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4-On-4 Down Screens to Handoffs

This shell drills focuses on defending down screens and handoffs.

Set Up

Begin with four offensive players evenly spaced around the perimeter and four defensive players matched up in denial position. Coach starts with the ball near the top of the key.

How It Works

The drill starts with a down screen from each of the top offensive players. The low offensive players run tight off the screen up to the top positions. If the defenders fight through the screen, the players guarding the screeners should drop toward the basket and allow room for their teammates to run. If defenders switch the screen, they should communicate early and efficiently.

Once the screens have been set and the offensive players have exchanged, the coach throws a pass to either side. Upon catching, the ball-carrier now dribbles back toward his/her teammate at the low position for a handoff. Again the defenders can either fight through the handoff and stay with their match-ups OR communicate and switch. Once the handoff has occurred, the ball swings to the opposite side and the action repeats.

On the second handoff, the game is live. Once live, the defense should continue communicating and rotating as practiced until the possession ends.

Key coaching points

-Assure your defenders understand the proper rotations before going live. Walk your team through the drill, discuss rotations and different scenarios, then let them practice/experiment in a live situation.

-When defending screens/handoffs, it’s important that players understand both strategies mentioned above: fighting-through and switching. No matter your personal coaching philosophy, proper player development requires players be prepared to perform in multiple systems.