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In the latest edition of All Access, we head south to sunny Florida for a practice session with Montverde Academy head coach Kevin Boyle. Follow along as the former Naismith National Coach of the Year leads his squad through a variety of breakdown drills focused on man-to-man defense.
Zigzags & Catch up
Last month, we watched UConn women’s head coach Geno Auriemma take his team through a similar zigzag drill. This time, Coach Boyle puts a little wrinkle on the drill as players go with no basketball.
In this example, players must work on getting their head on the ball so they can turn the ball handler. It’s imperative that defenders get in front of the offensive player. It’s really the key to slowing down a team’s fast break.
So why no ball? Well, according to Coach Boyle, you find out that at this level, most players don’t handle the ball well enough yet to make this drill valuable for the defense.
Next, with “Catch Up”, the drill plays out similar to before, except this time defenders must run to a spot about three feet ahead and then beat the offensive guy to that spot.
Getting Under or Over the Screen
Next, get two players on each side of the full court to act as screeners. Defenders must be away of the screen coming their way and get either under or over it. Be sure to make this game speed. Don’t just go through the motions. As for the offensive player, really try to run the defender into the screen. This is good practice for realistic situations in games.
Tracing a Dead Ball
Finally, get two lines set up. Players will go 1-on-1. The offensive player will dribble and then get stuck somewhere on the court. The defender must play up their face and tough defense. The offensive player works on being strong with the ball.
Next, make the drill 2-on-2 and have the new defender deny a second offensive player. The dribbler will run into trouble on the fast break while his teammate works to get open. The deny defender will do everything he can to prevent the pass from happening. Offensive players should look to go backdoor in these situations.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”All Access Basketball Practice with Kevin Boyle.” To browse more videos in our extensive All Access lineup, simply head over to our basketball library.
Take advantage of man-to-man mismatches on the offensive end of the floor with these proven set plays. Read through the breakdown of each play before seeing them carried out live on the basketball court in a 5-on-5 situation.
Quick Hitting Lob Play
Submitted by Les Wilson, Washington HS, Washington, IN
The set up: Player 1 has the ball up top. Players 2 and 5 are at opposite elbows, while players 4 and 3 are at opposite low blocks.
The action: From a 1-2-2 set, 2 and 3 break to the free throw line extended on their respective sides. Player 1 then passes to 3 and cuts to the ballside corner behind the three-point line.
The finish: From here, player 4 breaks wide to the weakside corner while 5 pops to the top. 3 passes to 5 who quickly reverses the ball to 2. As the pass is in the air and going towards player 2, player 3 quickly cuts up and sets a backscreen for 5. 5 curls around the screen and breaks hard toward the basket. Player 2 throws to 5 for a lob opportunity.
Set Play for a Mismatch
Submitted by Tom Reiter, Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, PA
This play incorporates spacing and takes advantage of a mismatch situation so an offense can make a quick-hitting offensive advantage.
The set up: Get in a 3-out, 2-low alignment, with 1 at the top of the key, 2 on the left side above the arc, and 3 on the right side above the arc, plus 4 on the baseline and 5 on the baseline (for spacing and isolation purposes).
The action: 1 dribbles up to the top of the key, passes to 2, and then runs to the ballside corner. 4 comes up to set a screen on the ball. As 2 dribbles off the screen, 1 cuts across the lane to screen for 5. 2 passes to 5 for a layup.
Options: If the post-up is not there, 4 should screen for 1 for a jump shot. 3 spots up on weakside for a possible skip pass from 2.
Looking for ways to increase intensity and toughness on the defensive side of the ball? In this week’s team concepts feature, Northern Iowa head basketball coach Ben Jacobson reveals three energetic man-to-man defensive drills that will provide a solid foundation for your practices.
Overview: This first drill works on technique and building the mindset that “We will guard the basketball.” It’s a great drill to do during the first few months of practices.
How it Works: Start in the far baseline corner. When players get to the elbow, they should make a jump stop. After this, make a reverse pivot, make three defensive slides, turn, and sprint to half court. Make a jump stop at half court. Then make a defensive slide all the way across half court. Next, repeat but on the other side of the court. Finish by sliding across the baseline to your original starting point.
Keys to the Drill:
-Shoulders and head must stay level. Widen your hands out.
-On jump stops, make sure your feet are wider than your shoulders.
-Players should say, “Push push push” while making a slide. Talk the entire time.
This is one of Coach Jacobson’s favorite drills. An offensive player starts at half court and must get the ball to the end line. They are NOT trying to score. The offensive player must stay inside the free throw line extended area on both sides. He/she only has this alley to get the ball to the endline. Defensively, it’s all about working on technique and avoiding fouls. There will be some contact, but it’s essential to do this drill without fouling.
Tips: Start with the dribble alive. Turn the defender as many times as you can. Any time the ball goes outside the lane lines, you must move back three feet and start again. Keep your feet on the ground with hands wide. Rotate through three offensive guys and then switch defenders.
For this final drill, it’s a similar set-up to the last drill except now we are starting from the wing area and the offensive player is looking to score.
Defensively, don’t get beat baseline. Look to level the dribble off going toward the top of the key. Trace the basketball with one hand. It’s the job of the defender to stop the offense with a loose ball recovery, charge, or defensive rebound. The offensive player only has three dribbles. Look to go through three offensive players before switching out. Defenders, get those hands up and chest out on every shot.
Submitted by Brian Barnes, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, The Sage Colleges
The Set-Up: Divide into three teams with a coach on the baseline with a basketball. Four defensive players will start underneath the basket. Four offensive players will start out on the perimeter. Two will be in each corner and two will be about three feet off the lane-line and outside of the three-point line. Finally, the third team fills in behind the offensive players and will wait to come on.
The Action: The coach throws the ball to one of the offensive players and yells “Close Out.” The defensive team will close out hard to the ball or help. Play is now live.
How to Award Points: A point is awarded for a defensive stop. If the defense gets a stop, they stay on defense and the new offense comes on. If the offense scores a basket or gets fouled in the act of shooting, they will become the new defensive unit.
There will always be a new team on offense after each possession. As for fouls on the ground, we check up with the same two teams and close out again. Also, if there’s one offensive rebound in a possession, the defense cannot be awarded a point. However, if they get a stop, you can play the same two teams again. If there are two offensive rebounds in a possession, this will send the defensive group to the end of the line and the offensive group becomes the new defensive unit.
The Kicker: Additionally, the coaching staff can kick off the defense at any point for not executing any of the defensive principles you are looking to use to build your man defense. For instance, our coaches will kick off a defensive unit that doesn’t close-out properly, doesn’t apply strong ball pressure, lacks communication, allows dribble splits or dribble penetration down the middle, or doesn’t defend screens properly.
Summary: This is a terrific drill to build your man-to-man team defense. It’s competitive and the players love it – especially the aspect of removing a team from defense for not executing what you are looking to implement. In other words, it creates a great learning environment. Rarely do we kick the same team off twice in a row for making the same mistake.
Know of an effective basketball drill that really improves the performance of your team? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.