Defensive Basketball Drills Guaranteed To Improve Your Skills

Practice these defensive basketball drills and watch your team win more games.

Pay a lot of attention to this aspect of basketball drills. Yes, if you learn to shoot and pass well, you’ll end up winning a lot of games. But, in the playoffs, you better be able to play “D”. Great defense will bring home that championship.

Practice your defensive basketball drills, get back and stop ’em cold!

defensive basketball drills

Defensive Basketball Drills

1) Sliding

Begin in a defensive position with your head up. As the coach points left or right, slide in that direction. Stay low, don’t cross your legs as you slide and keep your feet at least as far apart as your shoulders. Don’t slide with your feet flat and don’t let your heels touch the floor. This is hard work but builds up your stamina.

2) Sliding #2 (drop-step)

Start at the top of the free throw circle with your back to the basket and standing in a good defensive position. Slide to the left corner, spin on your left foot and slide across to the opposite corner. Then spin on your right foot and slide back up to the top of the key. This defensive basketball drill will help you with your conditioning, also.

3) Roller slides

Get into groups of 4 or 5 players and give each player a basketball. The players start at one side of the lane and slide to the next side as they tap the basketball from one hand to the other. Roll the ball from hand to hand so the basketball never hits the floor. Be sure the players bend at the knees and not at the waist so so they stay down. Do this for about 1 minute then switch groups. Do it 3 times through. This defensive basketball drill works on staying down and sliding.

4) Deny the Ball

Have a coach or player stand at the top of the foul line as a passer. Position one defensive player and one offensive player on either side of the basket. The offensive player will try to break free for the pass as the defender tries to keep the pass from being successful. Once the offensive player receives the pass, the defender gets into position and tries to stop the score.

To bring you all the best & most updated drills possible, we’ve teamed with Univ of Mass coach, Derek Kellogg.

We encourage you to click here and gain an understanding of how this resource can help you.

If you’re a youth, high-school, college or recreational player or coach looking to continually improve your defensive bb drills, consider eBasketball Drills

5) Gut drill

The team should yell while performing this drill. Have the team start under the basket and do a rim touch. Players then back-pedal to the foul line and make a defensive slide over to the left sideline. Then they defensive slide to the opposite half-court sideline. Next, do a defensive slide to the hash mark on opposite sideline before making a defensive slide back to the foul line. Sprint to the corner and then to the end where the drill started. The players should stay low and go as fast as possible.

6) Switch Drill

This defensive basketball drill uses two offensive players and two defenders. One offensive player starts out at the top of the foul line circle (with the ball) and the other offensive player is at an elbow. The defender out front forces the player with the ball to drive toward the basket. As these two players pass the other offensive/defensive pair, the second defender steps out to stop the dribbler. The defenders have “switched”. Now the two defenders keep playing defense on their “new” opponents.

7) Run, find, defend, steal

This defensive basketball drill emphasizes how to get back on defense, force a turnover and then head in for the lay-up. Put the ball at about three-quarter court. Player 1 starts under the basket facing the opposite basket. Player 1 sprints to the first suicide line on the whistle, backpeddles to the next suicide line, then slides as if guarding opponent all the way to the ball. When they reach the ball, a coach or player should yell “steal” and Player 1 grabs the ball and goes in for a full sprint lay-up. Player 2 then starts drill. Players shouldn’t cross their feet to avoiding losing balance.

8) 3 on 2, 2 on 1

This drill uses 5 players. Position two players on defense at one end of the floor and three players on offense at the other end. The offensive players dribble the ball down and pass the ball around in order to find a good shot. The two players that were on defense now go on offense, the player who took the shot becomes a defender and the 2 new offenders work the ball back the opposite way for a 2 on 1 situation. The remaining offensive players now become the two defensive players and they start again. The defense must work hard during this defensive basketball drill as they are always out-numbered.

9) Take the Charge

This is a defensive basketball drill that works on taking a charge full speed. It’s physical and will create a team that goes to the basket aggressively. Be sure to teach the proper technique on taking a charge before getting this one going.

Begin with three lines. Offensive players form the first line at the top of the key. Form two lines of defensive players. One on the outside of the three-point line at the baseline of one side, the other on the opposite side. On coach’s whistle, the offensive players attempt lay-ups at full speed, trying to put defenders in jail. The two defensive lines try to take a charge by sprinting in front of the basket. The defenders need to get their feet set, collapse on contact, and slide on butt and hands for a safe fall to the floor. All three of the lines must be sprinting full speed to make this drill effective.

10) Quickly

This defensive basketball drill will work on quickness, strengthen the calf and quad muscles and improve defensive skills and positioning. Begin by blowing the whistle as a signal for the players to touch the floor, yell “defense” and get into defensive position. On the second whistle, players do ‘hot feet’. Now dribble straight at them, have them roll backwards as if falling down and yell “uhh”. Coach drops the ball, players drop and yell “loose”. Dribble to the left and players follow in a defensive position. Dribble one handed and the players reach out as if to grab the ball and yell “hey”. Anytime the coach isn’t doing anything specific, the players do ‘hot feet’. When the whistle blows, they stop. Do this drill for 10-20 minutes and add in the steps one at a time.

11) Hands Up

This defensive basketball drill will utilize the whole team. It helps build awareness in defenders that they must keep their hands up. Have the offense run plays against the defense. Anytime a defender puts their hands down, have them run suicides with their hands up. You can “penalize” that one player or the whole defense to build in accountability.

12) Press

Here’s a defensive basketball drill you can use for 5 on 5 and works on the defensive press to create turnovers. Defender 1 starts on foul line. Defender 2 is on the right side at mid-court with defender 3 opposite 2. Defender 4 is at mid-court & defender 5 is at opposite foul line.

The offense puts ball in play and 1 defends the ball first. 2 or 3 will step out & trap if the ball comes to their side. If, for example, the ball comes to 3’s side, 2 will move a bit closer to the ball but stay alert for a pass to the middle or their side. 4 stays in middle, moves back and looks for steal opportunities on center or cross-court passes. 5 stays at foul line but moves back while staying centered with any offensive players going past the line. 1 and 2 or 3 are trapping and trying to steal. If the turnover occurs, transition to fast break offense. If the turnover attempts fail, adjust into your regular defense.

To bring you all the best & most updated drills possible, we’ve teamed with Univ of Mass coach, Derek Kellogg.

We encourage you to click here and gain an understanding of how this resource can help you.

If you’re a youth, high-school, college or recreational player or coach looking to continually improve your defensive bb drills, consider eBasketball Drills