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Basketball Drills:
Slide and Sprint

Sometimes the best basketball drills are the simplest ones. Good defensive stance is low and wide, it's the easiest way to stay with your man, to move laterally, to keep your center of gravity low and therefore make it easier to change direction and play better defense. But it is uncomfortable to the point of pain, and players need lots of conditioning to be able to stay in proper defensive stance for any length of time.

In this basketball drill, players alternate between defensive slide and sprints - good practice for defensive movement, while the sprinting gives the legs a break from defensive stance and yet continues the conditioning aspect of the drill.

Instructions to Players

Here's what players need to focus on:

  • In defensive stance - stay low, back straight, head up and eyes forward

  • In defensive stance - keep arms out from the body, to deflect passes and to help balance as the player moves

  • In defensive stance - slide, don't step - if a player crosses his legs, he's liable to find himself on the floor - proper movement in the defensive slide is for one foot to move in to the other foot, but not past it; then the other foot moves out

  • Move as quickly as possible while still maintaining good defensive stance

  • Sprints are run at top speed

How this Basketball Drill Works

Follow the instructions on the diagram - sprint where it says sprint, slide where it says slide.

basketball drills - slide n sprint

To help players know when to switch from sliding to sprinting, place a cone at the points where the switches occur - they won't have to remember when to switch, they'll know that whenever a cone appears, it's time to change up.

A great conditioning drill and good practice for defensive movement - use this a lot at the beginning of the preseason, when your focus would be more heavily on basic skills and movement. The more conditioned your players are from the beginning, the better they'll play all season.

More Defensive Basketball Drills here

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"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand."
- Vince Lombardi

Want something more visual?

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


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