Basketball Defensive Reaction Drill

As coaches, we must find better ways to utilize our practice time. Just about everything we do has to have multiple purposes so we have the maximum amount of time to teach and prepare our players to be the best they can be.

Gone, I believe, are the days we can take 15 - 20 minutes out for practice to condition our players. Suicides, 17s, sprints, etc. are of limited effectiveness anyway, I think, but to use skill or team time to do them is a misplaced priority.

Here is a drill that conditions, reinforces defensive footwork, build intensity and only take a few minutes.


Start with team divided into as many lines as necessary to go 3 deep (12 players 4 lines 3 players in each line).

On the whistle, the first players in line sprint to mid-court and stutter-step.

Coach points in a direction and players defensive slide diagonally back in the direction the coach points.

Coach points in other direction, players slide appropriately.

Players slide to the baseline, as soon as they touch the baseline, players sprint to foul line and stutter-step.

Coach points in a direction and players defensive slide laterally in that direction.

Coach points in other direction, players slide appropriately.

On the whistle, first group of players sprint to the opposite end of the court and touch the rim 10 Xs. At the same time, second group of players sprint from the baseline to mid-court to begin their rotation.

Start with 2 direction changes, then go to 4 on the second rotation, 6 on the 3rd rotation and 8 on the 4th.

Inside the 5 minutes it takes to run this drill, you have been able to practice your diagonal defensive slide, lateral defensive slides, sprints, reactions, jumping and conditioning.

Because the drill only takes a couple of minutes, intensity remains high and because the players are practicing a skill they know will make them better, their willingness to complete the drill is not an issue.

More Basketball Defense Drills

Basketball Defense Drills Page

eBook with 67 Basketball Defense Drills

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


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Joel says:
11/17/2015 at 1:05:32 PM

Thanks for the drill! A friend of mine is working as a coach for the local high school basketball team. He''''''''s looking at ways to improve defensive fotwork. I think these drills would be helpful. I''''''''ll send him a copy. Thanks!


Coach Chris says:
12/2/2014 at 1:00:44 PM

I am going to use this Drill tonight as the League I coach in allows us (2) practices each week for 1 hr each. This will allow me to get multiple things done without sacrificing time.


Coach Ramirez says:
8/28/2012 at 7:04:13 PM

Thank you very much that was so helpful. We will keep in touch.


Jeff Haefner says:
8/27/2012 at 8:35:12 AM

This motivation article has a few thought about working with female players:


Ken says:
8/26/2012 at 9:30:05 PM

I coached girls one year after coaching boys varsity for 16. They told me to treat them just like I did the boys.... I laughed. I told them that I would coach them like I did the boys but I wont be as vocal.

In order for girls to play well, they have to be happy. In order for boys to be happy, they have to win or play well.

Treat them fairly and you shouldn't have too many problems. I think the girls game is a little slower and they play below the rim so that might be an adjustment for you to look at.

They are more sensitive and more family oriented for sure ( the girls I coached were sophomores ) One girl told me that she had to leave early the next day, I asked why? She said it was Halloween and she had to take her little brother trick or treating... I coached a long time but NEVER heard that one before. Of course, I gave her the OK but said he had to come give me a piece of candy after practice the following day. :-)


Alejandro Ramire says:
8/26/2012 at 3:19:48 PM

Is there any article related about coaching female high school team?
how to treat them. what to do and what not to do (remember they are more sensitive).
thanks from Mexico


NAIM ALI says:
11/19/2010 at 9:02:47 AM



Joe Haefner says:
11/4/2010 at 10:29:40 AM

Craig, when I work with players, if they don't work hard, they don't play.

However, if I'm working with 3rd,4th, & 5th graders, that's a different story.


Craig says:
11/3/2010 at 12:40:56 PM

I wasn't sure about my guys having much motivation to work hard on this drill. How about the guy who appears to work the hardest gets the ball and gets to drive the length of the floor to shoot.


Selphmade says:
8/27/2010 at 2:55:03 PM

I just wanted to say this sight is great... Whether u are a beginning coach are a seasoned one there are helpful tools for you...


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