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15 practice drills for basketball coaches

Updated on April 26, 2012

Offensive Drills




1 on 2

Divide the court in half lengthwise. Make up groups of three players to do the drill. You should have two groups going at a time. There should be one on each half of the court. Give a ball to each group. One player on each group is on offense and the other two are on defense. The offensive player must reach the other end of the floor, trying to beat both defenders. If a steal or deflection occurs, the offensive player gets the ball back at that spot. At the other end of the floor, the offensive player moves to defense and one of the defensive players goes to offense and they come back. Then let the next groups go.

Speed Drill

This drill must be done on an open court. Have the players ready for the 4 dribbling drills starting at the endline. When the whistle starts, the player/s must dribble starting with either hand then perform the cross-over dribble, between the legs, behind the back dribble and the spin dribble. Each dribble must be performed each step. Meaning if we have 4 kinds of dribble, the player must accomplish all 4 dribbles at four steps. After they accomplish the 4 dribbles, they already accomplish 4 steps at the same time...

Dribble Attack

At the half court circle place the first 5 or 6 players, each with a ball, they start to dribble within the circle trying to maintain their dribble while attacking the other players within the circle trying to knock their ball away. If a player loses his dribble/stops his dribble or is out of the circle, he then leaves the circle and passes to the next player in line. This teaches them to keep their heads up, use their peripheral vision, protect the ball and maintain their control upon contact, switch hands and keep calm upon pressure.

Cross-over and Spin

This is a combination of a crossover and a spin dribble. Dribble hard to the first cone and as you approach the cone, plant your outside foot and change direction using a low crossover dribble on this quickly plant your inside foot and execute a spin dribble. It is easily taught when the spin is done with the right hand, which is the dominating/ strong hand of most of the players. So you start you dribble with your left hand, do a crossover with your left hand and a spin dribble with your right. Continue till the last cone then finish it with a lay-up shot.




Passing Drills


2 on 8 Press

Players should get a partner - try to have a forward and a guard in each group. The first two will attempt to inbound the ball on the baseline. The other eight players (4 groups of 2) will play defense in the following areas: 2 from the baseline to the foul line extended (denying inbound pass). 2 from the foul line extended to half court. 2 from half court to the foul line extended at the far end of the court. 2 from the foul line extended to the basket at the far end of the court. INSTRUCTIONS: Partners attempt to move the ball all the way up the court to score at the opposite basket. Each group of 2 defenders plays man to man once the ballhandlers reach their area. Once the ballhandlers leave the previous area, those defenders drop out. Defenders should look to double team the ball whenever possible.

Team Post Drill

Players start at the wing and post positions on each side of the key while the other players line up in two groups at the top of the key. The first player in each line has a ball. The first player in each line passes to the wing player, using a chest pass. The wing player on each side passes to the post player, using a bounce or lob pass. The post player on each side pivots and throws an outlet pass to the first player in the opposite line. The first player in the line moves to the wing, the wing moves to the post, and the post moves to the end of the opposite line (everyone follows their own pass).


Passing and Scoring under Pressure

Player 1 has the ball and stands under the basket. Player 2 and player 3 stand on each side of the baseline. Player 1 throws the ball off the backboard and makes an aggressive rebound. As soon as player 1 grabs the ball, player 2 and player 3 sprint to the outlet areas. Player 1 then throws an outlet pass to either player 2 or player 3. Player 1, player 2, and player 3 now stay in their lanes and pass the ball up the court by passing the ball from sideline to middle to sideline and back. The first pass received by either player 2 or player 3 beyond the half court line is taken on the dribble to the basket for a layup. The player on the opposite side of the player making the layup hustles and contests the layup. Player 1 rebounds the shot and the drill is repeated.


