Shot-fake, closeout drill works variety of skills From Tom Oswald, former men's basketball coach, Texas Lutheran University

This is a versatile, effective drill that we use for both offensive and defensive purposes.

On defense

The drill is especially helpful in two primary areas — closeouts and defensive help.

  • Closeouts. This drill helps players learn how to stay down on closeouts and to contain penetration within two defensive slides.
  • Defensive help. This drill is a great teaching tool to help players learn how to stop the ball while remaining in a defensive stance and ready to close out to the next pass.

On offense

This drill aids in the development of three critical — and often overlooked — offensive skills.

  • Shot fakes. Good technique on shot fakes enables better penetration.
  • Penetration. This drill helps players learn how to stay under control if defensive help arrives, and how to read teammates for kick outs.
  • Moving without the ball. The repetitions in this drill help players learn how to stay moving during any penetration and to keep the feet/hands at the ready to receive a pass and take a good shot.

Begin the drill with three offensive players positioned on the perimeter behind the 3-point line. There should be one defender set up under the basket, and one coach or team manager who has a basketball and floats behind the 3-point line.

There is a single-file line of players waiting to enter the drill under the basket on the baseline.

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DIAGRAM 1: Shot fake and closeout drill (A). The coach begins the drill with a pass to any of the offensive players. The defender executes a closeout within the context if the team’s defensive philosophy (such as either forcing to the middle or to the baseline) and defends the player with the ball for two defensive slides.

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DIAGRAM 2: Shot fake and closeout drill (B). The next person on the baseline steps in and must be ready to provide defensive help on penetration.

Offensively, the player with the ball executes a shot fake, sweep and penetrates either to the middle or baseline with the intention of getting to the basket. If help is there, he or she must pull up and be prepared to pass to a teammate.

Teammates must slide to spots along the 3-point line with feet and hands ready for a kick out and shot.

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DIAGRAM 3: Shot fake and closeout drill (C). The rotation for this drill is as follows: The initial defender becomes the offensive player, the help defender becomes the closeout defender, the penetrator goes to the end of the line, and the player receiving the kick-out pass becomes the shot-fake-and-penetrating player.

To enhance readiness, the coach may have another ball and can call “shot” at any time. On the next kick-out pass, the offensive player shoots while the defender closes out. The defender rotates to offense, the shooter retrieves the rebound and passes it back to the coach, and the help defender continues the drill by closing out on the remaining player to receive the pass (with the extra ball) from the coach.