HomeBasketball DrillsDefensive DrillsDefense Close-Out Drills

Basketball Drills - Defense Close-Out Drills

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

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Defenders must learn to "close-out" on the player with the ball. Once the offensive player receives the pass, the defender should rush toward the ball-handler in a low stance. The last several steps should be quick, choppy steps to stop your momentum (so the defender doesn't dribble around you). Your baseline line foot should be back in order to force the ball-handler toward the baseline. As you approach the ball-handler, snap your shoulders and head back to help slow yourself down. Although not shown in the video clip, we now teach our defenders to close-out with the inside hand (closest to the baseline) high, in order to contest the outside shot, and the outside hand low (this helps prevent a cross-over dribble into the middle).

Close-Out Drill

See the diagram below. Depending on the number of players on your team, make three or four lines along the baseline, and a same number of lines just above the free-throw line extended. Each player along the baseline has a ball and makes a good sharp pass out to the perimeter player. He then closes-out on the ball handler, yelling "Ball! Ball! Ball!". Use correct technique as described above.

Then the receivers will similarly pass back to the next group stepping inbounds and make a close-out.

You can also incorporate passing techniques (chest pass, bounce pass, etc) into this drill, and also make sure receivers are catching the ball with a jump-stop in triple threat position.

Defensive close-out drill

Close-Out and Help-side Drill

This 2-on-2 drill features a defender in helpside, sprinting out of helpside and closing out on his/her man on the wing, on the skip pass. We teach the defender to close-out on the top, or inside, shoulder of the offensive player, with the outside foot back, in order to force baseline. In addition, our wing players must learn to play correct helpside defense (in the paint) when ball is two passes away on the opposite wing. See the diagrams below. Use two offensive and two defensive wing players. The ball is skipped passed back and forth while the defenders work on correct help-side positioning and closing-out. Rotate offense to defense after several passes back and forth.

Defensive close-out and helpside drill

Villanova Close-Out Drill

This is another 2-on-2 drill. See diagram A below. Start with a player in each corner and each wing. Player 1 in the right corner starts with the ball and passes to Player 2 at the right wing. As Player 2 skip-passes to Player 3 (left wing), Player 1 sprints and closes-out on Player 3. Player 3 catches the ball in triple-threat position, makes a shot-fake, and then passes to Player 4 (left corner). Player 2 sprints and closes-out on Player 4. From there, we play 2-on-2 (diagram B).

Offense and defense rotate after each possession. Each possession is worth one point... awarded to offense on a score, or to defense on a stop. Play to a certain number like 7. Losers do push-ups. You can start with the ball in either corner.

Defensive close-out drill

Yow Close-Out Drill

See the diagrams below. The coach C (or an assistant) starts with the ball on top (diagram A). There is only one defensive player X2, and he/she is in a defensive position on O2 (on the left wing). The coach skip-passes to player O3 in the corner. O3 passes into the post O4. On the skip-pass (coach to O3), X2 sprints down to O4 and tips the pass from O3 to O4 out-of-bounds. O4 picks up another ball and quickly passes out to O1 on the right wing (diagram B), and O1 passes to the coach, who then passes to O2. X2 sprints back out and closes-out on O2. From there, O2 and X2 play 1-on-1 as O2 attempts to score (diagram C).

The passes should be made quickly in order to make X2 really sprint and move. After each possession (or two), players rotate quickly (keep the drill moving). O2 becomes X2, X2 become O4, O4 goes to O3, O3 goes to O1, and O1 goes to O2.

Defensive close-out drill

Arico Close-Out Drill

Here is a great, intense close-out drill that we got from Kim Barnes Arico, head women's coach at University of Michigan. The drill features three close-outs and then a live 3-on-3 drill. Diagram A below shows three offensive players, O1, O2 and O3 at the point and both wings. Three defenders start under the basket. The first defender X1 rolls the ball out to O1 and sprints out and closes-out on the ball. O1 then passes to O2, and for the purpose of this drill, X1 jumps to the ball and closes-out on O2. O2 passes back to O1 (diagram B) and the next defender (under the basket) X2 sprints out and closes-out on the ball. O1 then passes to O3, and X2 jumps to the ball and closes-out on O3. O3 passes back to O1 (diagram C). The third defender X3 sprints out and closes-out on O1, and now we go live 3-on-3 until either a score or a defensive stop.

To make it competitive, split your team into half white and half yellow (or whatever your colors are). Yellow team starts on offense, white on defense. Substitute players with each possession so they all get in. All defensive players are along the baseline and all offensive players come in from the top. Keep score for each possession. Each team gets five - seven possessions (depending on how much time you have), and then we switch offense and defense... white is now on offense, yellow team on defense. Losers either run or do pushups.

Defensive close-out drill Defensive close-out drill Defensive close-out drill

Helpful DVDs:

Geno Auriemma: 8 Essential Defensive Drills
Geno Auriemma: 8 Essential Defensive Drills
with Geno Auriemma, '95,'00,'02,'03, '04 NCAA National Champions, 5x National Coach of the Year.
Coach Auriemma used his swarming half-court defense to blanket offenses, holding opposing teams to 35% field goal percentage in the 2003-2004 season. In 8 Essential Defensive Drills, Auriemma teaches the drills he uses to build a dominating defense and shares his proven philosophy on half-court defense. The intensive on-court demonstrations of these drills will provide a concise guide for how to use them in your everyday practice plan. These energetic drills highlight the rotations and responsibilities of every player on the court. Auriemma emphasizes the importance of close-outs, the block-out, ball pressure, and demonstrates variations of 4-on-4, 6-on-4, and 8-on-5 shell drills. You will learn the basic movements... (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!