‘Guard the Yard’ closeout drill From Brian Kissinger, East Valley High School, Spokane Valley, Washington

All players must be able to closeout effectively, and all coaches should make closeouts a daily point of emphasis. Here is a drill to get your practices started.

Start with two lines under the basket, and the first player in each line steps out. 1 starts at the right block and 2 starts at the second hash mark on the left side of the lane. Both players face out to half court.

DIAGRAM 1: The drill begins with each player sliding to the opposite side of the block, tagging the lane line with their lead foot and then returning to their starting spot. The emphasis should be on wide hands, wide feet and not letting their feet come together.

When both players get back to their starting spots, they sprint to a closeout at the wing on the same side (marked with a cone). Emphasis is on sprinting two-thirds of the way to the cone, then breaking down with choppy steps and high hands over the final third.

DIAGRAM 2: The final phase of the drill begins as soon as the closeout ends. Each player, again using good sliding fundamentals, works on arcing an imaginary dribbler toward another cone placed near the center circle.

At this point, both players change sides of the floor, sprint down the sideline and back into the opposite line from where they started. Another group of players can be doing the same drill at the other end of the court.