These drills help the players at all levels of competition to improve an important part of their game. For the young players, this kind of drills will help them to use their full body to box-out opponents.
1-on-1 Box-Out Drill
If we want improve team box-out defense, we must start with the 1-on-1 box-out. Use this drill for 6 minutes at every practice session. In this drill, one offensive player shoots the ball and another offensive player tries to get the offensive rebound. The defensive player’s job is to box out the offensive player and get the ball. If the offensive player grabs an offensive rebound, the defensive player stays on defense (diagr. 1 and 2).
3-on-3 Box-out Drill
This drill is the next step in the development of our defensive team positioning and box out. Two coaches on the wings penetrate into the paint. Defensive players must get the best position (ball side/weak side) and must stop the penetration (step-up). After a couple of penetrations and passes, when the coach shoots the ball, the defensive players must box out and rebound. Each team must get three defensive rebounds in a row, and then get out. After 4 to 5 minutes, we rotate. We run the same drill, but this time the smaller players must box out the big players and get the rebound (diagr. 3, 4, 5, and 6).
FAST BREAK DRILLS
3-on-1/4-on-3 Fastbreak Drill
If we want to score easy baskets, we have to work on the fastbreak drills. One drill that we use is the 3-on-1/4-on-3. Three or four teams of three players set up on the court. We start first with a 3-on-1, with one dribble fastbreak. Next, the same team, plus the defender, grabs the ball and plays a 4-on-3 fastbreak. This drill is run for 6 minutes and we count each scored basket. The losers must perform suicide drills (diagr. 7 and 8).
For this drill, players must fill the lanes, read the reaction of the defense, and try the score. After a 3-on-2, whoever shoots the ball will run back, trying to recover, and catch the offensive players. Two defensive players must contain three offensive players and then do not give up an easy score. Blue and White teams run this drill for 6 minutes. The losers will perform suicide drills (diagr. 9).
2-on-2 Transition Drill
We work this 2-on-2-transition drill to pressure the ball and then run back on defense. Blue and White teams, formed by two players, are set at the free-throw line extended. The drill starts with a 2-on-2. The players on offense then become the defenders, and make a quick recovery with the player, who shot the ball or turned it over, then puts pressure the ball. One of players, who was on defense, grabs the ball and makes a long pass to a teammate for the fast break. A team must try to score 11 points to win the contest: a scored basket earns one point, while a turnover takes away a point. (diagr. 10 and 11).
5-on-5 Transition Defense
We run this drill to create a game-like situation. We start the drill from half court defensive positioning with two coaches. The players are numbered. The coaches pass the ball to each other a couple of times, check the defensive positions, then they shoot the ball. At the same time, a coach yells two numbers (1-4 or 2-5 etc.), and the players, who are called, run around the cones, set at the intersection of the baseline with the three-point line, recover on defense, and play a 5-on-3 fast break. The offensive player, who shoots or turns the ball over, runs over the cone and then they play 5-on-4 transition defense. We count how many defensive stops are made in 7 minutes. The transition defense is the key for the team’s defense (diagr. 12 e 13).
5-on-5 Transition Defense Circle Drill
The important part of the transition defense is to find the offensive players and quickly match-up. This drill improves our 5-on-5-transition defense and a quick match-up, and prevents easy baskets from being scored. The players, divided in one Blue and one White team, run around the free-throw circle without being matched up. The coach has the ball and, after 15 to 20 seconds, he shoots and yells “Blue” or “White.”
The team that is called will get the rebound and run the fastbreak. The players of the team must quickly recover, match-up, and stop the fastbreak. We count how many defensive stops are made in 6 minutes. The winners shoot free-throws, while the losers run (diagr. 14 e 15). After this drill, we run a 5-player “Pacer drill” full court. The team needs to score six lay-ups in 32 seconds without dribbling (diagr. 16 and 17).
The first team of four players to hit 60 shots is the winner. The 60 shots can come from five predetermined spots on the floor and 12 shots have to be made from each spot (diagr. 18).
PLAYER DEVELOPMENT DRILLS
I would like to suggest some specific drills to run before the team practice that I find useful for the development of all type of players, both short and tall.
Development for perimeter players
Drill 1: Throw the ball, catch, and:
- Jab step and lay-up.
- Jab step, long step, and lay-up.
- Jab step, shot fake, and same side drive.
- Jab step, crossover, and lay-up.
- Jab step, crossover, and step back move.
Drill 2: Throw the ball, catch, and:
- One dribble left side, one count stop, and lay-up.
- One dribble right side, one-count stop, and lay-up.
- Two dribbles left side, one-count stop, and lay-up.
- Two dribbles right side, one-count stop, and lay-up.
Drill 3: Pick-and-roll
- Side screen and middle penetration.
- Side screen and side penetration (diagr. 19, 20 and 21).
Development for inside players
Drill 1: Ball handling
- Mikan Drill (with changing feet).
- Two-count stop.
- Reverse lay-up.
Drill 2: Low-post: throw the ball, catch, and:
- Baseline drop step.
- Middle jump hook.
- Baseline dribble and middle spin move.
- Middle dribble and baseline spin move.
- Turn around jumper.
Drill 3: High Post, face up, and:
- Jab-step and shot.
- Jab-step, long step and power lay-up.
- Jab-step, crossover, and power lay-up.
- Catch and shoot.
- Catch and drive.
- Jab step, crossover, step back, shot.
Drill 4: Low post fake
- Catch and drive.
- Jump stop and move.
- Face-up and move.
Drill 5: Fake high-post
- Catch and shot.
- Catch, fake and power move (diagr. 22).
Drill 6: High-low
- Coach same side pass, baseline footwork, and power move.
- Spin move and power lay-up (diagr. 23).
Drill 7: Pick-and-roll (both sides)
The player from the low-post sets a screen and then cuts and receives the ball from the dribbler (diagr. 24 and 25).
Drill 8: Fast break
- High post jumper.
- Ball side, post up (diagr. 26 and 27).
The player from the low-post changes his position to receive the pass out from three-point line, or receive a pass from the corner. The player at the top of the key passes the ball to the left side, cuts in the lane, and takes the position on the low-post (diagr. 28, 29, and 30). The player passes the ball to the coach on the top of the key, cuts, and receives the ball in the lane (diagr. 31 and 32).
We end the practice with free-throw drills that we divide in two parts. In the first part of this drill, everybody shoots (diagr. 33). In the second part, the coach gives the following rules:
- Ten players make 20 free-throws, and seven players make 17.
- Each players shoots one shot at a time.
- If he misses the first one = he runs 3 times.
- If he misses the second one = he runs 2 times.
- If he makes the twos = he runs 1 time (diagr. 34)