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The Go-To Drill Guide for Better Passing and Catching

Basketball Passing Drills

The fundamental skills of passing and catching a basketball is vital to a team’s success. Being able to perform these actions with confidence and flawless execution takes hard work and discipline, but it also requires proper teaching and accountability from your coaches and teammates.

To get better at passing and catching, you have to put yourself into the right game situations. What are realistic scenarios you find yourself in during a game that you can recreate in practice?

In this article, NBA Assistant Coach for the Toronto Raptors, Patrick Mutombo is going to share many different game situations to use with the focus on improving passing and catching; and the byproduct of better passing and catching is better shooting.

Key Focus Factors for Passing and Catching

Before we get into the drills, it's important to know what to teach your players to focus on when they're executing these actions in practice or in a game.

Drill Focus: Every drill scenario and repetition needs to be realistic and at game-speed for ultimate preparation. If your drill scenario, doesn't happen in games then you're wasting valuable time working on an unrealistic situation. Likewise, if a scenario happens in a game that you haven't worked on in practice then you can't hold your team accountable for mistakes because they aren't full prepared. With the right scenarios on the practice plan, make certain every player is going at game-speed. It's crucial for players to understand the difference between cruising through a drill and going hard like it's a game.

Passer Focus: Every pass is made to the pocket of the shooter for a catch and shoot mentality. Some passes will not be perfect, but that has to the focus of the passer. Each pass should be crisp and strong, hitting the receptor in the shooting pocket for an easy transition from catching to shooting. If the passer is making sharp passes then the shooter is able to become a better shooter.

Shooter Focus: Every shot is quick with perform shooting form. You will not make every shot, but every shot should be a good look at the goal. To make this happen, the shooter needs to be in triple threat with their hands up, ready to catch the pass and shoot the ball. If you treat each shot like this then you'll be ready to shoot under pressure when the game is on the line and it really counts.

Passing and Catching Drills

The whole point of putting players through drills is for them to improve on a fundamental skill. With our drills, we want the players to perform the majority of all actions. For example, a player is the passer for the drill while another player is the shooter with Coach communicating what to do. If the Coach is the one passing the ball then you're taking away a chance for a player to work on passing. In other words, you accomplish a lot more by having players run the drill themselves.

Get creative with your drills and continue to push your players to make sure they are growing. Change up the location of the passer or the location of the shooter, have the passer take one dribble then two dribbles, or add a defender to apply pressure for an extra game-like feel to the the drill. There are so many ways to challenge your team and it's important to use those ways in these practice drills so your team is prepared for them when it comes to game time.

Guard Drills

For guard group drills, you can use 2-3 players. One player will be the passer working on passing and ball handling while the other player will be the shooter working on catching and shooting. Depending on the drill you may need another passer, defender, or rebounder.

Drill #1

Passing Drills Basketball

Passer passes the ball to Shooter on the wing.

Drill #2

Passing Basketball

Add a Defender to guard the ball. Passer passes the ball to Shooter on the wing with a Defender applying pressure.

Drill #3

How to Improve Passing in Basketball

Start the drill with a dribble. Passer takes 2 dribbles then passes the ball to Shooter on the wing.

Drill #4

Basketball Passing Drills

Add a Defender to guard the ball. Passer takes 2 dribbles with a Defender applying pressure and passes to Shooter on the wing.


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Drill #5

Passing Drills for Basketball

Passer starts in the opposite corner. Passer takes 2 dribbles to get into the lane then passes the ball to Shooter on the wing. Make sure Passer dribbles both towards baseline and middle to get into the paint. Add a Defender to apply pressure.

Drill #6

Passing the Basketball

Passer starts in ball-side corner. Passer catches pass from Coach then quickly passes the ball to Shooter on the wing.

Drill #7

Kick Out Pass in Basketball

Passer starts on the opposite wing. Passer takes 2 dribbles to get into the lane then passes the ball to Shooter on the wing. Make sure Passer dribbles both towards baseline and middle to get into the paint. Add a Defender to apply pressure.

Post and Guard Drills

For Post and Guard Drills, you can use 2 players. The post player will be the passer working on passing and ball handling while the guard will be the shooter working on catching and shooting. Depending on the drill you may need another passer, defender, or rebounder.

