HomeBasketball DrillsDefensive DrillsDefense 1-on-1 Drills

Basketball Drills - Defense 1-on-1 Drills

By James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @ http://www.coachesclipboard.net

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1-on-1 Drill

Use both ends of the court and make four lines, one under each basket with the players facing the free throw line, and one at each free throw line with players facing the basket.

The defensive players are under the basket; the offensive players are at the free throw line. The first player in the defensive line passes the ball to the offensive player at the free throw line, and closes-out aggressively. The offensive player tries to score, by shooting or driving to the hoop. The defender should play aggressively and box-out after any shot. Once the offense scores or the defense stops him/her, it's done, and they pass to next defensive player in line on the baseline. The rotation is that the offensive players go to the defense line and vice-versa.

The defensive players should work on proper stance and footwork (see Basic Defense), and box-out on any shots. The defense should close-out initially with the strong foot forward and that hand up toward offensive player. Over-guard the offensive player's strong side. The other hand should be low, out to the side, palm up. Proper footwork means sliding with the offensive player (don't cross your feet), and staying between the player and the basket. Watch the belly-button, contest all shots with a hand up at the shooter.

You can make a game of it and have your players or managers keep score. Losers run.

Also see this 1-on-1 Offense/Defense Drill.



Full-Court "Cut and Pressure" Drill

This is a good full-court conditioning drill, while working on defensive footwork. See the diagram.

Start with a line at one end of the floor. The first player in line becomes the defender. The next person in line attempts to dribble the entire length of the floor in a straight line, without having to cross-over or change direction. The defender, by using correct footwork, must try to "turn" the defender as many times as he can... i.e. force him to change direction or cross-over dribble.

Once they reach the opposite end, the pair moves over to the opposite side of the floor and the original defender now becomes the dribbler and vice-versa for the trip back up the floor. Meanwhile, the next twosome can start up the opposite side of the floor. Players must stay on their half of the floor (to avoid collisions).

1-on-1 defensive drill


"Speed-Dribble at and Run With" Drill - defending in the open court

This is a good drill for teams that like to press. Oftentimes, when someone is speed-dribbling at the defender, the defender will simply reach-in and swipe at the ball as it goes by... and then he/she stands there and watches (instead of sprinting to the hoop).

First, it is very difficult to actually stop a good point guard speed dribbling at you in the open court. This drill teaches our players to "run with" the ball, rather than reaching-in and watching the offensive player go to the hoop. Running with the ball gives us more defensive presence going to the hoop, and gives us another rebounder on a missed shot.

Additionally, look at diagram B (which is a common game situation)... if we have a defender (X5) back as in diagram B, as O1 speed-dribbles in, X5 often comes over to defend O1, leaving O5 for the pass. But if X1 runs with O1, even though he/she might not be able to actually stop O1, X1 can switch and get to O5 and break-up that pass, or defend O4's shot.

Run the drill as in diagram A... 1-on-1, offense goes to defense, and defense goes to the offense line.

Make sure your defender is in a good defensive position, and not standing flat-footed and upright. Knees should be bent, and weight on the balls of the feet. He/she should sprint all the way to the hoop, even if beaten in the open court.

dribble at and run with drill


Helpful DVDs


Mike Anderson: '40 Minutes of Hell' (Vol. 2)
Mike Anderson: '40 Minutes of Hell' (Vol. 2)
with Mike Anderson, University of Missouri Head Coach.
Hard play and pressure defense are the backbone of Coach Anderson's teams. Stance, hands, balance and closeness to the offensive player are very important principles to Anderson. Using an overhead, Anderson diagrams his defensive system. Ball pressure, anticipation, rotation and trapping are key terms in this system. On ball pressure, trapping corners on the baseline, making the sideline an extra man, using the half court line, trap with opportunity, and rotation round out the keys to this defensive. The progression of this defense starts with 1-on-1 defense by using the zig-zag drill. The run-and-jump can be added to the 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 drill. Other practice drills shared by Anderson show transition situations, sliding drills, 2-on-2, run and jump and 4-on-4... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD -  Video Store!



Tom Izzo: Dominating Rebounding & Man-to-Man Defensive Drills
Tom Izzo: Dominating Rebounding & Man-to-Man Defensive Drills
By Tom Izzo, 2000 NCAA Champions, 3X National Coach of the Year. Coach Izzo shares one of the most dominating man-to-man defensive and rebounding systems in college basketball today. Izzo's teams have been among the nation's leaders in rebounding margin (+11.7) and scoring defense (58.9) since he took over in the '95-'96 season. The seven defensive drills that Izzo covers include... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD -  Video Store!



Jay Wright: Defensive Progression Drills & Techniques
Jay Wright: Defensive Progression Drills & Techniques
with Jay Wright, Villanova University Head Men's Basketball Coach, NCAA "Sweet 16" (2005), Philadelphia Big Five Eastern College Coach of the Year.
Aggressive, no-nonsense defense is a trademark of Jay Wright's teams. Because of the great talent Villanova faces every game, Wright focuses on drills that will help contain quick, skilled ball handlers. This excellent teaching tool progresses from individual defensive stance, to one-on-one, two-on-two, and three-on-three in the half- and full-court. Wright stresses pressure on the ball, stance and vision away from the ball. The 2-on-2 "Whack Out" drill will show how to close out on shooters and still contain the ball handler. The term "line of the ball and level of the ball" are illustrated. The versatile 2-on-2 in the Post drill focuses on perimeter defense as well as defending the post. Helping on the post is a concept introduced once the offensive post has the ball inside. The cornerstones of the DVD are defending on the ball, jumping to the ball, playing cutters, playing off the ball and reading help. This has great application to high school and junior high basketball... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now from the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD -  Video Store!