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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.
After picking up dribble penetration tips and techniques in this week’s team development feature, look to implement the following offensive sets to tie it all together. Follow along as each play is diagrammed and broken down into segments before being simulated live on the hardwood via five-on-five action.
Submitted by Greg Zeller, Concord High School, Concord, MI
The Set-Up: Start with player 1 on the right side of the floor and with the ball. Player 5 is on ballside low block, 4 is on weakside low block, 2 is on ballside elbow, and 3 is on weakside elbow.
The Action: 1 initiates the play by dribbling to the right. 2 then flashes to the wing and 1 passes to 2. Meanwhile, 4 flashes to the ballside elbow. 5 replaces 4 and 3 breaks out beyond the three-point arc.
The Finish: From here, 2 passes to 4 and then follows the pass and cuts to the opposite block to screen for 5. 3 follows player 2’s cut and breaks out to the corner. Player 4’s options now are: 5 coming off 2’s screen, 3 in the corner, or 1 for the three-point shot.
Notes: This play is ideal versus a man-to-man defense that chases instead of switching. Also, 5 should be open on this often and can receive a low bounce pass from 4 for an effective finish.
Submitted by Rhonda Farney, Georgetown High School, Georgetown, TX
The Set-up: Players 4 and 5 start off on opposite low blocks. Player 1 has the ball on the same side as 4. Meanwhile, player 3 is on the ballside wing and 2 is on the opposite wing/corner area.
The Action: Player 1 has the ball up top. Player 5 cuts up gets a pass from 1. Next, player 3 cuts to the basket along the baseline and winds up in the ballside corner behind the three-point line. 2 pops out towards the top.
The Finish: From here, player 1 cuts to the weakside corner and 4 flashes up hard to set a screen for 5. Player 5 immediately rolls around 4’s screen and drives to the basket. Basically, 4 and 5 run pick and roll options in the paint. If the defense collapses, look to throw it to either corner for 1 or 3.
Got any go-to plays that are particularly effective against man-to-man defenses? Share with fellow coaches below or e-mail us at email@example.com. We’ll look to feature your play in an upcoming issue of BasketballCoach. The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 60 Plays to Attack Man-to-Man Defenses” by Winning Hoops.
By adding these three effective plays to your playbook this season, you’ll be equipped with a full arsenal for any type of pressure situation. This week’s plays — which derive from high school coaches in Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Arkansas — offer several different options for teams as well.
Submitted by Mike Limbaugh, Clarksburg High School, Clarksburg, TN
The Set-up: This is a great play when you need a three-pointer at the end of the game. 1 starts with the ball up top. 2 begins in the ballside corner, just between the far corner and wing area. Meanwhile, 5 is at the ballside elbow, 4 is on the weakside block, and 3 is opposite of 2 on the weakside wing/corner area.
The Action: 1 dribbles hard at 2 and 2 makes a v-cut. 3, 4, and 5 all set staggered screens toward the ballside. 1 reverses the dribble and now looks to pass to 2, who is coming off the screens by 3, 4, and 5 down low. 2 ends up on the opposite side of the floor for an open look at a three-pointer.
Submitted by Don Maynard, Oyster River High School, Durham, NH
Overview: This triangle set is run from an under-the-basket position against a man-to-man defense and ensures many scoring options at the end of a game.
The Set-up: While 1 has the ball under the basket, 2 starts out at the top of the key. 3 begins just inside the top of the key, 4 is on the ballside laneline between the block and elbow, and 5 is on the opposite side of 4.
The Action: 3 v-cuts and uses a screen set by 5. 3 ends up on the weakside block and is the first option if open. 4 then screens for 5 just above the free throw line. 5 ends up at the ballside block after cutting off the screen. Next, 4 rolls back to the weakside box after screening. The rollback from 4 is open against a team that switches on screens. Player 2 is your safety and clears to the ballside sideline.
Submitted by Becky Brown, Star City Senior High School, Star City, AR
Overview: A key double screen nearly makes this play unstoppable when you need a three-pointer late in the game.
The Set-up: 1 takes the ball out of bounds on the sideline. 4 and 2 are just about stacked together above the three-point line and closer to the sideline than the rimline. Player 2 is close to the free throw line extended and 4 is closer to the inbounder. Player 3 is at the nearside low block while 5 is in the nearside corner to start.
The Action: 3 curls around (the inside) a double screen set by 4 and 2. Set the screen towards the basket, not away. 5 replaces 3 on the ballside block. Player 1 passes to 3 for an open three-pointer. 1 flashes to the low wing as another option for 3 if he/she is covered.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”Over 50 Game-Winning Last-Second Plays” by Winning Hoops. To learn about more effective last-second plays, check out our entire Winning Hoops DVD lineup.
This week’s Playbook Series features three impressive shooting drills that can make a difference at any level of basketball. First read through the step-by-step breakdown of the drill before seeing the play simulated live on the basketball court.
Got any effective team shooting drills to share with fellow coaches? Tell us all about them by commenting below or e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Steve Shepanski, Rush Henrietta Senior HS, Henrietta, NY
This drill works on shooting, closing out, and boxing out. The defender (X) starts on the low block opposite the shooter (O), who is placed at the elbow. X rolls the ball out to O and then sprints to the opposite low block and touches it with his or her hand.
