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Archives by Tag 'Defensive Drills'

All Access Richmond Basketball: Coaches Meetings and Offensive Sets

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In this week’s edition of All Access, we take you back to Richmond, Virginia for a behind-the-scenes look inside a University of Richmond men’s basketball practice.

First, watch as head coach Chris Mooney sits down with his coaching staff for a pre-practice meeting. The coaches take turns emphasizing specific goals and strategies the team needs to work on. Finally, we’ll take you out to the basketball court as the Spiders run through baseline charges, the “4 around 1” motion offense, and several other offensive sets.

This all-access pass derives from the first few days of practice during the 2009-10 basketball campaign.

Coaches Pre-Practice Meeting

We start things off with a pre-practice coaches meeting as Coach Mooney and his staff talk about the daily practice plan. Discussions revolve around elbow defense, personnel for drills/sets/coaching points, Robert Parrish comparisons, two-foot finishes, and how to take hits on a drive (see below with “baseline charges”). The roundtable discussion also emphasizes a few other plays and specific areas that players need to work on in order to make them effective.


Baseline Charges

In “baseline charges”, players practice taking charges in the paint. First, a player will start out with possession as the charger and rams into a defender stationed out in the lane. After this, the offensive player quickly changes over to the defender and takes a charge. Players then rotate through. Notice how players yell out to emphasize the hit. Also, zero in on the quality footwork and stance needed to pull off the charge.


4 Around 1 Motion Offense

The “4 Around 1” offense is a motion offense that uses four perimeter players and one post player. It’s an ideal system to use when your team has solid outside players and fewer post players. Meanwhile, it’s also designed to gain favorable matchups.

In this particular practice session, Richmond is coming down the court in their transition spots. On offense, the squad will run staggered screens away after the point guard passes to the wing. They can also look to make a swing pass via staggered screen on the opposite side. Then after either staggered screen move, it’s a “4 around 1” pass and cut.

Coach Mooney also provides some detailed coaching instruction for the defensive players in the drill regarding how they should play the initial passes and staggered screens up top.

Tip: The top guys on defense should have their feet on the elbow and keep their chest facing the ball.


The previous clips can all be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Richmond Basketball Practice with Chris Mooney.” To check our entire collection of All Access videos, simply head over to our basketball library

2 Competitive Defensive Drills that Get Results

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An effective defensive drill should really get your team some key repetitions in practice, reinforce core principles, and replicate game-like situations. In this week’s Playbook Series, we’ll focus on a competitive group drill before getting into denial defense. Check out these two new drills and use them to spice up your practices this year.

Four Groups Defensive Drill

Submitted by Phil Martelli, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA

Divide the players into four groups of two all over the court. The “O’s” have the ball and “X’s” are the defenders. Tell your defensive players to guard the ball for three slides, forcing the ball to the sideline. Meanwhile, the ball handler tries to beat the defender off the dribble.

After the initial slides, both players line up outside the three-point circle (elbows extended) and the ballhandler tries to beat the defender to the basket. The defender should look to force his opposition to the baseline. The players sprint back to their original spot, switch roles, and do it again.


Defensive Denial Drill

Submitted by Alex Allen, Mohawk HS, Marcola, OR

Overview: This effective drills is used to work on the following defensive skills: denying the passing from the point to the wing, denying the ball from the corner to the wing & the post, and using the chest to fend off the offensive player as they make a ballside cut and denying him/her the ball. This drill also gets players to also work on 1-on-1 defensive and offensive skills.

Set-Up: The drill begins with a coach holding a ball at the point and players at positions 1 to 5. 1 is on the right wing area, 2 in the right corner, 3 on the right low block, 4 on the left wing, and 5 in the left corner. Emphasize players on defense they mustbe intense on defense and offensive must make players work hard.

Action: The first defensive player starts by denying the pass from the point to the wing. Player 1 V-cuts back and forth from the wing to the block. The coach passes to 1, either on the wing or via backdoor pass. Next, the coach passes the ball to 2 in the corner. 1 steps aside. Pass the ball to 2 and attempt a few passes down low to 3. The defender covers 3 and defends the post-up and works on post-up defensive strategies.

