Four on Four Line Touch Drill; Full Court Man-to-Man Drills

Four on Four Line Touch Drill helps develop your team in the full court using man-to-man principles. As a coach there are few challenges you face which can be more rewarding than developing your team using meaningful man-to-man principles in the full court.


Most teams can defend in the quarter court, good teams can defend in the half court, few teams are able to defend in the full court and championship teams can defend in transition. All teams find it a challenge to defend on the run, there are few players that have the defensive awareness to be able to direct traffic and contain the ball.


Drills that can help develop the qualities in your players needed for defending the moving ball, and then off the ball, filling various help positions are worth their weight in gold. The Four on Four Line Touch Drill does this and much more in a very specific and manageable scenario.


Four on Four Line Touch Drill creates a scenario where three defensive players are playing against four offensive players from the three point line to three point line. This is of course unless the fourth defender can recover sooner. At its simplest there are a few rules you should be putting in place to deal with this scenario to limit the possible offensive threats and options. This includes:


  • Closest defensive player to the dribbler moves towards the slip line and attempts to channel the ball down the sideline.
  • The player furtherest away from the dribbler moves to the front of the basket to provide a stop for a driving lane to the basket.
  • The defensive player between the two defensive assignments above moves along the split line from foul line to foul line attempting to limit the potential for ball reversal. The problem with ball reversal in this situation is if a driving lane is created down the middle of the floor this will mean a two on one situation unfolds with the player protecting the basket.
  • The final and recovering defensive player should pick up a player on the weak side of the floor if possible or recover to the foul line and then assess what offensive player is not guarded.


A truly fantastic element of the Four on Four Line Touch Drill is the flexibility the coach has to pass the basketball to a different offensive player and create a different rotation between the three defenders. This will apply pressure to the defensive players to communicate, read the situation on the run and priorities defensive responsibilities.

Four on Four Line Touch Drill Diagram 1
Four on Four Line Touch Drill Diagram 1

Four offensive players’ line-up on baseline and four defensive players on three-throw line facing each other.


Play starts with coach passing ball to any offensive player.


When the offensive player in front of a defensive player receives the ball, that def. player must touch the baseline before having an active part in the transition defence.


Defensive players must make an effort slow ball down the floor


A basic defensive principle is the player furtherest away from the ball must sprint to the split-line in front of basket.


Another basic defensive principle is communication, home, help and ball.

Four on Four Line Touch Drill Diagram 2
Four on Four Line Touch Drill Diagram 2

Coach passes the ball to offensive four (4).


The defensive three (3) must touch the baseline before taking part in the defence, two attacks the dribbler calling “ball”, one (1) moves to split-line calling “help”, four (4) being the furtherest from the ball sprints to split-line in front of basket calling “home”.


Play ends with score, or defence capturing the ball.


This drill can be advanced to have five players on each side.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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