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Top 10 Basketball Drills

by
author image Chris Blake
Chris Blake has been writing professionally since 2007. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He works and coaches high school basketball in Washington, DC.
Top 10 Basketball Drills
Basketball Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Every basketball player dreams of one day being in the spotlight and making a spectacular pass, buzzer-beating jump shot or even throwing down a monstrous dunk. Each of these is possible, but now without working hard to develop your skills. Becoming a successful basketball player requires hours of practicing fundamentals until they become second nature. When developing a program, utilize drills that focus on all assets of your game to become a better all-around player.

The Mikan Drill

Made popular by the NBA's first true big man, George Mikan, this drill has become standard practice for players trying to develop their footwork around the basket. Starting directly under the basket, shoot a layup with your right hand, rebound the ball as you are stepping through on your right foot and shoot a layup with your left hand. Repeat this drill by rebounding your left-handed layup as you are stepping through with your left foot to shoot a right-handed layup. Once you are able to consistently make a layup with each hand, increase your speed so that you are in continuous motion.

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The "Hero" Drill

Passing is one of the most important fundamentals skills you can develop. The inability to pass can lead to unforced turnovers and easy points for the other team. Three players spread out along the baseline and sprint up and down the floor while passing and catching two basketballs. The balls should start with the middle player and one of the players on the side. As the middle player passes to the player without the ball, he turns and looks to receive a pass from the side player with the ball. He then returns the pass to the player who passed him the ball and turns to receive a pass from the player he originally passed the ball to, repeating this up and down the floor. Players should rotate each time so that each player gets a turn in the middle

Partner Shooting

With a partner, pick out five spots on the floor. Shoot one jumper from each spot, get your own rebound and throw a fundamental pass to your teammate who has run to the same spot for a shot. That player will then get his rebound and throw the ball to you in one of the other designated spots. Set a goal of 10 made baskets and increase the number as you become more consistent.

The Superman Drill

This is a timed drill that requires two basketballs that are placed on each block underneath the basket. In one minute, reach down and grab the ball on the right block and power up to the basket making a layup, rebounding the ball and replacing back on the right block. Sprint to the left block, pick the basketball up and power up to the basket finishing on the left side. Repeat this as many times as you can before time runs out.

3 on 2, 2 on 1

A drill typically used to give players a break from the monotony of other drill work in practice, this allows for your team to have fun while learning about the fundamentals of fast break basketball and defense. Send two players down to the other end of the floor to play defense. Three offensive players will take off with the basketball, essentially playing 3 on 2. On a score or a rebound, the two players on defense become offensive players and sprint down the floor trying to score on the offensive player who took the shot on the other end who has now become the defensive player.

The Zig-Zag Drill

With a ball and a partner, begin this drill on the baseline dribbling against your defensive partner. As the name suggests, zig-zag from the sideline to the foul lane line and back while your defensive man plays strong man-to-man defense on you. This drill will allow for the offensive player to work on ball handling against pressure and the defensive player to work on guarding in the open court. Once you reach the other end of the floor, switch so that the offensive player becomes the defensive player.

Two-Ball Dribbling

Begin on the baseline with two basketballs and walk down the floor dribbling each ball in unison up and back. Repeat the drill alternating dribbles so that the left ball hits the ground as the right ball is hitting your hand and the right ball hits the ground as the left one hits your hand. Once you've mastered walking, repeat the drill jogging and then sprinting at game speed.

The Circle Box Out Drill

Rebounding the basketball is vital to success in basketball because it allows a team to regain possession of the ball. This drill helps teach the fundamentals of boxing out.. Place a ball in the middle of the halfcourt circle and partner up with a teammate. The player on the outside of the circle is the offensive player while the player on the inside of the circle is the defensive player. On the whistle, the offensive player should try to go after the ball while the defensive player immediately pivots and bodies the offensive player out of the way, keeping him from it for five seconds.

The Suicide Drill

Running suicides are a great way to improve basketball endurance and speed. Starting on the baseline, sprint to the foul line bending down to touch it and returning to the baseline. After touching the baseline, sprint to half court and touch the line and sprint back. Sprint to the foul line on the other end of the floor and back to the baseline. Finish with a full-court sprint down and back.

Defensive Shell Drill

A popular team drill among coaches that teaches the proper rotation on defense, the shell drill requires four offensive players and four defensive players. The offensive players stand around the perimeter forming a shell while the defensive players begin the drill on each corner of the foul lane, forming a square. The offense passes the ball around the perimeter while the defense rotates into position, playing on-ball and help defense. Each time the ball is passed, the defense should shift into proper position. Once you've gotten the basic movement down, allow the offensive team to cut and move so that the drill simulates game situations.

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