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20+ Best Defensive Drills For Basketball

By Salim Prajapati / 4 January 2024 10:35 AM

Source : bing

Is your defense leaking like a rusty faucet? Opponents blowing past you like the wind? Fear not, aspiring lockdown defenders.

This comprehensive guide unlocks over 20 basketball drills designed to forge an impenetrable wall on the court. From footwork fundamentals to communication drills, rebounding rockets to closeout chaos, we have got everything you need to turn your team into a defensive powerhouse.

So lace up your sneakers, grab a partner, and get ready to transform your defense from sieve to fortress, one drill at a time. Let's lock down the victory.

1. 4 On 3 Overload Drill

Source : breakthroughbasketball

The 4 on 3 Overload Drill is a fantastic defensive drill that puts your players in a disadvantageous situation, forcing them to hustle, communicate, and rotate effectively.

With four offensive players and three defenders, there will always be someone open, but by practicing good closeouts, sprinting to cover the ball, and maintaining proper help position, your defense can learn to thrive under pressure.

2. Diamond Shell Drill

Source : youtube

The Diamond Shell presents a modified version of the standard shell defensive drill, where the offensive players adopt a 1-2-1 formation instead of the conventional "4 out" arrangement in the traditional shell drill.

It's an effective method to practice the timing and strategy for double-teaming the post player when the ball is in the low post area. Here you have the opportunity to focus on the positioning of the post defender. Additionally, you can work on how your perimeter players adjust their positions.

3. No Paint Defense Drill

Source : breakthroughbasketball

No Paint Defense drill stands out as highly effective in preventing opponents from entering the paint. It fosters a mindset focused on safeguarding the paint and denying access to anyone.

If you consider penetrating through passing or dribbling as a top offensive strategy, this exercise is essential. Additionally, it serves as an excellent comprehensive defensive drill, promoting the practice of sound defensive habits.

4. Slide Run Slide Drill

Source : online-basketball-drills

The Slide Run Slide Drill is a fantastic defensive drill for basketball players which improves footwork, conditioning, and defensive awareness, making it a valuable tool for coaches and players alike.

Players line up at one end of the court. On the coach's signal, they shuffle three steps to the sideline, then turn and run diagonally to the opposite free throw line. They then shuffle three steps back toward the middle of the court, turn, and run to the opposite hash mark.

5. 1-on-1 Close Out

Source : basketballcoachweekly

In a 1-on-1 Close Out drill, one player starts with the ball, and the other guards at a distance. The ball handler drives and the defender explodes towards them, using short, choppy steps to stay in front.

Hands stay high and active, contesting shots and passes. The drill emphasizes cutting off driving lanes and forcing the ball handler into tough decisions. It's intense, and dynamic, and builds defensive muscle memory like no other.

6. 1-on-1 Finishing Drill

Source : coachingtoolbox

In the 1-on-1 Finishing Drill, participants pair up and position themselves at the halfway line. One player initiates from the sideline, holding a basketball, while the other stands about 2 meters ahead.

The attacking player selects a basket to target and executes a quick dribble before attempting a layup. The defender's task is to contest the shot without committing a foul against the shooter.

7. Defensive Cutthroat

Source : facebook

This drill begins with a persistent defensive exercise involving three groups, typically comprised of four players each. Two teams engage in half-court competition, with the scoring team transitioning to defense as a reward.

Conversely, the defensive team earns a point for successfully preventing a score. The team that loses promptly exits the court, making room for the new offensive team.

8. 1-on-1 Spirit

Source : sportngin

The 1-on-1 Spirit is a team defensive drill that is excellent for practicing in a limited half-court space. It effectively addresses both offensive and defensive skills while also offering valuable conditioning for the players.

The initial defender initiates the drill by executing defensive slides across one section of the half-court until reaching the cone.

9. Man in the Hole

Source : breakthroughbasketball

Man in the Hole drill serves as an excellent 1-on-1 transition exercise designed to enhance your capability to defend against a ball handler in the open court.

