Saturday, January 28, 2012

Teaching Defense with Small Sided Games

This year I've been trying to be a better defensive coach. In light of that I've really bucked down and done a lot of the "boring" drills that I felt make up good defenders. Zig zag dribbling, partner closeouts, positioning drills, etc. My guys hated it and while they didn't fight me on doing them, you could see on our defensive days (we alternate offense and defense days to get a lot of stuff in) the intensity wasn't there. We tried running, we talked about it, but nothing seemed to work. All they said was that they hated the days because they were boring.

I read a lot of Brain McCormick this fall and his stuff centers around small sided games to teach instead of drills. I bought into this and was doing a lot with offense, but not so much with defense. So this week I started to play small sided, competitive games with a defensive focus instead of doing breakdown drills. The result was a smashing success! The guys played harder and did improve on the skills I was looking for while playing. Below is an example of drills I did and the game I replaced it with.

Drill 1:
Partner Dribble No Middle
-Partners with one ball, one partner dribbles from wing to guard while the defender cuts him off. The offense dribbles back to the wing with the player guarding him. Go back and fourth 5x and switch.
Drill 2: No Split
-Group of 4 - 2 offense and 2 defense. Offense on the guard and wing, guard drives, the wing comes up and helps. Guard kicks to wing, wing recovers and forces baseline drive to the X.
Game Replacing These Drills: 3 on 3 3/4 Court No Middle
-Play 3 on 3 with a point, wing, and corner player. The offense has from the sideline to opposite laneline to work. Defense has to keep the offense from scoring and going to the middle. If the offense drove to the middle it was 3 pushups each time. If a driver split the help it was 5 pushups each time. The teams kept track of points and the losers ran at the end. Really focused on not letting them dribble middle, not getting split on the help, talking, and being in good position.

Now that's not to say I abandon all the drills. I still use transition drills, shell drill variations, etc. But these games have opened my eyes a little bit in terms of teaching defense.

1 comment:

Kit said...


Something I have found to work is split up big's and guards.

Designate one assistant coach who you really trust and who knows your system to take one group and you take the other.

15 minutes of defensive drills
15 minutes of offensive drills
Then go immediately into your live 5v5 work so they can implement what they just learned in game situations.

I found that if the kids know that there is a time limit on how long they are doing the drills it is easier for them to put forth max effort. When the time limit on something is unknown they will sandbag it in order to conserve energy. When you tell them they only have X amount of time and you expect 100% effort during that time you might find you eliminate that lack of intensity issue you mentioned. Just a thought.

God Bless,