Basketball Systems, Skills & Drills

Shell breakdowns

Breakdown drills building up to 4-on-4 or 5-on-5 shell (see Defending - 4 on 4 shell). Start with one defender, then 2-on-2 and 3-on-3.

To control a drill (e.g. with young players), use one or more coaches as attackers, then replace coaches with players e.g. to go live.

1) One defender

Defensive situations,

- close out, jump to the ball
- gap position, help and recover on dribble penetration
- basket cut
- post up
- help position - skip pass, help on baseline penetration, smash a weakside flash.

See Defending - 1 on 1 with passers, 3 on 1 shell, Villanova jump to the ball, PGC 5-point, 4 on 1 shell, Celtics jump to the ball, 1 on 1 - Ganon Baker give and go.

2) Two defenders

a) 2 on 2 gap

Attackers are one pass apart, defensive situations,

- close out, jump to the ball
- gap position
- help and recover on middle penetration.

See Defending - Izzo jump to the ball, Woodley 2 on 2, Nash 2 on 2 help and recover, Schepp closeouts, Spurs shift and close, Jr. NBA Defence (2 on 2 shell).

b) 2 on 2 skip

Attackers use skip passes, defenders close out and jump to the ball into a help position.

See Defending - Hollins skip passes, Skip pass 2 on 2, also Philly Closeouts.

Progression - help on a baseline drive.

See Defending - 4 on 4 circles, 1 on 1 - Pasquali corner-wing cuts.

c) 2 on 2 plus coach

Additional defensive situations,

- gap and help positions
- help and recover if coach drives from the top
- contest basket cuts from the wings
- coach can dribble to a wing, push 2 or 3 through.

See Defending - 2 on 2 shell, Duke two-man contesting wide, Villanova 2 on 2 whack-out, 2 on 2 help rotation, Denial both sides, Huggins sprint to help.
Variation - two coaches, see 4 on 2 closeout with help.

3) 3 on 3

a) With coach

Putting a defender on coach adds the option of defending middle drives from the wings.

See Defending - Husky closeouts, Huggins sprint to help.

Can also help the helper on baseline penetration.

Here coach has dribbled to the wing and waved through 2.
Variation - X3 stays with 3, X1 runs through to take 2, a run and jump switch.

See Defending - 4 on 4 circles, Fratello 3 on 3 drive and kick, 3 on 3 kick-out, Spurs shift and close, also Attack/defend - Pasquali 3 on 3 advantage.
3 then 2 can pass to coach from the top and basket cut, see Defending - Woodley 4 on 4.


Replace coach with a player, add pass and cut from the top, jump to the ball.

See Defending - Procopio 3 on 3 shrink, Spurs shift and close, Jr. NBA Defence (3 on 3 shell).up

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2007-23 Eric Johannsen