Defensive Quickness Drill With the Suns

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Who uses it: The Phoenix Suns

Who coaches it: Erik Phillips, Suns strength and conditioning coach

According to Phillips: This drill improves straight ahead explosion, getting into a defensive stance and holding that stance. It also works quickness and reaction.

Drill Breakdown:
This basketball-specific drill works your ability to explode out of a defensive stance to react to an offensive player. Begin standing in the middle of the lane—where you would be at the start of a defensive play—with a sport cord around your waist. To create tension in the cord, have a partner hold the other end behind the baseline. Then, have a second partner start at the top of the key with the ball. Explode up to the top of the key to meet your opponent, like you're playing defense. As he moves right, left and toward the hoop, stay in front of him to guard him.

Phillips' Coaching Points

Reps, Rest and Frequency

• Start with 5 reps to each side
• Use the offensive player's walk back to the top of the key as your rest between reps
• Start by doing this drill once a week to get used to it. Work up to performing it two or three times a week as you head into the season. In season, use the drill during agility workouts.

Technique When you run up to meet the ball handler, make sure you aren't standing straight up. Stay in a low, defensive stance and maintain it throughout the exercise. Focus on keeping your butt down and chest always pointed at the offensive player. You want the initial interaction between you and the ball handler to be as realistic as possible; so keep your arms out and meet the player by the time he gets to the free throw line.

Form If your form starts to get sloppy, go through the drill a few times without the cord. Get the basics of defensive technique down before you add explosive movement to it.

For the player at the baseline Move left or right to create tension when the defensive player reacts to the man at the top of the key. You can also mix things up and add tension by running a semicircle as the man in the lane moves.

For the offensive player Keep the man in the lane guessing by switching up where you move.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock