Drills for Skills

Proven Drills to Improve Individual Player Skills & Team Performance

CAUTION: Be a skills coach not a drill coach. Drills are just vehicles to teach and refine basketball skills and techniques. Pay close attention to details and demand proper footwork and execution at all times.

There is no minimizing the fact that drills can be methodical, repetitive and often demanding. Skillful execution of basic basketball skills along with reads and counters to any given game situation cannot be achieved in any other way. However, when drills and learning are approached with enthusiasm and intensity and are reinforced by consistent, positive encouragement and feedback, tedium gives way to tenacity. Practice and drill work actually becomes fun and challenging not work!

Such a learning climate is no accident. But, rather, the result of conscious, careful planning and support. Creating drills and plays are one of the enjoyments of coaching basketball. Be creative and design your own break down drills to fit your specific needs and player abilities. During the season, review the breakdown drills as needed. During the off season individual drills and self-training become paramount.

| Individual Offense | Individual Defense | Offensive Breakdown | Defensive Breakdown | Scrimmages | Fun & Games |

Coaching Tip: Always introduce a drill one day and refine it the next.

Passing Drill

Individual Offensive Drills

Before any offense or defense can be implemented, players must possess basic basketball skills. Offensive fundamentals include shooting, pivoting, passing, dribbling, creating leads, post moves, outside moves, along with offensive rebounding techniques.

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Individual Offensive Drills for Skills

"Despite, the size, conditioning and talent of today's basketball players, who succeeds and who fails is determined by who possesses fundamental skills."

Developing and mastering offensive skills and techniques is not easy task. It is a never ending process requiring countless hours of practice and refinement. However, with proper practice, players will not only improve their skills, but more importantly, they will increase their level of confidence and success. In improving individual skills, it also improves the team.

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Individual Player Shooting Drills

Five Spots (25)

Range Finder

Around the World Solo

"Ten" Outside Shooting

Swish (Free Throws)

Twenty-Five (Free Throws)

Free Throw Challenge Ladder

Daily Free Throw Shooting Log

Free Throw Marksman Club

Team Shooting Drills

Spots

Seven's (Spot Up Shooting)

King of the Court (Shooting)

Progressive Free Throws

One-and-One and Run (Free Throws)

"4 Up" (Free Throws)

"Make One" (Free Throws)

Dribbling Drills

Zigzag (Change of Direction)

Wolf (Speed Dribbling)

Cut Off & Control

 

Offensive Rebounding Drills

Boxing Out the Defender

Tipping

Putback Shot w/Bounce

War in Paint

Passing Drills

Two Ball Passing

Pass/Pass

Shot Gun

Two Player Break

 

Competitive Drills

One-on-One Live

One-on-One Challenge Ladder

One-on-One Tournament

Player Development

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Indivudal Defense

Individual Defensive Drills

The success of any defense is totally dependent on individual player skills and techniques. Like their offensive counterparts, individual defensive skills must be broken down and practiced constantly on all levels of basketball.

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Individual Defensive Drills

"Despite, the size, conditioning and talent of today's basketball players, who succeeds and who fails is determined by who possesses fundamental skills."

The success of any defense is totally dependent on individual player skills and techniques. Like their offensive counterparts, individual defensive skills must be broken down, practiced and refined on all levels of the game. These individual defensive fundamentals include guarding players with the ball, guarding players without the ball, guarding cutters, guarding players in post area along with boxing out and rebounding on shots.

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Individual Defensive Drills

Basic Three - On Ball Defense

Three Up 1-on-1

Three Stops 1-on-1

Low Post Denial

Defending the High Post

Containing a Dribbler in Open Court

One-on-One with Trail

Defending Dribble Penetration

Defending Dribbler Special Situations

Maintaining Strong Pass Denials

1-on-1 w/Double Closeouts

Defensive Boxing Out

One-on-One Challenge Ladder

 

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Player Development

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Scrimmage

Offensive Team Breakdown Drills

Offensively, success is a result of execution and effort not plays or systems. Players must taught to move with a purpose. This is best done through a series of breakdown drills that include creating leads (getting open to receive the ball), setting & using screens, post play and flashes, basket cuts along with rebounding and defensive balance on missed shots. These breakdown drills should be reviewed during the season as needed.

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Offensive Breakdown Drills

Get Coaching Done Prior To, Not During the Game

Coach players not the system. It's not what you run, but how you run it that counts. Basketball is not a game of offenses and defenses, but a game of effort and execution. Be creative and design your own offensive breakdown drills that will fit your specific needs and player abilities. Insist in correct spacing and timing along with precise footwork and execution at all times. Bad habits can be practiced as well as good ones.

Pre-Season build your defense first. You can add offense at any time. However, pre-season training is the only time during the season that provides ample time to build a fundamentally sound defense. In installing your defense first, it also provides offensive benefits since you want to practice against good defense. Practicing against poor or “dummy” defense will not adequately prepare players for games. To be successful, players need to practice against good, hard nose defense. Your offense will most likely struggle at first. However, players will soon learn to adjust to creating good leads, making crisp, accurate passes, etc.

CAUTION: If you are experiencing problems during games, go back and work on basic fundamentals and execution. Do not change or add new plays.