Monkey in The Middle

Player 1 and player 2 stand 3-4 meters apart. Player 1 has the ball. Player 3 is the defensive player, and stands between players 1 and 2. Player 3 guards player 1 and tries to deflect the pass from player 1 to player 2. Player 1 works on ball fakes and steps through the defense to make the pass. When player 2 receives the ball, player 3 hustles over to contest player 2's pass to player 1. Player 2 must wait until player 3 is on him before he attempts a pass. Player 3 stays in the middle and defends both passes until he gets three deflections. Players rotate so that all three defend the passes.




Side Step

Start at the top of the key and sidestep down to the base line, outide of the 3 point line. When you get to the baseline, sidestep back to the top of the key then sidestep to the opposite base line. When you get warmed up have some one pass you the ball as your keep sidestepping from baseline to baseline. Where ever you get the ball, shoot it. Have the person keep getting the rebounds and passing them to you. This basketball shooting drill is also good for three-point contests.


Shoot under Pressure

Start with two players; one with a basketball under the basket, and one in his shooting range. Player 1 (with the ball) makes a pass to player 2, and charges at the player to defend against the shot. Player 2 must catch the ball in proper shooting position, square to the basket, focus on the rim, and shoot the jump shot. Player 1 may not try to block the shot; instead, he may distract the shooter by yelling or waving his hands. After the shot is released, Player 1 must block out Player 2 until the ball hits the floor. Players rotate from offense to defense on each shot. Allow each player to take 5 shots from spots on the floor that they will shoot from in a game.

Pivot Shot

The passer has the ball and stands on the perimeter. Player 2 stands outside of the three-second area. Player 1 is the defensive player and stands between player 2 and the baseline. The other players form a line behind player 3 behind the baseline. Player 2 posts up, raises his ballside hand, and receives the ball. He pivots on his outside foot away from player 1, squares up, and shoots a jump shot. If player 1 moves in front of player 2, player 2 steps to his non-pivot foot, sealing off player 1, and then makes a power layup to the basket.



Pass and Screen

Have the players line up in two lines about 25 feet apart. The first player in one of the lines will always be in the middle. He will pass the ball, and screen the opposite line. Once that player (to whom he passed it) receives the ball, he passes to the man the first player screened. Then it starts over.

Get Open

Have the players form three lines. Two of the lines will be right next to one another. The other line will be twenty feet directly ahead. The first line will be offense. He will have the ball. The second line will play defense. The player with the ball will lead the defense straight to the other player who will set a solid pick. Then the process starts over.




Shoot and Run

Have two lines at about the corners of the free throw line or three-point line. The line with the ball will shoot, then run and box out the player from line 2. Whoever gets the ball passes back to the shooting line.



Second Shot

Have 4 offensive players and 4 defensive player’s setup for a half court game. Coach takes a shot. Object is for offense to keep rebounding until they make a shot. Once the defense gets it, the teams switch roles.

Defensive Drills


Whistle Drill

The player(s) line up and get in a defensive stance. The coach/friend blows the whistle. They then begin to defensive slide to the right. When the whistle is blown again they slide the other way. They continue this until the coach stops.

Slide Drill

Each player has a basketball. They start at one side of the lane and slide to the next side while tapping the basketball from one hand to the next. The basketball never comes off the floor (rolling ball from hand to hand). Tell players to bend at knees not at the waste. This will get them to stay down.

1 on 1

Have sets of two players guard one another. No dribbling is aloud. The focus is footwork and stance. The player with the ball can only fake and jab and pivot.

Recovery/ Getting Back

2 on 1 Fast break

The drill starts with 1 player on the foul line, one on the baseline, and two in the paint. A coach or manager will throw the ball off the glass.

Once one of the two players in the paint has control, the player on the foul line sprints back the opposite lane and faces the offense. The two players in the paint go on a 2 on 1 fast break. The player on the baseline follows the play to the top of the key and will become the defensive player going the opposite direction. Once the offense shoots, or the defense makes a stop, then first defensive player and the offensive player who first handled the ball go on a 2 on 1 fast break the other way, while the player who followed the play sprints back on defense once they have secured the ball.

