This drill will be focusing on dribbling for coaches. This post will be the fourth one out of a series I am starting which is to do with dribbling. As a coach you should be able to change some of these drills so that it can better suit your student, cater their skill level for example or age. As of right now just enjoy this post and make sure to soak in all the information that is presented in here.
Dribbling Drills on the Move
2 Dribble Moves To Beat Pressure and Create Separation
These moves create separation for more scoring opportunities and also help you beat pressure.
Dribble Move #1 – Step Back Crossover
This move helps you do a few things.
It’s a great move to quickly create separation to prevent a 5-second violation.
It’s also a great move when you’re in scoring range. You quickly
create space and face the basket to shoot. If the defense closes out
quickly, you attack the rim.
Here are some keys to make the step back crossover effective:
- Step back with top leg quickly – You want to
step back your top leg quickly and change directions. This gets you
into a shooting or attacking position much quicker. It puts more
pressure on the defense.
- Stay low and compact – This also helps you get into a scoring position more quickly.
- Push ball out – When attacking, you want to push the ball out to create separation and keep it away from your trailing defender.
Dribble Move #2 – Escape Dribble
Similar to the move above, with the escape dribble, your goal is to create separation.
However, this is more often used to protect the ball and separate
from pressure. It doesn’t always put you in an immediate position to
You might have an on-ball defender guarding you closely up and down
the court. You also might face some traps that you need to escape. You
might drive baseline and run into help defense.
Here are some keys to make the escape dribble effective:
- Use two dribbles to create separation – Using
two dribbles helps create distance and makes the defender’s job more
difficult as they have to cover more space. It also gives you space to
- Explode backwards – If you casually dribble backwards,
the defense can easily guard that. You need to explode backwards and
put the defense at a point of indecision. If they decide to close
quickly, you can blow by them by attacking with an explosion dribble.
If they stay back, you’ve created space to advance the ball.
- Attack defender’s hip – Once you change directions, you
want to move in a straight line and attack the defender’s hip. One, you
get to spots on the floor faster when you move in straight lines. Two,
if you can get the defender on your hip or backside, you have a better
chance of scoring. You can even change pace and keep the trailing
defender off balance.
- Eyes up – You want to be able to see the floor. That
way you can see open teammates and any potential defenders trying to
Drill for Guards: Dribble Screens
Teaches players how to come off ball screens from the wing and improves ball handling skills.
- Set a chair 20 feet out at the foul line extended.
- Player starts with the ball near mid-court.
Player dribbles and takes the ball below the chair.
- Once below chair, player makes change dribble and comes off the chair, simulating a ball screen.
- Player can now finish with a shot or take it to the rim.
Option 2: Turn Down Option
This simulates what the guard can do if the defense beats the ball over the top of the screen.
- Once below the chair, player makes a change dribble to go over the top over the screen.
- Player then makes a second change to “turn down” the screen and goes below.
- Player finishes either with shot or at the rim.
- Set screen on an angle toward the corner.
- Ball should be brought below the screen. That, in combination
with the angle the screen is being set at makes it very difficult for
the defense to get over the top.
- Experiment with different change dribbles. Crossover,
inside-outs, spins and half spins are all very effective in going over
the top or turning it down.
- Ball handler should explode off the screen. His first thought
should be to get separation off the screen. He should get as much
distance as possible off the screen with his first dribble. This will be
a major benefit when teams hedge or trap on your screens. When done
properly, separating off the screen will force switches and mismatches.
Game Based Dribbling Drills With Defenders
1v1 Speed Dribble
This drill is great because it improves speed dribble, conditioning, and finishing under pressure. Simulates what happens on a break away lay up and also forces the offensive player to run FULL SPEED. Making it easier to implement the drill and their improvements in actual game.
Ball handler will start a few steps in front of the defender, above the baseline.
The defender will start on the baseline on the inside of the offensive player.
They both go at the same time. Offensive player is attempting to beat the defender to the opposite basket for a lay up.
The defender is sprinting to cut the offensive player off before reaching the basket.
Initiating the Action
In the attached video, the coach initiates the action by telling players when to go.
With larger groups, you can have the offensive player initiate the action. As soon as offensive player moves, the defense starts chasing.
To get more reps, you can have players going both directions at the same time (as shown in diagram). Tell players not to cross the “rim line”.
– Right-hand dribble on right side of court
– Left-hand dribble on left side of court (put cones on other side so you can work on left hand too)
Variation for Young Players
If you’re working with youth players (5-8 years old) and they aren’t ready for lay ups under pressure, you can have them race to a finish line instead of shooting a lay up at the end. You can also adjust the distance so the offensive player has a longer initial lead. You might find the defense is catching up too easily and you can adjust the starting points. Make sure you always make alterations to the drill to cater all your students needs. This will allow each of your students to grow in their own way as a player.
