This drill will be focusing on passing drills for coaches. This post will be the fifth one out of a series I started and the last of it. 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.
Random – Game Based Passing Drills
Passing and Decision Making Drill
Unlike many passing drills, this drill is very game-like. The distance, angle, and situation for each pass is constantly changing (just like a real game). The drill requires players to make better decisions and SEE the defense before they pass. And it’s competitive (just like a real game).
By having an extra offensive player (3 vs 2), the pace is quicker and players pass the ball more frequently (they get more reps).
The drill will improve passing skills, passing accuracy, footwork, jump stops, and decision making.
To start the drill you need 3 teams with different color jerseys (ex: red, white, gold). We use our reversible practice jerseys and also bring pinnies.
Players 1, 2, and 3 (the red team) have the ball and they are on offense. X4 and X5 (white) are on defense. X6 is on the sideline out of the game for the moment. 7, 8, and 9 (gold) are out and waiting for their team to play defense.
Players 1, 2, and 3 (red team) will try to score within 15 seconds. They are NOT allowed to dribble. So they must pass the ball up the court and try to score.
X4 and X5 are on defense trying to get steals, deflections, and slow down the offense.
When the red team shoots or turns the ball over, the white team (X4, X5, and X6) switch to offense and now try to score at the opposite basket. They are not allowed to dribble.
In the meantime, the gold team (7 and 8) should have been set up on defense
We do not allow rebounds but you could choose to allow rebounds and only change possession on makes, rebounds, and turnovers.
The white team is now moving the ball up the court while the 2 gold players are on defense.
While this is happening, the red team (1, 2, and 3) should be preparing to play defense with two players.
Once white shoots or looses the ball, gold would then be on offense attacking the other basket.
It’s a continual game of 3 on 2 and should be very fast paced change of offense to defense.
Make sure defensive players are getting their hands up and extending the defense past half court.
If you have extra players, they can rotate in on each possession.
The Scoring System
The key to this drill is the scoring system…
1 point for a made basket
-3 points for a turnover
Teams must keep track of their score. Play for 10-15 minutes.
1st place team gets a drink.
2nd place team does 10 burpees.
3rd place team does 20 burpees.
The drill becomes very competitive and players must learn very quickly to play UNDER CONTROL and make GOOD accurate passes.
Key Teaching Points
You might have to stop the drill a few times to teach after they make multiple turnovers. The following key teaching points become very obvious if you want to win the game. . .
- Look before you pass and pass away from the defense
- Jump stop and face the basket on each catch
- Meet your pass
- Use pass fakes
- Move without the ball and maintain good spacing
- Wait for good passing angles (don’t pass through traffic)
- Make accurate passes
This drill also works extremely well with 4 players on each team and playing continuous 4 on 3.
You can also allow players to dribble and then it turns into a continuous fast break drill.
The goal is to pass the ball up the court past the opposite baseline. This counts as one point.
Once the ball has crossed the baseline, the ball changes possession. The defense becomes offense and must try to pass the ball across the other baseline.
- Change the goal from passing the end-line to scoring a basket.
- Allow one player to dribble (ex: point guard) until first pass is made.
- Allow bounce passes and coach calls out turnovers.
- No screens allowed (cuts only)
- Screens allowed
- Must screen after every pass
- Specify types of passes allowed (ex: overhead passes only — or no baseball passes allowed)
Coaching / Teaching Points
- Meet your pass
- Maintain good spacing
- Move to get open — change speeds and change directions
- Screening concepts
- Use your pivot to protect the ball and improving passing angles
- Rip the ball high and low to protect from defender
- Triple threat concepts
- Pass away from defense
- Look for ball reversals
- Keep your eyes up
- Make the easy pass
3 In a Line Toss Drill
The following drill is a popular advantage game for young basketball players. This competitive drill improves offense, defense, spacing, passing, decision making, cutting and more.
The drill begins with three players in a line. Player 1 starts one step below the free throw line. Players 1 & 2 will be on offense and player 3 will be on defense.
Player 1 tosses the ball out to the top of the key and chases down the ball.
Once player one chases down the ball, he/she catches the ball on a jump stop facing away from the basket. He/she then pivots, faces the hoop, looks to attack, and makes a decision.
Player 2 sprints to the left or right three point line, away from his/her teammate to create spacing.
Player 3 decides if he/she will run out to stop the ball or defend the wing player.
Depending on where the defense decides to play, the player with the ball must read the situation. If he/she is not defended, the read is to drive. If the ball is defended, the read could be to pass to the wing or drive (attack the close out).
At the same time, player 2 has to read the defense from the wing. If he/she is not defended, the read could be to cut to the basket. If he/she is covered, the read could be to stay wide to create spacing.
The players locate the reads and the drill continues with the offense trying to score and the defense trying to stop the ball.
Initially, the drill is taught to have the defense rush out and guard player 1 to show player 2 an open basket to cut towards.
You can switch it up to have the defense rush out to the wing to show player one that they have a driving lane.
Variation – 5 in a Line Toss Drill
Once the drill is learned using three players, you can add two players to create more reads. With five players, the drill is run the exact same way. The offense will always have a one player advantage (3 vs 2).
Summary and Points of Emphasis
We highly recommend this drill for all youth coaches. It’s fun and gives you lots of teaching opportunities. By putting the offense at an advantage, you create lots of decision making situations that players will see in a game.
Some of the things you can teach and emphasize include:
- Catch and face the basket in triple threat… looking to score first.
- If you get stopped, pass to the open player.
