2 Full Court Drills to Improve Your Squad’s Transition Game

A squad that’s proficient in the area of transition basketball will have a vital advantage over its opponent during the course of a game. The following team drills are ideal for working on typical transition game situations and promoting healthy competition during practice. Read through the details below and then watch the video clips to see how each drill should be carried out on the court.

17 Seconds Drill

Submitted by Richard Dardenne, Northeast Christian Academy, Kingwod, TX

Overview: This is a terrific drill to develop trapping abilities and defensive footwork among your defensive players. It also focuses on transition offense and getting players to pass the ball effectively under heavy defensive pressure.

The Set-Up: A coach will inbound the ball on the baseline. Two defensive players (X1 and X2) will start off in the lane near the baseline. Have them disrupt the inbounding of the ball by the coach. Offensively, player 1 is off on the wing to the right and near the sideline. Player two is on the nearside of the court, just over the midcourt line, but on the opposite side from 1. 3 is on the same side as 1, but just over the opposite midline. 4 is on the opposite low block and 5 is in the nearside corner on the same side as 3.

The Action: The coach inbounds the ball to 1. X1 and X2 immediately sprint to player 1 and form a double team trap. Player 1 must hold the ball until the trap arrives. Player 1 passes out of the double team to player 2 on the opposite side. The two defensive players sprint to trap player 2. 2 passes to 3 and the two defenders sprint toward 3 and form the double team trap. 3 must wait to throw to either 4 or 5 until the trap has arrived. Once 4 or 5 have the ball, they begin a quick 2-on-0 fast break transition going the other way down the court, passing the ball back and forth until they make the layup.

Recap: The goal is to do this entire drill under 17 seconds. Come up with a reward system for any steals, deflections, or forced turnovers that X1 and X2 get. Rotate the players after each drill simulation. X1 and X 2 become 4 and 5. 4 and 5 become the next two defenders on the baseline.


Paint Drill

Submitted by Gary Williams, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

The Set-Up: The drill begins with five offensive players (“O”) lined up around the perimeter of the three-point circle. They are paired off against five defensive players (X) and are lined up against each offensive player but inside the three-point line. All players should be facing the basket. O1 and X1 must always be at the top of the key, but it doesn’t matter where the other player start. Three coaches are standing behind the players, each holding a ball.

The Action: To start the drill, one of the coaches shoots and misses a jumper. The offensive and defensive players must battle for the rebound. If an offensive player secures the board, they must try and put the ball back up and score. No tip-ins are allowed. Players must secure the rebound, land with both feet, and put up a strong power move to score. This puts the players in game-like situations when it comes to getting the board, drawing the foul, and looking for the three-point play.

If a defensive player gets a rebound, that player throws an outlet pass to a teammate on the wing and the X team runs a fast break down the other end of the court. The O team must hustle back on transition and try and stop the score. If the O’s stop the initial fast break, they must get back to defend the paint and set up into whatever man or zone defense you want them to apply. To improve team communication, have your point guard call out the defense during the transition. If the X’s don’t score on the fast break, they must run a secondary attack until they score or the defense gets completely set up.

Run the drill to a set number of scored points or have a set time limit as the goal. Whichever team has the most points at the end of that time is the winner.


The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “25 Aggressive Transition & Conditioning Drills” produced by Winning Hoops. To check out more drills in the Winning Hoops collection, visit our basketball library.

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