Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

4 on 4 shell

Initially have stationary attackers, no skip passes, pass and hold for 1-2 seconds, or until coach says "pass" (see DeMatha). Defenders jump with the ball into proper on-ball and off-ball positions (be there on the catch), use a quick crossover step then sprint to your spot. One pass from the ball, deny or gap (see Defence - Basic halfcourt man defences for these and other options). Rotate players clockwise one position, a new attacker and defender come on, 3 and X3 go off, continue until defenders have played all positions, switch offence and defence, repeat (Tar Heels).


- add skip passes, e.g. reverse the ball from 2 around to 3, skip it back to 2
- move the ball (not pass and hold)
- coach calls "shot", defenders box out on the shot, or coach calls for the ball and shoots (DeMatha, Procopio)
- pass and basket cut (Wootten Fogler, Memphis, Petitgoue, Calipari, Woodley)
- dribble penetration (Wootten horseshoe, Pitt 4 on 4 penetration, Memphis, Calipari, Woodley, Help rotations)
- coach calls "drive" for a drive and kick (DeMatha)
- ballscreens (4 on 4 ballscreens)
- dribble hand-offs (Woodley)
- off-ball screens (Wootten Fogler, Tar Heels, Pangos beat the screen, Oakland downscreens, Diamond, Woodley single-double)
- contest passes (Tar Heels)
- post defence (Green, Petitgoue, Woodley post)
- 5 on 5 (Wootten horseshoe, Forcing left, DeMatha, Florida, Raptors post)
- live on a specified action, or coach calls "go" or gives a command (Huggins, 4 on 4 ballscreens, Hurley command).

Dean Smith

- swing drill - attackers are stationary and pass the ball around
- support drill - attackers drive and kick (Wootten horseshoe)
- transition drill - exchange or screen away on a guard-to-guard pass, basket cut on a guard-to-forward pass (Wootten Fogler)
- all-purpose drill - any of the above, without shooting until some time has elapsed
- scrimmage - 5 possessions each, the defence gets 2 points if the offence does not get off a shot, 1 point for a defensive rebound.

Quinn Snyder - 5 on 5 defensive game - five possessions, score on defence, 1 point for a stop, 2 points for a charge, losers run.

For scrimmages with restrictions see 4 on 4 closeout (shoot), Pistons 4 on 3 (pass or shoot), Dick Bennett 3 on 3 closeout (pass, dribble, shoot), 3 on 3 kickout (layups or 3s), 4 on 4 cutters (no dribble), Greenvale 4-quadrant, Bauer 5 on 5, Oakland pressure, Woodley 3 on 3.

Building up to 4 on 4, start with
- one defender (1 on 1 with passers, 4 on 1 shell, 3 on 1 shell)
- two defenders (Izzo jump to the ball, 2 on 2 shell, 4 on 2 close-out with help)
- three defenders (Procopio 3 on 3 shrink, Izzo close-outs, Fratello 3 on 3 drive and kick, Husky closeouts).

See Defending - Shell breakdowns.

An unbalanced shell drill can be used to work on defending forwards or guards. The attackers without defenders cannot shoot (option - or dribble).

Examples (Coach K)

- 5 on 2 with defenders only on the posts (shown)
- 5 on 3 with defenders only on the perimeter players
- 5 on 4, coach determines which player does not have a defender
- 5 on 5 but only one or some attackers can score, defenders do not know who they are.

2007 Tasman Coaches Clinic - add a 5th attacker, unguarded, who dribbles at gaps to force rotations and help. Build to 4 on 4 live, 3-dribble maximum.

Tom Izzo - play 4 on 3 and 5 on 4, a weakside defender has two attackers.
Tony Barone - play 4 on 4, 5 on 4 (attacker at the high post), and 6 on 4 (attackers in the corners), see Scrimmage - Spurs 4 on 4 on 4.
Al Tuchscherer (coachesclipboard.ca) - 3 defenders against as many attackers as you want (e.g. 6), each defender has a check, arrive on the catch.
Bill Pangos - live 4 on 4 shell plus two corner attackers, who drive to the basket when they get the ball.

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2007-23 Eric Johannsen