This defensive basketball drill goes 4 trips up and down the floor, as each player in the drill ends up as the defensive player once.

Run Find Defend Steal

Place a ball at about ¾ length of the court. Start with player underneath the basket facing the wall, or basket on opposite side. On coach's cue, player sprints to first suicide line, then back peddles identifying man to next suicide line, then slides as if guarding man all the way to ball. When player reaches ball, coach or player yells "Steal" and grabs ball and goes for a full sprint lay-up. Next person goes.


2 Man Rebounding Drill

Two players begin on either end of the foul line (the elbows). Standing opposite those on the baseline are another two players. One of the players on the baseline has a ball and passes out from under the basket to either player on the foul line. The player on the foul line will catch and shoot the ball. As soon as the player on the baseline passes out he will run out his opposite player on the foul line. He knows that he will shoot the ball immediately so he is aiming to get to the player and prevent him from rebounding the ball (i.e. block him out). As soon as the shot is taken the players on the foul line will contest the rebound. If the players who started on the baseline have done their job they should have blocked out the two players on the foul line and rebounded the ball. If they have done this they then pivot away from the basket and make a quick outlet pass to a coach standing there - with the emphasis on a quick pivot and pass to initiate any fast break opportunities. If they have not done their job and the players on the foul line get possession they simply try to score in a two on two situations.

3 on 2 Blockout

The Coach stands under basket with ball in hand while 3 players on offense stand at wings and top of key. 2 defensive players stand facing offense on the blocks. Coach passes the ball to one of the offensive players. The two defensive players are not allowed to look at coach. They have to box out the two non shooters. Shooter does not go for the rebound.

1 on 1 Outlet Passing

One line is behind top of the key. Two players are in each outlet spot, free-throw line extended. One defensive player is in the lane. Player number 2 in the line takes a shot on the basket. The first player in the line tries to grab the offensive rebound while the player in the lane tries to box him out. After taking the rebound the defensive rebounder passes an outlet pass to the same side the rebound was taken. The outlet player passes the ball to the second player in the line who now takes a shot and the drill moves on. After going to offensive rebound, players rotate to the same outlet spots as the outlet pass was made to. The players from the outlet spots rotate behind the line after making the pass to the second man in the line. If offensive player does not get the rebound he should press the rebounder when he's making the outlet pass. The number of rebounds each player has to collect can depend on the player's size and strength.

Outlet with Pressure

Have four rebounders under one basket. Have two other players positioned on either side of the basket ready for an outlet pass. Coach will take shot and create rebound; four players under basket will box-out and rebound.

Player who gets rebound should immediately get out of pressure from other three rebounders by either smart dribbling--then passing, pivoting--and then passing, or a straight pass to one of the outlet players. The other three players who do not get the rebound should swarm the successful rebounder and make it difficult with out fouling

Perimeter D

Guard denial

Have one player hold the ball in the paint. Three offensive players will stay outside 3-point line. Three defenders will try to stop the pass to them. The object is to defend the perimeter.

Watch the Wings

Setup three offensive players and three defenders. The point guard cannot dribble. He must pass to one of the wings. The object is for the defense to hold the offense to less than five passes in a 45 second period.

Post D


This basketball drill teaches players how to double-team a post entry pass in a man to man defense. It is also valuable in teaching guards to move without the ball, post entry passes, closing out on a perimeter shooter, working on post moves, and teaching post players how to react to a double team. Split your team up into post players and perimeter players. Rotate new players into drill after the defense makes a stop or gets a rebound. New players come in on offense. Offense to defense and defense out. Have an offensive player post-up on the block with the defense playing behind him. Start the ball with the offensive perimeter player at the wing. The defensive perimeter player pressures the ball. The man with the ball must get the ball into the post or shoot a jump shot. (NO DRIVES!) If the pass goes in to the post, the defensive perimeter player doubles down on the post and tries to steal the ball if he puts it on the floor. At this time the offensive perimeter player should slide to a new location and spot up for a three-point attempt. If the double-team is late the post should try to score. Otherwise he passes back out for an open jump shot.

