Practice drills emphasize defensive positioning, shooting From Randy Erickson, coach & founder, Wear-Out-The-Net Basketball, Lakeville, Minnesota

Don’t get caught in the trap of using all of your practice time for working on specific offensive and defensive strategies. Remember to drill your players in the basics and fundamentals as well. Use the following defensive drills (as well as positioning) to ensure your players concentrate on keeping offensive players out of the paint. And, the final diagram shows a simple, end-of-practice drill that is competitive and not time-consuming.

Stay out of the paint

defensive positioning drill 1

It’s not necessary to switch to a zone if you struggle against big post player. But, you must practice ball-side and help-side defense along with stressing that every player on the court hustle to their spots. By utilizing the following drills, your man-to-man looks like a zone defense, which confuses the offense and improves your interior defense.

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DIAGRAM 1: Have four offensive and four defensive players take the floor. In this instance, the offense has the ball just above the right-elbow area. Have your four defenders quickly move into position to ensure 1 does not penetrate with the ball. X1 applies the initial pressure. X3 helps while keeping an eye on his player in the corner (3). X2 cheats over to the middle of the foul-line area and X4 fills the middle of the lane.

defensive positioning drill 2DIAGRAM 2: With the ball in the corner. X3 applies pressure. X1 slides down slightly. X2 again cheats toward the middle of the foul-line area and X4 fills underneath the hoop.

DIAGRAM 3: If 2 penetrates, X1 helps and forces the ball back out to the wing (1).

defensive positioning drill 4DIAGRAM 4: When 1 passes to 3 in the corner, X1 and X3 slide into position and keep 1 from receiving a give-and-go pass back from 3.

End-of-practice shooting drill

Don’t use the end of your practice to run sprints. Develop shooting and keeping the competitive fire going.

DIAGRAMS 5-7: Divide your players into two teams as shown. On the command, the first player fires up a jump shot. If it goes in, the player calls out his team’s score (first to 10 wins). The player rebounds and makes a proper pass to the next person in line.

defensive positioning drill 5-7