Coaches’ time with athletes is limited, but these drills will help maximize every moment.

Time—the resource every coach craves more of, and the one that simply cannot be bought or manufactured. Coaches may only get a few training hours per week with their teams. It’s difficult to develop athletes and create team chemistry in such a small amount of time.

Coaches must find a way to maximize every precious minute they get and drill selection can play a huge role. Anyone can roll out a ball and have players run a three-man weave or the Mikan drill. While there’s value in practicing those skills, we have a few more suggestions to help squeeze value out of every minute of practice.

5-Minute Full-Court Shooting

This drill serves three important purposes: it gets players warm at the start of practice, emphasizes passing over dribbling and has a number of players taking shots in a short amount of time. Nine players are involved, leaving no one standing around.

The middle player passes to the sprinting right wing, who passes back to the middle. The ball is then skipped to the left wing for a layup.
As the layup goes up, the other two players are fed passes for jump shots. The two passers and a third player, stationed under the basket, restart the dill going the other way.

Three players start the drill by moving the ball upcourt with a few passes. One of them makes a layup and the other two are fed passes by players stationed along the baseline. They shoot jump shots and grab their own rebounds while a sixth player, stationed underneath the hoop, rebounds the layup and starts upcourt with the two passers, setting in motion the same look the drill started with.

Your athletes are in near constant motion and will all take a significant number of shots, all coming off the moves. They’ll also develop chemistry and learn the spots on the floor their teammates like shooting from best.

3-on-2, 2-on-1

This continuous drill incorporates fast-break offense, prioritizes good shots and practices defenses having an advantage. One player brings the ball up the court flanked by two wings. Opposing them are two defenders. Let the possession play out until the defense forces a turnover or grabs a rebound, or the offense scores.

The drill immediately flips the roles as the two defenders move quickly the other way, looking to score in transition. The offensive player who shot the ball or committed the turnover becomes the defender and has to stop the other two on the fly.

Many of the game’s best head coaches use this drill because it prioritizes taking care of the ball, making quick decisions and transition defense. Players quickly rotate in and out, ensuring everyone gets involved.

Free Throw 1-and-1 Drill

Getting free points from the line can be the difference between winning and losing. Instead of just sending your players to separate baskets to get some shots up, raise the stakes a bit.

Assign three or four players to a basket and have them shoot a 1-and-1 situation like in a game. If they miss the front end of the 1-and-1, they must run a lap and the next shooter is up. If they make the first and miss the second, they have to run.

This drill not only conditions players and teaches them how to perform when tired, but also adds in a game-like consequence of missing.

Whichever drills you pick, make sure you record them. You’ll catch things you missed during live action to bring up to players later. You can select certain clips, make your comments and drawings, then share them with players to review during the week.

Lessons from practice are multiplied when shared through video. To learn more about the benefits of video, click here.