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Basketball Defensive Drills - 1000 MPH Recovery

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This drill teaches players quickly change between slide steps and sprint steps. This drill is a good intermediate drill between the basic z pattern defensive slide steps, and full open court 1 on 1. I have found this to be an excellent drill, when my players are having footwork problems in the open court try to control a dribbler who changes speed and direction very well.


Two lines of players, start underneath one basket, with one line on each side of the free throw lane standing out of bounds facing the mid-court line. On the Coach�s whistle, the first player in each of the two lines sprints straight ahead to the elbow of the free throw line on their side, and turns to face the lines underneath the basket where they started. At the same time they begin to patter their feet until they hear the coach�s next whistle.

On the next whistle (#2), the next player in each line sprints to the elbow of the free throw line, where the previous player had been, and again turns to face the baseline and begin to patter their feet. The players who were at the elbow, on the whistle (#2), make a drop step toward the sideline they are closest to, and make two diagonal slide steps, crossover and sprint toward the point where the mid-court line and sideline intersect, and two steps before reaching there, convert back from the sprint steps to make two final slide steps, before reaching that intersection. At the intersection, they again patter their feet, until they hear the next whistle (#3).

On the whistle (#3), the first two players who started the drill should be making a drop step toward the elbow of the far free throw line, and again repeat the two slide steps, two sprint steps, two slide steps pattern, ending again facing the baseline where the drill began, and with their feet pattering.

On whistle (#4) the first two players, again repeat the two slide, two sprint, two slide step pattern, to the intersection of the the far baseline, and their sideline, where they patter until they hear whistle #5).

With each progressive whistle a new pair of players sprints to the elbow of the near free throw line on their side, turns and begin to patter. Every player, on every whistle, will follow the pattern of diagonal slide two steps, sprint two steps, slide two steps to the next position occupied by the previous player, and patter until the next whistle.

Number of Players:

works best with 6 or more players, and is a good team drill


It is critical that the player, keeps their shoulders and head facing the near baseline at all times, independent of their footwork.

There is a tendency for most players to turn their shoulder in the direction they are moving, but this makes it much easier for an offensive player to turn them around in the open court.

The defensive slide should be made as low as possible without losing balance, and speed, and with short, choppy steps on the slide, and long explosive strides on the sprint steps.

Tell your players to keep their head over their feet at all times.

It is especially important to teach that the trailing hand be kept low and in a position to deter a quick crossover dribble by an offensive player, at all times.




Defensive Footwork


This basketball drill is licensed under a Creative Commons License. This drill is from Pl Degerstrm at www.degerstrom.com/basketball.

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