How to Run the Shell Drill in Basketball

Drill in Basketball


Ask any coach the one drill they can’t go without and they all will say the shell drill. The reason for this is that of the versatility of the shell drill. More than any other drill, the shell drill allows teams to get more done in less time. And what coach doesn’t love to do this?

What is the Shell Drill?

In its most basic form, the shell drill comprises placing the attack and defense on the floor in a 3v3 or 4v4 configuration to play against one other on the field. These formations should teach certain parts of an attack or defense while putting them under pressure. A coach may put one group at a disadvantage while simultaneously putting another at an advantage by using limitations.

Coaches can do the following with the constraints:

  • They will reward the conduct they want.
  • Teach various aspects of the game to your students.
  • Maintain control over the pace of practice.
  • Control the time spent working.
  • Make a competitive atmosphere for yourself.

Do not allow yourself to believe that the shell drill is the same as playing pickup ball in a 3v3 or 4v4 game; the shell drill is much more than that.

For getting the most out of the shell drill, it’s essential to divide the game down into manageable chunks that challenge players’ comprehension and effort while making them better. Depending on the limits that a coach employs, one side will have an advantage over the other. The latter will have to make up for being at a disadvantage via communication, effort, and execution in order to succeed. When things go wrong, these limitations will vary from simple defensive coverages to sophisticated assignments. They will also include time limits.

Basic Offensive Shell Drill Constraints

Coaches often prefer that the offensive limits be placed on the offense at the start of a season in order to teach defensive coverages to players.

  • 5 passes are required before a shot is taken.
  • The offense is a fixed force that does not move.
  • There will be no dribbling or very restricted dribbling.
  • The offense must go to a specific location (baseline, free throw elbow, into a trap, etc.)

To practice this drill properly, look into investing in a shooting machine. There are several of these out there, such as the one from Shootaway and Dr Dish. We recommend you compare the two before deciding.

Basic Defensive Shell Drill Constraints

The moment places limits on the defense and force them to play at a disadvantage while they are still learning proper communication, positioning, and spacing.

  • Play with one fewer defender on the field than the opposing offensive team.
  • Persuade players to transmit information such as the ball, the gap, and help (whatever is essential in your defense).
  • Defensive backs start in the paint and must close out and get into the correct position according to where the ball is in the game.
  • Begin with a double team and have the offense pass out of a trap to establish a rhythm.

All of the above are suggestions on how a coach should instruct players on how to behave when they find themselves at a disadvantage in a game using a rebounding net basketball strategy. The more the ability of players to maintain control of the unrest and make up for lost defensive coverage, the greater their chances of obtaining stops in an actual game.

7 Key Coaching Points

Coaches should know several crucial coaching aspects while their teams are exercising in a shell drill, regardless of the limits placed on them by their team’s coach.

  • As a lone coach, it is impossible to notice everything.
  • Only two regions should be the focus of attention.
  • Identify the roles of your assistant coaches in terms of what they should be on the lookout for
  • The offensive activities taken by your team should be like the actions taken by your opponent’s squad.
  • Shell drills are unsightly. Communication and effort are used to assess their efficacy. (A decibel app may be downloaded to your phone to determine whether the players are sufficiently loud.)
  • Make things more competitive by making three consecutive stops, denying offensive rebounds, going 24 seconds without scoring, and so on.
  • Know your defensive objectives – no shots from the center, no shots from the baseline, no uncontested shots, no straight-line drives, and so on.

The Biggest Problem with The Shell Drill

There is one major issue that most coaches have with the shell drill, and to be brutally honest, it is the fault of the coach in question. The shell drill is often used solely for positional parts by most coaches, who get entrenched in their ways. These are phases in which coaches want everything to be visually appealing and well-organized at all times. Unfortunately, the game isn’t always tidy; aid situations, rotations, swaps, and blown assignments all contribute to the game’s ugliness.

Not every situation can be flawless all the time, but it is important to react when there is a mismatch or when a player slips and falls behind. When your squad can adapt to the turmoil that it faces, playing defense may be a pleasurable experience.

4 on 3 Shell Drill Variations

Putting the defense at a one-player deficit is a terrific method to motivate players to put up their best effort and communicate clearly and effectively. With one less person on the field, there is no opportunity to slack off or being concerned about making a mistake. When a team is down one defender, players must remain concentrated and prepared to move on from any blunders if they perform well.


The shell drill is necessary for anyone coaching basketball shooting, especially if they are working on a pressure defense with their team. It does not matter whether the team is just learning the basics of defense or they are an advanced group that is being challenged to new heights.

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