Defending on the ball is a challenging skill for any player young or old and the Quarter Court Defensive Zig Zag Drill helps players master this advanced high order skill. Defending the ball in the half-court is vital for any player. However being able to extend that pressure into the full court is the difference between a competitive and a highly successful team.
Individual defence is as much about effort as technique and the Quarter Court Defensive Zig Zag Drill provides a situation where players have multiple repetitions in very short period of time. This allows for individuals to practice the skill over and over again. This is a very important point as becoming competent in this skill will take a very long time. Additionally because defending the ball as a technique requires the athlete to anticipate, read and react to the movements of the offensive player, the skill must be practiced constantly. Through this consistent practice at game pace defenders will develop the awareness needed to make an impact when guarding the ball and forcing turnovers instead of just containing the ball.
Key points to focus on for this drill include:
- Once the defender hands the ball to the offensive player the drill is live; defensive players should start to engage the ball with hand pressure, low stance and ready feet
- The defenders eyes should always be lower than then those of the offensive players; this promotes a low defensive stance and keeps the defender always re-assessing their positioning
- When the ball is in motion defenders should work to beat the ball to a spot, once they reach this point in front of the dribbler, chest should be square to the direction of the dribble closing that channel off from further progress
- If beaten a defender should always sprint to recover in front of the ball; often defenders will attempt to make contact within the offensive player on the dribble from the side. This is a very common mistake and one that is always called as a foul. Defenders should focus on a point out in front of the dribbler and work to reach that point before the offensive player
The drill is mapped out by having the court divided into four equal sections (Refer to Diagram 1).
Players must stay within their allocated sections.
The defensive player starts with ball, and when ready hands the ball off to offensive player.
The Defensive player tries to turn the offensive player before the player can reach the side of the area.
Players continue across the court until they reach the other side. Then the roles are reversed.
As a starting objective have your defensive players attempt to turn the offensive player at least three times prior to reaching the other side of the channel.
If the defensive player steals the ball they are to speed dribble back to the starting sideline and roles are then reversed.
Want more? Follow the series development as well look at drills developing individual (technical) and team (tactical) drill for teaching and instructing in defensive principles.
The Fab 5 Drills Series is a grouping of drills selected to underpin basic skill instruction for the use by coaches at all levels featuring technical and tactical elements from both offensive and defensive situations.