New topic

Home Forums Topics Systems & Strategies Teaching Defensive Angles

Teaching Defensive Angles

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • #175735

    I’ve been inspired by the summer intensive to install the VISE Defense. Really looking forward to the follow up live learning, but until then, if I may impose on you all I’d greatly appreciate it. 

    Players are really struggling with learning defensive angles and I was hoping folk might share from their wealth of knowledge and experience any advice and drill suggestions so we can keep working the same skills but make it more interesting and engaging. Thank you! 

    They may remember on an initial closeout but the longer the offensive possession lasts (some of them right after the closeout), the worse it gets. In fact, I’d  be willing to hazard a large wager that it has completely left their minds.

    Keeping them focused on it will get easier as they learn it, but other than emphasising it during this stage is there anything else anyone could suggest?

    Many thanks! ? 


    This is one of the toughest things to teach, but one of the most rewarding when you can see a player finally get it down and their confidence grow. A couple thoughts come to mind for me:

    1) Their mentality is half the battle. We’ve noticed that the more confident our players are the better defenders they become. We encourage them to get a step closer than they think they need to be as it helps them do a better job of directing the first dribble (take away 2, battle for the 3rd). As they start to get over the hurdle that they need to be further away because they may lack foot speed, you can really see them start to improve and challenge themselves. It really helps from preventing the offensive player getting downhill at maximum speed. 

    2) We work a ton on first step footwork and really emphasizing a reach step and trying to force the defender to go east and west. We usually start this process with a 3 cone drill where we set the cones a distance a part that we feel the player should be able to reach step and still get back in front (It’s slightly at an angle- so one come on each side of the center cone is slightly behind the other). We have them start at the cone in the middle and then point a direction and have them reach step to cut off, show shot and they close back out to the center cone and we repeat for a total of 30 seconds (length of our shot clock, but could be any time period). 

    Secondly we play a lot of one on one from the wing that starts with a close out (we do this both out of a gap close out and a skip close out). We start with one dribble, progress to two dribbles and eventually three. To encourage our defensive principles we don’t give them a point for stop if they get beat to the middle of the floor. It’s during this process we begin to introduce turning to sprint to cut players off at an angle, but not until we’ve really drilled and emphasized their first reach step. We want to try and prevent them from bailing out too early. 

    Hope this helps. If you’d like to talk about some of our other footwork drills we use, I’d be more than happy to. We also force baseline within our system. 


    Kristen, many thanks for this!! I greatly appreciate it and it’s very useful. 

    I’m seeing exactly the same thing in terms of sagging off the offensive player because the defender is afraid of being beat. I’ve been really encouraging them to get into their body, take away the shot & middle drive & fight for the 3rd.

    The ones that are more successful on the 1st 2, are getting beat baseline. The others are just giving up shots & middle drives. 

    I think your cone drill sounds fantastic! Will use it next training. Thank you! 

    We also do a lot of 1v1s. Right now, with our 1 portable hoop per group (and never the two groups can meet), I’m having to be very creative to keep folk moving & engaged!

    The cone drill can even be set up as a return activity so they aren’t waiting for the next 1v1.

    I’ve been running 1v1s with a pass from top to wing or corner to wing each side. But they seem to completely forget angles once the ball starts getting lower. Makes me think maybe pass from wing to corner or use a skip to work more on that aspect. 

    Will definitely incorporate your dribble limitations & progressions into the 1v1s. 

    Tyler’s recent modern defense video is really helpful in getting them to see the angles too. 

    I’d love it if you had the time to share more of your footwork drills, ssgs, whatever you have time to share! I can never learn enough! ? And it’s really hard to find drills that work on teaching defensive angles…. 

    Thank you so much! 


    @Ruth Grant  just to piggy back on Coach Rogers and give you another idea for a drill to work on close-outs but also any other aspects of the game you would like to make a focus. We do a drill we simply call “Close-Outs”, we usually start with a player on each wing and two lines under the basket, one on each lane line.

    The basis of this drill/small sided game depending on how you us it. Get a defensive stop(rebound, steal, take a charge etc..) and you get to go to offense. Offense scores or gets fouled they stay on offense and the defender goes to the back of the opposite line. 

    We start out 1 on 1, a coach under the basket (usually me) rolls the ball out to a wing player. Offense can not go until the ball gets to them, defense closes out on the roll and can not touch the ball until the offensive player does. I vary the speeds of the roll as well as I move the offensive player with where I roll the ball, I can see how the defender adjust their angle on their close-out to maintain our defensive concepts and goals. I usually limit the offense to three dribbles unless they get an offensive rebound. The dribble limit is two fold the offensive player must use the dribble as a weapon and that is longest amount of dribbles in a normal situation we expect the on the ball defender to guard before a help side defender is involved.

    Once one side goes coach gets the ball gives praise, instruction etc… and the other side goes. Lots of closeout reps in a short time. 

    We play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, 5vs5, working our defensive and offensive concepts and rules. This drill allows to work on help side close-outs and getting to where they need to be. 

    I have found over the course of my career that my players really enjoy this, they are playing basketball and competing. Nothing revolutionary here but just a different way of working on close-outs. But also much more then close-outs, and you are indirectly making defense important because if they do not get a stop they do not get to go on offense. Not to mention the competition factor.

    I hope this gives you a nugget or two you can incorporate


    @Dennis Wrightthank you very much indeed for this! It makes a nice change up from a lot of other close out drills that start with the pass from the defensive player or player at the top. 

    My guys LOVE playing Defense Wins so I can see this being popular! 

    I prefer ssgs or drills that work both sides of the equation and so do the boys. Especially now, with limited Hoops, facilities and training time it pays to make every minute work double time! ?

    I really appreciate the time and detail. Will try it next training! A great one to chart too… ?Thank you!! ? 


    Older podcast, but re-listened this morning and there are some really good things in here on guarding the ball, building a defensive culture, emphasizing and measuring communication and giving players ownership within drills, and game planning.


Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.