The drill focuses on refining your shuffling technique, executing quick turns, running, and mastering the turn-and-sprint maneuver for recovery. Moreover, it proves beneficial for improving overall conditioning and fostering mental resilience.

10. 1-on-1 to 3-on-3 Full Court

Source : breakthroughbasketball

This drill focuses on developing effective one-on-one full-court defensive habits and smoothly transitioning into a half-court scenario.

Subsequently, you address various elements of defense, such as guarding against cuts, handling screens, assuming a supportive position, preventing dribble penetration, and more.

3v3 defensive drills are beneficial as they present a greater challenge in defending the entire court with three players compared to the five players typically encountered in a game.

11. Zig Zag Slides

Source : sportngin

Zig Zag Slides involves players moving horizontally and vertically across the court by employing lateral slides and drop steps.

The objective is to instill fundamental defensive skills, including the proper execution of defensive slides and the utilization of drop steps for changing direction. The exercise commences with all players positioned along the baseline, forming a line at one of the corners.

12. Bump the Cutter

Source : fastmodelsports

The objective of this drill is to instruct players on preventing offensive players from crossing the key without making physical contact, a technique known as "bumping the cutter."

This exercise is advantageous as it also enhances players' abilities in one-on-one competition.

13. Three cone hurdles

Source : breakthroughbasketball

The "Three cone hurdles" drill is a dynamic footwork and agility booster, making it a top defensive drill for basketball players.

It involves setting up three cones in a triangular pattern, with players weaving in and out, hopping over each cone while maintaining a low defensive stance and quick footwork. The drill can be progressed by adding variations like changing directions, incorporating ball handling, or increasing the speed.

14. 4 Point Closeouts

Source : hoopsplaybook

4-point closeouts bring the intensity. Four defenders mimic real game situations by rotating into positions around the paint, then sprinting to close out on open shooters positioned at the corners and foul line extended.

This high-paced drill builds communication, footwork, and reaction time, forcing defenders to stay disciplined and contest shots fiercely.

15. Corner Closeouts

Source : sportngin

Corner closeouts, a staple in NBA training, sharpen defensive instincts like a scalpel. Defenders sprint to pretend shooters in corners, then "recover" to help teammates, mimicking game situations.

This high-intensity drill builds stamina, trains communication, and hones footwork for contesting threes or forcing drives. Mastering this drill turns defenders into pressure cookers, suffocating offensive threats before they even simmer.

16. Partner Closeouts

Source : sportngin

Partner Closeout Drill involves a defensive strategy where the defending player promptly narrows the distance between them and the opponent with the ball, aiming to restrict the offensive player's advance towards the basket.

This exercise enables your team members to hone their closeout skills.

17. Take the Charge

Source : basketballcoachweekly

Instructing athletes on the proper method of executing a defensive move known as "Taking the charge" holds significant importance but is frequently neglected by many coaches.

In this particular exercise, participants gather in a circular formation around the coach. The coach proceeds to walk around the circle, gently applying pressure to each player's chest. Subsequently, players practice mimicking the action of taking charge, executing the correct falling technique.

18. Post Pathway

Source : basketballcoachweekly

Post Pathway drill targets various aspects of post-play. The defensive players need to consistently adapt their positioning to prevent passes into the post, while the offensive players strive to secure favorable positions and create passing opportunities.

Similarly, those on the perimeter are honing their skills in delivering accurate passes into the post.

19. Mass Sliding

Source : online-basketball-drills

Mass Sliding is a dynamic drill that hones footwork, communication, and defensive positioning for the entire team. Players shuffle laterally across the court in unison, mimicking defensive rotations and staying low to the ground.

The coach calls out offensive scenarios, like ball screens or cuts, and players must react by sliding accordingly, maintaining tight gaps and staying connected.

20. Lane Challenge

Source : jes-basketball

This drill focuses on various aspects of post play, requiring defensive adjustments to deny inside passes, offensive efforts to secure good positioning and create passing lanes, and perimeter players practicing accurate inside passes.

In pairs, a dribbler aims to advance within 4 seconds, attempting to beat a defender and dribble through the elbows, with positions switching after each turn.