Basketball Overload Defense Drill

Drill Purpose:

This is one of our favorite defensive drills. This drill really makes your players work, because you have one less defender while trying to stop the offense.. If you are having problems with communication and rotating, this drill will force your players to do so. When your players go back to normal 5 on 5 defense, it will seem easy.

It can also be useful to practice rotations that may occur after a ball is passed out of a trap.


  1. Have four offensive players around the perimeter and three defensive players in the lane.

  2. A coach will pass the ball to one of the perimeter players and the defensive players have to sprint to a player and match up.


  1. The offense will instantly try to score.
    The same defensive player can not guard two passes in a row.

I've also seen variations of this drill done with 5 on 4, 3 on 2.

In the next newsletter, we'll show you another great defense overload drill that we picked up from Bobby Knight.

You can also find more defensive drills & strategies in our Man to Man Defense System

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...

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Letroy Gillespie says:
5/8/2008 at 10:29:04 AM

Sounds like a great drill. I'm definitely going to try it next season.


maher says:
5/8/2008 at 11:49:15 AM

very gog but we need something more active


ahmed adel says:
5/9/2008 at 12:00:31 AM

thats a very good drills
i well traying 3 on 2 at start .
tanks for you


Boniface says:
6/4/2008 at 9:39:45 AM

Looks interesting, will definitly try them out


Tom Lankford says:
10/26/2008 at 12:11:11 PM

shouldn't the sentence read less defender while trying to stop the offense


Joe Haefner says:
10/27/2008 at 12:45:39 PM

Yes, it should. Thank you, Tom.


Dave Paul says:
11/18/2008 at 2:45:09 AM

Looks great, what a way to teach communication between defenders as well.


Joshua says:
1/15/2009 at 9:50:41 AM

This is a great drill to teach on fastbreaks, just need to make sure the defense defend the passing lanes and which ever defender is in front of the ball attack after the free throw line.


William L. Hopkins IIi says:
1/16/2009 at 7:29:08 AM

This is a wonderful drill. I employed it 2 years ago. I was having a communication problem and one day I just reduce the amount of defensive players and made the communication and rotation work. I found that my players started to enjoy it that started to request it. I use more 4 on 3


Peter says:
1/20/2009 at 9:03:13 AM

This is exactly what I have been thinking about for this week’s drill. Thank you for the heads up.


lorenzo says:
1/27/2009 at 8:44:48 AM

Hi, I was reviewing your overload defense drill. Once the perimeter players receive the ball can they dribble and try to score. Or perimeter players once they receive the ball must shoot from the perimeter?



Joe Haefner says:
1/27/2009 at 10:06:18 AM

Hi Lorenzo,

I like to just have the players run a motion offense and try to score.


Coach J says:
5/5/2009 at 3:36:01 PM

I like this drill as it forces defenders to make quick team decisions for both onball and help defense. As such, its good practice for zone defense as well as man to man. Thanks for sharing the drill!


TC says:
5/11/2009 at 4:05:33 PM

We do this starting with 4 defenders and 5 offensive players. When the offense scores or the defense gets the ball they push it the other way and the last man that touched the ball on offense drops off making it 4 on 4. After they score or defense rebounds they pass it up the floor again going 5 on 4.


Bobby says:
6/29/2010 at 12:27:49 AM

This is good information you're getting out there.


AD Nez says:
11/27/2012 at 1:30:36 PM

Will be sure to use this


Lydia says:
11/9/2013 at 1:29:54 PM

I'm a new youth coach. What do you mean when you say that the same defensive player cannot guard two passes in a row? Does this mean they cannot guard the same person two times in a row? Thanks!


Ken Sartini says:
11/13/2013 at 4:13:11 PM

That means.... D player covers a player after ball is passed, when that player passes to another player, he does not cover that player.


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