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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 behind-the-scenes look, we visit Jersey City, New Jersey for a glimpse inside a recent St Anthony’s High School basketball practice. Follow along as Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley leads his squad though a series of inbound plays and figure eight drills that are crucial parts of the team’s overall practice plan.
Out of Bounds Plays
Coach Hurley starts the action off by having the team run through three different out of bounds plays. Notice that two groups of players work on the plays simultaneously but on different ends of the gym. On the first call, the teams are running play No. 1 (“Michigan”) from underneath the basket before getting into No. 2 “Blazers” and then No. 3 “Kentucky.”
First up is Michigan, which features a pair of screens for a shooter and then a screen the screener situation. When the ball gets inbounded, a coach immediately makes a call and then the unit runs a set play from there.
Coaching Reminders: Jump stop on the screens. Get the knees bent. Put your hand on the hip of the player you are going by. There should be no room for the defense to get through.
Figure 8 Drill
The Figure 8 drill features one group of three players going back and forth down the court for one minute, resulting in a layup each time down the floor. The goal is to see how many layups these players can make in the timeframe. This is a terrific drill that works on conditioning, fundamentals, and bringing out some competitiveness in each practice.
Coaching Reminders: Every pass should be a two-handed chest pass. Every layup should be with just one leg. Remember, you don’t want to slow up and have people catch you from behind.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Basketball Practice with Bob Hurley.” To check out the entire All Access lineup, including new videos by Scott Drew and Larry Brown, click here.
In the latest edition of All Access, we take you to Stanford, California for a behind-the-scenes look at a Stanford University women’s lacrosse practice. Follow along as head coach Amy Bokker leads her squad through a 3 v 3 v 3 drill before getting into a favorite half field dodging drill.
3 v 3 v 3 Draw
For this first drill, three separate teams of three face off in a fight for possession. The drill begins with a face-off and then immediately transitions into three-team battle. It’s really an ideal drill for working on fundamentals and improving confidence against a wide range of pressure.
Look to really work on possession of the draw and then maintain possession with your team for 40 seconds. Also, look to move to space and always keep your feet moving. Don’t get stuck in one corner. After 40 seconds, the team with the ball at the end of possession gets a point. Play to five points.
Coaching Tips: It’s key to get high pressure on the ball and the feeling that’s there always going to be a double team on the ball (so it makes it harder to possess).
In “52 Dodging”, you’ll start with a dodger across the top, a receiver sweeping across middle, and a feeder down low. Start on the left side of the field before moving over to the right side.
The drill begins with one dodger making a move against a first defender. As she is dodging, the sweeping player will slot through, and then pass to the feeder. The feeder will curl as if coming up. Meanwhile, the middle player will flash up, catch the pass, and then shoot on net.
Coaching Tips: Work both sides of the field and look to get off a ton of shots. Also, start by dodging to the outside at the onset. Eventually, switch to dodging to the inside.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “All Access Stanford Lacrosse Practice with Amy Bokker.” To check out the entire All Access lacrosse lineup (featuring the likes of Kelly Amonte Hiller and Bill Tierney), click here.
Learn four daily practice drills from one of college basketball’s top coaches. With Stanford women’s head coach Tara Vanderveer leading the way, you’ll pick up effective drills for boxing out, closing out, layups, and jab steps. Before each simulation goes live at full speed, Coach Vanderveer describes and demonstrates how the drill is run and how the team incorporates it into their offensive system.
Close-Out and Box Out Drills
Every practice, Stanford implements a series of partner drills: Passing, closing out, and boxing out. Also, the team will run through these before games as a helpful warmup. You can really get a feeling if repetition, doing things over and over in order to get better.
Close-Out Drill: Players work in pairs and start by standing apart and facing each other. One player will roll out the ball to the other player. The player now with the ball will look to dribble, drive, or shoot. The defender must close out effectively, getting a hand up in their face before getting into proper positioning to cover ground. Players must be aggressive in their first step and move the correct foot.
Box Out Drill: Like before, players will face each other, but now when the coach yells out “Shot”, the defensive players must also yell out “Shot.” After this, they will turn and a get a body on the offensive player and box out. The offensive players must make a move one way or the other to simulate going after their shot for the rebound.
Layups & Jab Sweeps
Layup Drills: This is something that Coach Vanderveer’s team does every day. The squad also tries to partner this series with their pick ‘n roll. Players will go at three baskets and get into groups of (at least) three.
The drill begins with simple layups, one player at a time. Start on the right and then switch to the left side. Players make a crossover dribble before going in for a layup. Next, the drill moves into reverse layups. Players should keep their eyes on the rim when going up to the basket. After this, the drill moves into jump shots from about 10-15 feet out. Look to use the glass to your advantage.
Jab Series: To begin, one at a time, players must work to get open. When they receive the ball, the must make an effective jab step before taking the ball to the rim aggressively. Be sure to use proper footwork and make a strong move.
Next, players move into a jab & cross, incorporating a crossover move and then an aggressive drive to the bucket. After this, it’s on to jab & shoot with no dribble. Essentially, it’s a jab step and then jump shot. Make sure you move to the opposite side of the court and do the same reps. Look to freeze the defender with that jab step every time.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Tara Vanderveer: 30 Practice Drills for Building Champions.” To check out more videos focusing on key practice drills, click here.
Know of an effective basketball drill that really gets your players pumped up? We want to hear all about it!
Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and break down your team’s most popular drill. Also, feel free to tell us why it’s so highly-regarded plus any great background stories.
Once all submissions have been made by Sunday, February 3, the editors at Championship Productions will review each one before featuring the top drills in an upcoming newsletter.
Remember, the more information you can provide, the better. Also, be sure to include your name, team, the specific drill name, organization, location, and any other helpful contact information with your submission.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!