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Basketball drills for teaching the full-court man-to-man basketball pressure defense

Basketball is a game of fundamentals. Serious drills develop these fundamental skills that enables basketball players blend together as a team. As a coach you must be persistent with fun drills until the players become familiar with each other.

Drills should be designed to simulate game conditions. Do everything under pressure. Defense is taught best at full speed. Dummy work does little more than acquaint the players with the way defense should be played. Use break-down drills to lead into the whole. Keep these break-down drills simple, but do not spend too much time on a single drill during each practice session. It is better to work a short time every day on one drill than spend a long time on one drill for one day.

Keep players active and not standing around. Organize practice sessions so that every player is continually busy from start to end of every practice. Whenever possible divide the squad and have one group working at one end of the court and the second group working at the other. Both groups need a coach; however, if you are not lucky enough to have an assistant, use a most-experienced player to provide the necessary leadership.

Players who have obvious difficulty in performing a skill or executing a drill should be asked to stay after practice for special work. Do not penalize the entire squad for the failure of one member to pick-up on a drill.

Here are a few drills that have been used for years which will contribute to the mastery of defensive fundamentals. They lay the foundation for later stunting defenses we see, today.

Sliding footwork drillSliding footwork defensive drill

    Arrange squad as shown. Give each player plenty of room.

    The coach, or student assistant, serves as the leader (dribbler). Dribble right, left, forward and backward.

    The individual players react as if they were guarding the dribbler by moving from place to place using the slide step.

The objective is to

    Teach movement without crossing the feet.

    Encourage players to watch the belly button of the offensive player.

    Conditions back and leg muscles to strenuous defensive play.

    To teach proper stance: one hand up to discourage shots and one hand down to deflect passes.

On-on-one picking up the dribbler drillOne-on-one picking up the dribbler

    Divide the squad into an offensive group and defensive group at opposite ends of court.

    The first offensive player speed dribbles to the other end of the court, who guards him until he stops the dribbler, or the dribbler scores.

    Players alternate lines.


    Develop one-on-one defensive skills

    Force the dribbler to stop before he reaches his position by faking and retreating.


Forcing the dribbler to the inside drillOne-on-one: Forcing the dribbler inside

    Divide the squad into two groups, one on each side of the floor.

    Break each group into defensive and offensive units.

    The first dribbler starts his move

    The first defender moves out to guard the approaching offensive player.

    After each performance, players change lines.


    Forces dribbler to turn to the inside.

    Develop good footwork, stance, and a competitive defensive attitude.


Basketball man-to-man pressure defense diagram

Basketball man-to-man pressure defense diagram

In Diagrams D-3 and D-4, the offense has progressed into the front court. Defensive #1 is on the ball handler trying to force him sidelines, which is roughly defined by the shaded area on the right and left sides of the court. If Offensive #1 were outside the shaded area you play between the man and the basket (straight up), forcing the dribbler to go wide in either direction.

Dribble Used: Should the ball handler use his dribble, the defender, with both hands up, must move close to the dribbler and shout, Ball! Ball! Ball! In the dribble used situation, you want your players to set the goal of not allowing their man to catch the ball. When all outlets are aggressively covered this way, you minimize chances of the ball handler finding an open teammate. This also increases chances for an intercepted pass, a pass thrown out-of-bounds, or a 5-second violation.

Ball Handler Begins to Dribble and/or is Dribbling: Once the offensive player begins to dribble, the defender tries to maintain the same position he maintained before the dribble. The defensive manís head, ideally, should be over the elbow of the dribbling hand. Discourage your players from reaching, or slapping, at the ball.

Continued to next page>>>

Related Articles:
 How to coach the basketball man-to-man defenses
 Variations of the full-court man-to-man defense
 Drills for teaching the full-court man-to-man defense
 Differences in guarding the players who are one-pass or two-passes away
 Pivot defense inside and out with support
Transition drill: guarding against the back-door cut and All-Purpose drill
Keeping score of four-on-four drills and breaking them down


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  3. One-on-one basketball moves

  4. Basketball Coach's toolbox

  5. How to Teach the 8 Basic Fundamental Plays in Basketball

  6. How to Teach Players to Dribble a Basketball

  7. How to coach and teach the basketball pick-and-roll play

  8. How to Coach the Basketball Give and Go Play

  9. How to Coach the 1-3-1 Basketball Zone Pressure Defenses

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