To teach players how to correctly deal with backscreens as a team defense.
Four players start on offense, with another four spread out on the baseline, and the last four waiting their turn in line. One coach will start under the hoop with a ball, and one will be at the top of the arc.
- Coach passes the ball to either guard.
- As soon as the ball leaves their hands, the player in the corner on the opposite side of the court will sprint up to set a back screen for the player on the wing.
- The player receiving the screen will use it and fade to the corner.
- The screener’s defender will drop back, protecting the hoop.
- The defender getting screened will fight over the screen, trusting that their teammate will cover the hoop. They should keep their hands up and read the offensive player’s eyes – like a defensive back reading a receiver.
- The screener’s defender will then follow their man out to the top of the paint.
- To mix this drill up and make sure the defense is paying attention, have the offense cut backdoor instead of flaring out to the corner, giving them reps defending the action in a multitude of ways.
- Emphasize verbal communication among defenders. The defender getting screened should loudly announce the presence of the screen, and the screener’s defender should quickly convey the plan of action, be it switching or staying.
- Focus on the footwork and positioning of the defender fighting through the screen. They should use quick, choppy steps, stay low for balance, and position themselves to effectively navigate around the screen without losing their mark.
- Teach players to read the offensive player’s movement and the position of the ball, helping them anticipate the play, whether it’s a flare out or a backdoor cut.
For Younger Athletes:
- Break down the fundamentals of defending a backscreen. Teach them to stay close to their player, avoid getting caught on the screen, and emphasize the importance of awareness and not ball-watching.
- Simplify the drill by initially walking through the movements without a ball. This helps younger players understand their positioning and roles without the complexity of a live play.
- Focus on effort and continuous movement, even if mistakes are made. Building confidence in reading and reacting to screens is key at this stage.
For Older Athletes:
- Introduce advanced defensive techniques like switching or hedging on screens. Teach them the appropriate scenarios for executing these strategies effectively.
- Increase the drill’s intensity to simulate game speed, aiding older players in practicing quick decision-making and improving reaction time under pressure.
- Highlight the importance of spatial awareness on the floor in relation to both the ball and their assigned player, crucial for effectively defending backscreens and adapting to different offensive maneuvers.