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Teach Your Players How To Shut Down Their Opponent With These Great Defensive Basketball Drills

Easy and effective defensive basketball drills for coaches.

The basketball defense drills listed below will help you teach your players the fundamentals they need to be an effective defensive basketball player.



These basic basketball drills focus on the skills needed to play good, solid defense - including footwork, body position and aggressiveness. By practicing and improving these defensive skills, your players will be able to play consistent defense and control their opponent's offensive abilities.

I suggest that you perform some, if not all, of these basketball defensive drills during each of your practices. This will help tremendously in developing your players' overall skill level and will teach them how to play basketball defense aggressively and effectively.

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Great Defensive Basketball Drills

The goal of these defensive basketball drills is to help your players work on the skills and fundamentals needed to play tough defense and contain and control their opponent's ability to score the basketball. Consistently practicing these defensive basketball drills will help improve your team's overall play on defense and will help them succeed on the court.

Basketball Defensive Stance Drill

This is a great basketball drill to teach your players the proper defensive stance and footwork needed to play effective defense.

The players will form four lines, spread out down the court and face the coach on the sideline. They will be positioned in the proper defensive stance and will move according to the coach's movements.

Coach Movement - Defensive Movement

Triple threat - Basic defensive stance

Dribble right side - Defensive slide left

Dribble left side - Defensive slide right

Dribble drive right - Defensive slide, left angle

Dribble drive left - Defensive slide, right angle

Retreat dribble - Defensive slide forward

Basketball overhead - Hands up around the ball

Basketball shot - Hand up, yell "shot", pivot, box out and rebound

Zigzag Defensive Drill

This basketball defense drill teaches the players how to maintain a good defensive stance and use the defensive slide while guarding their opponent.

The players will form four lines on the baseline and face the coach at half-court. The first player is each line will start with their back to the coach, facing their line. The players will use the defensive angle slide to zigzag down the basketball court, pretending they are guarding an opponent. When the pass half-court the next player in line can go.

The players must maintain proper defensive stance throughout this basketball drill and use short, choppy steps to slide down the court.

Zigzag Defensive Drill: O vs. D

Immediately after completing the Zigzag basketball drill listed above, you should have your players perform the same drill against an offensive player.

The players will form four lines on the baseline and face the coach at half-court. The first player is each line will start with their back to the coach, facing their line. The next player in line will be the offensive player.

The offensive player will dribble the basketball down the court in the following manner: Dribble drive right, crossover, dribble drive left, crossover, repeat. The defensive player will use the defensive angle slide practiced in the previous drill to contain the offensive player.

The defenders must maintain proper defensive stance throughout this basketball drill and use short, choppy steps to slide down the court. They should work hard to control the offensive player, cut off their dribble drive and force them to use the crossover dribble.

One-on-One Defensive Drill

The players will divide into groups at each basket, with half of that group on the baseline (defense) and the other half at the top of the key (offense).

The defender will make a chest pass to the offensive player to start this basketball drill. Once they pass the basketball, the defender must immediately go out and get into a good defensive position and be prepared to stop the offensive player from scoring. The offensive player will catch the basketball and either shoot or drive to the basket.

The players can play until a shot is made or the defender steals or rebounds the basketball or forces a turnover. Players will switch lines after each turn.



Shell Drill

This basketball defensive drill teaches the players how to play team defense against an offensive team.

The players will divide into groups of five at each basket, with one group starting on offense and the other on defense.

The offensive team will spread out on the perimeter, with two players in the corners, two on the wings and one at the top of the key. The defensive players will each guard an opponent.

The offensive team will pass the basketball around the perimeter to start the drill. As the ball is being passed, the defenders must get into the proper defensive position to play on-the-ball, off-the-ball or help-side defense.

The players must always focus on proper defensive stance and footwork, but for this drill they also have to work on seeing the basketball and helping their teammates when needed.

*Special Note* - During these defensive basketball drills, it's important that you emphasize to your players the importance of proper defensive stance and footwork. They must work to improve these defensive skills in order to become an effective defender.

It's also important that you teach your players how to see the basketball and be prepared to help their teammates. Being in a good defensive stance, using proper footwork to contain their opponent and being prepared to help out are all keys to success with basketball defense.




Coaches...be sure to check out the entire collection of basketball drills.



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