Deny the post

The three perimeter players pass the ball around, trying to get it to the offensive post player. They may not throw a lob pass, as there is no help side defense in the post. The offensive low post player stays stationary until the ball is passed among the perimeter players. The defensive player works on denying the pass into the post by maintaining a fronting position and reacting quickly to where the ball is passed on the perimeter. The coach should set up players according to height and position so that there are no distinct mismatches.

Deny the Big Man

This is designed for guarding a team with an exceptional big man. Setup the players in a five on five half-court game. The Defense should be in 2-1-2. The object is to deny the center any passes or shots. Every time the big man scores can be a lap for the defense to run.

Fast Break Drills

What Is It

Have 2 teams of 5 players each, one team at half-court out of bounds and the other team under the opposite basket. The team at half-court is the defensive team and will play against the team under the basket. The coach will gather the defense together and tell them what defense to play, without the offensive team hearing. He then walks to the offensive team and tosses them the ball and they start a fast break. When the defense sees the offense fast breaking, they run to their defensive positions and play goes on until there is a score or defense gets the ball.


Divide into three teams of 3 or 4 players. Two teams begin on defense on opposite sides of the court. The defenders will have 2 players in the key (one at top and one at bottom), the other defender will be at half court (just out of bounds) waiting for the ball to cross half court towards his teammates. Play begins with 3 players on offense ready to attack the defense, on either a primary or secondary break. When the ball crosses half court, the one defender that is out of bounds runs to center court and then races to help his two teammates defending the basket (3 on 2 turns into a 3 on 3). For the offense to score points they must offensive rebound (2 points) or make a basket (1 point), and (1 point for getting fouled), and they loose a point for a turnover (coaches discretion). If the offense scores they begin the next break towards the other end of the court. If the defense causes a turnover, or get a defensive board or knocks the ball out of bounds, they take off towards the other end of the court to take on the other defense, and the defeated team readies themselves to play defense by sending one person to the center line extended and the other 2 players line up in the key to stop the next offense to attack them.

Triangle Transition

You will start with 3 players under the goal in defensive position. You will have 3 other players under the goal in offensive position. You or your manager will have a ball. You will place 2 guards on the outside in outlet pass position. When the ball is shot the defense has to block out to keep the 3 offensive players from getting the rebound. If for some reason there is an offensive rebound then defense has to play the ball until basket is scored or they secure the rebound. Once the defense gets the rebound or a basket is scored they must get it to their outlet pass person. The drill will continue down the court where the 5 players (2 outlet and 3 that was on rebound) will run their fast break or any other play that may have been called. Once they have put the ball through the goal on the other end they will come back up the court where the drill started and play against 5 defensive players who have stepped up to pick them up.

The Rabbit

The twelve players are divided into four teams of three. Only two teams work at a time. One team takes places at the baseline, with one player in the corner, one under the basket and the last one in the opposite corner. The opponent team faces the previous three taking places opposite them at the extension of the foul line. The team standing at the baseline is the offensive team and the team at the extension of the foul line the defensive team. Each player from the defensive team gets a number. The first player opposite the corner is '1', the next one is '2' and the last one is '3'. In the offensive team the player under the basket has a ball to start. The drill begins with the coach shouting out loud a number between 1 and 3. The player whose number has been shouted must run to the baseline, touch it and then return to the other side of the court and try to play defense. The offensive team tries to run and score before the defense recovers.

