Basketball Drills: The Crab Trap Drill

Stay resilient and work against your opponent’s pressure in this drill that’s great for both offensive and defensive basketball players.

It’s important that you can overcome pressure from the opposing team. To help navigate to the hoop and handle that pressure, college basketball coach Donnie Arey suggests practicing with the Crab Trap drill. This drill is based on resistance and meant to help players stay low in a down-and-ready athletic stance.


To execute the beginner progression of this drill you’ll need two players.

One offensive player should stand beneath the basket. The other player — who is the defender in this situation — should stand to the side of the offensive player. Both players should have a basketball and be in athletic stance. The basketball that the defender has should be pushed up against their opponent’s upper arm.

When your coach says “start,” the offensive player will dribble into the defender, creating pressure and pushing them out until they reach the opposite lane line. When they get there, the defender will go to the opposite side and the two will then head in the other direction.


For the next level of the Crab Trap progression, add a third player to the mix. You’ll follow the same steps as before, but this time when the offensive player is heading back, he or she will be met by a second defender who creates more pressure.

Another way defenders can apply resistance is by lining up behind the offensive player while pushing the ball up against the player’s back. This way, the ball handler will have to backpedal toward the basket and try to score with that added pressure.


For the final progression of the Crab Trap, the offensive player should line up facing the base line with one foot on either side of the lane line, while the defenders pressure both sides. When the ball handler drives the defender past the opposite lane line, he or she will turn back toward the basket to try to make a shot. After the shot is made, the offensive player should rebound the ball and dribble into the other defender before shooting again on the other side of the hoop.

The Crab Trap is a great basketball drill to incorporate into practice. Players could not only learn how to create and take contact, but also build stamina and build power against resistance.