One of the questions I hear most often as a Read & React Coach is, “How often do you work on defense?” My answer is that we are almost ALWAYS working on defense. Very rarely do we work on offensive fundamentals or habits without introducing a defender to simulate a game situation.
It is said that Leonardo Da Vinci could work with both hands independently, drawing with one while writing with the other. Inspired by this example, we thought it would be easier to collapse time frames if we gave drills both an offensive and defensive purpose. If you have assistant coaches, why not assign them to watch different sides of the ball? We call it the Da Vinci Way of drilling basketball.
As an example, in our 3-Player drills, we always have a defensive emphasis. Once we teach the techniques we want used, we put 90 seconds on the clock and each group of 3 goes to a separate basket. To prevent players from ‘going through the motions’, we make it a competition and require each group to count out their makes. Coaches watch to make sure the offensive habits and defensive fundamentals are being followed and can subtract a point from that team’s total if they are cutting corners. After 90 seconds we move to the other side of the court and repeat. At the end, the winning team breaks while the others do push ups, sit ups, etc.
Here are two Layer 1 Drills that illustrate this idea. We emphasize how to pass and cut, how to pass to a cutter, and finishing at the rim. On the defensive side of the ball we focus on closeouts and reaction to ball movement. You can teach whichever defensive principles that fit your defensive philosophy.
3-Player Back Cut Drill (Layer 1)
3-Player Front Cut Drill (Layer 1)
Do you have drills specifically designed to focus on both sides of the ball? Please share your thoughts and ideas below. We are looking for coaches, teams and drills to spotlight on the Tribe!