1v1 Overlap Drill
Playing traditional 1v1 full court with just ONE court can be very
inefficient. Since you just have 2 players doing something, while the
other 8 watch, players are standing in lines for long periods. How do
your players get better standing around?? You clearly want them to get
as many touches and repetitions as possible.
You can solve this problem with the 1v1 Overlap Drill. This drill
gets two groups going at the same time. As the name implies, there is a
little of overlap, so we start players off center a little.
It’s important to teach your players how to run the drill effectively. Otherwise, lots of time will be wasted.
With the 1v1 Overlap Drill make sure:
- The next two players in line are ready to go. This requires players
to be proactive and communicate (they should know who’s on offense and
defense before it’s their turn).
- When the ball is dead, players get off court quickly so next group can start right away.
- Players hustle to get in line.
The key is for players waiting in line to get prepared and ready to
step right in. These details allow you to get 2-3 times more
In most cases we are emphasizing two things with the 1v1 overlap drill:
1) Great on ball defense and all the details that go into great
defense (stance, effort, footwork patterns, balance, active hands,
2) Great PG ball handling skills — eyes up, change speeds, 1v1 moves, protecting the ball when needed, etc.
In addition, you can of course emphasize other aspects you feel are
important or need to work on. Those aspects can include but are not
limited to boxing out, sprinting when the offense gets a step, left hand
only dribbling, finishing with contact, specific dribble moves you call
Beatem To The Left
This is an extremely effective drill for developing dribbling skills with your non-dominant hand.
It improves dribbling at high speed and beating players off the dribble with the weak hand. Also improves your finishing with weak hand.
First player in each line will play 1v1 game. Player 1 starts outside cones. 3 starts in between the cones.
1 should have a head-start and be a few steps ahead of 3.
1 will start dribbling and running as fast as they can. As soon as 1 starts, 3 will start running trying to catch up.
It’s a race around the cones and to the basket. 1 must stay outside the cones and 3 must stay in between the cones (in the running lane).
The goal is for 1 to use their speed dribble with their weak hand, beat 3, turn the corner, and get all the way to the basket for a lay up.
If you have left-handed players, you can set up cones on the other side so they have to dribble with their right.
1 on 1 Dribbling Drill With Random Traps
This drill is great because it improves dribbling, handling traps, and dribbling out of double teams. Also allows you to work on defensive aspects of on ball defense, double teaming, and the timing of traps.
You can set up the drill full court or divide the court in two by putting cones on the rim line.
We like splitting the court in half because it allows us to play in both directions and gives our players a bigger challenge.
In this example we used cones to split the court in half.
Offensive players starts on the baseline. Defensive player matches up to play 1on1.
Additional defensive players (x2 and x3) are positioned around half court. These are the “trappers”.
Player 1 advances the ball with the dribble while x1 plays 1on1 defense trying to stop the ball handler.
The trappers can double team when they see a good opportunity.
In this case x3 decides to double team 1.
The defensive player (x3) continues to double team trying to stop the ball handler.
Only two defenders are allowed to play. So player x2 stays out of this possession.
1 tries to beat the double team and advance the ball to the other end of the court.
The double team requires the backhander to keep their eyes up, change
pace, retreat dribble out of traps, and use their all around
ball handling skills to advance the ball.
If 1 picks up their dribble, loses the balls, or goes out of bounds…
then the play is over. If 1 advanced to the other baseline without
turning it over, the player gets one point.
After the play is complete, the next two players get ready. And the
group that just finished can come back on the other half of the court.
For rotations, you can keep the same defensive trappers until everyone gets one possession on offense. Then designate new trappers.
The ball handler can get a certain number of opportunities or you can switch each possession. We normally switch ball handlers after every possession. You can, of course, adjust how players rotate based on your numbers and needs.
Offensive Points of Emphasis
- Keep your eyes up
- Retreat dribble out of bad spots (ex: traps)
- Use change of directions moves and change of speed to beat the defenders
- Protect the ball
- Be persistent (this can be a tough drill for inexperienced players)
Defensive Points of Emphasis
- On ball defender should be in good stance, watch defender’s chest, and use good fundamentals.
- Trappers should wait for good trapping opportunity. If the defender turns their back or they bring the ball to the sideline, look to trap.
- Trap aggressively (when the time is right… hit hard).
- Meet feet on the trap. Keep knees bent on the trap… so you can move quickly.
- Keep the ball handler in the trap.
- If you get beat, look to cut the ball handler, back tip and sprint back.
In summary I hope you have enjoyed this drill and make sure to stay tuned for more informative drills from this series. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comment section below, I will happily answer them. Also, if you have any things that you think should be added to this post I will try my best to improve on it;)