Drill #1

Passing Drills for Basketball

Passer passes the ball to Shooter on the wing.

Drill #2

Basketball Passing Drills

Start Passer on the opposite block, back facing the basket and posting up. Passer takes one dribble off block towards middle then passes to Shooter on the wing.

Drill #3

Post Passing the Basketball

Start Passer on the opposite block, back facing the basket and posting up. Passer takes one dribble off block towards baseline then passes to Shooter in the corner.

Drill #4

Post Player Passing the Basketball

Start Passer in the middle of the lane coming down with a rebound. Passer throws the ball off the backboard then jumps to secure rebound. After landing, Pass turns and makes a kick-out pass to Shooter on the wing.

Drill #5

Passing Drills for Post Players

Start Passer on ball-side block, back facing the basket. Passer takes one power dribble then passes out to the Shooter on the wing.

Drill #6

Passing for Post Players

Start Passer on opposite elbow, back facing the basket. Passer takes one to two dribbles to get in the lane then then passes out to the Shooter in the corner. Make sure the Passer dribbles towards the baseline into the lane and towards the middle into the lane.


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Team Drills

For Team Drills, you can use every player! All of these drills will help each player get better at passing and catching.

Drill #1

To set-up Drill #1, divide your team evenly into 4 lines.

4 Corner Passing Drill

Line 1 - Left Half Court Corner, Line 2 - Left Baseline Corner, Line 3 - Right Baseline Corner, Line 4 - Right Half Court Corner

To run Drill #1, follow this passing pattern:

Line 1 starts with the basketball and uses their dribble to attack the middle of the lane and passes to Line 3. 3 catches the ball and quickly swings to Line 4. 4 catches the ball, attacks the middle of the lane, and passes to Line 2. 2 catches the ball and quickly swings the ball back to Line 1 to start the passing pattern over again. Continue this passing pattern repeatedly until Coach blows the whistle. After you pass, follow the ball to get in a new line.


Drill #2

To set-up Drill #2, divide your team evenly into 4 lines.

Team Passing Drill

Line 1 - Left Half Court Corner, Line 2 - Left Baseline Corner, Line 3 - Right Baseline Corner, Line 4 - Right Half Court Corner

To run Drill #2, follow this passing pattern:

Line 1 starts with the basketball and passes to Line 2. 2 uses their dribble to drive the baseline and passes to Line 4. 4 quickly swings the ball to Line 3. 3 uses their dribble to drive the baseline and passes to Line 1. 1 quickly swings the ball back to Line 2 to start the passing pattern over again. Continue this passing pattern repeatedly until Coach blows the whistle. After you pass, follow the ball to get in a new line.


Drill #3

To set-up Drill #3, divide your team evenly into 4 lines with 1 player in the middle at the free throw line.

Passing Drill for Teams

Line 1 - Left Half Court Corner, Line 2 - Left Baseline Corner, Line 3 - Right Baseline Corner,

Line 4 - Right Half Court Corner, Line 5 - Middle of the Free Throw Line

To run Drill #3, follow this passing pattern:

Line 2 starts with the basketball and passes it to Line 1. 1 quickly swings the ball to Line 4 who quickly swings it to Line 3. When 3 catches the ball, the player in Line 5 cuts to the basket and 3 passes to 5 for a lay-up. 5 rebounds their own ball and passes the ball back to 2 to start the passing pattern over again. Continue this passing pattern repeatedly until Coach blows the whistle. After you pass, follow the ball to get in a new line.


Learn More

This Drill Guide for Passing and Catching should gives you great ideas for drills to use in practice whether it's for a small group of guards or your entire team, but there's always room to grow. To learn more start browsing through our vast selection of Coaching DVDs right now.

Our basketball training videos feature the best of the best. From the top coaches in high school, college, & the Pros to the best basketball trainers who teach Pro players we have them all. We have DVDs for rent by mail, downloads available for purchase, and 48 hour rental.

You can watch them over and over, take notes, and then rent another DVD over the same topic and very quickly your knowledge of a specific topic will reach mastery level. Using basketball training videos as a coach can change your entire coaching style.

Mar 18, 2019 Coach Chris

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