Coaching Drill: Even - Down - Even
When the defender whose number was called sprints back into the drill, he needs to communicate by yelling 'even' and run to the inside and break out to wherever the uncovered offensive player is located. Some coaches have him recover and run to the open man, but if the ball is moving, we like to have him come to the hole first and then find the open man, always protecting the inside or the back side pipe area first.
With developing teams, I like the 3v3 to 3v2 back to 3v3. It stresses the basic fundamentals of sliding (slide, recover to the hole, slide) as well as creates a lot of open space and makes it much easier for the offensive players to recognize the open man.
1. Once we make the number call, the offensive players need to move the ball, unless they are uncovered, as they are the open man, and then drive to the cage until they get covered, then move the ball.
2. In the case of the momentary 3v2 or even if you go 4v3, keep all offensive players in front of the cage. We have the advantage in this drill only for six seconds or less, so each player needs to be in a position to be a threat to shoot.
3. Defenders need to slide, but even more important following the pass, they need to recover to the inside.
4. As the teams progress with the drill, we change it up from day to day and make it a 4v3 drill. Or with advanced teams, it can be a 5v4 drill, again with the offensive players beginning the drill where they would be stationed in your offensive sets.
5. Variation: Once players get the hang of the drill and your different locations and variations, you can go to the next level. When the defender has his number called, he actually exits the drill. We keep a line of defenders positioned outside the box at the sideline. When the defender exits at the line (kind of like a relay race), a new defensive player enters as the recovering defender. This emulates a different player being the first back to help get back into an even situation. Also, the new defender must remember the number of the defending player who was called out. We might run this a little longer with the same players calling out defenders numbers. This variation really makes the line of defenders keep paying attention, as they need to know the actual number of the player they are replacing.
I hope you share your thoughts.
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