In this post, we are going to be talking about the Two on One Defense Drill. I would classify this drill as an intermediate / advanced level drill. This drill requires 3 people to do, but it is one of my favorite drills as it can help you practice shot placement, consistency, and endurance. Let’s take a quick look at the drill summary and then get into the specifics.
Drill: Two On One (2v1) Defense Drill
Duration: 10 – 30 minute non-stop
– Back Feeder: Punch / Fast Clears, Drops, Smashes
– Front Feeder: Net drop, fast lift, push
– Front: Net or Lift
– Side: Block, drive, or lift
– Back: Clear
Two On One Defense Drill Details
Two On One Defense is a free-form drill practicing defense, without following any exact pattern. We are looking to recreate defensive situations in real-games at a higher intensity. Because we have one feeder in the back and one in the front, they are able to focus on the quality of their shots. The back feeder can spend more effort on their drop tightness, smash speed, and punch clear control. The front player is able to focus on setting up shots in the front to allow the back player to get better opportunities in the back. If this was a one on one drill, the offensive player would have a lot more trouble continuing long rallies as they would have to move full court over and over. Because the shot quality of the 2 players is much higher, the singles player will be able to train at a much higher intensity. Each rally will feel like they are fighting for their lives – this translates to real games because and makes it much easier for you to recover from bad situations.
In addition to the intensity of the rallies, the defender is able to focus on their shot quality as well. Because there is always someone standing in the front, the defender must make sure not to hit the defensive returns (blocks and drives) too loose or short, otherwise the front person can already push and win the rally. The lifts and clears also must reach to the back with good speed, otherwise the back feeder will have an easy time attacking the shot with a smash or a drop.
We aim to do this drill anywhere from 10-30 minutes to train endurance and consistency over an extended period of time. There will be games where the other player is more offensively skilled, and will be able to find the offense during these rallies. You must be ready to play games where you are staying on the defense for a long time, and these long sets are an excellent way to practice it.
Two On One Defense Variations
One variation of this drill that I frequently is “Two On One Defense Counterattack”. All of the details of the drill – shots and time – are identical, with the added bonus of the defender being able to smash and follow up if the two person side hits a loose clear or lift. This is more realistic because in games, you will not always be defending non stop – the reason we are defending is to regain advantage in a rally and find our offense. You can see two examples of the variation here:
Another variation is the “Three on One Defense Drill”. This drill is also the same as the defense counterattack drill, but there will be 2 feeders in the back and 1 feeder in the front. We generally do this if the defender is very skilled and the feeders are not as strong. This way, the 2 back players can focus more on smashes without any movement to ensure that the quality of the rallies is high.
The defense counterattack drill is a fantastic way to train endurance and consistency, as well as shot quality in defensive situations. Keep the sets as long as you can to make sure you get the maximum benefit from this drill. Try this drill the next time you and your drilling partners get the chance to train, and let me know what you think of it in the comments below!
If you’d like to see more drill highlights, training highlights, or more, please check out my YouTube channel and Instagram Highlight Feed, and feel free to reach out with any questions. See you guys in the next one!