This is a great drill to teach the concepts of ball denial and help defense. It's great to teach at all levels from 10-year olds all the way through high school and college.

Basic Concepts:
1. Ball position, you want to put a lot of ball pressure. Force your man to dribble into the help defense.
2. Deny position, you want one hand outstretched denying the ball but not cheating by overplaying and getting caught back door.
3. Help position, you need to see both your defender and the ball, ready to help on penetration or players cutting through.

- 4 offensive players, 4 defensive players, setup 2 up top and 2 on the wings.
- ball starts up top, if you're in ball position you yell, "BALL, BALL, BALL...", deny position, "DENY, DENY, DENY...", and help position, "HELP, HELP HELP..."
- as the coach, watch where the players are on the court, stop them if they are in the wrong position.
- help position, use the guns teaching method. Have your players point to both their man and the ball
- swing the ball to the next player up top, and watch the defensive rotation.
- swing the ball to the wing, again, watch the defensive rotation.
- try the skip pass to the other wing, again, watch the defensive rotation.
- have one of the offensive players dribble drive and watch the help man and see if he is helping properly.
- test the pass to the deny man, check that he denies the ball and maybe steals it
- test the backdoor to the deny man, see if the deny man recovers properly
- test penetrate and kick to see if the help man recovers properly.
- finally, rotate the players or switch offense and defense.

There are so many things and permutations to this drill. It really is a great drill to teach, practice and drill proper man-to-man help defense. You can also have your players run it as a warmup drill before games too.

If you're looking for more information on man-to-man help defense, I would recommend Morgan Wooten's DVD on defensive techniques. Coach Wooten is widely acknowledged as the most successful high school basketball coach in American history. A staple of his teams was always good pressure man-to-man. You can find the DVD here.

Go over the Coaching Basketball Forum to discuss.


  1. RedRum  

    January 27, 2010 at 3:45 AM

    The fanning in this defense is completely wrong. No team fans the ball towards the paint, you want to protect the paint and avoid help from the post.