During the offseason, coaches often work on more efficient ways to use their practice time. One of the top approaches in this regard remains combining skills within certain drills. Layering concepts within specific exercises helps speed the process along for some players. One good examples of this is defensive closeout drills.

Developing a practice plan can be one of the most daunting tasks for a coach at any level. Coaches need to consider the talent of their team when assembling the plan. They also need to keep in mind how they want their team to improve over the course of the season. That improvement gets jumpstarted in practice with targeted drills. Coaches often have a set of their favorite basketball practice drills aimed to do just that.

Basketball Practice Drills: 1-on-1 Closeout

If your players cannot closeout effectively on defense, your Help Defense scheme won’t really matter. Poor closeouts can destroy any defense. This one of the defensive drills helps improve individual closeout technique, much like the next one.

The 1-on-1 closeout drill remains fast-paced, keeping playing contesting shots and preventing dribble penetration. It forces individual defenders to practice within a game-like setup. Making this drill 1-on-1 adds a layer of accountability for each player.

The setup for this drill puts the defenders near the basket while the offensive players stand on the win. The defenders start with the ball and passes to the wing, following their pass. Each defender’s job is keep the ball out of the lane and force a contested jump shot. Following that, the defender must box out and rebound.

Points of emphasis for defenders in this drill include: Sprint To Eliminate Offensive Advantage, Keep Your Hands Up, and Position Appropriately. Variations of this drill can involve the passes coming from different angles and/or the “loser” staying on defense.

Basketball Practice Drills: Basic Defensive Closeout

Basketball Practice Drills

The first basketball practice drill that holds a great deal of value is a basic close out drill. This drill should be a regular for any team playing man-to-man defense. In addition, this drill aids in the instruction of help-side defense.

In this drill, two players start on the floor, occupying the wings. The defenders wait in a line beneath the rim and one positions himself in the “help side” spot in the lane. The drill begins with a skip pass from one wing to the other. The defender is expected to run from his help side position to close out on the shooter.

This drill can use a coach as the passer, or rotate players into that position. Coaches should emphasize defensive placement and positioning when integrating this drill. The close out defender should not over-run the shooter, but stop just before with one hand up.

This drill can be altered to force the shooter to drive baseline. The drill can incorporate another defender at that point, who also moves into help side positioning.

Here’s good video example of this drill.

Related: 3 Developmental Rebounding Drills for Practice



Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep: 376 3 Favorite Practice Drills from Coach Steger

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