Going through some more notes the other day and came across this little gem from one of the Xavier Newsletters. We all do shell drills, but I like how this specific drill incorporates a couple of really key concepts.

Inside Out Action Drill:

The idea with this drill is your basic shell drill, but incorporating the weakside interchange into post-defense. You can substitute the weakside interchange with pass and pick away or whatever you want.

The drill starts off 4v4, all your players should be in good ball-you-man position. O1 passes to O4 then O1 and O5 interchange. X1 should jump to the ball on the pass, then X5 gets thru "one man removed" between X1 and O1 (Diag A).

Now the you run the same thing on the other side of the court with O4 and O2, this time X4 jumps to the ball and X2 gets thru "one man removed". Finally, we want O4 to dive to the low-block weak-side and post up (Diag B).

These final 2 sequences are the post-defense part. Reverse the ball to O2 who dribbles to get a better post-entry angle to O4. At this point, X4 should be trying to front O4 and preventing him from getting a good pass (Diag C).

Once the pass is entered into O4, X2 should dig attempting to cover both O2 and the ball. X1 should drop down into help, and now we want O5 to dive to the opposite low-block looking for a quick look-in. At this point X5 should read that play and deny the pass. O4 should now look to score (Diag D).


This is just one of the infinite possibilities that you can develop out of your basic shell to emphasis whatever team defense you want to work on that particular day. It teaches kids how to build on their individual fundamentals of defense, like defensive slides, post-defense, jumping to the ball, etc.. and incorporating them into a team environment.

Defense is the ultimate team concept. As coaches, we all acknowledge that there is no equal opportunity on offense. On offense, you can hide your weakest player. On defense, you are only as good as your weakest link. Defense must be played by all 5 players and they need to work as a unit, everyone needs to be aware of where the ball is, their man, cutters, etc...

For some more great shell drill info, check out Jamie Dixon's DVD on his 10 Point Shell Drill. Coach Dixon is the head coach at University of Pittsburgh. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.