- If you’re off the ball, maintain spacing in correlation to the ballhandler. And cut to the open spot. This is a great drill for teaching spacing and teaching players what to do as the ball moves.
- Look to attack aggressively and make quick decisions.
- Show the defense how to change things up to create new situations and cause the offense to make different decisions.
You can also add additional rules to change the dynamics of the game and/or emphasize specific points that you feel are important. For example, you could require a shot with in 8 seconds, limit to 2 passes, start in the corner, etc. There is no limit to this game and how you use it to develop your players and teach offensive fundamentals.
Keep it Simple and Allow them to Make Mistakes
As a coach, we think it’s important to give players freedom and allow them to make mistakes. Over-coaching only leads to player indecision, too much thought, and lack of confidence. If you, as a coach, can focus on emphasizing aggressiveness and spacing — then most of the other stuff will work out on its own.
Try not to control and correct too much. Choose your teaching spots. Give players chances to work things out and come up with solutions on their own. That is often a better way to learn (self discovery).
3 on 3 Trap Drill
This drill not only teaches your players how to pass out of a trap and develop toughness with the ball — but also teaches your defensive players how to trap the ball.
The drill starts out with six players forming a circle. The drill should last about 15 seconds. Switch the offense and the defense once play ends.
The offensive players cannot leave their spots.
The defense is allowed to move anywhere within the circle to intercept any passes.
When play starts, the two nearest defenders (X3 and X1) trap the ball. X2 plays the passing lanes to both 2 and 3.
X1 and X2 trap the ball when the ball goes to 2. X3 plays the passing lanes to both 1 and 3.
X2 and X3 trap the ball when the ball goes to 3. X1 plays the passing lanes to both 1 and 2.
Allow the players to “play” for a set amount of time. You can reward players for maintaining possession for the duration of the drill.
10 In A Row Passing Drill
Use the volleyball court lines or set up cones to create a boundary. In this example, the game will be played 5 on 5. However, depending on your numbers, you can play 3 on 3, 4 on 4, etc. Offense must complete 10 passes in a row without fumble, travel or going out of bounds. If ball gets knocked down, other team takes it and starts passing right away. In order to receive a point for a successful pass, the person who catches the ball has to call out the number.
Ideas for additional rules and challenges
- After a turnover, you must touch an end-line before coming back in.
- After you pass, touch the end-line before you can do anything.
- Must touch end-line of court before coming back in.
- Any time you “statue” with the ball, it’s a violation. You must be in triple threat and use your pivot.
- One second rule. You must pass or dribble within 1 second or it’s a violation.
- Adjust the space of the playing area (smaller or bigger) to adjust the difficulty level.
- The color your hand is touching on the ball, you have to touch that color dot on the court.
- Give each player a basketball. Play the same game but now they must dribble with their non-dominant hand while passing the small ball with their strong hand.
- Try to score the small ball (5on5 full court) while dribbling the regular basketball.
1 vs. 2 Post Double Pass Out Drill
This drill is great for your post players because it works on so many aspects that most post players need to improve.
- Footwork (offense and defense).
- Establishing post position.
- Scoring if you get a catch deep in the paint.
- Escaping double teams.
- Passing out of traps.
- Flashing from weak side-to-strong side.
- Scoring in a 1-on-1 situations.
- Making quick moves.
- Offensive awareness.
- Defensive positioning and awareness.
This drill is not just an offensive drill as it also emphasis several key elements for post defense as well as helps teach your guards to”dig” when there is a post entry from the perimeter
- For variation, you can have the post player start on the baseline, on the other block, or even on the strong side wing in order to work on posting up from various spots.
- If fronted or defended on the high-side, the offensive player would have to work around the defender.
Coach makes post entry to 5.
As soon as coach makes post entry, x1 will dig down, helping x5.
The offensive player must be very quick and decisive if they are going to score on the catch.
On the catch, the offensive player can attack right away before the double team gets there.
x1 needs to “dig hard”.
If the offensive player can’t score prior to x1 doubling, then they must retreat using the backup dribble (ball should be dribbled at back leg).
5 will then throw a skip pass to the coach on the opposite wing.
After the skip pass, x1 will step off while the offensive post will fight across the lane to re-establish position on the opposite block.
If on the cut across the lane the defensive player makes contact with the offensive player (bumps cutter), the offensive player should use a spin move and continue the route to the opposite block.
The coach with the ball will pass it to the offensive player when the offense calls for it.
It will be one-on-one after the offensive player receives the pass.
Variation As a variation, the offensive player can cut up to the elbow following the skip pass and play one-on-one from there.
If you want just your post players to do the drill, you can have a post player guarding the coach. When the post pass is entered, x4 will sprint to the closest elbow before going to double team.
4 Man Spacing – Canada Rules
- When a ballhandler makes a pass, he must move out of his square and into another.
- When someone comes into your square, you must move into another square.
- Players are subject to the rules of basketball.
- Players have two seconds to move into their next square.
Only passes from one square to another count (no hand-offs at this point). Iteration 2: Add 3 defenders (ideally, defenders will have been exposed to basics of man-to-man help defense). Offensive players should be encouraged to use screens.
- catching in triple threat
- meeting your pass
- quick decision making (zero seconds)
- recognizing away screen opportunities and proper fundamentals
- cutting fundamentals and opportunities
- ball screens
- combining actions
In summary, I hope you have enjoyed this drill and make sure to stay tuned for more informative drills. 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;) Lastly add up the socials and receive updates on when I am dropping a post or something in the shop and generally anything about basketball.