Great one on one defenders can be very tough to find, and although you can’t teach strength and athleticsm, you can give players a better
understanding of angles and how to cut off an attacking offensive player.
One of my favourite drills to do this in, because it works not only on your defenders ability, but on the offensive side gives players a chance to hone they’re ballhandling abilities and practice attempting to shake a defender, is the full court one on one drill.
Full Court 1 v 1
Have your whole team lineup on one side of the court, matched up in pairs – make sure guys are in fair matchups, i.e. you don’t want your center guarding your quick point guard in this drill. Using the lane lines as boundaries, one player will do his best to get past his defender and finish at the rim.
After everyone has had a turn going down to one end of the floor, switch offense to defense, and head down the other way. The first player to score twice wins, and then we move over to the sideline. Here the offensive player has the entire court at their disposal, and it is the defender’s job to contain and make sure to keep the offensive player on one side of the court.
Gapping is not allowed – the defender should always be within about arms length of the offensive player, applying pressure and trying to get a steal if the opportunity presents itself. I prefer to just let the players play, but if you’re having trouble with over aggressive defenders, let the players know that every foul they commit will be a point subtracted from their score.
On the other side of the ball you want to make sure that your offensive players are equally aggressive. The most common mistake you’ll see is a disposition to crossing the ball over, and over, and over. Players want to show off their moves and play with the ball – imprint in their heads that they should be making one – max two – moves and then pushing the ball out ahead and trying to get to the rim. You’ll also want to make sure players aren’t just settling for jumpers, if they can’t get to the rim one on one full court, then they’re going to have no chance five on five in the halfcourt.
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