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Early Offense - Transition Drills

Wolf: One-on-One Full Court

Two Player Break Series

Three Player Break Series

Post Fly Three Player Break

"Michigan" Three Player Break

3-on-2 / 2-on-1 Full Court

Continuous 3-on-2 with Trail

5 Player Break (Back-to-Back-to-Back)

Press Break 7-on-5 (Longest Run)

Half & Full Court Scrimmaging

 

2-on-2 Offensive Breakdown Drills

Triangle Entries

Weakside Two Game

Down Screen & Side Screen Combo

3-on-3 Three Breakdown Drills

Sideline Triangle

UCLA Combo: High Post Rub, Down Screen & Side Screen

Hawk Combo: Shuffle Cut, Down Screen & Side Screen

Zipper Combo: Dribble Clear, Down Screen, Ball Reversals

Base Cross Combo: Base Screen, Post Ups, Ball Reversals

Horns Combo: Double High Posts Dribble & Pass Entries

4-on-4 (Shell) Break Down Drills

Triangle Entries & Weakside Two Game

Successfully Avoiding & Attacking Double Teams

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Pass Denial

Defensive Team Breakdown Drills

Defensive requires a total team effort and does take time to perfect. For best results, defense should be taught and installed through a series of breakdown drills progressing naturally from one-on-one, to two-on-two, to three-on-three to four-on-four and finally five-on-five. These breakdown drills teach proper footwork,timing and execution. They should be reviewed during the season as needed.

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Defensive Breakdown Drills

Pre-Season build your defense first. You can add offense at any time. However, pre-season training is the only time during the season that provides ample time to build a fundamentally sound defense. Once the season starts, it is very difficult or impossible to install a solid defense. In installing your defense first, it also provides offensive benefits since you want to practice against good defense. Practicing against poor or “dummy” defense will not adequately prepare players for games. To be successful, players need to practice against good, hard nose defense. Your offense will most likely struggle at first. However, players will soon learn to adjust to creating good leads, making crisp, accurate passes, etc.

Team defense is best taught using a series of breakdown drills progressing from 1-on-1 to 2-on-2 to 3-on-3 to 4-on-4 and finally to 5-on-5.

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Defensive Transition Drills

Wolf: One-on-One Full Court

Cut Off & Control

3-on 2 / 2-on-1

Continuous 3-on-2 with Trail 

Back Court Double Teaming (2-on-1)

Circuit Training

On-Ball Fundamentals

Off-Ball Fundamentals

Off-Ball Screens

On-Ball Screens

Defensive Breakdown Drills

First Pass Denials "Dancing" (2-on-2)

Helpside Defense (3-on-3)

Triple Closeouts (3-on-3)

Denying Ball & Basket Cuts (3-on-3)

High/Low Post Defense (3-on-3)

Helpside Rebounding

Combo Screens: HP Rub, Down, Side (3-on-3)

Sequential Shell (4-on-4) Drills

Phase 1. Basics

Defensive Shifting "Jump to Ball"

"Seal & Recover"

"Quick Close Outs (Spots)"

Phase 2. Defending Dribble Penetration

Executing Double Teams (4-on-4)

Baseline Dribble Penetration

Middle Dribble Penetration

Phase 3. Defending Cutters

"Give & Go" Basket Cuts

Phase 4. Defending Screens

Down Screens

Base Screens

On-Ball Mid Screen (Back Cut & Diagonal Screen Entry)

On-Ball Side Screens (HP Rub & Down Screen Entry)

Phase 5. Go Live (4-on-4)

"Cutthroat" - Half Court"

Full Court "Cutthroat"

Sequential Shell (4-on-4) Post Defense Drills

Phase 1. Basic Post Defense

Post Shifting

Post Isolation (Live)

Post Close Outs

Phase 2. Post Disruptions

"Post Front"

"Go Base" Double Team

"Go Top" Double Team

Phase 3. Go Live (4-on-4)

Post "Cutthroat" - Half Court

   

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Scrimmaging

Half & Full Court Scrimmages

During practices coaches do an excellent job of teaching through breakdown and conditioning drills. However, when it comes to scrimmaging, they are usually poorly conducted with players reverting back to old habits. Here are some proven scrimmage ideas that will enhance learning and help prevent game slippage.

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Successful Scrimmaging

Scrimmage

“Game Slippage” actually starts with practice. During practices most coaches do an excellent job of teaching through break down drills. However, when it comes to scrimmaging, the majority are very poorly conducted, officiated and very seldom analyzed. With players reverting back to old habits, scrimmaging can actually become detrimental. Scrimmages are not pickup games. Following are proven ways to get the utmost out of scrimmages and make them productive.

CAUTION: Do not over scrimmage. You cannot teach during scrimmages.

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Half Court Scrimmage Variations

Defensive Stops (5-on-5)

Defense & Break (5-on5)

No Hands Defense (5-on-5)

Cutthroat (3-on-3)

Forcing Shot Clock Violation (5-on-5)

Full Court Scrimmage Variations

"Gut" - Defensive Stops

No Dribble

Defensive Substitutions

Free Throws & Substitute

Situations

Free Throw & Press (Longest Run) 

Winners Stay On

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Important Scrimmage Thoughts to Consider

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Horse

Fun & Games

Learning is best when it is "Fun." Fun & Games competition is a great way to enhance learning and performance. These competitive drills are excellent not only for large groups, such as basketball camps and clinics, but also as a change of pace during the season. Once learned, players will organize and play these competitive drills on their own.