1 VS 2-2 VS 1

The players assume a basic three lines drills position on the baseline. The central line one with the ball (offensive player) and those lateral without the ball (defensive players). On the coach's signal the first player with the ball (central line) dribbles the length of the court for a lay-up at the opposite basket. On a second signal from the coach (two or three seconds later), the first player from each of the two lateral lines sprints to stop the ball. After a make or a missed shot the two defenders immediately become offensive players, and the former offensive player sprints back to become the defender in a 2 on 1 defensive situation. After a score the two former defenders must inbound the ball under the basket they have defended.


Start with players in each of the four outlet positions, two players playing defense in each key, and three players at half court (with one ball). The three players at half court go 3 on 2 at either end of the court. Then a shot is taken all five players fight for the rebound. Whoever gets the rebound makes an outlet pass to whichever outlet is closer. The outlet who gets the ball dribbles to the middle of the court, the player who made the pass fills the lane on the side the pass was made to, the other lane is filled by the player in the other outlet position. These three players now have a 3 on 2 going the other way. The four players who did not get the rebound go to one of the open positions, 2 go to the outlet position and 2 play defense. The same happens at the other end of the court and so on.

2 vs 2 Killer

2 players in each corner, first player on each side are one team. Coach has a ball in the middle of the court. Coach starts drill with call ('GO') and throws ball on the ground. Players sprint and hustle for the ball, the 2 that get the ball are on offense 2 vs. 2 until one team scores. The team that scores goes to the corner on the side where they score. The 'losers' sprint to the other corner. Next 4 players start.

Three-Man Conversion

Get three lines of players. 1's and 2's in the middle and 3's-5's in the other two lines. They pass back and forth all the way down. The person in the middle alternates who they are passing it to. As they are going down the court passing they are saying the name that they are passing it to. When the two outside guys get to the opposite free throw line they break to the basket for a lay-up or an alley-oop dunk but it must be finished. After the basket is made it is the same thing down to the other end.

15 Man Press Break

You have 3 teams of 5 players. Team A, B, C. Team A is pressing. Team B is in press offense. Team C is at half court waiting for ANY change of possession so they can come on pressing. If you score, you stay on offense and take the ball out going in press offense. Team on the sideline comes in pressing. You get 3 points for breaking a press and 5 points for stopping the offense.

Foul-Shot Break

Players start in their normal defensive foul shot locations. Your point guard will be at half court and will break on the make to (in this case) the right side of the floor. Your 5 man takes the ball out of bounds as quickly as possible. Your 4 man will trail down the center of the court. Your 3 man will fill the left lane. Your 2 man will break to the hash mark waiting for the pass from the five. The 2 man looks to pass to the one to continue the break or dribbles hard to the center of the court. We run this first without defense then add the defense. You can also tell your three point shooters to spot up. This will also allow you get into your offense quickly.

Combo Drills

Control the Break

First bounce the ball off the backboard opposite of wear you are going to shoot. Run as fast as possibly down court and either shoot a jumper or drive for a transitional lay-up. Follow up your jumper whether made or missed put it back in the hole and shoots one free-throw. Same goes for the lay-up. Have a team of 2-5 defend the break.

3 on 2 Fast-break

Begin by placing 2 players at the other end of the court, one at the free throw line and one in the paint. Have 3 players in the other end of the court, one in the middle with the ball and the two others running the wings, they run a fast break attempting to score, with a maximum of two/three passes, against the defense.

Once the SHOT goes up, the player who shot the ball retreats to defend while the previous 2 defenders run a 2 on 1 fast break the other way, with a maximum of 1 pass.

Two Man Game

This basketball drill teaches players how to double-team a post entry pass in a man to man defense. It is also valuable in teaching guards to move without the ball, post entry passes, closing out on a perimeter shooter, working on post moves, and teaching post players how to react to a double team. Split your team up into post players and perimeter players. Rotate new players into drill after the defense makes a stop or gets a rebound. New players come in on offense. Offense to defense and defense out. Have an offensive player post-up on the block with the defense playing behind him. Start the ball with the offensive perimeter player at the wing. The defensive perimeter player pressures the ball. The man with the ball must get the ball into the post or shoot a jump shot. (NO DRIVES!) If the pass goes in to the post, the defensive perimeter player doubles down on the post and tries to steal the ball if he puts it on the floor. At this time the offensive perimeter player should slide to a new location and spot up for a three-point attempt. If the double-team is late the post should try to score. Otherwise he passes back out for an open jump shot.

