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DVD formatChampionship Instant Video

Gap Man-to-Man Defense


(See more by Nate Oats)

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Item Number: BD-05504B

Gap Man-to-Man Defense



Gap Man-to-Man Defense

Build a stingy team defense that is relentless in the gaps!

  • Implement both offensive and defensive non-negotiables by making your drills and practices competitive from start to finish
  • Develop a repertoire of disadvantage defensive drills in which players must scramble and sprint from one gap to the next
  • Discover multiple methods for defending ball screens, including downing, switching, and hedging


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with Nate Oats,
University of Alabama Head Men's Basketball Coach;
former University of Buffalo Head Coach;
2018 & 2019 MAC Coach of the Year; 2018 NABC District Coach of the Year;
3x MAC Tournament Champions (2016, 2018, 2019); 2013 State Class A Championship (Romulus HS, MI)

One of the most strategic and insightful coaches in today's game, Nate Oats builds programs that compete at a high level season after season. With his gap man-to-man defense, his teams are able to force opponents into rushed, contested shots.

The drills included in this video will help your athletes develop a "being in the gap" mentality, which will produce a shutdown team defense to complement your offense.

Build Up Drills

The ability to "guard your yard" is a key element of the gap defense. Players start out by playing 1v1 defense in the open court and must get stops for their team to earn points. Defenders are dropped into lane line, where they must work to keep their opponent in front of them. This makes for a competitive start to practice and sets the tone early.

Adding more players to the drill creates a 3 on 3 full court setting. Players must shadow the ball when they're on it, and help defenders must be in the gaps to take away easy passes and deny transition 3-pointers.

Ball Screen Defense

Using multiple drills, Coach Oats builds a foundation of ball screen defense with 4v4 and 5v5 half court drills. These drills will help your players understand rotations and how to defend ball handlers who are hunting for the paint.

Oats shows how to keep things competitive by breaking out into 2v2 ball screen defense at various baskets. Players compete to get stops and scores and earn points for their team. At the end of the drill, the teams with the most points on offense and defense wins.

Scramble and Full Court Defense

In 5 on 4 Scramble, players start in the half court and must deny the offense from scoring easy buckets within 10 seconds. Defense transitions to offense with the rebound, which will allow you to instruct your athletes on both transition offense and defense. This drill helps players develop a shadowing mentality of keeping attackers in front of them and allowing teammates to get back into help position.

Rounding out this defensive-minded video, Coach Oats puts everything together in 5 on 5 continuous games. By playing to a small point target, players must focus on getting stops on every possession and pushing the ball in transition.

Coach Oats demonstrates how he creates a culture of competition in his practices. Every drill has a purpose, focus, and emphasis on getting stops and being in gaps to prevent easy buckets. If your team has traditionally struggled to grasp gap defense concepts, this video is your solution!

73 minutes. 2019.


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