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5 Killer Competitive Drills

5 Killer Competitive Drills
5 Killer Competitive Drills
Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

This is a list of competitive drills to do at practice. This will be part of a weekly series that I put out, which will have 5 drills to use at practice for coaches.

1) Advantage Layups


This is a simple drill that I got from Coach Mike Rice. Start with two lines on the baseline facing half court about arm length away from each other. The offensive line should be the outside of the two lines, and it should be a few feet in from the sideline. This line should start with a basketball. The inside line should be the defensive line. You will also need two cones for this drill. The first cone should be set up toward half court directly across from the outside (offensive line). This cone will be the cone that the offense dribbles around. The second cone should be a few feet further away than the first line and this will be the cone that the defensive line runs around.


On the coaches whistle the front person in both the offensive and defensive lines run as fast as they can toward the cones at half court. Since the cone that was directly across from the offensive line is a little bit closer than the defensive line’s cone, this creates an advantage for the offensive player. Both the offensive and defensive player should go around the cone the same direction, and the offensive player should attack the basket with the defensive player attempting to track down the player attacking. The emphasis for the offensive player should be speed, and putting the defensive player in “jail”. This means getting the defensive player on his or her hip not allowing him or her to catch up and get in front of the offensive players progress to the basket. This is especially important for offensive players who are not as athletic and must utilize angles to create space to get their layup up.

2) Momentum finishes


This drill starts with one line standing at the baseline in the middle of the basket facing the three point line, and the other line standing at the the top of the arc at the three point line facing the baseline. The coach should start with the basketball, standing about foul line extended facing the two lines. There should be a cone that is placed a few feet outside of the three point line, that the offensive player will have to be able to touch.


The line that is on the three point line facing the basket is the offensive line, and the line that is standing on the baseline facing out is the defensive line. When the coach says “go”, the two lines run toward each other and slap hands quickly, and then sprint away from each other. The defensive player touches the baseline and opens up toward the offensive player (facing out). The offensive player touches the cone, which is placed a few feet outside of the three point line and turns to run toward the basket with momentum. As the two players are running toward each other, the coach flips the ball to the offensive player who must make a move toward the basket avoiding the defensive player who is waiting for him at the basket. The Emphasis for the defensive player is defending without fouling, and the the emphasis for the offensive player is creatively finishing against an opponent.

3) 3 on 2, 2 on 1, with a weave


This drill starts with five lines on the baseline facing out. One line is directly on the basket, with the basketball, two of the lines are a few feet in from the three point line, and two of the lines are all the way to the sideline. The three middle lines are the three offensive lines, and the two outside lines are the two defensive lines.


The three middle lines do a three man weave (pass and go behind), all the way to the other end of the court and make a layup, as the two outside lines, (the defensive lines), sprint down to the other end of the court and touch the wall. After the layup is made the three middle players are now to space out and become the three offensive players attacking the other end of the court, while the two outside players, who just touched the wall, are the two defensive players. This is important because the defensive players, as they get back on defense, following the wall-touch, must communicate with each other to determine who will be the top man and who will be the bottom man. The offense, following the made layup, must balance the floor and make sure the ball is in the middle as they attack the defense. After running the three on two, as most three on two, two on one drills, go, the person who turns the ball over or takes the shot is now the one defensive player who is getting back on defense. The two defensive players, upon retaining possession, attack the one player who is now getting back. The 5 lines should be ready to go, and as soon as the shot goes up on the far end of the court the next 5 lines repeat the drill.

4) Ball handling, One on one


This drill utilizes both skill development and competition. This drill starts like normal one on one with an offensive player and a defensive player. The offensive player starts with the basketball and checks the ball to the defensive player.


The offensive player with the basketball, following the check, is given a dribble move to do while standing in place by the coach. Some examples are right hand pound (as many right handed dribbles as possible), left hand pound, cross, between, behind, inside out, all while standing in place. When the coach blows the whistle, then the game is live one on one. This helps in two ways. The first is it allows the offensive player to work on his or her ball handling, but the second, more important thing, that this drill accomplishes, is it helps players get out of their move quicker. Some variations that you can put on this drill are a dribble limit, and adding a second defender in the paint to further make scoring difficult for more advanced offensive players.

5) Shell Live

Defensive Drill to use in practice taken from Mark Kinsley at Green High School (OH)

"Shell Live"

This drill is great because the coach doesn't need to motivate his or her players. The players will motivate themselves, or they will never get off the defensive end. Also, it is great because the players generally like this drill for the ability to have some offensive freedom when they are not one of the four players that are in on defense.


-- Four players begin on defense, and the rest of the players form four lines at half court facing the basket.

-- The Players on defense are in white, and the rest of the players are in black

-- The four players that are on defense start inside the three point line


-- The Defense starts with 3 points, they do not want points, and they are trying to get down to 0 points

-- The only way to lose points is to get a stop. Each stop that the defense gets they go down 1 point, each time the offense scores the defense goes up 1 point, but they can never go above 3 points.

-- The scoring system is great because the defense has to work hard, or they will never get "out", and the offense wants to keep scoring so they never have to play defense.


-- Two coaches or managers stand foul line extended (out of bounds) on each side of the court.

-- One of the coaches starts with the ball, and throws it to one of the four offensive players that are in front of the four lines at half court, and the defense must quickly match up and get to the person that they are guarding (or the correct area on the court for help).

-- The defense must get a stop to lose a point, which involves finding their man, making them miss, getting a rebound, and outletting it to one of the coaches/managers who are in the outlet positions.

-- The possession is not over until the ball is outletted to one of the coaches/ managers and when the rebound is gathered by the defense, the offense in an act of desperation often tries to steal the ball back before the ball is passed out.

-- As soon as the coach/manager has the ball without letting the defense reset they throw it to the next group of four who are standing at half court ready to go. This forces the defense to have to talk, ie) "I have John". This makes the drill intense because there is little stopping going on, but just desperation from the defense to get stops.

-- Often the defensive team is scored on right at this time because they do not match up fast enough and one of the offensive players sneaks back door for a layup

-- When the defense gets down to 0 points quickly they switch their jerseys and the coach calls out his next four players to go on defense


-- one variation that Coach Kinsley often uses is what to do with an offensive rebound

-- Generally offensive rebounds with be nothing meaning the defense, if they are able to get a stop after they have given up an offensive rebound will neither lose or gain a point.

-- Also, depending on how long you would like to spend on the drill you could start with 4 points on defense and make that the point total that you cannot go above

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