North HS, Middletown, NJ
“Never too late” runs for three minutes before the offensive and defensive players switch off. A coach is on the sideline and inbounds the ball to either player 1 or player 2. Meanwhile, player X2 is starting at the hash mark, gets back on defense while X1, positioned on the opposite foul line, sprints in behind to provide catch-up defense in transition.
Look to put a scoring system in place where an offensive basket counts for one point and a defensive stop or turnover results in minus two points for the offensive team. After both teams have played offense for the three minutes, the team with the least amount of points must run laps.
Two Player Recovery Drill
This next transition drill uses the same time limits and scoring system as the previous drill. Player 1 begins the drill by passing to player 2. Player 2 then passes to player 3. Meanwhile 3 and 4 attack defender X1 in a 2-on-1 situation. X2 must sprint back as soon as X1 makes his or her pass and tries to provide defensive help while on transition.
The offense rotates after each possession in the following manner: 5 goes to 1’s spot, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to the end of 4’s line, and 4 to the end of 1’s line.
Breakdown drill for 2-2-1 Full Court Press
Submitted by Larry King, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
This breakdown drill enhances your team’s presses using groups of three players. To begin, there are three offensive players going against three defensive players playing over a full court. O1 starts in the right corner, while O2 and O3 are located at half court, one on each side of the floor. X1 is positioned on the foul line in the backcourt, x2 is at half court, and x3 is at the foul line in the front court.
Restrictions for the offense: O1 must take three dribbles before passing to either O2 or O3. O2 and O3 must catch the first pass in the front court. O2 and O3 cannot cross into the backcourt to catch a pass.
The drill begins with X1 passing the ball back to O1. X1 forces O1 up the right sideline and must prevent O1 from dribbling to the middle of the floor. At the same time, X1 and X2 are trying to trap O1 just before or just beyond half court. X3 is trying to steal the pass that O1 is trying to throw to O2 or O3. If the pass cannot be stolen, X3 must quickly get back under the basket ready to play 1-on-2 against O2 and O3 until X 1 and X2 recover and come back to play help defense.
The goal for the offense is to score in a fast break situation. If there’s no score, the play should evolve into a 3-on-3 contest.
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.