Teaching Defense via 3-on-3 SSGs

More and more coaches are making 3-on-3 a staple of their basketball practices, and for good reason. Increased reps, more space to experiment, fewer factors to pay attention to for coaches (which can lead to improved feedback), and ability to focus on specific parts of your offensive and defensive systems are just a few of the reasons to incorporate these small-sided games (SSGs) into your regular routines.

Here are 3 examples of how we use 3-on-3 SSGs to improve our players’ decision making and play on the defensive end…

Teaching Closeouts

In modern basketball, closing out and either contesting the shot or guarding the dribble are essential skills for every defender. Close out to a shooter with good positioning but have a hand down, and the offense will shoot right over you. Close out “long” and the offensive player will drive right by you (creating help and rotation situations, which can be hard to recover from). We love to use this Closeout 3-on-3 game early in the season to expose poor habits and drill new ones to help individuals and units improve their defense in the half court.

Help and Rotate

No matter how great your players become as individual defenders guarding the basketball, chances are your team will be in a help and rotate situation multiple times over the course of a game. Knowing when to give help, how to rotate, and how to neutralize the “falling dominos” are key to guarding today’s offenses.

Defending the Break

As teams up their pace of play, being able to stop the ball in transition, organize, then defend in the half court has become increasingly important. Attack 33 (i.e., “Blood Drills”) are great at combining all those aspects into one drill. We like to start with the 3-on-3 version then build to 4-on-4 and ultimately 5-on-5.

3-on-3 with Hoops Hub

3 on 3 basketball is the ideal format for players to get more opportunities, work on all skills and positions and have fun playing competitive basketball with their friends. You can bring a 3-on-3 league to your community – and do it like an expert – by learning from the best with 3 on 3 Hoops Hub’s free training. If you’re a basketball coach looking to grow your program, raise funds for your program or build your basketball business, you’re going to want to check out what 3 on 3 Hoops Hub can do for you!

Additional Resources

If you’re looking to incorporate more SSGs into your practices, check out my resources from CoachTube.com.


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