It can be tough finding drills for basketball defense that teach the proper fundamentals and are actually FUN for your players to run in practice. Below are two of my all-time favorites. The first drill is called “The Gauntlet.” It’s primary goal is to teach proper defensive position, footwork and technique. Also, this helps players work on the ballhandling skills. Finally, with dribblers running the length of the court and defenders constantly moving, this is a great conditioning drill as well.
My second favorite drill for basketball defense is called “Diamond Double Team.” This one teaches your defensive players to double-team a dangerous offensive player, and also to use verbal communication at all times.
Basketball Defensive Drill: The Gauntlet
Three offensive players start under their own basket – each one with a basketball. Three defensive players set-up on the foul line closest to them. Three more defensive players set up at half court, and three more defensive players at the opposite foul line. (see the diagram below)
When the coach blows the whistle the first offensive player begins dribbling through the defenders. Once the first dribbler gets past the first line of defenders, the coach blows the whistle and then the second player goes. When the second player gets past the first set of defenders the coach blows the whistle and the last dribbler begins.
The dribbler tries to make it all the way to the other end without picking up his dribble or losing the ball, then finishing with a layup at the opposite end. The defenders try to stop the dribbler and/or steal the ball without fouling.
The defense needs to try to funnel the dribbler to the sideline where an effective trap can be applied. The defense needs to move their feet and work together to try to trap and/or steal the ball. The dribbler needs to keep his eyes up and use a crossover or reverse dribble to change directions and stay out of the trap.
Diamond Double Team Drill
To get started, set the defense up in a diamond with a player on the foul line, two players on each side of the lane and the final player is just in front of the basket. The four defenders should be in a diamond shape.
There should be four offensive players as well – one at the top of the key, one at the block, and one at each wing, just outside the 3-point line.
The ball begins at the top of the key and then is dribbled or passed around. The defense should apply a double team wherever the ball goes, except when the ball is at the top of the key.
The defense should communicate and flow toward the ball. The offense should work the ball around the perimeter and dribble as well. The offense can also throw the ball inside. When you first introduce the drill, focus on moving the ball around and ask your offensive players not to take any shots. Once they get the hand of it, allow them to attack the basket after 5 consecutive passes have been made.
The defenders should be quick to rotate to the ball. Defenders should also communicate constantly. This is one of the most important points that needs to be covered. The offense should be in motion and keep the ball moving.
If you’re looking for more drills for basketball, be sure to visit my basketball drills video page here, where you can discover all-new unique, fun and effective practice ideas designed just for youth and high school teams: