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12 Must Do Basketball Drills that Every Coach Must Do

Today we are going to talk about must do basketball drills that every coach has to use in practices with his own team. We are going to go through 15 fundamental basketball drills and we are going to explain why should they be done.
We are going to start with some simple stuff and we are going to advance to more complicated drills but all keeping it simple and effective.
The goal of assembling these must do basketball drills is to help young coaches start their practice session and to give them the clue what to do next.

Basketball Dribbling Drills

In my mind, every basketball practice should start with some must do basketball dribbling drills. These drills are very good warm-up drills so your players are going to reach optimal work temperature. The second benefit of starting with these drills is for your players to get a feel for the ball.

Ballhandling Circuit

  • Every player needs to have the ball
  • Players must stand in the circle and have 3-5 feet of space around them
  • Coach is in the middle and everybody is following his lead

1. Ball Wraps

ball movement

Players need to move the ball around their head first, then around their waist and then around both legs. The last phase of the drill is to move the ball around each leg without dropping it on the floor.

  • repeat each session for 30 seconds
  • do not drop the ball
  • look straight and not in the ball

2. Figure 8 (with and without the dribbling)

8

Players should get in the basketball stance and move the ball around one then the other leg so they make the 8 shape.

  • do the drill for 60 seconds
  • add dribbling through the legs afterwards
  • look straight
  • do not leave the basketball stance height
  • increase the speed of the drill

To make the drill more advance, there are some things that you can include in the drills:

  • Make your players close their eyes
  • Put the ball in the plastic bag
  • give your players Dribbling Gloves (see the link bellow)

3. Cone Dribbling Drills

Dribbling moves

As much as stationary dribbling drills have a meaning, I like to teach my players to dribble while they are running. For the youth basketball, this may be hard at first, but in the process, it is going to give better results than just dribbling the ball in one place.

  • keep the ball at knee height
  • change the dribbling moves
  • combine the dribbling moves
  • change speeds between cones
  • make hard dribbles
  • flashy change of running direction

Here is one of the ways that you can do this drill, and I personally use this setup because it has 3 different parts all connected but at the same time completely different:

The First Part of the drills is a simple zig-zag between the cones. Here, players are going to do just one of the dribbling moves: crossover, Inside out dribble, between the legs, behind the back or a roll.
In this part, the accent must be on the art of the dribble, the composture, the looks.
The Second Part of the drill is running parallel with the center line. Here, the accent must be on the movement. Here, you can tell your players to dribble the ball in a sprint or while running backward or dribbling the ball while moving in the defensive stance.
The Third Part of the drill is two consecutive dribbling moves that must be done in continuity and very fast as there really are two defensive players guarding the player with the ball.
The Fourth Part of the drill is practicing the finish. It can be a shot, a layup, a floater, a step back shot...almost anything that you think of can be a go-to move for the end of the drill.

Basketball Shooting Drills

As we warmed up our team with some dribbling drills, the next phase is all about must do passing drills. Again, we are going to start with the fundamental passing and we are going to advance toward some more demanding things. As far as the passing drills are concerned, I like to include running and finishing.

4. Two columns passing

Divide the team into two columns that need to be in the level of the three-point line, maybe 3 feet above it. Only one column has the ball.

pass
pass and the finish
  • Pass the ball to the other side : One Hand, Two Hands, Bounce Pass (Behind the Back pass, No look pass...)
  • Make a movement toward the ball
  • Curve toward the Rim
  • Return pass
  • Finish (shot, layup, floater, step back, leaner...)

As far as the movement after the first pass is concerned, you can give your team different tasks:

V Cut

V cut

T Cut

T cut

Away from the Ball

Away from the ball

Pick and Roll

Pick and roll

Pick and Pop

Pick and Pop

Corner 3 Shot

corner three

5. Full Court Passing

Full court passing drill

For our next must do basketball drill, we are going to do a full-court passing drill. For this drill, you will need to have some helpers placed all over the court just like the diagram shows. The players that are going to do a drill need to start it from one corner of the court. The Orange Pointers are representing the pass and the black lines are representing the running lanes. On one end, the players need to finish with the layup, and on the other, they need to shoot the ball.