Jump Sprint Shoot Pass

2 players make 6 passes off backboard while jumping off both legs, sprint to the opposite baseline, cut hard at 45' angle to the baseline, receive a pass and shoot. Players follow their shots, rebound the ball, dribble up to their side of the top of the key and pass the ball to next 2 players. Maintain continuity.

Be hard to Guard

On offense, be hard to guard. Drill teaches players to cut, move and spread the floor to assure clean passing lanes, open shots and ball movement to break down defenses. Also teaches defenses to steal, rotate and stay with there man.

5 on 5 Offense vs Defense.

Set up a 1-2-2 offense. Only One point guard can dribble and only from above foul line end side line to side line. Team must make 10 passes in a row with all offensive players touching the ball at least once and cannot hold the ball more than 3 seconds. 10 completions awards the offense 1 pt. Any steal or jump ball awards the defense 1 point. You can have defense play man or zone.

3 On 3 On 3

Basic 3 on 3 with several twists. Winners stay, losers rotate out. Offense can get a point only by scoring. Defense can get a point by all three players boxing out and obtaining rebound. However, we don't rotate a new team in on a defensive point. Additionally, we will sit a team that fails to call a screen, fails to box out, fails to talk on defense generally, argues a call, etc. An offensive team will rotate out if players away from the ball fail to screen away or screen and roll. If you don't have the ball you must either screen on the ball, screen away, or post up. 3 on 3. Play to 5, 10, or 15 points. First team to score a basket stays as winners. Losers rotate out. Offense gets a point for a basket. Defense gets a point if all three players box out and defense gets rebound. Defense gets 4 points for a five-second call after loss of dribble with good denial everywhere. If offensive players fail to screen and roll or screen away they sit. Defense sits if fail to talk on defense, box out etc.

Alabama Rebound Drill

Line one player (player A) up on either wing. Place two players on the opposite block. One of these players will be the offensive player (B) and the other the defensive player (C). Player A begins the basketball drill by shooting the ball or just throwing it up off of the backboard so that it goes over to the side where B and C are. Player C will not try to rebound at all. Player B goes up high for the rebound and must come down with it, he can not tip it in. Once he hits the floor player C does anything in his power to keep him from scoring.

Chase Drill

Player A is at the foul line. Player B is at the block on either side of the lane. Player A shoots the ball and remains at the foul line. Player B grabs the rebound and, whether the shot is made or not, takes the ball out of bounds and gives a good chest pass to player A at the foul line. Player A then dribbles quickly to the far basket with player B giving chase. Player B tries to beat player A down court and either establish defensive position or tip the ball as player A drives for the lay-up. The players switch places at the far basket and run the drill back up court. Players should try not to foul.

10 Drill

You have 10 players, 5 on offense 5 on defense. You can play whatever defense you wish to play, we alternate between man-to-man and 2-3 zone. The offensive team always gets the ball. Offense gets 1 point per basket, 4 points for an offensive rebound, 2 points for an uncontested lay up or shot inside 15 ft. The drill is run at half court. The defense gets 1 point for a rebound, 4 points for taking a charge and 2 points for a steal or if the offense turns the ball over. You play to 10 points the loser has to run, we run killer drills for the loser. After the first round we switch, the offense goes to defense and the defense to offense. You can also run the drill with 15 players and rotate a team of 5 out after a round. This basketball drill is excellent for defensive rebounding as it is a major penalty to give up an offensive rebound. It is an excellent drill.

Be sure to check out training to jump higher.


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