Two Coach Close-out Drill

The Two Coach Close-out Drill while initially starting as a very controlled activity can be developed into a very effective vehicle for teaching the close-out, help defence and the two man game. This flexibility makes the Two Coach Close-out Drill a favourite of most coaches. It can be used through junior and senior ranks alike and has the ability to be an effective teaching tool longer after the players have initially been exposed to its progression.

Two Coach Close-out Drill Diagram 1
Two Coach Close-out Drill Diagram 1

Coaches stand foul line extended with a ball.


Player’s line-up out of bounds along the baseline.


Alternating between individuals going, players close-out to the coach and defensive slide following the three-point line to the baseline.


Coaches can pass and shot fake to teach players how to react to each particular read.


Initially in the Two Coach Close-out Drill a player should close-out to one and half arm lengths away from the Coach and the shorten this distance to one arm length quickly. This will assist players with reducing speed significantly enough for game situations so they are not beaten off the dribble by the player they are closing out towards.


Too often players are beaten in the final stages of a long close-out and players must learn to be able to control their speed and finish in a wide, low stance while utilising good hand pressure.


The distance can be varied however depending on the specific instructions of a coach. If facing a particularly potent shooter this distance may not be the desire option and in fact, a coach may teach running through the close-out so they attempt to distract the shooter. In this instance, a coach could instruct the player to run off the shoulder of the shooter so they run through the close-out reducing the likelihood of an uncontested shot.


Points of Emphasis:


  • Sprint on close-out
  • Use verbal ques on close-out (Ball)
  • Stay low in stance
  • Game intensity on defensive slide.




There are a number of different variations that can be incorporated into the Two Coach Close-out Drill. The first is to exchange the coaches with two players. The drill then becomes live once the defender exits the keyway on their way to performing the close-out. The drill now is “live” and is played until the either the offensive player scores or the defender secures a steal, charge, blocked shot or defensive rebound.


The next variation is instead of one defender stepping onto the floor, two players leave from the same line. The first player still executed the close-out, but the second player assumes the position of a help defender at the basket.


This variation of the Two Coach Close-out Drill allows not only for the practicing of the close-out, but also allows for help defenders to practice their reads on help defence so they can with greater accuracy make the right choice more often.


The next step in this variation is for the second player outside the three-point line to be included into the drill so the scenario is now 2 v 2.


The Two Coach Close-out Drill starts off as a very simplistic drill which isolates one of the most common mistake ridden techniques, the close-out. However, it can accommodate a number of variations that allow for a number of beneficial breakdowns.

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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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