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Week 2, Basketball Drills for Practice

Week 2, Basketball Drills for Practice
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

This is week 2 of my weekly series of drills for basketball coaches to use during practice. Make sure you click the subscribe button, to get email notifications when I write an article.

This Drill is taken from Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino, and it can be done with a shooting gun or a rebounder.

--- Start with one line foul line extended on the left side of the court and one single player at the top of key ready to catch and shoot

--- The ball is passed to the first player in the line who is foul line extended and he takes one or two hard dribbles to the middle of the floor using his right hand, and he takes a hard jump stop.

--- The Player who was at the top of the key slides to the other foul line extended area on the right side of the floor, with his hands up and ready to catch the ball.

--- Upon the jump stop the player who was driving the ball passes to the player who has slid into the Foul line extended (or elbow extended) position for a shot.

--- Immediately after the ball is shot the rebounder (or Shooting machine) throws the ball to the next player in the line, and the player who drove the ball and passed the ball replaces the top of the key position and slides into the shooting position.

--- This is a high intensity, fast paced shooting drill that should never stop.

--- Good because it simulates having the defense collapse on the driving player, and simulates the spot up shooter having to find the open space on the floor in which the player driving will be able to locate and deliver a pass.

5 Shot Closeout Drill (Taken From JJ Reddick)

--- This drill emphasizes the different shots that a player will see in a game based on the way in which the defense guards his shot

--- This drill will work best if there is a rebounder, and a passer because it best simulates a game if the pass is coming from the top rather than from underneath

--- The first shot that the player will shoot after catching the pass from the passer is a one dribble left runner off the glass

--- The second shot the player will shoot after catching the pass is a one dribble left pull up jump shot

--- The third shot will be two dribbles left, leaner off of the glass (simulating a little contact from the right side)

--- The forth shot is two dribbles left with the second dribble leading to a step back shot (either off the glass or not)

--- The last shot is one dribble left, shot fake (gather yourself) and shoot after the defensive player has left his feet and flew past the shooter.

--- After the player has completed all 5 shots, he should do the same thing to the right side, and then do the same thing on the opposite side of the court.

Shooting Drill…. I got this from Dee Brown.

Plus Minus Drill


--- The drill starts with three players and two basketballs, one rebounder, one passer, and one shooter.

--- The passer should be foul line extended, and the shooter should be above the three point line at the top of the key

--- There should be two cones, one at each elbow.


---This drill focuses on catching and shooting the ball the same way every time even when the player is on the move

--- The player should be moving across the lane in a W pattern while catching the ball each time focusing on stepping in left than right…. The motion of the player as he crosses the lane should look like this…

WWWW While stepping into his shot each time he catches the ball.

--- It is good to have the player moving in this W motion rather than simply back and forth because the shots become more game like


--- The scoring of this drill is what makes it good because it forces the player to make multiple shots in a row, and get used to “shaking it off” when he or she misses a few shots in a row.

--- Every shot that the shooter makes he goes up 1 point and every shot that the player misses he goes down one point

--- He cannot go below 0 points and the goal is to get to 10 points.

--- When the player gets to 10 points the passer becomes the shooter, the shooter becomes the rebounder and the rebounder becomes the passer.


--- The higher level you get as a player the harder it is to straight line drive and simply finish at the basket. That is why it is very important to practice different types of layups

--- This is called the Iverson series because he is one of the best little man finishers to ever play and could finish at all angles. This is the series

1) The straight line lay up. (Make sure you bring the ball high and get it over the first wave of defense so guards cannot stick their hand in and get a strip)

2) Using the rim to separate, the reverse layup (you can finish with either hand but you should be able to finish with either hand on either side)

3) Using the rim to separate, reverse off of two feet.

4) Running hook across the lane. This looks a little bit like a floater, but the guard needs to be able to turn his shoulders away from the defense to hide the ball, and arc the ball high to get it over the bigger players inside.

5) Finally, the player should be able to go tight to the rim. This means that he is very close to being under the rim, but he is able to get the ball up and around the rim scooping the ball to the basket past the defense.


--- First have your players line up at the right block and have a rebounder who is going to pass the ball to the first player in line

--- He should plant his left foot in the ground, bring his right foot up on the catch, and explode to the basket on the finish with no dribbles off of two feet (No rim, should always be bank swish)

--- It is very important that on the catch the player goes “low to high” this is important because you have to be strong and get a solid foundation so you are not knocked off of your spot, but you must always finish at your highest point

--- You should have your players make 15 in 30 seconds, if they do not get it they should start over, this can be done with 1 player or more

--- Next, having your players stay in the same line at the block, work on going off of one foot rather than two.

--- It is very important that you focus on the concept of high jumping rather than long jumping. The player should get very high but cover very little space, to avoid going into the defensive player, while the players knee should be going toward the rim.

--- Next, Using the players right hand on the left side of the hoop you are working on the right handed reverse layup off of two feet.

--- Using the same method as the two foot finish before the player should plant his left foot on the catch, bring his right foot up, and explode off of two feet while finishing using the rim as a shield.

--- Next, repeat the motion with only one foot (This looks like the reverse Mikan, only you should keep the ball on the same side of the basket)

--- Finally, have the players line up in the middle of the key, and catch the ball while pivoting on their left foot and turning their shoulder so that they are facing the sideline. They should practice with no dribbles, raising into the one footed running hook. This should only be practiced when the other finishes are mastered.

This drill was taken from Coach Hurley at St. Anthony’s. I heard he has a few wins over there….

The focus of the drill is success in transition, which is something Hurley’s teams have had for years

--- Start with three lines on the baseline facing the court. The lines should be spaced similar to if you are about to do a three man weave.

--- The player at the front of the center line has the basketball, and he is driving the ball all the way to the other end of the floor and he is going to make a layup

--- The player who is in the front of the right line, is going to sprint as hard as he possibly can to the other end of the floor, with the emphasis on keeping his lane and beating the ball down the floor. When he gets to the other end, he will take the ball out of the net (not letting the ball hit the floor) and he will now be the in-bounder coming the other direction

--- The player who is in the left lane is sprinting as fast as he can and he is touching the other baseline. After he touches the baseline he is sprinting the other direction (Staying in his wide lane) and he is on offense going the other way

--- After the middle player (Who originally made the layup) lays the ball in, he goes straight from offense to defense and he sprints back on defense

--- The offenses goal is to be able to have the player who is taking the ball out of bounds, throw the ball to the player who is streaking in the right lane, and score without the center player being able to get back on defense

--- This emphasizes getting the ball out of the net, not sulking that we were just scored on, and keep the pressure on the defense at all times

--- It also emphasizes the player who makes the shot not celebrating the make, but busting his butt back on defense.

--- if the offensive inbounder is able to throw the ball to the offensive streaker for a layup he should do so, otherwise when the ball is in, if the defensive player is able to get back, they should play one on one on the other end of the court

--- This is a high intensity drill and when the ball goes through the net, or off the rim, the next player who is in front of the middle line should rebound the ball and take off, and the end line players should repeat the process that the others have just completed.

--- Make sure that the players are all switching spots in line, and have completed all three spots at least once

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