Lighting it up for 25 points a night is great, but not if the guy you’re supposed to be covering like a glove is consistently dropping the same number on you. On most basketball squads, if you can’t play defense, you’ll be relegated to the pine.
To get off the bench, resurrect your defensive prowess. To do so, begin by concentrating on improving your speed with your back to the basket and when changing direction.
According to Daryl “D-TRAIN” Smith, president and CEO of the basketball training facility, D-TRAINED Inc., and a featured trainer for the Jordan Training Tour, playing defense “incorporates change of direction with backpedaling and sprinting.”
One way to accomplish this is with the Backpedal Sprint X Cones Drill, which D-TRAIN’s athletes use once a week during the off-season. Master it, and you’ll soon become your team’s defensive stopper.
Backpedal Sprint X Cones Drill [see diagram for set up]
• Facing forward, begin in athletic stance at Cone 1
• Backpedal to and touch Cone 2
• Sprint to and touch Cone 3
• Backpedal to and touch Cone 4
• Sprint through Cone 1
Sets/Reps/Rest: 1/3-4 /Minimal
Coaching Points: Always touch cone with outside hand using peripheral vision // Avoid wasted movements and spend minimal time at each cone // Don’t look at feet // Stay low with shoulders over hips // Stay off heels