Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills


Starting from both ends, an attacker and defender zig-zag fullcourt, staying between the sideline and elbows, the attacker dribbles and makes change-of-direction moves, the defender slides in defensive stance and cuts off the dribbler, switch roles coming back on the other side. Use proper on-ball fundamentals as coached (e.g. nose on the ball).


- first go without a basketball (That's a Foul, May 2008 - Waltzing)
- a coach in the centre circle can call for a pass, the defender sprints back to the line of ball and contests a return pass
- the defender forces the attacker towards the sideline in the defensive backcourt, and boxes out on an outside shot
- live 1 on 1 in the defensive backcourt.

See Pressing - Billy Tubbs (bigs are on one side, attackers make defenders look good), Defending - Memphis Z, Zig-zag closeout, 1 on 1 - Zig-zag to transition, Spurs fullcourt, Halfcourt and back.

Bobby Knight (5Star) - divide the court down the middle, stay on one side, it's a controlled situation, the dribbler does not try to beat the defender, if the attacker turns his back on a reverse dribble, the defender must retreat one step to avoid getting caught by a drop step.

Bill Pangos - divide the court in half, the defender tries to control the dribbler, e.g. square on the ball and make him turn. Progression - occasionally the dribbler picks up the ball, the defender bodies up, yells "dead, dead, dead", and traces the ball.

Mike Fratello - stay between the lane and the sideline, zig-zag to halfcourt, switch and return to the baseline. Progressions
- the attacker takes two dribbles and picks up the ball, the defender raises his hands with wrists crossed to jam and mirror the ball, repeat 2-3 times
- the attacker plays normally, trying to beat the defender to halfcourt.

Herb Brown - make the dribbler change directions as many times as possible before reaching the far baseline, switch and come back, use both sides, first go without a ball.

Buzz Williams
New Heights Coaches Clinic 2009

a) the attacker stays between the sideline and the lane line, trying to go side to side 6 times from baseline to baseline, the defensive teaching is nose to outside shoulder
b) Canadian zig-zag - after reaching the far baseline, the defender defends a new attacker coming on
c) turn and run - the defender allows the attacker to beat him up the sideline, uses a speed recovery to get back in front (chin to shoulder), the attacker passes to a coach at the top of the key, the defender jumps to the ball, it's live 1 on 1 on a catch by the attacker.
Dean Smith - use both sides, zig-zag to halfcourt (defender's head in line with the elbow of the dribbling hand), switch and come back, sometimes have defenders hold their shirt or a towel with both hands to reinforce not fouling. At the other end, work on guarding away from the ball, a) deny one pass away, or b) beat an attacker to the ball when he comes from two passes to one pass away (a weakside flash to the ball). See Defending - Denial, Villanova jump to the ball.
Jim Huber - man-in-the-hole drill - each defender goes fullcourt 3 times in a row.
basketballhq.com - both players dribble two balls.

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2007-18 Eric Johannsen