18 Competitive Defensive Drills

From Bruce Weber – University of Illinois

I had this tucked away and came across it.  some good ideas.

Printable version has diagrams.

Thanks to all the coaches who have shared so many good hand-outs, drills, flyer’s, quotes, plays, etc…  I will get them all up on the site as soon as possible.

If you have anything to share please email it to:


This is a practice plan or lecture from Bruce Weber regarding practice, defensive drills, etc…


Bruce Weber

I.    10 Tips Of A Successful Coach

A.    Make a visual Change
B.    Get the best player to buy in

C.    Get them to play and win as a team

1.    Lead the league in assists

D. Become a family

1. Trust

E.    Be a flexible coach

F.    Get them to play defense

1.    Transition defense
2.    Don’t give up lay-ups
3.    Basket person, Ball person, Sprint people

G. Weights and conditioning

1.    7 lengths = 400 meters
2.    3.5 lengths = 200 meters

H. Fundamentals

1.    First half hour of each practice

I.    Practice

1.    Winning is fun, losing sucks, must be competitive

2.    Loser runs, Winner gets drinks first

J.    Practice

1.    Divide teams equally in practice

2.    Night before a game go first 5 together

II.    Drills     *at game speed and game intensity

3 man weave into 2 on 1 Transition

1.    Three person weave. When coach yells out change, person
with the ball puts it down and gets back on defense. Speed Lay-up Drill

1.    Offense goes in for a lay-up whenever they want to.

2.    Defense chases and tries to stop the shot.

3.    Transition into 2 on 1 to the other end

C. 3 on 2, 2 on 1  – Competitive

1 point for a basket –1 for a turnover 2 minutes then switch. 4 minutes total

D. 3 on 3 Rush

1.    Coach tosses the ball to a defender. That persons offensive opposite must touch the end line and get back

2. It is 3 on 2 into 3 on 3.

3.    Bring it back 3 on 3 as well for 3 trips total

E. 3 on 4 Rush

F. 4 on 4 Rush with a big starting on opposite block

G. 4 on 0 Motion into 4 on 4 Transition.

1.    4 on 0 Motion. After the offense scores, it is 4 on 4 coming back

2.    Motion – 1 flare screen, 1 post touch before a shot

3.    4 on 4 coming back to original basket

4.    Work on set plays and OOB plays as well.

5. 5 on 0 motion into 5 on 5 as well

H. Progression

1.    Just like our Bucks Progression for UWGB

2.    FT into 2 on 1 into 3 on 2 into 4 on 3 into 4 on 5 into 5 on 5

3.    Scoring – 1 point for a basket. Minus 1 point for a turnover

I. 20 point game

1.    1 point per basket

2.    2 points for a stop

3.    1 point and ball for a foul

4.    After someone gets to 5 points sub new 6 in

5.    Sub again when someone gets to 10 and 15

6.    20 points total

J. Rebound Drill

1.    3 passes around the perimeter. You can shoot if you are open before 3 passes.

2.    Offense can’t move.

3.    Defense has to scramble and close out and prevent shot 1 pass away.

4.    Crash boards after the shot

5.    3 makes in a row and the defense has to run

6.    Offense works on passing, triple treat, shot fakes and pass fakes

7.    Add dribble penetration as well

K. War Rebounding

1.    Coach Shoots

2.    Box out

3.    Offense gets board and runs motion

4.    Defense gets board transition to other end

5. Variations

Match up and get right by the offense Rotation box out – all defenders must box out person to their right. Only the defensive guards can rebound. All offensive players can rebound.

L. 3 on 3 Defensive Stops Cut-Throat

1.    Defense must get 3 shut-outs in a row to win

2.    Coach checks

3.    If defense stops they stay

4.    If you score on offense you get to play defense

M. Perfection Cut-Throat

1.    Emphasis of the day

a.    High hands, Jump to the ball, Block all cuts, Talking

2.    Coach watches and if defense does not do the emphasis they are out.

N. 4 on 4 Full Court Cut-throat – Defensive stops

1.    Play 4 on 4 cut-throat. If the defense stops the offense, they must get back. The B’s will be the new offense and bring it at them.

2.    The team that was just the offense must run to the other end so that they can be ready to come in.

3.    If the offense scores, they hustle back and play defense.

4.    3 stops in a row wins

O. Gut Check

1.    12 minutes on the clock, switch after every 4 minutes

2.    X vs O to start. B’s are at other baskets shooting free throws.

3.    If the defense stops, they stay on defense.

4.    If the offense gets stopped, they must run to the other end and back.  They have 10 seconds to get back then they get the ball again.

5.    If the offense scores they get to go to defense and the team that was on
defense runs.

6.    After 4 minutes it is X’s vs B’s then B’s vs O’s

P. 4 on 4 Shell – No Man’s Land

1. 3 shut outs in a row to win

2.    If you foal, you lose the right to be on defense

3.    No man’s land – No shots in the paint. Even if a shot in the paint does not go in, the defense is out

Q. 2 and 1 Drill

Defense needs to get a stop, transition and score then transition and get another stop to win. If they do not do it, the team they were just against gets to go to defense 4on4

Second Defense Drill 5 on 5 half court with 30 seconds to play defense must stop the offense for the full 30 seconds. If the defense gets a rebound with 20 seconds left, get it to the coach and keep playing with 20 seconds to score. If offense scores, they get to go to defense.

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