I wish I had a secret formula to relate to coaches on how to build defensive determination, desire and pride in the team and in each player. But I do not. I believe the use of break-down drills helps players develop their defensive skills better than any other learning tool. Once a player has learned how to play defense correctly, sees the results and understands the role that defense plays in winning basketball games that determination, desire and pride will follow. It is human nature to take pride in the things we do well and receive positive results from. So players must be taught HOW to play defense correctly and effectively. The resulting pride of accomplishment will then bring out the determination and desire in each player to exhibit these skills.
Individual defense is a prerequisite of a sound defense. Coaches should develop their individual defense before they turn their attention to team defense. And we believe the best way to develop these skills is with the use of break-down drills. This is the opposite of our philosophy for teaching team offense.
Break-down drills can be made much more difficult than actual game situations that will be encountered. Making the defense easier in games than it is in practice. Also, break-down drills can be controlled more closely than scrimmages. Corrections can be made on the spot and the entire team can benefit instead of only one or two players because all players are working on the same area of skill development.
All of our break-down drills are actual maneuvers that happen in a basketball game. All we do is isolate the areas and work on them independently.
Periodically in our defensive break-down drills we stop and ask a player how his man or the man with the ball, can hurt him in this situation. I cannot prove that we are any smarter or more defensively aware from this. But it makes sense that is should increase a player's alertness and awareness.
Our "Five/One" match-up drills are some of the same drills we use in our "Five/One" man-to-man defense. Listed below are the main breakdown drills that we use.
NOTE: Since these are the same drills we use in our "Five/One" man-to-man defense the drills and diagram numbers will be the same as in our "Five/One" man-to-man defense.
CLEVELAND STATE CONVERSION DRILL:
Play 5 on 5. On coach's whistle offense drops ball and becomes defense. Defense picks up ball and becomes offense. New offensive team attacks the opposite basket from the one being attacked by the previous offensive team. New defense must sprint back to the lane and set up their defense.
1 on 1 BASELINE DRILL (Diagram 17):
The offensive player (1)will start at the wing area (below the free throw line extended). The defender (B) will start in his help position (in the gap between his man and the passer). The passer will pass to 1, B will close out playing the baseline side. B's baseline foot is back to protect against the baseline drive. B's top foot is splitting 1's feet (if quickness between the two players dictates B may drop further toward the baseline). 1 attempts to drive the baseline hard. B must prevent the baseline drive.
2 on 2 BASELINE DRILL (Diagram 18):
One offensive player (1) will start at the guard spot with the ball. The other offensive player (2) will start at the wing area (below the free throw line extended). A will defend 1 stopping a direct drive to the basket. B is defending 2. B has 'jumped back to the ball', closing the gap between his man and 1.
1 will pass the ball to 2. (Before he makes this pass 1 may attempt to penetrate the gap between himself and B.) On the pass from 1 to 2, A will 'jump back to the ball', closing the gap between his man and 2. B will close out on 2 with his baseline foot back to protect against the baseline drive. 2 attempts to drive baseline. But 2 can also drive the middle.
VICTORIA 1 ON 1 FROM THE FREE THROW LINE DRILL (Diagram 19):
Players line up as shown in the diagram. All Xs are on the same team and all Os are on the same team. The first player in the X line under the basket will roll the ball to the first player in the O line at the free throw line. He will then close out and play 1 on 1. The same procedure is taking place at the other end of the court (with O on defense and X on offense). After a winner has been determined (offense scores a basket or defense gets the ball before the offense can score) X will go to the end of the X line at the opposite end of the court and O will go to the end of the O line at the opposite end of the court. The loser must run a bleacher before moving to his line at the opposite end of the court. We limit the number of dribbles the offense may use. A team score is also kept with the losing team running at the end of the drill. We will put ten minutes on the clock for this drill. The defense plays as to prevent a direct drive to the basket.
3 on 3 DEFENSE THE POST DRILL (Diagram 20):
The player line up as in the diagram. This is the same as the '2 on 2 Baseline Drill' except that we've added a post player. While the ball is on the perimeter the perimeter defenders play the same as in the '2 on 2 Baseline Drill.' When the ball is above the free throw line the post defender denies the pass into the offensive post man. Once a pass is made into the offensive post man, the perimeter defenders 'jump back to the ball', with the top defender executing a "SEAL". When the ball is passed out of the post the perimeter players recover to their man and continue playing perimeter defense.
HELPSIDE DRILL (Diagrams 21, 22 & 23):
In this drill we will cover: "Close-Out"; "Defending the Flash"; and "Helping on the Drive from the Helpside". When first introducing the drill we will take each of these defensive concept seperately. Then we will work up to having the defense read the situation.
"Close-Out": The passer will make a skip pass to 1. X will close out and play the same as in our '1 on 1 Baseline Drill'.
