‘2-Line Closeouts’ Stress Help

Help defense is the cornerstone of all great defensive teams so teach players the proper way to help and the energy needed to play defense properly.

If your help defense is a step slow, then your entire defensive unit crumbles. Players must learn the speed of the game in practice and this drill is a perfect way to show the hustle needed when helping on defense.

You are at the top with a ball. An offensive player is located on each wing outside the 3-point line. Two defenders start low near opposite blocks. Have extra players waiting on offense and defense so the drill quickly transitions.

Pass the ball to a wing. The defender on that side uses choppy feet to close out on the new ball handler. The weak-side defender gets to the midline of the lane [diagram 1].

The ball now is skipped across the set to the other offensive player. The defender in the middle sprints to close out and the other defender hustles to the midline [diagram 2].

The drill now is live so the offensive player tries to take advantage of a shifting defense either with a quick shot or a dribble drive [diagram 3].

As the defense tries to help and cover the dribble drive, watch out for a cutter going to the hoop. These are game-like actions your defenders must contain. Rotate in new players once the actions are stopped (made shot, rebound or turnover).

    1. The defenders don’t move until the ball is passed to one wing — you start the action, so don’t give away which side the drill is starting

    2. On the skip pass across the court, the midline defender now closes out with choppy feet and hands up
    3. Also on the skip pass, the other defender hustles to the middle now becoming the help defender

    4. The drill is live on the skip pass and the offense attempts to take advantage of the scrambling defense either with a dribble drive (shown) or a shot
    5. With the drill live, the opposite offensive player looks to get into an open space for a scoring opportunity

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