No Hands Defense Drill

Categories: Defense  Footwork  
Ages: All Ages  Youth  Middle School  High School+  

Purpose of the Drill:

This drill forces the players to play defense with their feet rather than with their hands. Often, players will get lazy and start to reach in. This drill instills good habits of moving the feet and maintaining proper position to stop the offense.


  • You can play 1 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 3, 4 on 4, or 5 on 5 using this drill. You could even do overload drills with this drilll if you would like.
  • The only time the defensive player is allowed to use their hands is to grab a rebound.

Points of Emphasis:

  • No Hands - Some coaches like to have the players grab their jerseys or put their hands behind their back to prevent them from using their hands on defense. This also makes it much more difficult to move. I have seen some coaches do this at the beginning of the drill. Then, they allow the defense to use their hands to move, but still restrict them from reaching in or slapping the ball away. Only time they can grab the ball is still off of a rebound.

Motivation/Teaching Tips:

  • To add difficulty, you could require the defense to get a certain number of defensive stops in order to go to offense.
  • To make it really difficult, you could make them get a certain number of stops in a row in order to go to offense.


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Jason says:
6/29/2015 at 12:16:24 PM

YES. It''s painful how obvious this should have been to me. I''ve already got an idea for a variation, but i''m going to try it out first before I post pack.

Thanks so much, guys! Keep up the great work.


stephen pope says:
11/29/2014 at 8:42:39 PM

I find it problematic after trying to get the kids to keep their hands up, running a drill that emphasizes keeping hands down


Ken says:
11/27/2012 at 8:46:06 AM

Sounds like a kid I had on my Varsity team years ago....

He also fouled out of every game except for one... I wasn't going to allow him to have that record.. He was a post player and loved to block shots.. big mistake.

Drills like this are great for teaching kids to play defense with their feet! This is something that you will need to do every practice so that it is ingrained in their brain. It has to become second nature... good luck with your player.


Coach Kip says:
11/27/2012 at 6:36:03 AM

Sounds like a great drill. I have a boy who has fouled out of every game this year, with 80% of the fouls were reaching. I'm going to try it for tonight's practice.


Ken says:
2/21/2012 at 8:35:23 AM

There are several ways of doing this... but hands behind the back or grabbing jerseys etc. is not fundamentally sound ??

I had my players keep their palms up and NO reaching for the ball... as soon as you reach, your feet stop. When we started teaching 1 on 1 or zig - zag they could not try for a steal or tip... as they got the idea of moving their feet and played position basketball - we told them to keep the palms up, look for the crossover dribble and tip it up. That way you are not slapping at the ball and maybe picking up a cheap foul. JMO


mcantrell says:
2/20/2012 at 7:40:05 PM

We do something similar but have our athletes grab a towel our jersey and pull it tight above their heads instead of hands behind their back. It forces them to keep their hands up and slide into the correct position, its really easy to catch poor defensive fundamentals or laziness when the towel starts slacking or the hands go down.


duwe says:
10/17/2011 at 5:06:25 AM

thaanx 4 all these wonderful drills bt i would love to know how to work on my defence i mean the drills i could use as a player alone to improve on my defence


Mjb says:
5/2/2011 at 5:00:41 PM

this is a great drill. if u want to work on getting better do this drill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


ralph gauthier says:
10/30/2010 at 3:35:14 PM

lost my e-mail re the purchase of video from author who used multiple drills esp for the best that u can be if u were a short stature player? can u help with this oh not so specific info? thanks


cheyser says:
7/29/2009 at 9:18:49 AM

!!!!!!!!!!!!!take note this!!!!!!!!if u are interesting in basketball!!let see me!can u teach me!!!!!!!!hahahahahaha


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