"Defending the Flash": The offensive player (2) will make a direct cut toward the basketball. As soon as 2 starts his cut X will start adjusting his position. As 2 enters the lane X will be in a closed denial stance and will stay in this stance as long as 2 is in the lane. If 2 cuts behind X, X will execute a 'Head-Snap' and continue denying the ball to 2 in the lane.
"Help": X is in his defensive position, using his pistols. The passer puts the ball on the floor to drive to the basket. X must move over to stop the drive outside the lane.
4 on 4 SHELL DRILL (Diagrams 30, 31 / Diagrams 1 & 2):
Offensive players will start in four perimeter positions (two above the free throw line and two below the free throw line extended). The offensive players will move the ball around the perimeter and stay in their positions. The defense will adjust their defensive positions on each pass. The next step is we keep the offensive players in their general positions but allow them to attempt to penetrate on the dribble while moving the ball around the perimeter.
4 on 4 HELP AND ROTATE DRILL (Diagram 32):
This drill starts the same as our '4 on 4 Shell Drill'. When the ball is passed to an offensive player below the free throw line extended a coach will step in and screen the defender guarding this man. In the diagram this offensive man is 4. 4 will then drive baseline to the basket. D must move over to stop the drive outside the lane, B will recover back to his man and double the ball, C will rotate down to the bottom of the lane to stop the pass to the opposite block area, and A will jump back to the ball in the lane.
After this portion of the drill has been mastered we allow the pass out of the double team and work on recovery.
SEAL AND ROTATE DRILL (Diagrams 36 & 37 / Diagrams 5-15):
We will start this drill the same as '4 on 4 Shell Drill' with an offensive post player and a defender on him. We can require the offensive post man to always be ballside or to remain on the same side of the court. We execute the drill the same as '4 on 4 Shell Drill' with the addition of the offensive post player and his defender. Once the ball is passed into the post, we 'jump back to the ball' and the defender on the ballside top man performs a "SEAL". We rotate out following our match-up rules.
4 on 4 SFA BOX DRILL (Diagrams 38-43):
Offensive players line up in a box (elbows & blocks) as shown. You will have two passers, only one of the passers will have a ball at a time. The passers can pass back and forth as the coach instructs. The offensive players in the box can move in any of a number of ways. The diagrams show only a few examples of the movement of the offensive players. However, it should be noted that this is not random movement, but rather movement that is predetermined by the coach. Each offensive player in the box is guarded by a defensive player. The defensive players must defend their player according to their match-up rules
HELP AND RECOVER INSIDE DRILL (Diagram 44):
Players line up as shown in the diagram. X (the defensive player) is guarding 2. 1 starts with the basketball. Until the time 1 starts his dribble we play him as if he is being defended. When 1 starts his dribble to the basket, we play him as if he has just beaten his man off the dribble and is free driving to the basket. When 1 starts his dribble X must move over to stop 1's penetration outside the lane. As 1 starts his dribble 2 moves to the free throw line. After X stops 1's penetration to the basket, 1 passes to 2 who will catch and shoot. On the pass to 2, X must recover to 2, get a hand in his face, "yell" and then block him out.
4 on 4 DEFENSE THE CUTTER DRILL: (Diagrams 51 & 52)
Players line up as in '4 on 4 Shell Drill'. On the guard to wing pass the guard will cut through the lane and go opposite. On the guard to guard pass, the passing guard will cut through the lane and go out on the same side he is on. The other offensive players rotate to fill the next empty spot. There is no cut on the wing to guard pass. NOTE: DIAGRAMS 51 & 52 SHOWS THE OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT THAT WE DEFEND IN OUR MATCH-UP. THE DEFENDERS FOLLOW THEIR MATCH-UP RULES - THE DIAGRAMS SHOW MAN-TO-MAN DEFENSE NOT MATCH-UP.
3 on 3 BALLSIDE DRILL: (Diagram 54)
Three offensive players stay on the ball side and move randomly. Two offensive players stay on the helpside and move randomly. Both ballside and helpside defensive players must adjust their position according to their match-up rules.
2 on 2 BALLSIDE DRILL: (Diagram 55)
Two offensive players stay on the ballside and move randomly. Three offensive players stay on the helpside and move randomly. Both ballside and helpside defensive players must adjust their position constantly in relation to their match-up rules.
1 on 1 CONVERSION DRILL
Two players start at the free throw line. The coach tosses the ball off the board. Both players go for the rebound. The player gaining possession of the basketball is on offense and the other is on defense. The offensive player dribbles to the opposite goal and attempts to score. The defensive player sprints back defensively and defends against the offensive player.
Once the offensive player shoots, the ball is now free again. Make or miss both players go for the ball. The player gaining possession of the ball is the NEW offensive player (even if it is the same player who just shot). The NEW offensive player dribbles to the opposite goal and attempts to score. The defensive player must sprint back and defend against the offensive player.