This week’s workout is a conditioned-based drill that focuses on passing, defensive slides, and closeouts. Playing defense is challenging and fun at the same time. Closing out properly is one of the most difficult aspects of defense to teach and learn.
This drill is most effective with 4 to 6 players. If you have more players than this than set up other lines parallel utlizing the full basketball court.
All of the players will start in a line beginning at the baseline and extending out towards the half court line. Players should be evenly spaced out, approximately 3-5 feet (1-1.5 meters) apart.
One player steps in front of the first player in line, closest to the baseline, approximately 10-15 feet (3-4.5 meters) away depending on size and strength of the player. This player starts with a ball.
Player A will make a hard and crisp chest pass to the first player in line. Ensure that all the players in the line are standing with their hands ready in front of their chests to catch the basketball. The pass should be executed so it reaches the targeted hands area.
Make sure your players are utilizing proper footwork when making chest passes. With the knees bent step towards the target. Hands are pointed toward the target and they should separate after the ball is passed with thumbs facing down towards the ground.
Once the ball is passed the Player A should sprint toward the receiver of the pass. As the player nears the receiver, approximately 3 feet (1 meter) away, she should begin to prepare her body for the closeout.
Knees are bent (as low as possible but no lower than 90 degrees), butt is low to the ground, and the players should be on the balls of the feet, not the heels in a good athletic stance. Simultaneously, they should bring both hands up in the air, ready to contest a shot. As the passer gets closer to the receiver you should hear a pitter patter sound emit from the toes. This sound ensures that the player is on the toes and ready to play defense.
As the soon as the passer is arm length’s away from the receiver, tap the ball, and immediately slide back to the starting position. Players shouldn’t come out of their stances from the closeout to the slide back. They should always be low and in an athletic stance.
Once Player A returns to the starting point, the receiver than passes the ball back and the drill continues down the line until Player A has passed and closed out to every other player in line. Player A joins the end of the line after being finished, and the next player steps into become the passer and defender.
Resting period is when you are waiting in line. Continue this drill for as many as reps as you would like. Another way to do this drill is to start from one end of the floor and continue it down to the other end.
To get the most from this drill it is imperative that proper passing is stressed as well as proper defensive footwork. Players have to push themselves with full intensity for this drill to be effective!