Two Man Close-out Drill Fab 5

Two Man Close-out Drill Fab 5
Two Man Close-out Drill Diagram 1

The Two Man Close-out Drill is a fantastic build-up or breakdown drill for teaching half-court man to man principles and for this reason it has been included in the Fab 5 series. Finding drills which help with the development of basic understanding of man to man principles are always worth their weight in gold. The Two Man Close-out Drill fulfills this requirement very well.


Building onto sound individual technical skills, the Two Man Close-out Drill brings players into a partnered situation with lots of movement in a push and pull action. During this drill the two partnered defenders are often scrambling, working hard and making decisions instinctively. This is the crucial benefit of this drill; it makes defenders take well-rehearsed patterns and moves them into the autonomous or instinctive plain.


While mistakes will be plentiful ride out each repetition in full before providing feedback this will allow for multiple opportunities of practice scenarios and even allow players to possibly repeat the rotations upwards of seven times.


Make sure to focus on:


  • Close-out technique
  • Correct footwork in help position
  • Vision for quick reaction in help
  • Sprint to a spot; no walk no shuffle
Two Man Close-out Drill Diagram 1
Two Man Close-out Drill Diagram 1

Four offensive players line up outside the three-point line.


Two defensive players line up in an ‘I’ formation in the key way. One defensive player starts at the foul line. The second defensive player positions themselves at the front of the basket.


The coach calls out “stance” and defensive players set themselves in a defensive stance. The coach then calls “patter” and the defensive players’ pitter patter.


When the coach calls out “go” the first defensive player closes-out to the ball. The offensive player waits for the close-out then tries to beat the defender.


The second defender has to make a “read” and aims to never allow the offensive player into the key way. The challenge is to not commit until first defender is beaten but not allow key way penetration.


The read for the help defender is if the offensive player gets onto the hip of the defender then the player must close-out to the dribbler.


On the pass the second defender closes-out to the ball and the first defender moves into the split-line position.


Athletes continue with drill for one minute then change from defence.


Point of note:


If both defenders are committed to the dribbler then on the pass the defender who has vision goes to the player who receives the ball.


Want more? Follow our series development as well look at drills developing individual (technical) and team (tactical) skills 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.

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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