Step and Slide Footwork Drill for Defense

As a defensive player, you always want to stay between the ball and the basket. In today’s video blog post, I am sharing an awesome footwork drill for playing defense called the “Step and Slide” Footwork Drill. This drill is also sometimes referred to as the “Defensive Zig Zag.”

Breaking Down the Footwork Drill

If you are facing a player who has the ball in triple threat position, you need to get into a defensive position so you can move with him.


If the ball carrier you are facing is right handed, you are going to put your outside/left foot back and your outside/left hand up next to your head, as if you have our thumb “in your ear”.

The front/right hand is used to keep the ball carrier from bringing the ball across. You are also now in a great position to dig at the ball and snake the ball if the ball carrier doesn’t have a good triple threat position.


The movement is called Defensive Zig Zag or “Step and Slide”. Step with the outside foot, toes pointing in the direction you want to move, and you step slide low and wide, keeping the heels apart and the head level.

You don’t want to see any crossing of the feet, or bunny hops in this movement. If your players have a hard time staying low and wide, remind them to pretend that there is a chair between your legs.

If the ball carrier changes direction, you are going to pivot on the outside foot and step slide low and wide the other direction, keeping the player in front of you. You want to be sure to keep some space between yourself and the ball carrier, because if he is quick and you are too close to him, it will be easier for him to escape you!


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