How do you teach mirroring the ball? Many coaches set the drill up with a close-out to the ball. The player with the ball stands straight legged, and swings the ball around wildly while the defender goes to work at tracing the path of the ball. What muscle memory are we creating here?
Good: Defender gets reps at tracing the ball
Bad: Offensive player develops the bad habit of being inefficient with the ball.
Ugly: Your player stands up in a game under the defensive pressure, swinging the ball around and even takes a negative step while being bellied up.
Try having the player with the ball stay in athletic stance. Have the player use an economy of motion when moving the ball. The player with the ball can rip the ball to the hip, and then countering when the defender reaches towards the ball to mirror its path. The player with the ball can then counter by sweeping the ball below the hand of the defender or sweeping it above the hand of the defender.They can step through to deliever a pass to their partner. Alternatively the player with the ball can create space by sweeping the ball by the defender’s face, or stepping into the defender with one leg between the defender’s legs. When the defender backs up, or straightens up, then the player with the ball can then face the defender squarely.
Now we are creating a good habit for both players. Defender is applying pressure to the player with the ball, trying to disrupt their movement. The offensive players are more able to read the floor, by protecting the ball, and moving it in an efficient motion.
Set this up as man in the middle. Defender can start with 10 push-ups. Every time they get a deflection, touch the ball or get a steal, they can subtract 1 push-up. Every time the player with the ball takes a negative step, or does not rip the ball assertively in a counter to the pressure, they do a freeze-push-up for 30 seconds.