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Basketball Defensive Drills:

Good basketball defensive drills help develop defense that is quick and aggressive. Defense that prevents the ball from getting into the hands of the opponent, by getting into passing lanes, by making it difficult for passers to see receivers, by forcing opponents into positions they don't want to be in. And by stealing the ball whenever the opportunity arises.

This defensive drill focuses on improving reaction time, agility and quickness, and practices reading the passer in order to deduce where the pass is going.

Instructions to Players for this Basketball Defensive Drill

Here's what players need to focus on:

  • Defenders cannot be flat-footed - they must be crouched, hands out to either side, on the balls of their feet, so that they can quickly react to the pass to either side

  • Passers are in fixed positions - they cannot swing out to receive the pass

How this Basketball Defensive Drill Works

  • Players are set up as in the diagram - 3 players in a triangle: 1 at the foul line, 2 others on the blocks. The defender is in the middle of the key, about one step above the players on the blocks.

  • The objective of the drill is for the defender to intercept a pass between the players on the triangle

  • The player at the foul line passes to the player on the left block

  • The defender quickly steps into the lane and intercepts the pass, then passes the ball back to the player at the foul line
basketball defensive drill - Anticipation

  • The player at the foul line then passes to the player at the right block

  • Again, the defender must quickly step into the passing lane and intercept the ball before it gets to the receiver. The defender then passes the ball back to the player at the foul line.
basketball defensive drill - Anticipation

The drill continues in this manner for 30 seconds or so - when the coach calls for players to switch - and then one of the other players steps into the defender's position.

This defensive rebounding drill should be practiced a few times with the defender knowing where the pass is going, so that the defender is able to practice the footwork (defensive slide or a quick step) and movement needed to intercept the pass. Then, once players are comfortable with the drill, the passes should be random, forcing the defender to work harder to anticipate the direction of the pass.

More Basketball Defensive Drills here

Go to the Better Basketball Coaching home page

"A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."
- Wayne Gretzky

Want something more visual?

Check out UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg's video package of drills


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