‘Close And Skip’ Teaches Necessities

Defensive players must learn how to close out on the ball, stop a cutter and race out to guard a new ball handler on a skip pass — require these skills for playing time

Your defensive players must do more than simply guard the ball. They need to know how to contain two people at once, get in passing lanes and sprint to close out when an offense reverses the ball around the perimeter.

You are on the right wing. An offensive player is at the top with the ball with a defender guarding the ball handler.

The ball is passed to you on the right wing. The defender jumps to the ball and does on-ball tracing as you hold and move the ball in front of you [diagram 1].

The passer now cuts through the lane. The defender drops cutting off the passing lane and covering the cutter. The cutter then relocates to the opposite wing [diagram 2].

You fire a skip pass across the court. The drill now is live so the defender must close out on the skip pass to contain the ball [diagram 3].

Instruct the offensive player to take a shot if the defender doesn’t close out quickly enough. If the defender closes in an out-of-control manner, the offensive player uses a ball fake and drives to the hoop. The defender learns how to close out with hands high and controlled steps to keep the ball in front of him.

    1. On the pass to you on the wing, the defender jumps to the ball to cut off a potential dribble drive

    2. After making the pass to the wing, the offensive player sprints into the lane, which signals for the defender to drop back
    3. The defender is tracing the ball with his or her hands, then drops into the lane and cuts off the passing lane from you to the cutting player

    4. On the skip-pass catch, this drill now is live and the offensive player looks to shoot quickly if the defender doesn’t close properly
    5. The defender needs to take under-control, yet quick, steps to the wing to slow a potential dribble drive and not allow an open jump shot

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