The ball is then reversed from 2 to the coach, across to 4 and then to 5. As the ball is reversed, the defender down low must adjust accordingly and switch ballside positioning. After 5 gets the ball, 3 cuts hard to the near low post. The defender must chest 3 off as the pass looks to go down low from 5. Once 3 has the ball, he can go 1-on-1 with the defender. See if you can run this drill on both sides of the court simultaneously. Rotate offensive players through each rep.

Keys: We are only working on one defender at a time here in different denial situations.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “35 Dynamic Defensive Drills” by Winning Hoops. To check out more set plays and drills, simply head over to our basketball library.

Shutdown Defense: Key Techniques for Effective Individual Play

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In this week’s player development feature, we’ll focus on individual defensive technique, a crucial area that defenders must be proficient at in order to stop the opposition. Duke assistant coach Chris Gabrielli breaks down key defensive concepts like trailing, angles, and footwork before revealing a key defensive drill to help your defenders take that next step.

The Complete Defender: Individual Technique

A complete defender has terrific individual technique on the ball. You must be able to deter an opponent and stop them from accomplishing what they are trying to do, all while playing within your own team system. The better we can defend the ball, the easier it will be for our off-ball teammates and goalie. Focus on being aware on the field, take a great approach, and put yourself in a good spot to be successful.


Trailing is a term used to describe areas where the ball carrier is going that aren’t threatening to us. For instance, if he’s running toward X, this isn’t threatening to us and we have accomplished something. So the goal is to trail our opponent and keep him over there.



Once a ball carrier decides he wants to become a threat and tries to get to an area that we may be vulnerable, we need to take a proper angle to deter him from getting to that spot. If we beat him to that spot, we then want to hold him. This is where it becomes a strength competition between two opponents. If you are in the proper spot and use the proper technique of holding, you should be in good shape.

We also believe there is a certain progression in defending one-on-one. It all begins with your feet. A good defenseman in our sport is similar to a basketball player. He wants to move his feet and get himself in front of that ball carrier. Our advantage is that we can foul and use our hands and stick to push and hold people.

Next, we emphasize the hands. If we get to the spot with our feet, we can put ourselves in a good position where our hands will be there. Now we can apply some pressure and get our hands on the ball carrier and push them around.

Finally, it’s key to use the stick effectively, sometimes a last resort to throw a check or get the stick in there and lift to force a turnover.

Behind the Cage

Behind the cage, the goal for the ball carrier is to get to 5 & 5, an area five yards off the pipe and five yards off the GLE. If he gets to this area of the field, he’s a threat. The offensive player could inside roll his man and get to the front of the cage easily, he can also step away and shoot, step away and feed, or come up with many other options in this area. Being an aware defender, we don’t want our man getting to that area of the field at all.

So how do we force a player out of this area? It starts with footwork. If the defender can beat his man to his spot with great footwork, he’s thinking of turning him back and not getting to 5 and 5, plus he’s putting himself in a great position to be successful through great footwork. The goal is to turn the defender at a 45-degree point behind the cage. If he doesn’t do that, and say cuts him at the GLE, by the time he stops the goal carrier’s momentum, very often the offensive player will still end up at 5 and 5.

Therefore, we want to beat our man topside by the time he gets to that 45-degree mark behind the net and apply our hands. Play with your feet first, and then with the hands. Do not lunge with the hands. Instead, bring your hands to the correct spot through proper footwork and team speed.

Behind the Cage Drill

For this drill, get the guys to drop the sticks, grab an 8-lb. med ball, and focus on moving their feet quickly, all while having their hands away from their body to apply hands and push opponents out. Once a ball carrier gets into your chest, you will get pushed back and moved around. Defensively, we want to do the pushing and move people around.

This drill gets players to squat with their hands away from the body and moving the feet. Simply, we set out two cones at the 45-degree marks behind the cage. Defenders one at a time go back and forth between the cones moving their feet quickly and holding out the med balls with proper technique. Pretend you are cutting angles as if going against an offensive player.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Becoming a Champion: The Defender.” To check out more defensive oriented videos, head over to our lacrosse library.


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