Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills


Renato Pasquali

Defensive rules

- pick up the ball at the opponent's foul line, put the ballhandler under pressure, do not allow him to easily see teammates (all other defenders should be in the passing lanes), force him to change hands and direction as often as possible, and don't allow him to determine which side to dribble to
- once he crosses halfcourt, keep the ball on that side, creating a ballside and helpside
- don't allow the offence to enter the ball when and where they want, the entry pass is the beginning of the offensive set, deny it as hard as possible
- always stay in the passing lane, ready to deny a pass and help against dribble penetration (players must know who they are guarding and who they are helping), team defence will be effective only if all 5 defenders are in good position, it has to look like a wall
- never allow your man to catch the ball near the 3-point line, and make him move to catch a pass, slowing down ball reversal, and helping your teammates defend screens and cuts
- slow down ball reversal, and deny passes on screens or weakside cuts.
- never allow the ball to enter the low post (a box 1 metre square)
- play good 1-on-1 defence on the ball to avoid defensive rotations, which put the team in an emergency situation
- have your chest between the ball and the basket, trace the ball with the ballside hand, you will be off balance if you reach with the other hand
- if beat, the on-ball defender must recover and at least defend a jump shot (getting to a shoulder), someone else will protect the basket against a layup.

(Players start with a zig-zag warm-up drill on one side of the floor, see Pressing - Billy Tubbs)


X1 makes a layup and gets into defensive stance, coach gets the ball.

Coach inbounds to 1, who tries to dribble across halfcourt directly (changing direction as little as possible), X1 tries to make 1 get the inbounds pass below the foul-line extended, and make two changes of direction before crossing halfcourt.

Both players go off.


1 passes to coach, cuts for a return inbounds pass, then has 5 seconds to get across halfcourt.


X1 passes to coach from the corner (behind 1), breaks for a return pass, makes a layup, a coach behind the baseline gets the ball.

Option - X1 can take a shot, play is live on a defensive rebound by 1.

1 gets an inbounds pass, must stay in the middle of the floor, and has 5 seconds to dribble through two cones (on the edges of the jump circle).
See 1 on 1 - 1 on 1 on 1.


Halfcourt zig-zag with change of speed, the defender slides against a slow-speed dribble, makes a crossover step and runs when the ballhandler dribbles at full speed.
Kirby Schepp
- It's live in the front-court. Defenders in a game crossover and turn and sprint all the time.
 - Narrow-court 1-on-1 - use a narrow channel from baseline to baseline (e.g. between the sideline and a volleyball or badminton court), if the attacker steps out of bounds he has to let the defender catch up).

See Defending - Slide and run.up

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-23 Eric Johannsen