At this point the ball is just arriving to O. X closes out on the shooter as O takes the shot. Player X boxes out, rebounds the ball, and moves to the block opposite of the original starting location. O moves to the high post on the other side of the key. Run the drill for at least 30 seconds and then have the players switch roles.
Submitted by CJ Kin, Carey HS, Carey, Ohio
Setting Up: Form two lines outside the three-point arc with four players at each line. Players 2 and 3 and 5 and 6 each have a ball. Position two coaches in the lane with a blocking pad.
The Action: Player 1 cuts across the lane and posts up against the coach on the opposite low block. Stress being physical while getting wide and low while posting up. Player 1 needs to have his/her hands ready like a target and call for the ball. Player 5 only makes an entry pass to 1 when 1 calls for the ball. When 1 catches the ball, he/she executes a drop step to the baseline. Have the coach play them just as a defender would and use the pad to give contact on the shot.
The Finish: Player 1 takes the shot, rebounds, and passes to the line where the pass came from. As soon as Player 5 makes the pass, he sprints across the lane and posts up the coach. The same rules apply and the same movements continue until 1 is back in the starting position again. Look to incorporate five different post moves throughout this drill, such as a drop-step baseline, drop-step middle, reverse pivot with jumper, reerse pivot with shot fake dribble and step through, and one dribble middle and drop step.
Submitted by Nick Evanich, Marlington HS, Alliance, OH
This drill requires seven balls, two chairs, and at least 9 players. The drill starts with the middle player passing to the wing. The wing catches the ball on the run and attacks a chair or cone at the opposite end of the court with a strong dribble. The wing uses a dribble move on the chair and pulls up for a 15-foot jumper.
Meanwhile, the middle player sprints down the floor and arches behind the wing player with the ball. The wing at the opposite end of the court passes to the original middle player for a jump shot. All the while, the wing that did not receive the pass, sprints to the other end of the floor and catches a pass from the opposite wing down there. As soon as those far end players make the pass, they now sprint down the court, and the middle player hits one of them with a pass to continue the drill.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “30 Sizzling Team Shooting Drills” produced by Winning Hoops. Got some shooting drills to share? E-mail us at email@example.com. Want to learn more drills and plays to fill your playbook? Simply head over to our basketball library by clicking here.
Add three new plays to your playbook this season designed to effectively attack zone defenses. First, you’ll receive an overview of each play and a full diagram. Then watch the play in action on the court with real players. This week’s collection of plays offer a variety of options for teams, against the zone, including easy lobs at the rim and wide open shots from the outside.
Submitted by Peter Moe, Washburn HS, Washburn, ND
Set-Up: This play starts with a double low post and can be run to either side. Player 1 is up top with the ball, 2 is on the right wing, 3 is on the left wing, 4 is on the opposite low block, and 5 is on the near low block.
Action: 1 enters to 2 and 2 takes a few dribbles to the baseline to force the zone to shift. 3 sets up high on the opposite wing. 2 returns the ball to 1 and immediately cuts across the baseline. As soon as 1 has the ball, 4 flashes into the lane and is working hard for the ball. Aftr pausing in the lane to occupy the backside zone defense, 4 continues to the high post. 2 sets a pick on the backside zone player down low.
Finish: 3 then cuts towards the low block behind 2’s screen for a lob pass and easy layup. Timing is key to prevent a 3-second violation or trigger defensive recognition. Both posts must actively work for positioning during the play. Also, 1 must not give away the lob pass with the eyes.
Submitted by Steve Mergelsberg, Rutgers University-Newark, Newark, NJ
Set-up: 1 drives down and makes a dribble entry to the right side. 2 is on the opposite low block, 3 is on the nearside low block, 4 is on the opposite elbow, and 5 is on the near elbow.
Action: As 1 drives past the free throw line extended, 3 sets a back screen for 5. 5 comes off the screen and rolls to the basket looking for a pass from 1 for a quick and easy layup. If 5 doesn’t get the pass, then he/she posts up on the ball-side low block. On the opposite side, 2 and 4 exchange positions to help create movement. If 5 gets a pass from 1 on the ball side, 4′s defender often slides over to provide defensive help. This could create an opening for 5 to dish to 4 (who’s cutting to the hoop).
Finish: If there’s nothing on the roll or quick post up, then 5 turns and screens away for 4, who breaks to the ball-side low block. Meanwhile, 3 sets a screen in the lane for the defender closest to 2. 2 uses the pick and sprints toward the ball side. 1 can hit 4 or a post up shot down low or pass to 2 for a short jumper at the elbow.
Submitted by Brent Lemond, Vanguard HS, Ocala, FL
Set-up: This play starts off in a 2-1-2 set. Players 1 and 2 start off up top and lane-line extended. 5 is at the free throw line. 4 is in the ballside corner. 3 is on the weakside low block.
Action: 5 steps out and screens for 1 and 2 moves into shooting position on the opposite wing. The defender X2 should be forced to help on 1, leaving 2 open for a shot on the wing. If defender X3 steps out to take the shooter, 2 looks for 3 in the short corner. 3 looks to score or drive and dish. If defender X5 moves to cover the short corner, then 2 can hit 5 after the screen.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Over 50 Set Plays to Attack Zone Defenses.” Check out our entire offensive collection by clicking here. Got any other effective plays to beat the zone? Tell us below or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.