Help Defense Drill: Jump To The Ball Series

By Daniel Benjamin

This is an excellent advanced help defense drill to remind your players the importance of jumping to the ball. This drill teaches where you jump to the ball when you are playing strong- side (ball side) defense or weak-side defense. The defensive player will move to different spots on the floor where he will have different responsibilities depending on where the ball is.

Personnel & Alignment

1 defensive player: Will be indicated with a 1x.

3 coaches or passers: Will be indicated with circles and a number.

1 offensive player: Will be indicated with a number with no circle unless he has the ball.

The rest of the team can get behind the offensive player at the top of the key.

You can rotate the players by going from offense-to-defense-to-the-end -of-the-line.

Step 1

1x starts with the ball under the basket.

1 is at the top of the key.

Two coaches are on opposite wings while the third coach is on the right elbow.

Step 2

1x throws the ball out to 1 and closes out hard, chopping his feet as well as having his hands up in defensive position.

Step 3

1 throws the ball to the coach on the right wing.

1x jumps to the ball.

Step 4

1 makes a UCLA Cut off the coach's screen on the right elbow.

1x does not permit the offensive player to cut across his face, thus forcing the offensive player to go behind the defender into the low-post.

Step 5

1 posts up on the right block.

1x plays post defense. You can have your defender play the post anyway you like (ex. Straight up, front, three-quarters).

Step 6

Coach on the wing passes the ball to the coach on the right elbow.

1x jumps to the ball no matter how he was defending the post player. This will essentially put the post player behind the defender. This is done for two reasons - No. 1 it prevents an easy high-low situation and No. 2 the post defender can help on a drive without worrying about being screened out.

Step 7

Coach on the elbow swings the ball to the coach on the opposite wing.

As the pass is being thrown to wing, 1x jumps to the ball . When 1x does this, he should be on the same parallel plane that he was when the coach had the ball, just three or four feet or so over to the right. 1x should be perpendicular or lightly to the right of the hoop.

The goal here is to help on any cutters and prevent any dribble penetration.

Step 8

1 cuts across the lane and tries to post up on the low block.

1x attempts to prevent 1 from posting up on the block by fronting him or forcing players to receive the ball farther from the basket.

Coach on the wing, looks to get 1 the ball in the low post. You can allow 1 and 1x to play one-on-one before rotating players.

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


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Troy says:
10/20/2016 at 10:52:07 AM

Looks like a really good defensive drill. Can't wait to use it in our next practice.


Coach Holliday says:
10/30/2015 at 10:34:53 AM


Love the way you have, jumping the ball, busting ball side cuts, defending the post, off the ball positioning, and busting a backside side cut all in one drill. We have tons of drills that focus on these areas, but I did not have any that did all of this in one. Nice work. I will try this drill this year and let you know how it helps. If you ever want to see our stuff check out

Coach Holliday


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