Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Fratello 4-player close-outs

Mike Fratello

Four coaches with balls, two lines of players behind the baseline. The first two players in each line sprint out to the blocks and elbows. On "go, they pitter-patter their feet. On "touch", 1 and 2, and 4 and 3, will touch inside hands. On "close-out", the players close out on the balls, hands up, forcing baseline or left as asked for, and mirroring any ball movement.

On the close-out, the next four players sprint to the elbows and blocks and pitter-patter.

The first four players leave on "get out", coach then continues with "touch", "close out" and "get out" for the next group.

Option - coaches can take one or dribbles.

Tony Barone

Close-outs get you beat. On the first whistle, four guys come out to the blocks and elbows and pound their feet. On the second whistle they slide together, touch hands and sprint to close out, four new guys replace them. On the third whistle the first group leaves the floor, the second group closes out, and a third group comes on.


- use only two coaches, see Two-man close-outs
- close-out on cones.

Lawrence Frank - Close-out 2.9 drill

The Celtics close out with a no-middle no-paint stance in an outer third of the floor (outside the pro lane, influence to the corners) and a weak-hand no-paint stance in the middle third (weak and contain, don't invite a straight-line drive, no blow-by).

Defenders start in a shrink (help) position, down in a stance, butt down, back straight, hands out wide, feet firing a bit, yelling "shrink, shrink, shrink" (ELC - early, loud, continuous talk, say what you're doing 3 times). On "go" they come together and touch hands (in a game, you're tagging cutters, at the nail helping on penetration, stepping up against a cut in the lane or dribble penetration), sprint 2/3 of the way, start sliding in with choppy steps, inside foot up, hands high to take away shot first and a post pass second, and call "ball, ball, ball". Attackers start with the ball overhead, as they bring it down, defenders back up 6-12 inches, inside hand ready to challenge and contest, then shadow (mirror) the ball as attackers move it around (adjust hands and feet any time the attacker moves the ball or his feet). The inside hand is the dig hand (dig up, or on top), the outside hand is the deflect hand. Progressions after tracing the ball:

a) Add a jab step middle, defenders take (absorb) a jab step with the back foot (move back, don't open the door).

b) Jab step middle and two dribbles baseline, yell "dead, dead, dead" when the dribble is picked up, attackers pivot away, defenders get chest-to-chest to prevent a bang-bang pass (get as high as possible to make it a hang-time pass), attackers fake a cross-court skip pass, defenders sprint back to shrink (help) with high hands (it's not jump to the ball, it's sprint to the ball, from the top and wings it's sprint to the elbow, get back to shrink).

c) Shot fake, two dribbles baseline, attackers jump up like they're shooting, defenders contest high and hard with the hand closest to the ball (inside hand), call "shot, shot, shot", and finish the play with a box out ("box out, box out, box out"). On a shot fake, stay down, high inside hand, don't leave the floor until a shooter does.
See Defending - 1 on 1 wing, Villanova stance.

d) Add two coaches in the middle of the paint and one on each block, all four get passes at the same time after the closeouts. On passes from the wings to the low posts, the passers hold (don't cut), each wing defender gets in a halfway position with his chest to the baseline so he can see both ball and man, digs down when the ball crosses the lane line (posts take two dribbles middle), and sprints to recover as soon as the ball is picked up. On the passes from the top to coaches in the paint, each defender swarms the ball (they're a no-paint team), force it out, close out on a return pass. When the ball goes over your shoulder, turn in that direction, don't spin around.

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2007-18 Eric Johannsen