Coach Ron Sen presents an interesting 4-on-4 basketball drill:
As coaches, we design or use drills to reinforce and practice concepts important to game situation execution. We are a man-to-man pressure oriented team that wants to force the tempo and create opportunities in transition.
Players sometimes struggle to embrace (what coaches believe) simple concepts, like knowing your role (trapper, interceptor, safety) or executing traps. Although we routinely deny the inbound pass, we presume better teams will successfully enter the ball.
In the Whack-A-Mole 4-on-4 drill, we start the guard with the ball at ¾ court and define the roles of Trapper (T, T1) and Interceptors (I, I1).
- T’s responsibility is maximal ball pressure with sideline force
- T1′s responsibilities are to prevent a long pass and to prepare for a sideline trap
- The trap must not allow sideline advance or a ‘gut pass’ through. Ideally passes will only go through the trappers’ outside shoulders.
- I and I1 must react to the play and not allow the ball to be passed forward and must deny front cuts to the ball. They are also responsible to communicate screens.
Offensively, the screener is allowed to trap or to ‘slip the screen’ to put more pressure on T1. Offensive If the ball is passed back to the opposite guard, then the drill continues on the opposite side with the same principles. The ballhandler has the option to try to back-dribble to avoid the anticipated trap.
If the trap is ‘broken’ or the ball advanced, all defenders must sprint back into individual assignment defense. If the ball is stolen, offensive attack is played out.
Although a man-to-man drill, the principles would apply for zone action such as the 2-2-1 or ‘UCLA’ press.
Ron Sen is an assistant coach in a middle school girls basketball program and a primary and specialty care physician.