5-on-5 full-court drill
By Dick Lemmon, formerly of Barr-Reeve High School, Montgomery, Indiana
Here's a competitive 5-on-5 full-court drill that stresses the importance of offensive and defensive rebounding, fast breaks, pressure defense, press-breaking offense, half-court defense, half-court offense, protecting the basketball and getting a good shot each time down the floor.
With team managers keeping score, give each team three possessions and have them play exclusively man-to-man. Follow this with three possessions by each team, having them play strictly zone defense. Reward the winners and punish the losers with extra conditioning work.
The next phase of the drill begins as a 5-on-5 block-out drill with points being awarded for desired activities. Points are awarded for the following achievements:
3 points for an offensive rebound.
2 points for a defensive rebound or steal.
1 point for any type of basket.
Turnovers are counted as steals for the other team.
Initiating The Drill
This drill can be initiated in a number of ways, depending on what you wish to emphasize during practice. The coach can pass to an offensive player from the baseline or the coach may pass from mid-court to initiate the drill.
You can also have an offensive player start at three-quarter court either by dribbling or passing to start the offense. The method used usually depends on how satisfied you are with the level of play of certain aspects of your team.
Defensive Rules, Communication
When you start with a coach on the baseline, all defensive players must have their feet inside the lane. The coach passes the ball to a stationary offensive player. The defensive players must quickly establish defensive position based on the position of the ball and their offensive player.
Defensive players are required to make verbal calls as they establish position. For example, the player guarding the ball must close out on the shooter and yell “close out.”
Defenders who are one-pass away assume denial position, and yell “deny” three times. Defensive players who are two-passes away, assume proper help position by yelling “help” three times.
You want your defenders to front the offensive center when the ball is below the free-throw line. In this situation, your center will yell “front.”
When starting this drill at mid-court, you’re trying to teach “on-the-line” and “up-the-line” defensive principles. Verbal calls are still required of the defense.
Offensive Rules, Rebounding
Place restrictions on the offense early in the season when running this drill. Start by having your offense stay stationary with no dribbling, screening or cutting. Progress as the defense improves their block-out technique and the offense improves on offensive rebounding.
If the offensive team scores (1 point), they immediately apply a full-court, 2-2-1 press, which denies the inbound pass. The fact that a steal is given 2 points provides added incentive to the pressing team.
The defensive team can press, steal and score as many points as possible. The team on offense must execute their press-break offense and get a good shot off to complete their turn. This allows both teams to practice your press and press offense in a very competitive setting.
After the offense breaks the press and gets a shot off, if the defensive team secures a rebound (2 points), they should immediately run a fast break and attempt to score (1 point).
You might want to start this drill by stating to your players that a good shot, made or missed, ends the possession. In our situation, we make the varsity score a basket, while the junior varsity team only has to get a good shot to end the possession. Once the possession ends, the drill continues with the teams reversed.
Each team will get three repetitions on offense and defense before the drill ends.