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Drills to Build Your Man-to-Man Defense


(See more by Chris Holtmann)

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Drills to Build Your Man-to-Man Defense



Drills to Build Your Man-to-Man Defense

Create a defensive identity through fundamental & challenging man-to-man drills!

  • Learn the five MUSTS of defense that Coach Holtmann has posted in his team's locker room
  • Get a great drill originally created by Rick Majerus that will help your players improve their closeouts
  • Improve your team defense by learning how to better utilize help-side and post defense, as well as tactics for guarding ball screens


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with Chris Holtmann,
Ohio State University Head Coach;
2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year; 2018 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year;
former Butler University Head Coach;
2017 Big East Coach of the Year; 2017 John McLendon Coach of the Year;
former Gardner-Webb Head Coach;
2013 Big South Coach of the Year;
NAIA All-American

Chris Holtmann breaks down some of his best defensive drills in this on-court instructional video. Holtmann's team is currently one of the top defensive teams in the country, and much of that is due to the emphasis on simple fundamentals on the defensive end.

In this video, Holtmann shows some of the drills he uses on a regular basis to prepare his players to compete at the highest level in college basketball. He also details how these drills apply to his defensive strategies and how they can work with other man-to-man approaches.

Defensive MUSTS

Holtmann starts by laying out his defensive MUSTS. He encourages all coaches to come up with their own MUSTS, but these are his:

  • Setting Your Defense - Stresses the importance of getting back, not allowing transition offense, and getting your athletes prepared to work together on the defensive end.
  • Protecting the Paint - An obvious defensive goal, however Holtmann believes stressing this continually is essential.
  • Make Them Earn It - Constant work on the defensive end is a must to ensure success.
  • Contest and Challenge Everything - Your opponent's shot percentage is sure to go down if your players commit to this concept.
  • All Five Committed to Rebounding - Limiting your opponent to one shot is a surefire way to keep your team in every game.

Closeout Drills

Your team must be able to closeout well as a unit to be successful. You'll see three drills that work on different aspects of closing out on defense, beginning with the basic techniques and coaching points. Coach Holtmann shows a drill that works perfectly as a warm-up while teaching closeouts at the same time.

Next, Holtmann talks about the importance of knowing who you are playing against based on scouting reports, which can dictate how you closeout on certain players. In the Majerus Closeout Drill, you'll see how to practice those different scenarios and get multiple repetitions from all of your players. Additionally, the Zig Zag Drill will boost your players' on-ball defense and closeout abilities in the same drill, killing two birds with one stone.

Help-Side and Post Defense Drills

Help-side defense is one the most important aspects of defense, whether it's in the full or half court. Coach Holtmann shows a drill that will help your players learn to dig in the post from the ball side and incorporate a scouting report based on post player ability. After that, Holtmann moves on to a multi-purpose 3-on-3 defensive drill that works on jumping to the ball, defending cutters, closing out, and rebounding.

Ball Screen Defense

You'll get a continuous ball screen coverage drill that will allow you to work on any type of ball screen defense in a 4-on-4 setting. Coach Holtmann outlines the ways that he puts in ball screen defense with the hard hedge, and also talks about the teaching points that will make your defense harder to beat. Soft hedges and X-outs are also discussed within the parameters of the drill. Finally, Holtmann discusses how to address when players reject screens and try to split screens, as well as a drill that works on walling up in the post.

Building a strong man-to-man defense is one of the best ways to immediately make your team a tough out in every game. Chris Holtmann's teams have proven this ever since he arrived in Columbus. The drills and skills taught in this video apply to every level of the game and will give you the base exercises your program will need to be successful on the defensive end of the court

See more products by: Chris Holtmann

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