4 Man Closeout Drill
The 4 Man Closeout Drill provides an opportunity for multiple players to practice and refine their closeout technique. The 4 Man Closeout Drill looks to provide a high repetition drill to specifically work on the closeout specifics within one or two dribbles of initially guarding the ball. Within the game of basketball, it is this time that is responsible for the majority of defensive errors in the half court. Utilising this drill will help to promote the understanding amongst players of what exactly the reads are for defending a player initially.
In the diagram below the set-up for the 4 Man Closeout Drill is displayed. Four offensive players position themselves around the three-point line. Each offensive player has a ball and will be able to move in isolation once the defenders have completed the closeout.
The four defenders move into position around the key way. Two defenders positioned at the elbows (One and Two), and two more defenders in the low post. Players are not to rotate to the same position each time they repeat the drill. Instead rotating through the different starting points will allow players to practice closing out to different areas of the floor, left and right as well as high or low.
The defenders move into position around the keyway and start in a defensive stance ready for the instruction of the coach. On the first coach’s whistle the defenders start to pitter patter while still maintaining their overall defensive stance. On the coach’s second whistle the defensive players slide to towards the split line. The defensive players tag / clap hands.
Once the defensive players have touched hands they then proceed to closeout to one of the offensive players on the three-point line. Defenders One (1) and Two (2) closeout to the offensive players who are positioned at the foul line extended. Defenders three (3) and Four (4) closeout to the players who are forming the two-guard front at the top of the keyway.
The defenders in the 4 Man Closeout Drill are to maintain good defensive principles by closing out to the high side shoulder of the offensive player (Diagram 2). Forcing the ball handler to dribble towards the baseline and ultimately where the help will be positioned normally during a game. Any dribble by an offensive player to the middle of the floor must be aggressively denied so the ball handler is forced to turn back towards the sideline.
The offensive players are not allowed to drive towards the basket, as with limited space due to the number of players involved in the drill. Offensive players can move as far as to the edge of the keyway.
To work within this limited space offensive players can utilise one or two dribbles, but not as part of a drive to the basket. The offensive players should be encouraged to utilise these dribbles and incorporate fakes such as pass or shot to tray and encourage the defenders to move out of position or jump on the shot fake leaving the ground.
Helping players to overcome their desire to jump on a shot fake is one of the great benefits of the 4 Man Closeout Drill. Through regular use and attention to detail a team that utilises this drill has the opportunity to develop players capable of making better reads in one on one situations and not find themselves out of position during games.