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4-On-4 Face Cuts

This shell drill focuses on defending face cuts.

Set Up

Begin with four offensive players evenly spaced around the perimeter and four defensive players inside of the paint, each matched up with an opponent. Coach starts with the ball near the top of the key. The drill initiates on the coach’s pass.

How It Works

On the coach’s pass, the defenders close out to their match-ups. The defender guarding the ball should apply pressure. Defenders who are one pass away should have one hand in the passing lane with an eye on both the ball and their match-up. Players who are two passes (or a skip pass) away should be on the basket line, evenly splitting the ball and their match-up.

The ball-carrier passes to the same side wing and tries to cut in front of his/her defender (face-cut) toward the rim. The player guarding the cutter must react quickly on the pass and cut. This player should jump in front of the cutter, thus preventing an easy pass and score. Once this pass has been taken away, the cutter should continue under the basket and out to the opposite corner. The player guarding the cutter then stops on the basket line, halfway between the ball and his/her match-up.

As the cutter goes through, the offensive players on the opposite side should rotate up toward the ball. As the cutter comes out to the opposite corner, the four initial starting spots for the offensive players should again be filled. At this time, the offensive swings the ball around the perimeter until it reaches the opposite corner (where the initial cutter now stands). At this point, the high player on the ball side repeats the face-cut. The player defending the cutter should again react quickly to the pass and cut, jumping in front of the cutter to prevent the easy pass.

At any point, coaches can yell “Go!” to turn this drill into a live game. Once live, the defense should continue communicating and rotating as practiced until the possession ends. Coaches may determine whether or not the offense can move without the ball, set screens or run handoffs. These require more advanced defensive understanding and may be exempt until the team fully understands the basic rotations.

Key coaching points

-If players are properly rotating on each pass, jumping in front of the cutter should be simple. If they are struggling to defend the face-cut, it is likely they are not reacting quickly enough to each pass.

-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.