5 on 4 + 1 Transition Defensive Basketball Drill

5 on 4 + 1 Transition Defensive Basketball Drill


Transition defense in basketball can make or break a game. Being able to sprint back and get matched up quickly can take away easy scoring opportunities for the other team and force them to earn their points. This all starts with having a mindset to get back and then drilling it. The more times your team can get used to turning and sprinting back on defense, the more likely they are to do it in a game.

This team basketball drill will work on when the other team has an offensive advantage, and your defense must scramble until everyone can get back and get matched up. Your team will learn how to cover for each other and how to better communicate as a team.

Along with this being a good transition defensive drill, it is also going to be great for allowing your team to work on transition offense. If you can take away the other team’s transition but can still capitalize on your easy baskets, you will be looking pretty good.



Basketball Drill Overview

Drill Name: 5 on 4 + 1 Transition Defensive Basketball Drill

Equipment Needed: 1o+ players, a full-court, a coach, and a basketball.


Similar Basketball Drills and Resources


Goals of the Drill

  • Work on transition defense and getting matched up.
  • Develop excellent communication skills.
  • Work on attacking in transition on offense and getting a high percentage shot.


Coaching Points


  • The first steps on defense must be a dead sprint getting back.
  • Players need to be talking and communicating on who is picking up who.
  • Great ball pressure can help to stall the offense.
  • If the ball is passed to a non-ball handler on the baseline, they can give it up to a ball handler.


  • Players need to keep proper spacing and sprint their lanes.
  • Get the ball up the floor and look to put pressure on the defense.
  • The pass moves faster than the dribble.


Basketball Drill Instructions

  • There will be five offensive players spread across the baseline — one in each corner, one on each lane line, and one under the basket.
  • The defensive players will be lined up along the free-throw line extended, each matched up with an offensive player.
  • The basketball will start with the coach.
  • When the drill starts, the coach will pass the basketball to any of the offensive players on the baseline.
  • As soon as the ball is caught, the drill is live.
  • From here, the offense will push the ball up the floor in transition while the defense is sprinting back.
  • There is one catch, though.
  • The defensive player lined up across from the offensive player that initially caught the ball must touch the baseline before sprinting back.
  • Once there is a score, stop, or foul, reset and then go back the other way, having the teams switch who is on offense and defense.


Recommended Time, Steps, Scoring, Repetitions

  • The best way to do this basketball drill is to budget a set amount of time in your practice plan – 10-15 minutes is usually plenty of time.
  • Another way you could do this drill is by keeping track of scoring. You could keep track of the offensive buckets and play to a set amount of points.
  • If you want to focus on team defense, a great option would be to play to a number of stops or play that if a team gets a stop, they stay on defense, and you are trying to get X amount of stops in a row.
  • You could also do a combination of time and scoring. Set the time you are going to do the drill for, and then either play offensive scoring or defensive scoring. At the end of the time, whoever has the highest score wins.



5 on 4 + 1 Transition Defensive Basketball Drill


5 on 4 + 1 Transition Defensive Basketball Drill Conclusion

The more you can make your opponent have to earn their points in the half-court, the better chance you will have of winning. This means that you need to place a premium on getting back on defense and getting set. Having five players locked in and on the same page in the halfcourt is a big difference from a scramble of players running back in transition.

Just like anything in basketball, though, it comes down to what you value and emphasis. You and your players can know that it is vital to get back in transition, but you must also practice it. It needs to be something that is in your regular basketball practice plan. It doesn’t have to take up a large percentage of your practice time, but it should be refreshed regularly.


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2 Responses

  1. Play 5 on 5 and let the shooter, turnover maker, touch the wall, basket, go around the basket, when the defense gets the ball. Then you have 5 on 4 iut of a real game situation.
    Only one team has a short disadvantage. Tell that team to play a full offense to avoid run and gun.

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