Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

4 on 4 help rotations

Drills for defending dribble penetration with help rotation, go live on a kick-out pass. The defence is forcing-left pack.

See Defences - Forcing-left pack, Gap basics, Help rotations, Defending - Forcing-left shell, 3 on 3 kickout, DeMatha shell, Wootten horseshoe.

For help-and-recover drills, see Defending - Woodley 4 on 4, Calipari 4 on 4, Pitt 4 on 4 penetration.

1) Drives from a wing

a) Baseline drive

Swing the ball to 3, X2 is ballside help on a baseline drive.

Option - 1 and 4 can pass or drive and kick.

3 drives baseline, low split X2 rotates to cut off the drive, high split X1 sinks to ball level (covers down), helping the helper by taking away a pass to 2, X4 rotates to high split.

When X2 calls "switch", X3 peels off to the find the open attacker in X4's direction, here 4.

All defenders are matched up, a four-man rotation.

Variation - X3 stays to double-team 3 if he is long enough to influence a pass, then X4 has first pass to 1 or 4 and X3 has leftovers.

3 kicks the ball weakside to 2 or 1 and gets back to the wing.

Variation - 3 passes to a coach on the baseline, who passes to 2, see Rebounding - Oakland closeout.

Re-set and repeat three times, the next time X2 stops the drive, it's live on the kick-out pass.

See Defence - Forcing-left pack, also Defending - Woodley post.

Progression - live on the first drive and kick.

Swing the ball to 3 for a baseline drive, 4 can fill behind the drive and 2 drift to the corner. X3 will take 4, even if 3 is double-teamed.

Variation - whoever gets the kick-out pass has to catch and shoot, play to a stop or score.

See Rebounding - Thunder, 4 on 4 closeout, Oakland closeout, also Defending - 4 on 4 shell.

b) Middle drive with gap defender

1 passes to 2, who is an early match-up, 1 and 4 space away.

2 drives middle (left), normally X1 helps and recovers to 1.

Because 2 is an early match-up, X2 calls "early", X1 helps on the first dribble ("help") and double-teams with X2, X4 takes first pass to 1 or 4, X2 has leftovers, it's live.

Progression - swing the ball to 3 who drives baseline for a kick-out.

See Defending - Forcing-left shell, 3 on 3 kickout, Fratello 3 on 3 drive and kick.

c) Middle drive with no gap defender

1 passes to 2 and corner cuts.

Bob Hurley - X1 traps with X2.


2 starts in the corner,

- 1-2 low dribble hand-off
- 1-2 dribble-drive kickup and corner cut.

2 drives middle, with 4 spaced away (or if X4 loses vision), high-split X4 stops the drive, calls switch and stays with 2, X3 takes first pass to 4 or 3, X2 has leftovers, it's live.

Mike Longabardi - Go switch - X4 rotates to take the ball on a blow-by, X2 runs to take 4.

Greg Francis - four-man rotation, X1 takes 3, X2 takes 1 (5 on 5 option - help from a ballside post defender, no help from weakside).

See Defence - Gap basics, Help rotations.

Chris Oliver - three-player rotation - X4 stops the drive, X3 covers first pass, X2 (who got beat) covers second pass.

See YouTube videos - Three-player rotation on a defensive X-out, What is a defensive X-out.

2) Drives from the top


X3 denies shooter 3, or is not yet in gap position.

4 drives outside, X2 cuts it off, X1 covers down on 2, live on a kick-out, X4 takes 1.

See Defending - DeMatha shell, Wootten horseshoe, 4 on 3 cover down, Defence - Gap basics.

Francis - help comes from the help side with the same rotations as a baseline drive (X2-X1-X4 switch checks).

Brett Brown - X2 helps from low weakside, with a v-back from high weakside X1, everyone goes back to their own on a pass.

See YouTube video - Brett Brown cutthroat defense drill.


1 drives middle, instead of help-and-recover, X1 turns and loses sight of 1, calls "help" (or "switch"), committing to a help rotation, X3 rotates to 4 and X1 runs through to take 3.

Variation - X1 switches with X4.

If 1 is an early matchup, X4 would trap with X1, X3 take first pass to 4 or 3, and X1 have leftovers.


1 drives left, beats X1 and X4, X3 stops the drive, X4 covers down on 3, live on a kick-out pass, X1 will take 4.

See Defending - Wootten horseshoe, Defence - Gap basics.

5 on 5 option - help from a ballside low post.up

This page was made with Basketball playbook from Jes-Soft

2007-18 Eric Johannsen