Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Pack-line Vegas closeouts

Chris Mack

They do this drill every day (practice, shoot-around, pre-game warm-up etc.). Each defender tosses a ball to an attacker and closes out with two high hands to discourage rhythm shots and quick passes over the top, take away vision. Attackers will catch, triple-threat, jab step and rip the ball through a few times (rotate defence-offence-off). Close out with elbows bent, low stance, short/choppy steps, stay square, yell "shot" early.


- close out
- ball-up ball-down
- trace the ball
- jab step
- 1-2 dribbles
- shot fake
- high jump to contest
- fly right by to challenge or run off the line
- close-out shooting.

See Dick Bennett, Petitgoue, Close-out to challenge, Team, Dematha, Fratello, Circle the wagons, and Pasquali close-out drills, also Shooting - Beat the close-out (1 passes to 2 from under the basket, then 7 passes to 9, etc.)

Mike Neighbors - three defenders under the basket each roll a ball out to a player on the arc, close out (sprint, chop feet, high hands), call "ball, ball, ball". After defenders get into position, on a whistle defenders switch to offence and the next three players start the drill again.

Mike Heideman - 3-line closeout - defenders start under the basket and roll a ball out to attackers at the wings and point.

Sean Miller

Defenders pass to coaches, managers or other players and close out, attackers move the ball around, defenders trace it with their hands. Must be consistent on close-out and practice it a lot, big steps into choppy steps with hands high, above the shoulders. Close tight on a good shooter, looser on a poor shooter. Closeout so you do not get beat to the outside or baseline. Take a jab fake with your back foot.

He does shell drill with closeouts, coach and defenders start under the rim, coach passes to an attacker, offence must count to 3 before passing in order to give the defender time to closeout and trace the ball. Progressions - pass the ball, pass and cut, pass and screen away.

See Defending - Dick Bennett 3 on 3 close-out.


Defending the 3-point line means contesting and limiting shots from behind the arc. Close out hard with high hands, be there on the catch, high jump to contest, even fly right by to challenge or run them off the line. Think block and elbow on the weakside. Slow down ball reversal, deny a shooter at the NBA 3-point line, donít help off a shooter, or help but stay in the passing lane, chase on screens, and trap a great shooter. Find shooters in transition, and shade towards them in zone defence.

Bo Ryan  - donít let shooters get comfortable behind a screen, e.g. the on-ball defender goes over about 90 percent of ballscreens. On drives to the rim, they never same-side help off of a shooter, the help has to rotate over from the back side. On kick-outs, they emphasize running shooters off the three-point line.

Augie Johnston - defending a great shooter - no help defence, face guard if heís hot (deny), never slip screens he will flare to the corner, chase him, make him curl, know where he is at all times (zone, transition, find him early). Chase him off the line, instead of closing out, chase him, jump up in the air, a bad closeout, let him take the shot fake and dribble.

Randy Sherman - the number one mantra of pressure man defence is make your man dribble to his/her shot.

Allison McNeill - challenge all shots, we want a hand up; it is acceptable to run by the shooter to challenge the shot.

Bill Bayno - huge emphasis in the NBA on contesting shots, the differential in shooting percentage between contested and uncontested shots is mind-blowing. Contest shots at the shooterís release point, even though you will occasionally foul a jump shooter (late jump, be the second one off the floor).

In the 2015 CIS Final, the Carleton Ravens went 12 for 23 from behind the arc (52%), including 8 for 11 on uncontested 3s (73%), while the Ottawa Gee-Gees were 4 for 26 from 3 (15%), and had only 6 uncontested 3s, making 1. Of the 49 total attempted 3s, 17 were uncontested (35%).

Jon Giesbrecht - defending an elite shooter, arrive on the catch (crowd the catch), make him a driver, force a tough contested 2, late jump to contest with high hands, the defender leaves his feet as the shooter does. If late on a long closeout (can't arrive on the catch), fly by, run the shooter off the 3-point line.

See Defences - Help rotations, Chaser, Gap, Pack line, Forcing left basics, Kentucky ball-line, Florida man, Huggins pressure, Kevin O'Neill, Pistons 1-2-2 match-up.up

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