Once you’ve taught your players the importance of and technique behind help defense, you’ll want to make sure their defensive stance and slide techniques are up to par as well. One of the best ways to evaluate your entire team is what I call the mass footwork drill – not to mention it’s great for conditioning as well!
Have the players get in two lines, with a good amount, about five feet of space in between themselves. you’ll be standing in front, with either a ball in hand, or with an assistant coach ready to pass it to you. Now the idea here is that you’re going to have a list of commands, different things you’re going to do with the ball, that are going to have different corresponding actions from the players. They are going to be reacting as if there’s a defender right in front of them.
The focus for the players is staying in a low, athletic stance, and pivoting, drop stepping, and sliding in the direction you dribble in. They should be reaching out with their foot and pulling the rest of their body with their slide.
On the first catch, the players are all going to sprint up, closing out with their hands highs, under control. Their hands should always be mirroring the ball, but the rest of the commands go as follows:
- Pump Fake – Contest shot (Stay on ground)
- Dribble Left – Defensive Slide Right
- Dribble Right – Defensive Slide Left
- Slap Ball – Hot Feet
- Ball On The Floor – Dive
- Jump Shot – Contest and Box Out
I like to start off the drill with hot feet, so that the players are a bit tired, forcing them to really focus mentally on the commands. It’s also important for you to work in fakes other than just the pump fake, like jab steps for example, but you don’t want to get too complex – they don’t need to see your trusty double crossover for example. But if you’ve got any other great commands, let us know below, and I can add them to the post!