1 on 1 Basketball Defense Series

1 on 1 Defense Series
Purpose: To teach an individual defender the proper movements, footwork, and defensive techniques as he defends his opponent on the basketball court.

Series Setup: This series of drills requires an offensive player and a defensive player on the wing, as shown. A passer or coach is also required (C). “C” has a basketball and is at the top of the key.

Drill 1: Driving Line
Offense on wing ready to receive the pass. The defender will not contest the pass from the top. Once the offensive player receives the pass, the defender will contest the driving line. In other words, stop the offensive player from driving easily to the basket…do not get beat on the dribble. No shot is needed during this drill.


1 on 1 Defense Series
Drill 2: Contesting

Now, the defender will contest the pass to the offensive player. The objective is to not let the offensive player receive the pass. X2 is on the floor to communicate that the post is unoccupied.

As a variation, the passer may add a couple of dribbles toward the basket so the defender will have to show help to stop the penetration, but be able to recover and not allow the pass.

Note: X2 is communicating whether or not there is an offensive player in the post. This is done because in a 5-on-5 setting, the wing defender will want to know what is going on behind him. If there is an offensive player in the post, he will not have to worry about getting beat backdoor. If the post is open (no offensive player), he could be beat to the backdoor.

1 on 1 Defense Series
Drill 3: Contesting and Driving Line

This drill is a combination of 1 and 2. Contest the pass, and if the offensive player catches the basketball, contest the driving line.


1 on 1 Defense Series
Drill 4: Occupied Low Post

With the low post occupied by an offensive player, the defensive post player shall communicate that the post is closed, i.e. “You got help!”

This is now a ‘free contest’ … there is no way you can be backdoored. This will allow for a more intense denial and will force the offensive player out further away from the basket.

The offensive player on the wing can also go down and utilize a screen from his teammate.


1 on 1 Defense Series
Drill 5: Six-Point Contesting

This drill simulates all the movements made by a defender in a game situation.

Each of the following six points are marked by the corresponding number on the diagram.

  • Point 1 = Denial (deny the initial pass)
  • Point 2 = Fake trap / show help (help on dribble by ‘C’)
  • Point 3 = Post Defense (deny on the high side)
  • Point 4 = Helpside (offense is away, stay on helpside)
  • Point 5 = Closeout (closeout after skip pass)
  • Point 6 = Deny Flash (deny high post flash)

Note: The offensive player will make the movements throughout the drill; wing to post to weakside to high post. The coach/passer with the basketball at the top will dribble to the wing and use dribbles whenever he wants to demonstrate when fake traps or helpside defense is necessary.

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