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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Coach Rich says:
1/29/2020 at 7:23:08 PM

Here is how I interpret the comment. Coach passed he ball into Off 2 (first pass). Off 2 has the ball with Def 1 guarding him. If Off 2 passes to Off 1 then Def 1 can not guard Off 1. Of course, he would not because you would not want Def 3 to leave his player who has the ball. So Def 1 (who was guarding Off 2) may stay on his check and Def 2 (guarding Off 4) should go to guard Off 3 who is now one pass away. Again, how I interpret the comment is that a defender guarding the ball should not always follow the pass and guard the new player with the ball. I think the key item is if you are guarding an Off player without the ball who gets the ball you do not leave them to guard someone else, always guard the ball first and others will recover to pick up players one pass away. :)


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.


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!


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

Will be sure to use this


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

This is good information you're getting out there.


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.


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!


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.


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?



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.


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