Purpose: To improve defensive footwork and foot speed. Players learn to stay low and to play defense against a player with the basketball. They will learn the method in turning an offensive player and how to open up in order to continue to defend aggressively. This is also an excellent conditioning drill for the players.
Defensive Movement Series: The player start in a defensive stance, without a basketball, at the corner of the baseline and will shuffle toward the elbow. When they reach the elbow, they plant their foot nearest the foul lane line and open up with the other leg and then shuffle toward the sideline. Make sure to keep head up and eyes forward, staying low in the defensive stance. Do not cross feet or let feet come together and touch. Continue the zigzag action (as shown) to opposite baseline, then sprint across the baseline and repeat the process going back down the court.
Offensive and Defensive Movement: The players will now use a basketball. They do the same as in the first series except that now and offensive player is added who will be dribbling the basketball. The offensive players are not trying to ‘beat’ the defensive players but are supposed to make them work. Defensive players do not try to steal the basketball but try to beat the offensive player to the sideline and foul lane line each time. Players should switch assignments when they reach the end of the court.
To add an additional teaching series, the coach may want to add a sequence with the offensive and defensive player, but no basketball. This might help aid in the progression for players who are having difficulty with the correct footwork once a dribbler and basketball are thrown into the mix. Add this between the first and second series, if needed.
Note: This drill does not need to be very long in time — 3 minutes maximum for each series is adequate.