Drill: Defensive Slide & Run

The ONE undisputed quality of a championship squad is a good team defense. Good team defense comes from communication, awareness, and a trust in teammates. But even before all that, a good team defense starts with good individual defenders.

Defensive slides are as fundamental as it gets for a defensive drill. There is no equipment needed, and the drill can be performed with any number of kids in any amount of space (technically you don’t even need a gym!).

The concept is simple: defenders imagine an offensive player in front of them with the ball, and then slide (in a defensive stance) to follow along with that offensive player. The variation in the video takes it one step further by adding a sprint. We like this drill for two main reasons:

First, the drill contains a combination of lateral and vertical movements. This blend of lateral (slides) and vertical (sprints) movements allows players to develop compound movement skills as they continuously switch from slides to sprints.

Second, it teaches the ABCs of defending a moving player. Because the offensive player is imagined initially, players can focus on good execution of the movement: butt down, head up, back straight, arms out, not crossing feet, and taking explosive steps.

Check out the video below to see how it’s performed:

Defensive Slide & Run

DESCRIPTION Player assumes defensive stance and imagines an offensive player in front of them. Player slides diagonally (in stance), leading the imaginary player, before turning into a sprint and recovering in defensive stance at the far side of the court. Player then performs a drop step (planting their outside leg) and repeats going in the opposite direction.
SKILL FOCUS  Defense, On-Ball Defense, Defensive Stance, Conditioning
AGE (STAGE)  10+ (Learn-to-Train)
VARIATION:
ADD AN OFFENSIVE PLAYER
Advance this drill with an actual offensive player, though the focus remains defensive. The offensive player will go at a pace to challenge the defender without beating them outright. The defender uses slides to guide the ball handler to the edges and catches up with a sprint when the dribbler changes pace.

Adding the run into a defensive slide drill is a great way to mix up a classic drill – how else do you adapt your defensive slide drills? Let us know below!

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