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Transition drill: guarding against the back-door cut and all-purpose basketball drills

The transition drill call attention to defensive transitions from two passes to one pass away and visa versa.

Basketball man-to-man pressure defense diagram

Basketball man-to-man pressure defense diagram

On the #1 to #2 pass in Diagram D-11, defender #4 must return from the lane to his one-pass-away position between #2 and #4. After passing to #2, #1 either sets a screen, or exchanges positions with #3.

#2 then passes to #3, who comes up to replace #1ís vacated position. After passing to #3, #2 may exchange, or screen for #4.

One of our major efforts here is to teach defender #3 to quickly get off #3 on the initial #1 to #2 pass. Even though it is a drill, defender #3 must presume he does not know what #3 is going to do. All that defender #3 knows is that he must move with the pass. The next thing he sees is #1 setting a screen at him away from the ball and #3 moving up to #1ís former spot.

Defender #3 must now get back into overplay position and prevent the #2 to #3 pass. Despite a legal screen, there is no reason why defender #3 can not beat his man to the ball. Defender #3 can sprint at top speed without being overly concerned about a possible reverse on the part of #3. If #3 started up and then reversed, defender #1 would be there to help. Defender #3, therefore, should have no difficulty slipping around #1ís screen in the direction of the ball and beating #3 to the pass.

Guarding Against the Back Door

A savy basketball player who is being overplayed will go backdoor looking for an easy lay-up. Letís suppose #3 in Diagram D-11 cuts to the basket when #1 has the ball initially. How do we want defender #3 guarding against the backdoor?

Defender #3 is overplaying #3 one pass away. He faces #3 with his back to the ball and extends his left arm to deny the pass. Although facing his man with his body, defender #3 positions his head toward a point past his left hand (in this case), which is extended, allowing him to see his man and the ball.

If #3 fakes one step toward the basket, defender #3 should not take the fake; however, if #3 suddenly cuts hard to the basket, defender #3 goes with him. In doing so, defender #3 turns, so that his right hand is now extended, and when glancing back at the ball, he does so over his right shoulder.

Defender #3 to play the backdoor this way instead of turning his back on his man and facing the ball. When defender #3 reaches the lane, he will stop, open up, and see what is coming.

Sometimes it will not be possible to see both man and ball. In these cases choose the man.

In Diagram D-12, add the guard to forward pass to the transition drill as the offense rotates in the clockwise direction.

#1 passes to #3 and #4 is instructed to cut to the ball-side high post area. If #3 can hit #4 there, defender #4 has not done his job. #4 then goes back up to replace #2 who has moved to #1ís vacated spot. That is if #4 does not get a pass from #3.

Principle #6: When the offense attempts to clear a side to create a one-on-one situation for the dribbler, the defender does not follow the man clearing. Instead, he stops at the lane and opens up to see whatís coming.

Concentrate on defender #1ís job in this transition drill. When #1 passes to #3, defender #1 retreats in the direction of the pass. He stays between the ball and his man all the way to the lane.

At that point the offensive player #1 begins to approach the two-passes-away position; therefore, when #1 stops and positions himself so that he can see both #1 and the ball. When defender #1 crosses the lane and moves around to the other side, he is actually moving three-perimeter-passes-away. Consequently, there is no need to chase #1 around to the other side of the court. Instead, defender #1 is ready to help should #3 drive to the basket. If, in a game situation #1 came all the way around into a one-pass-away situation, defender #1 would simply come up the middle and beat #1 to the ball.

All Purpose Drill

Diagram D-13 illustrates an All Purpose Drill which should be used every day. It permits the offense to fit in all of the moves described in the first three drills. They may pass the ball around the horn as in the Swing Drill. Players may penetrate, dribble, and pass as in the Support Drill. They may pass guard-to-guard and screen away, or pass to the forward and cut through as the Transition Drill shows.

As such, this all purpose drill provides the defensive players with the practice of putting Coach Dean Smithís half-court defensive principles to work. In the drill, the offense is instructed not to shoot until after a certain number of passes have been completed, or time has elapsed.

Since the offense is given great latitude in this drill, itís unreasonable to diagram the exact order of offensive patterns that can be used; however, Diagram D-13 illustrates a dribble-used situation which could easily come about during this drill.

Basketball man-to-man pressure defense diagram#1 begins the drill with a penetrating dribble. Defender #2 comes down to help defender #1. Defender #2ís help makes #1 pick up his dribble which takes the opposition out of their offense if #1 does not throw to #2 immediately.

Defender #1 now moves in tight on the ball handler. Defender #2 ignores the line-of-ball principle and rushes up to close in on #2. Defender #3 similarly attempts to clamp his man. Whenever a dribble is used by an offensive player, our weak-side deep man plays anyone who reverses to the basket. Defender #4, in this case, would be back to stop a possible backdoor cut by #3; however, defender #4 still has the primary responsibility of beating his own man to the ball. If #4 moved toward the ball, defender #4ís immediate concern would be to get there first. If the defense recovers fast enough to close off any pass, it could intercept a pass, cause a pass out-of-bounds, or come up with a five-second count for jump ball.

Continued on next page:


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