Zigzag 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.

1 and 2 are on defense and start on the baseline facing half court. The rest of the group is in two lines at the volleyball-spiking line. Each line faces the baseline and the first player in each line (3 and 4) has a basketball.

DIAGRAM 1: The drill begins with both defenders closing out at the foul-line extended, sprinting two-thirds of the way before finishing with choppy steps and high hands. The players then make two defensive slides toward their sideline and two slides back toward the middle of the floor.

Once they have completed their slides, they closeout again to the first player in line. The emphasis is on sprinting, choppy steps and high hands.

DIAGRAM 2: 3 and 4 take two dribbles toward the sideline followed by two dribbles toward the middle, with 1 sliding to keep in front of 3 and 2 sliding to keep in front of 4. The drill is not “live” at any point, so the defense is not allowed to reach or make any play on the ball. The two offensive players continue dribbling until both pairs reach the baseline. The offensive players then pass the ball back to the line before going on defense. The defensive players join the line of offensive players.