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Basketball Defensive Drills - 3-on-3 Closeouts

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I use this drill to help my kids with communicating with each other on the defensive end. It is also excellent for working on closing out on shooters, and closing out on them under control. This also gives my players the chance to work at guarding different size players. Offensively, it helps us shoot or penetrate under pressure.


I divide my 12 man team into 4 even (defensively) teams. The 1st team in lines up on the baseline under the basket, with their backs to the floor, one player under the hoop on the baseline, and one each on the spot where the lane lines and the baseline meet. Offensively, we put 3 players at the 3-point line, one in the middle, and one each on either side. So they are lined up directly in line with the defense. Offense is facing the basket. Defense has its' back to the offense. So the defense can't see where the offense is. I stand in front of the defense, out of bounds. I will throw a pass to any of the offensive players, who after they catch play live to score. They can shoot right away, pass, or drive to the basket. The defense must turn and close-out on the offense, but they cannot guard a man who is standing directly behind them when the pass is made. The possession continues until the offense scores, or the defense gains possession of the ball. After each possession, I make the defense line-up in different spots on the baseline, so that they are not always closing out to the same spot. Other offensive players rotate in, so they are always fresh. Defense must get 3 stops in a row to get out.

Number of Players:



I find this drill becomes very competitive. My players really get into it. I usually make the defense stay until they get 3 stops in a row. You get a stop by forcing a turnover or getting a defensive rebound. The defensive rebound must be on the initial shot. If they give up a basket or an offensive rebound, they go back to zero in their quest to get to 3 stops. I think this drill can be effective at any age.


You decide, as the passer, how much time you want to give your defense between possessions. If they are working hard, you may give them more time to decide where they are going to go on the pass. If not, as soon as they are back on the baseline, pass it back out to the offense quickly. You can go for as many stops in a row as you want.


Defensive Communication, and closing out


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

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