HomeBasketball DrillsDefensive DrillsShell Drills

Basketball Drills - Defense Shell Drill, Half-Court Drills

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

Get immediate access!  Join today!


From HoopsKing

Please visit Coach's Clipboard Basketball Store
Like this page? Please "Like", Tweet, Google +1, or Follow this. Thanks! - Coach Gels
Coach's Clipboard on Facebook
   Coach's Clipboard on Google Plus
   Follow Me on Pinterest    Coach's Clipboard on Twitter


Shell Drill

This drill focuses on the basic concepts of "on-ball", "deny", and "help-side" (see Basic Defense).

Set-up:
Use a half court setup with 4-on-4. Four offensive players are positioned around the three point arc. Start with two wings and two players in the corners. Match-up four defensive players with each of the offensive players. You could also use five on each team with a point guard, two wings and two corners. Additional players can sub in and out at your discretion.

The Drill:
The offensive players are initially stationary, with no cuts or dribbling. This is a defensive drill and the offensive players simply pass the ball around the arc. Make sure they make good passes (use this as a passing drill also), make sure they receive the ball in "triple threat" position, and have them make some skip passes too. The defensive players are not to steal or intercept the ball, since this is drill designed to emphasize proper positioning on the floor. The defensive players must work on proper relationships in positioning with the offensive player they are guarding. After drilling the basics, you can go to the "live shell" drill, or the "4-on-4-on-4 three stops drill" (below), and make it competitive.

On-Ball Defense

If the defender's man has the ball, he/she should be applying "on-ball" pressure, and force the offensive player toward the sideline or baseline.

Deny Defense

If your man is one pass away, you should be in "deny", but not a complete dead-ball denial as seen at the bottom of this page. You should be a little up the line and a step or two toward the ball (see Diagrams A and B). This way, you are in position to steal the pass, and yet still be able to give help to the on-ball defender if the ball-handler tries to dribble-penetrate.

Helpside Defense

If your man is two passes away, you should be in "help-side". If the ball is above the free-throw line (Diagram A), the help-side defender should have one foot in the lane. If the ball is below the free throw line (Diagram B), the help-side defenders should be straddling the "help-side line". Importantly, players must quickly rotate and sprint in and out of helpside. Sometimes players are lazy in their rotations and you must impress upon them the importance of rotating quickily. For more of an explanation, see Basic Defense.

Once you feel your team has an understanding of these basic relationships, and all players have been on offense and defense, you can let them play half court all out with cutting, screens, shooting, etc. Watch the defenders carefully for proper defensive positioning. Blow your whistle when you need to make points with the players... somebody messed up, or somebody did something really well.

Defensive shell drill, helpside

Full Denial

Diagrams C and D below.
Now let's assume that the ball-handler has given up the dribble. He/she no longer has the option of dribble-penetration, so defenders whose man is one pass away can now be in complete deny, on the line.

Defensive shell drill, deny

Help and Recover

Diagrams E and F below teach how to give help and recover on the perimeter. O1 tries to dribble-penetrate. The X2 defender gives help and O1 is prevented from penetrating, and has to dish back out to O2 (Diagram F). The X2 defender then has to rotate quickly out to on-ball defense on O2, and the X1 and X4 defenders are now in deny, a little up the line and a step or two toward the ball, while the X3 defender moves into help-side (Diagram F).

Defensive shell drill, help and recover

Defending the Cutter

Diagram G teaches how to defend the cutter after the ball is passed to the corner. The X2 defender steps in front of the cutter and stays between the man and the ball throughout the cut, and then these two rotate over to the opposite corner. O3 and O1 offensive players rotate to the right. Notice how the X3 and X1 defenders give help on the cut inside.
Defensive shell drill, defending cutters


4-on-4, 5-on-5 live shell

After teaching the basic rotations and principles above, you can "go live" and make the drill competitive. Play until one team scores five baskets. Switch defense to offense whenever there is a defensive stop. Losers do push-ups (or run). We often go 5-on-5 (with a post player) when drilling against baseline dribble-penetration and double-teaming the low post.

4-on-4-on-4 (5-on-5-on-5) live shell

With this drill, we have three teams. If we have 15 players on the squad, we will play 5-on-5-on-5. This is a quick moving half-court drill. We start with one team on offense, one on defense, and one waiting on the sideline. The first team to score five baskets wins, and the losers do push-ups or run. The offense stays on the court until they are stopped. If the defense fails to stop them, the team waiting on the side becomes the defense. If the defense stops the offense, they now become the offense, the offense goes to the sideline, and the sideline team becomes the defense. We may play two or three "games" depending on how much time we have. Keep the drill moving and make sure the sideline team steps quickly onto the floor. In fact, we even allow the offense to get a quick basket even if the defense is not yet "ready"... this teaches them to get ready and "transition" very quickly.

4-on-4-on-4 (5-on-5-on-5), three stops

We like this competitive, tough, half-court drill. We have three 4-player teams. A team can only win when it is on defense. One team starts on offense 4-on-4, while the other is on defense, man-to-man. The offense tries to score. If the offense scores, the defense is "out" and steps off the court, the offense becomes the defense, and the sidelined 4-player team becomes the new offense. The defensive team tries to get 3-consecutive defensive stops... it has to be three in a row. Once a defensive team accomplishes this, the drill is over and the other two teams do push-ups (or run). We may repeat this drill for two or three "games". If you have 15 players, you can also run this drill 5-on-5-on-5.

Also, see "Pass into the Low Post, Double-Team" and "Defending Baseline Dribble Penetration" and other helpful drills in Man-to-Man Breakdown Drills


Helpful DVDs:


10-Point Shell Drill for Man-to-Man Defense
10-Point Shell Drill for Man-to-Man Defense
with Jamie Dixon, University of Pittsburgh Head Coach; 2009 Naismith Men's College Basketball Coach of the Year; 2004 Big East Coach of the Year.
Teaching players where to be in every defensive situation on the floor is a Jamie Dixon trademark. His 10-point shell drill covers every possible defensive scenario and anchors the Pitt defense in games. As the ball is slowly reversed around the perimeter, Dixon instructs players on the proper position and technique at each spot. When the ball is on the wing, there is automatic penetration to the baseline. This forces the weak side defense to be in a help position and adjust toward the ball to keep the ball out of the paint. By moving players down to the corners, the focus is on middle penetration. Stance, vision and moving in the direction of the pass are cornerstones of good man-to-man defense. Defending the ball screen... (more info)

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



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!