  • Pass the ball to a helper and receive the return pass
  • Look for the next pass target
  • Practice all kind of passes
  • Increase the speed
  • Finish at both ends

6. Triangle Passing

This drill is done in groups of 3 and with the 3 balls at the same time. This drill is not focused on improving passing skills, but instead, it develops good reflexes and the quickness of the hands.

Triangle passing drill

Basketball Shooting Drills

Shooting practice is the next part to be analyzed of a must do basketball drills. As we all know, shooting can be divided into 3 different parts to be trained:

  1. Shooting Form - Development/adjustment of the shooting motion
  2. Stationary Shooting/Repetitions - No Defense shooting
  3. Situational Shooting - In-Game Situations/High Heart Rate/With Defense

7. One Hand Shooting

This drill is designed for the players to work on shooting form.

  • Players pair up and line up opposite from each other on separate sides of the lane.
  • One player of every pair has the ball.
  1. The player with the ball begins by holding it out front on one hand.
  2. He then makes a move and gets the ball into the shooting position. The off-hand is not touching the ball.
  3. The player then makes a shot. He makes a full shooting motion. The ball goes high, soft as it can be.
  4. Player follows-through until the ball hits the floor.
  5. The opposing player takes the ball and then he shoots the ball with one hand.
  6. Once they learn the drill, each player takes his own ball. Now they can shoot 3 to 5 feet away from the basket shots.
  7. If a player makes 3 back-to-back shots, he takes a step back and increases the range all the way to the free-throw line.
One Hand Shooting
  • Coach needs to follow every step of the shot and make adjustments
  • Every repetition must be checked
  • Younger players should not shoot from the far
  • Emphasis on the motion and not the basket

8. Jab Step, Pump Fake, One Dribble Shot

Jab, pump. shoot

1. Jab step - It is a fake step that the offense takes in order to deceive a defender that he is going to attack. To be effective, the Jab step needs to be quick, it needs to be a long step, the eyes and the ball needs to go in the same direction as the actual step.

2. Pump fake - We want to fake a shot so the defender is going to come towards the offense and to get a bit high instead of being low in the defensive stance.

3. One dribble / Two dribbles - This action is made in order to make separation and to put the offense into a good shooting position.

4. Shot

9. Three Lanes Shooting

3 lines shooting

1. Groups of 3 - 2 players with the ball near the basket and a shooters on the center line

2. Shooters run toward the one side, they shoot, then they run to the other side and shoot

3. 30 - 45 - 60 seconds of shooting

This drill is going to put your players in the situation to shoot while their heart rate is getting bigger. It is important to practice this kind of shots because they mimic the live games situation where your players are running back and forth.

Basketball Defense Drills

10. Chair Stance Drill

This drill is ideal for players to master the conventional fundamentals of a defensive stance.

  • Make your whole team stand with their backs to a bench, bleachers, or a line of chairs.
  • If there is no space for everybody, divide them into the groups and take turns
Defensive stance

1. On the coach's mark, all the players must sit back into the chair.

2. Considering that the defensive stance position while sitting - feet need to be shoulder-width separated, the back must be straight, head up, hands active.

3. On the coach's mark, players must get up out of the chair and keep the defensive stance.

4. Players need to hold the position for 20 seconds.

5. On the coach's mark, players need to take a step in one direction than two in the other.

6. Sit back down and repeat.

  • This is an excellent chance to analyze individual defensive stances and to corrections.
  • The weight should be on the front part of the foot

11. Full Court Stance Drill

full court defense
  • Defense is the combination of a sprint and defensive stance parts
  • It is important that the stance has the proper form at first
  • 5 rounds

12. 1 on 1

This drill has so many versions but I like this the most.

Closeout

1. One player is standing under the basket and the other one is on the 3 pt line

2. Ball is under the basket and that player needs to pass the ball to his pair

3. Player that threw the pass needs to do a close-out - half sprint half chop steps with his hands high

 

Slow Defense

4. Offensive player needs to do a Jab step to the middle and a pump fake and the Defender needs to react

5. Offensive player need to dribble the ball to the side-line and the defense need to follow him

Real 1 on 1

6. The ball changes possession and then they play 1 on 1.

If you want to learn more basketball drills, go rent a DVD by clicking on the link below:

Jan 18, 2020 Viktor Sadikovic

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