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Matt Painter: Building a Championship Defense


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Matt Painter: Building a Championship Defense



Matt Painter: Building a Championship Defense

Limit your opponent's layup and free throw opportunities while creating more of them for your team!

  • Improve transition defense with game-like scrimmage drills
  • Teach your weak-side defenders to read the offensive player's eyes when they're being trapped
  • Incorporate Coach Painter's "Bluff and Stay" and "Flat, Not Deep" defensive techniques


with Matt Painter,
Purdue University Head Coach;
2017 Big 10 Regular Season Champions - has led Purdue to three Big 10 titles (2009 regular-season and 2010 tournament;
3x Big Ten Coach of the Year; 2x Sweet Sixteen appearances;
2009 US U19 National Team (Assistant Coach), Gold Medalist at the FIBA U19 World Championship

Known for his great defensive teams at Purdue, Matt Painter uses this on-court demonstration to show ways in which he builds his team's trademark man-to-man defense. Building from transition defense to half-court defense and rebounding, Painter takes you through various drills to show you how to build a great defense which you can rely on every night.

Transition Defense

Beginning with how offense is taught, Coach Painter details the ways in which his team gets back after a shot is taken. Painter has always focused on the ability to pick up the ball off of a make or a miss in order to work the primary ball handler from the opening tip to the end of the game. Getting his point guard to the top of the key area and another guard back as a rim protector, Painter's teams begin to build their defense in transition.

The main job of the point guard in transition defense is to stop the outlet. This is done to slow down the other team's transition attack on a missed shot. With an emphasis on having a disciplined point guard being a "centered safety," the design is to stop the pass, head up the floor, and force the other team's point guard to come back to the ball and buy time for the defense to get set.

Building transition defense begins with 3 on 2/2 on 1. Painter uses this drill to teach how to rotate with a two-man defense against three oncoming offensive players in a 3-on-2 situation. The 2-on-1 defense places an emphasis on protecting the basket and forcing a pull-up jump shot. Additionally, a modified progression develops defense in 4-on-3 and 5-on-4 transition situations.

Scrimmage Drills for Transition Defense

With three teams of three, Painter introduces the Kansas City drill. This drill works on transition defense in a 3-on-3-on-3 scrimmage. Coaches are along the sideline and underneath each basket in this cutthroat-style drill. Outlet passes made to coaches along the sideline get passed up the floor to simulate a transition attack.

A drill progression is introduced to teach transition defense. Starting with a free throw, the drill progresses to 2-on-1 to 3-on-2 to 4-on-3 to 5-on-4 to 5-on-5 play with players getting added into the drill. The teaching points that were introduced earlier with 3-on-2/2-on-1 are covered, as well as a modified progression that works on teaching 4-on-3 and 5-on-4 transition situations.

The Rush drill is used to work on how to get back on defense and play at a disadvantage. With a big man already in the front court, four offensive players attack against a defense caught in transition. As soon as the offensive player gets the ball passed to them by the coach, their man runs and touches the baseline as the offense advances the ball up the floor.

Half-Court Defense

Two variations of the Shell drill are introduced by Painter as he teaches stunting and rotational slides that are important for a strong half court defensive team. The first is 4-Out Shell Drill as a way to teach how to guard against cutters, baseline drives, and dribble-thrus. Using this setup, guarding against these situations is taught by covering rotations on defense.

Second is the 3-Out/1-In Shell drill alignment. The first feature of this alignment is the ability to teach post defense in Shell drill. A high 3/4-denial is used when the ball is above the free throw line extended while a full front happens with both hands up. Post release is also covered with baseline drives from the wing with the big man rotating down to help to stop the drive.

Painter ends with defensive skill drills to begin your pr

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