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Archives by Tag 'Team Defense'

2 Highly Competitive Defensive Drills that Pay Dividends

By adam.warner - Last updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Check out these two defensive drills designed to promote solid fundamentals, repetition and competition amongst teammates. Read through the explanation of each drill before seeing them performed in action and on the court with real players and coaches. Look for ways to implement these drills with your own team to add a few wrinkles to your next practice.

3-on-3 Compete Drill

Submitted by Ron Twichell, Fort Zumwalt West HS, O’Fallon, MO

This is a high-energy defensive drill that Coach Twichell runs at the end of practice every day. It’s highly competitive and his players love it.

Two coaches/managers should be on the baseline and two more coaches/managers should be at half-court. Next, three defenders should be ready to take on three offensive players. The rest of the team is evenly distributed behind those lines. The defense must force three consecutive stops, either via missed shot and rebound, steal, forced turnover or charge. The three defenders must stay in the drill until they get three stops. If the offensive team scores, the next group steps in to play offense.


Shot Fake and Close Out Drill

Submitted by Tom Oswald, Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, TX

This is a versatile and effective drill that Coach Oswald uses for offensive and defensive purposes, but particularly for defensive work. The drill is especially helpful in the areas of closing out and defensive help.

Begin the drill with three offensive players positioned behind the perimeter three-point line, with two on opposite wings and one at the top of the key. Meanwhile, one defender should begin under the basket and one coach/manager should be behind the three-point line. There should also be a single-file line of players under the basket on the baseline.

The coach initiates the drill with a pass to any of the offensive players. The defender executes a close out that fits within the team’s own defensive philosophy, likely forcing the opposition to the middle or the baseline. The defender guards the player with the ball for two defensive slides.

The next person in line also steps in and must be ready to provide help on any penetration. Offensively, the player with the ball will execute a shot fake, sweep or can penetrate either to the middle or baseline with the intention of getting to the basket. If there’s help, the player should pull-up and pass to a teammate. Teammates must also slide to spots along the three-point line with feet and hands ready for a kick-out and shot.

Here’s the rotation for the drill. The initial defender becomes an offensive player. The help defender becomes the close out defender and the penetration player goes to end of line.


The previous drills can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 35 Dynamic Defensive Drills” by Winning Hoops. Check out more plays from the Winning Hoops collection by clicking here.

Developing the Individual Defender: Goal-line Drill with Cones

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In this week’s defensive drill of the week, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala highlights the highly effective Goal-line Drill. Using cones, the goal is to practice maintaining proper technique regarding how to stop offensive players from beating you when playing behind the net. The cones will indicate which area of the field you don’t want offensive players to get above or beyond.

Follow along as Coach Pietramala reveals step-by-step how exactly to implement the proper techniques, movements and strategies. This drill is critical to developing defenders at every level and is an effective method the head coach uses with his team on a frequent basis.

On Field Step-by-Step Discussion

Using the video as a guideline, note how the cones are situated around the goal area. These cones indicate the areas of the field that defenders do not want offensive players to get above or beyond. The cones don’t go any higher than three yards above the goal line and they have a noticeable arc while tapering to the sideline. This is exactly the pattern we want to follow when we are approaching the GLE and locking up with an offensive player to drive them away from the goal.

The two cones nearest to the GLE are helping us teach the defender the proper angle they want to take to beat an offensive player to his spot. Also it’s key to remember that the crease is our friend. An offensive player must make an arc around it. That arc is exactly how we want to turn our body and have it facing the corner of the field. It’s similar to a gate. It’s either open or closed. With these cones, it teaches players how to close the gate. And by following the outline of the cones, it forces your body to adjust and turn so that you’re no longer facing the sideline and you’re now facing the corner of the field with your top foot forward.

In terms of player movement here, we want to “swing the gate closed.” In other words, swing the hips around and follow the cones and drive the offensive player away from the goal. This is why the cones go away from the goal.

You’ll frequently hear the terms “Plant”, “Drop” and “Squeeze” used with this drill. It’s important that players remember these terms so they can get the key points ingrained in their head. Here in the drill, we want to plant our outside foot, drop-step down the line to handle the first move, and then squeeze the opposing player behind the goal.


Goal Line Drill Full Speed

Now, watch as the drill is conducted at full speed. Players will begin well behind the goal before making their way to one side of the net based on the coach’s instructions. Once there, the player will plant his outside foot and yell “plant.” Then, he’ll drop his outside foot and yell “drop.” Next, he’ll squeeze and ride the offensive player away from the net by following the cone footprint. Remember, when squeezing, it’s important to be a half-foot behind the offensive player so they can’t roll back toward the goal. From there, players should follow the footprint on the opposite side of the net.


To following clips can be seen in their entirety on the Championship Productions’ DVD “Developing On-Ball Defenders Behind the Net” with Dave Pietramala. Check out additional defensive videos featuring Coach Pietramala and other top coaches in our extensive catalog.

Man-Down Defense: The General Drill with Lars Tiffany

By adam.warner - Last updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The “General Drill” is one of Lars Tiffany’s favorite drills to run at Brown University. Not only is it effective from an offensive and defensive perspective, but it particularly emphasizes the movement of going off-ball to on-ball in a short period of time.

The drill starts out with one defender and one midfielder and then later adds an attackman at the crease area. Below, check out the locker room discussion with Tiffany followed by step-by-step simulations on the turf and see how you can incorporate the drill into your next practice.

General Drill – Overview
The drill starts with one coach standing about 5-10 yards to one side of the cage, with the role of feeder. Next, there’s one defender who starts right on the crease, plus one midfielder situated about 13-14 yards away from the cage up top. Coach Tiffany often gives rules for his defenders as to where they can stand to begin the drill, but often they will start with one foot touching the top of the crease. Figure out what works for you to get down the timing of the drill.

The drill begins with the coach throwing the ball to the midfielder up top. The defender can’t move until the pass is thrown. Once the pass is made, the defender then drop steps, turns, sprints and approaches the midfielder for a defensive breakdown.

According to Tiffany, this is a perfect drill to practice man-down because it’s replicating something that happens all the time in man-down situations. This is when the defense needs to suck into the crease, take care of the offensive players closing in, and they need to know how quickly they can get out there and not give up an easy shot.

On-Field Simulation
Remember, it’s key for players to get down into a good defensive stance, with the butt low and knees bent. Once the defender approaches his man, the offensive player now must make a decision. That player must decide whether he has to dodge to get a shot on goal or just fire a shot immediately on cage. As for the defender, it’s about how fast you can get out there, not turn away and duck your head, contest a shot and ultimately prevent an easy scoring opportunity.


Adding an Attackman
A second step to the General Drill is to add an attackman around the crease area. Now, the coach can either throw to the midfielder up top or to the attackman right in front. This is a way to keep defenders honest and is much more like man-down defense.

The first goal for the defender must be to take care of the crease first and then worry about an outside shot. The same principles from before will apply once again. Remember to open up, drop step, turn and then break down the offensive player. Meanwhile, look to knock down any skip passes as well, which is certainly a skill that a Division I program like Brown looks for in its defenders.


Meanwhile, check out a recent Coaches Corner Q&A with Coach TIffany from January which also highlights the General Drill.

The previous drill breakdown can be seen in its entirety on the Championship Productions DVD “Man-Down Defense: A Catalog of Drills.” Check out the entire Lars Tiffany catalog by clicking here.


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