Here are seven great basketball defensive drills which can help both players and teams improve their ability to shut down opponents and win more games! Elite players don’t ride the bench. If you want more time on the court, make the effort to develop as an elite man-to-man defensive player.

1. 1-on-1 Close Out Drill

No matter how great the help defense is on your team. If your constantly getting burnt on your close out defense you not only become a liability to your team, but you also allow your opponent to gain confidence on their downhill attacks and inturn allow teams the opportunity to score a lot of points against you.

2. Man In the Hole Drill

This drill helps you improve your full court defense in open court situations. Not only will it help you to stay in front of the ball, but also improve your shuffle speed, quick-turns, turn and run, as well as your ability to sprint and recover. The defensive drill also builds mental toughness which every player needs.

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

If you’re looking for a drill which touches on all the fundamental aspects of basketball, it’s this one. This full court drill takes you from 1-on-1 and transitions to a 3-on-3 defensive half-court drill. You’ll work on one-on-one defense, help defense, rotation, screens, defending against cuts, and other situations.
The bonus with this drill transitioning to three-on-three, is that you’ll also improve your offense through ball handling, passing, and in-game decision making.

4. Shell Drill

This drill helps players understand the big picture defensively and shows them what’s expected of them from a communication and effort standpoint and improve defensive help rotations. As a beginner progression they’ll learn proper positioning and how to defend against baseline drives.

*Shell Drill with Down Screens
Defending against down screens is a key part of understanding how to defend in a shell defense. Send me a message if you’d like a video link to better understand another level to the standard ball – deny – help defensive positioning.

5. 4-on-3 Overload Drill

The key to this drill is communication since the defense is at a disadvantage with one less player. As the ball is passed/skipped the defense has to know how to hustle, rotate and close out at a high level to stop dribble penetration. Start at a stationary position, then go to a live situation with the drill. Playing hard and closing out is the key to succeeding in this drill.

6. No Paint Drill

This drill focuses on keeping the ball/player out of the paint. So you’re using all the defensive skills you’ve been building on through the drills above: Close-outs, rotating, defending cuts, fighting through screens, and help defense. The point of the drill is to keep the offense out of the paint and to obviously prevent them from scoring. There’s a point awarded if the offense gets a foot in the paint, and to keep the defense honest a point is also awarded if the offense hits the rim or scores off a three pointer.

7. Whistle Drill

A great live drill that let’s you know where your team is truly at in their defensive progression. Send me a message for the video link to better understand how this team drill is executed.

If you want more posts like this, or if you’re a basketball coach, trainer or an elite player with a defensive drill you feel has helped you dominate games, let me know in the comments.



Check out the blog How to Reduce Post-Workout Muscle Soreness for 4 key ways to reduce post-workout muscle soreness after intense games and practices. Take care of your body and it’ll take care of you.

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