One on One Closeout Drills

As a coach, you see it all the time, players working on their basketball skills in a way that is not conducive to a game.  You know the drill, going out on the court and immediately chucking up three point shot after three point shot from the same spots while bouncing the ball five or six times in front of you because they are frustrated that they keep missing.  This type of workout usually lasts about 15 minutes and then the player goes in the house having barely broken a sweat.  It is really frustrating to watch because you know that, that particular player thinks they just put in a good workout and that they will out perform the competition based on those types of practice sessions.  Unfortunately for them, they are sorely mistaken. 

This is not always the case; there are players out there who understand how to workout properly for basketball on their own.  For example, about two weeks ago I was putting one of my trainees through a rigorous speed, agility, and skill workout at a local park and while we were there two high school age girls (I believe they were sisters) came and began to work out on the opposite end of the court.  I could not help but notice how they practiced because I was astounded by their hard work and determination.  They put themselves through a basketball specific warmup then proceeded to run many drills that allowed them to get all different types of shots at different spots while continuously keeping themselves moving throughout the entire workout.  They finished their workout with a few one on one drills that allowed them to incorporate the skills they had been working on into a game-like situation.  The one on one drills also gave these players the opportunity to work on their on the ball defense.  Finally, these drills created competition between the two players which challenged each one of them to be better and to work harder.  Just watching them, you could tell that they were successful basketball players.

Below are two examples of  one on one drills that you can use while working out with a partner.  The first two diagrams allow the players to work on their offensive and defensive skills from the top of the key while the second two diagrams show the players working from the wing. 

1 on 1 Closeout Drills

Categories: Ballhandling / Dribbling  Defense  Games/Fun  Offensive Moves  
Ages: Middle School  High School+  

Purpose of the Drill:

The purpose of this drill is to incorporate your basketball skills into a game like situation against a defender.


  • The two players set up on either block while the offensive player (blue circle) has the basketball.
  • The offensive player will roll the ball out diagonally toward the opposite elbow and chase after it.
  • The defensive player (red triangle) will sprint across the lane and touch the opposite block and then close out on the offensive player.
  • It is now a live one on one situation
  • In this variation of the drill, the defensive player starts at the elbow and the offensive player starts on the same side block.
  • The offensive player rolls the ball out and chases after it.
  • The defensive player sprints to touch the block and then closes out on the offensive player.
  • At this point, it is a live one on one game.

Points of Emphasis:

  • Offensive players should attack the basket using three dribbles or less.
  • Offensive players should get their hips and shoulders low and initiate contact with the defender as they attack.
  • Go after the offensive rebound.
  • Defensive players should sprint to closeout.
  • As they approach the offensive player they should start to break down with choppy steps while balanced and under control.
  • Defensive players should focus on keeping the offensive player from getting into the lane. Make them take a contested pull up jump shot.

Motivation/Teaching Tips:

  • Alternate posessions and keep score. Play to a designated number.
  • Must validate your win by making a one and one free throw situation. If you do not, the win does not count.
  • Have consequences for the losing player.

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