Basketball Transition Drill - 5 on 4 to 4 on 4

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Categories: Transition  
Ages: All Ages  Youth  Middle School  High School+  

Purpose of the Drill:

This is a great transition drill that works on a game-like situation where there is a transition from 5 on 4 to 4 on 4.

We got this drill idea from TC who left a comment about this drill on our Overload Defense Drill page.


  • Start with 4 defenders and 5 offensive players.
  • After a change of possession where the defense gets a stop or the offense scores, the last offensive player steps off of the floor to make it 4 on 4. In this situation, we will say player 4 missed a shot.
  • If the new offense scores or the new defense gets a stop, the offensive player comes back on the floor to make it 5 on 4 again.


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Joe Haefner says:
12/12/2012 at 2:05:32 PM

Thanks, Peter. That is a great drill.


Peter says:
12/12/2012 at 11:50:08 AM

I run a drill with my senior high girls that we start with a foul shot and two defenders. Other players are out of bounds on the wing outlet spots. Team divided equally at each end of the floor. The defenders then attack the one player that took the foul shot in a 2 on 1. When the 1 defender gets the ball back in her hands she outlets and the three attack the two in a 3 on 2. When the 2 get the ball back they outlet and attack 4 on 3. When the 3 get the ball back they outlet and attack 5 on 4. We end at 5 on 4 and then start over again. Each basket is worth 1 point and we play to 10, 12 or whatever number I pick that day. The girls really enjoy the drill and it teaches them to think as they are always defending in an outnumbered position and always attacking with an advantage.


Jeff Haefner says:
7/13/2010 at 9:16:47 PM

Never tried that. If you try it, let us know how it works. Thanks!


Amanda says:
7/13/2010 at 7:27:14 PM

This is a great drill that keeps all players active. I was thinking it could be made into a sort of "King of the Court" drill where it starts the same as mentioned above as a 5v4. Then, when it is 4v4, the last person to touch the ball on offense is eliminated again, which creates a 4v3 going the other way. This continues as possession changes causing 3v3, 3v2, 2v2, 2v1, and finally 1v1. I know this would mean a lot of sideline time for the first ones who are eliminated, but it could also be team building as each team cheers on their remaining players. This version would only be done once or twice for conditioning at the end of prac. It could emphasize transition in a fun way. Let me know what you think. I literally just thought of this, so I'm sure there are things I'm not thinking of.


Bill Wagner says:
6/26/2009 at 3:15:39 PM

This drill looks productive in situations where you have less than ten players practicing.


roscoe says:
6/26/2009 at 2:32:08 PM

Nice drill. I love all the running/conditioning involved. It also make the players think on the court, which all coaches know is a true plus. I love a smart ballplayer.


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