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.

Here are Coach Steger’s 2 Favorite Practice Drills and a couple of videos below to show their use.


Basketball Practice Drills: 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.


Basketball Practice Drills: DeMatha Finishing Drill

Basketball Practice Drills

The next of Coach Steger’s favorite basketball practice drills is the DeMatha Finishing drill. This drill can be particularly valuable as both a practice drill and as a pregame warmup drill.

This drill pits two players against one another in a simple clash of offense and defense. It’s a high-impact, fast-paced drill where the offensive player attacks the basket and the trailing defender needs to recover. The drill features two lines and usually a coach for passing. Players can stand in for the coaches as passers if need be.

The drill itself can be situated in a number of different spots on the floor. Where the drill starts can be dictated by the coach and what the team needs are.

The drill itself is simple. The passer feeds the offensive player, who must finish at the rim from their starting point. The offensive player can try   a dunk or layup. The defender, meanwhile, must contest the shot as best they can. Physical play can be encouraged for the defense to help the offense improve finishing through contact.


Related: 3 Favorite Basketball Practice Warm Up Drills


Coach Unplugged Podcast

Ep: 376 3 Favorite Practice Drills from Coach Steger

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