This is one of the [tag]basketball defensive drills[/tag] we use often in practice.  I like it because it not only focuses on some of the key components to defense but it also helps us to develop our offensive game.

1. 2 players start out on the perimeter elbow extended (about the 3 pt. arc). Then 2 defenders start under the basket with one [tag]basketball[/tag]. One of the defenders rolls the ball out to one of the offensive players on the perimeter and they play live until someone scores.

2. The drill focuses on a few key components to playing defense:
A. closing out
B. Denying a pass
C. quick footwork
D. Talking/getting through on ball screens
E. Helpside defense with 3 man and 4 man closeout drill

Offensively it develops their game as well.
3.  After the players do this for about 5 minutes have the teams with the lowest baskets run a sprint (always timed).

4. Repeat the same drill with 3 players then later with 4 players. Demonstrate how to stay on the same side of the floor as the ball, even if your man is cross court waiting for a skip pass. (Helpside defense)

5. This time keep track of how many stops the defense gets. You can only score when playing defense. 1 point is awarded for a stop. You can only get to the defensive side if you score a bucket. No points are giving for scoring a basket. You can make up other point values for a charge, deflection, steal, or 3 stops in a row.

6. Players call own fouls and do not shoot free throws. If a foul is called just take it out top and play again. (no points awarded for foul situations)

Advice: Keep score of everything and time all sprints. Make sure players are not jogging during sprints. They should be able to get down the floor and back in under 10 sec. (high school) and do a line to line — free throw back, half court back, free throw back, baseline and back in under 25 seconds (depending on age/ability).

Want some more defensive ideas to use in practice? Then go read this new article I just posted: Drills For Basketball Defense