Master Plan: Defensive Drills List

Defensive Skills & Techniques: "Building Blocks to a Successful Defense"

Coaching requires a real commitment and dedication. Before undertaking any defensive system, coaches must be well organized and prepared. This requires careful planning and thought. Since most programs do not have a lot of practice time, it is imperative that coaches analyze and organize their time wisely. First identify which skills the players need to know, how well they need to know them, and under what conditions they are to do them.

The following is a sequential list of example defensive teaching and break down drills. Use it as a guide in putting together your master plan of drills. If you have limited practice time, use combination drills that incorporate several defensive fundamentals.

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Level I.  Individual Defensive Fundamentals

Basic Concepts & Principles

Guarding Player With Ball – “Ball”, “Push”, “Jam”

Guarding Player with Ball – Special Situations

Guarding a Dribbler in Open Court

Guarding Player Without Ball – “Strong Pass Denials”

Guarding Player Without Ball – “Helpside” Backside Support

Defending The Post Area

Defensive Rebounding – “Box Out”

Level II.  Team Defensive Fundamentals

Basic Disruptions

Post Disruptions

Disrupting Screens

LEVEL III. Team Defense Application of Defensive Fundamentals

Go Live

Half Court Scrimmage

Review & Reinforce (as needed)

Check-In Rule for ALL Drills!
Prior to putting the ball in play, the defensive player must first check to see that all of their teammates are in proper defensive position and  stance. Putting the ball into play without first checking to see if teammates are ready results in ten (10) push ups. Enforce!


Coaching Points

This example building of a fundamentally sound defense should be augmented with passing and transition drills. Once the basic individual defensive skills and techniques are mastered, they can be easily extended into full court disruptions. Also, be sure to follow up with teaching how to defend special situations such as out of bounds (baseline & sideline), boxing out on free throws, jump balls, last shots, etc.

Related Items:

Program Evaluation: Teaching Defensive Skills & Techniques Check List

Defensive Fundamentals: Five Day (10 Session) Teaching Plan

HoopTactics' Player Development: Individual Defensive Skills