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Individual Defense Drills

by eBasketballCoach

The Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook

Becoming a better defensive team is not just about effort. There are specific fundamentals that all great defenders have mastered. Techniques that allow them to play effective on-ball defense, stay tight to their assignment, and prevent opposing players from scoring.

Below, we'll cover three fundamental defensive drills to improve your team's footwork and closeouts.

Drill #1: Defensive Closeout Drill

Players work on accomplishing one of the most challenging defensive tasks - going from an off-the-ball situation to an on-the-ball situation.

Four lines of players spaced about 12 to 15 feet apart along the baseline (first at 3-point line left corner, second at lane's edge, third at other lane's edge, fourth at three point line right corner).

Closeout Drill
Players work on their closeout skills in this line drill.

1. Coach says "ready."
2. Players get in defensive position with knees bent and arms up.
3. Coach says "go."
4. Players closeout on offensive players standing at free throw line extended.
5. Closeout players become the offensive players at free throw line and offensive players go to back of closeout line.

Coaching Tips:
Objective here is to prevent the drive while still putting defensive pressure on the offensive player.
Players sprint to half way, then slide with active feet. Hands are up.

Drill #2: Closeout to Zig Zag

Teaches players to closeout and then slide in proper defensive stance.

Player starts at the elbow facing the baseline. Can be run with one player or the full team.

Closeout/Zigzag Drill
Player first closes out then slides from side to side in this defensive fundamental drill.

1. Coach says "go."
2. Player closes out on an imaginary shooter on the baseline, then slides back and forth from out-of-bounds line to edge of lane all the way to half court.

Coaching Tips:
When players swing and change direction at out-of-bounds line and edge of lane, they should swing their elbow and leg back and really push off their plant foot.
Player should have front foot pointed in the direction they are sliding.
You can add variety to this drill by including an offensive player.

Drill #3: 2 on 2 Closeouts

Players work on closing out in a 2-on-2 situation.

Two offensive players, two lines of defensive players at baseline. Coach stands at baseline with ball.

2 on 2 Closeouts Drill
Players must closeout and prevent a score in a live ball situation.

1. Coach says "go" and throws the ball to one of the offensive players.
2. First player from two lines of defensive players on the baseline close out on the offensive players - one doing a ball closeout and one closing out to off-the-ball, help defense.
3. Offense tries to score a basket. Defense tries to prevent them from scoring.
4. Defense becomes offense and offense goes to back of defensive closeout lines.

Coaching Tips:
Look for defenders to close out quickly but stay in good defensive position so that they can respond to the offensive players' moves.

Next Steps

If you're looking for more defensive drills, check out Total Basketball Skill Development. You'll get instant access to 86 championship-proven drills covering footwork, shooting, passing, ballhandling, passing, layups, free throws, defense and rebounding.

Click here to get instant online access today!

Copyright © 2001 - 2018, James A. Gels, all rights reserved.

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