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In this week’s team development feature, former Naismith High School Boys Basketball Coach of the Year Kevin Boyle breaks down effective ways to compete against bigger, more athletic teams on the defensive end of the floor.
So how exactly do we guard people that are bigger than us? Well, if I am more athletic than you, the first thing I want to do is make the game full court. I want to play you between the foul-lines and not let you post up or pass to the wings and dump it in.
Additionally, look to get very aggressive and in the face of your opponent. Be active. Second, challenge every pass. And finally, when pressing or trapping, consider using a diamond press against a team with lower fundamentals. However, if it’s a well-coached team, they know where the traps are. Therefore, against the better teams you should trap man-to-man.
Don’t double team big guys in the backcourt. Never waste the trap in this situation, even in the diamond press. Deny everyone else hard and make the big dribble up the court. With dribbling full-court as a likely weakness, this player is more likely to make a turnover.
Use two players for this drill and start at midcourt. One player has the ball and will dribble hard to the basket and make a layup and the other one will follow. The trailing player gets the rebound.
Next, the shooter touches the foul line and gets ready to play defense against the rebounder on the baseline only. The player with the ball will shuffle side-to-side along the baseline and the defender must now guard aggressively wherever he goes. It’s about getting quickly on the ball after a make.
Get four players for this drill. It’s essentially the same drill as before except now you are going to work on getting the ball inbounds. One player will work on getting open while the other will guard his man three-quarters. When guarding, dig into the opponent with your forearm and chest, push them low, be in a position to steal, and try to be in a good defensive position if they do get the ball. Get pressure right away.
Also, if you are facing a very athletic guard, it’s important to get below the level of the ball. In other words, the player previously guarding the inbounder will now drop and help defend the speedy guard dribbling up the floor.
In the latest team concepts feature, Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley reveals two of his most effective defensive drills. Used frequently by the St. Anthony’s (NJ) basketball program, the following drills prepare players for a variety of game-like scenarios on the defensive end — including odd-man situations, charges, and giving a foul. These drills are a must for any basketball program.
In the “Command Drill”, start by having players get a ball and a partner. Give the players four commands in their stance.
Contest – This means the offense must bring the ball down and eventually take a jump shot and the defense must contest that shot. Players must get their hands up and aggressively contest the shot.
Charge – Set your man up and draw a charge.
Five Seconds – The dribbler will make a backup dribble and the defender must stay on his man tight while the five-second count is still on.
Give a Foul – Practice giving a foul.
Watch below as Coach Hurley runs through each command in the drill with a group of players.
The 5-on-5 Command Drill is similar to before, but a little bit different. Get a two-guard front, two forwards, and a center and go 5-on-5. The offense will look to pass the ball around but now the coach is going to implement 5-on-5 commands.
Drive – The on-ball defender must hit the closest line and everyone else plays 5-on-4. The defense must help each other and play out the scenario live. Stop the ball immediately. Look to push the ball sideline and baseline. This command really works on getting a defense prepared for those odd-man scenarios in a game.
Switch – The defense switches to offense in this case. Communication and rotation is critical to success here.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Hurley’s Practice Planning & Program Development.” To check out more videos featuring Bob Hurley, simply head over to our basketball library.
Have trouble stopping standout players on opposing teams? In the latest team concepts feature, learn effective ways to address match-up concerns in a game. Stevens head men’s lacrosse coach Gene Peluso walks you through his team’s go-to play to shut down the opposition’s best weapon. Improve your defense this year by incorporating these exclusive tips with your own squad.
Overview: Consider this play whenever you encounter major match-up problems in a game. “Black” means that we will lock a specific player or players. This is when we must take them totally out of the play. In these cases, the defender locking the player has no sliding assignments while the black call is in effect.
If the blacking player takes us to the crease, we must make sure we are playing a sliding defense that does not incorporate the crease. In other words, look to play team defense that doesn’t require a crease slide. Communication is key here as there must be a call in place to make sure we are not sliding from the crease.
Goal: In blacking situations, the goal is to make it very difficult for this player to get the ball. Make sure that you are prepared to communicate through things if he moves us to the crease or gets the ball.
As for the defender locked on the black offensive player, it’s his job and only job to make sure his opponent doesn’t get the ball. The rest play 5-on-5. However, this defender is released of any team defense responsibilities. If he is taken to the crease, we need to slide from a different spot. Therefore, we have to realize that he is not part of the package and we must react defensively.
Coach Peluso uses this drill frequently in practices and pre-game to work on game-like unsettled situations and match-up issues. To get started, have your offensive players lined up at the midfield line. Meanwhile, get the defense lined up on the sideline. Next, a coach will roll a ball out and call out a number for the offense such as “four.” This means that four players will go in on offense. The defense will always send one less defender so the scenario plays out 4-vs-3.
Tips: Look to play to a shot or to a clear. Incorporate your transition offense and defense. Add a wrinkle by switching the offense to the sideline and defense to the midline. You can also add different scenarios to mix things up, like where the offense has one less player than the defense. Play to points to make it competitive. Coach Peluso’s players really get pumped for this drill. Add this one to your practice plan if you’re looking for an effective team favorite.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Drills and Techniques to Develop Up-Tempo Defense” with Gene Peluso. Check out our entire catalog of defensive lacrosse videos by clicking here.
In this week’s Playbook Series, we highlight three highly-effective defensive drills that will give teams a ton of reps in a short period of time. Covering themes such as help-side defense, charging, and low post defense, these proven drills will pay major dividends for your squad this season.
By Len Garner, North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, GA
Easy to run and very efficient, the “3 Plus 1 Drill” improves your players’ knowledge of team defense and rotations and teaches them how to give and receive defensive help.
Set up three defensive players around the perimeter just inside the three-point arc. Place a fourth defender in the middle of the lane. Also, three offensive players are positioned outside the three-point arc and around the perimeter. These players are looking to move the ball side to side and penetrate with the goal of scoring.
Meanwhile, the defensive players must work on containment, help-side defense, and middle post player rotation. The player in the middle (X4) must communicate with his teammates and alert them of picks, slide-throughs, and more. Run a pre-determined number of offensive possessions or run the drill for a set time limit and then switch up the groups.
By Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA
Divide players into four pairs (with four offensive players and four defensive players). Next, a coach will call out a defensive command. The defensive commands are:
Shooter – The offensive player shows the ball as he/she would to shoot. The defender works on close out techniques and sliding to the shooter. The player with ball does not shoot.
Passer – A player must guard the offensive player while he/she waves the ball around looking to make a pass.
Charge – The offensive player dribbles at the defender and the defender takes the charge. To avoid injury, teach proper charge techniques before doing this drill.
Five-Second Count – The offensive player dribbles for a few steps and then picks up the ball. The defender closes hard and swarms him for five seconds, simulating a forced turnover. The defender must guard at game-like intensity and at full speed.
By Jason Graves, Ritenour HS, Saint Louis, MO
Take the same drill set-up as before but now place an offensive player in the low post. Tell your defenders to guard the player with the ball and then drop down and guard against a low post entry pass. Work the defensive technique into whatever your team is specifically working on. The offensive players should look to score.
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.