Being able to see the pressure coming from the defense, calmly find the opening, and execute your offense is extremely valuable. Most
players will panic when they see the double on the way, or throw up a wild layup if they feel the defense on their back. But if you put your players through these drills and get them comfortable with being attacked by the defense, their confidence will be higher, and their muscle memory will kick in.
The first situation I want to talk about is laying it in with a defender chasing you down from behind. While there are some players (see: James, Lebron) that can chase you down and pin your shot on the backboard, most players will either commit the fool or won’t be able to catch the ball before it hits the backboard. If you take your steps, go up strong and put it up off the square, unless your playing in a league with extremely athletic players; 99% of the time they won’t be able to affect it.
Now if you are playing in a league with some fairly athletic players and you’ve got a shot blocker on your tail, if you can’t dunk yourself, I would suggest using the rim to shield yourself. By performing a tight reverse you will put the defender in a position where they would
have to swing through the rim to block your shot.
I’m not a big fan of pump faking and then taking the layup after. A savvy defender will stay on the floor and be able to contest your shot easily, rendering the scoring opportunity obsolete.
To run the wolf drill simply have two players line up in one corner of the court, and then throw the ball to the first of the two players. The player without the ball will chase down the other, trying to block his shot without fouling.
Hash Mark Drill
In this next drill we simulate a half court trap, and have our ball handler retreat with an escape dribble, and get back out into the middle of the floor.
Have your ball handler line up behind half court with a defender on them. They will dribble up to the hash mark on the sideline, where a second defender will come trap. The ballhandler will keep their dribble alive, take 1-2 dribbles backwards, crossover, and get into the middle of the court.
This is a very important drill for your point guards. Being able to keep their dribble alive despite a halfcourt trap will result in an easy basket almost every time, as the defense will be forced to guard the other four players with just three of their own.
Work these into your practice and your players should be dealing with pressure from the defense with no problem! And if your having trouble dealing with presses, check out this post on how to deal with full court pressure!