University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma believes that teams should focus on drill work that translates directly from practice to the game. The following drills place an emphasis on fast break basketball and the transition game and replicate common game situations. The drills are also a staple of Auriemma’s practices and should make for a tremendous addition to your own this season.
Fast Break Layups
Get two lines of players just beyond half court. The player with the ball should be looking to get to the top of the key in two dribbles as fast as he/she can. Once there, stop, and then dish off to a wing player who’s making a hard cut and layup.
After a while, put a coach out there at the foul line and have them stand there. After the dish, the passer must run around the coach to the opposite side of where he passed it and go rebound the ball. Try to simulate like it’s a game situation. Rebound, outlet, and head to the back of the line.
Tip: Stop and go around the coach to prevent the charge.
Goal: Hit 10 straight with no misses, bobbles, turnovers, or fumbles. Then switch to the other side of the court.
Start with three lines at half court. This drill is simply a 3-man weave for a pull-up jump shot. Be sure to shoot from just above the low block. Do not go in the lane. Also, get a coach positioned on the block to make sure of no charges. Always bank it in from this angle.
Meanwhile, the other two guys in the drill are fighting for the rebound (going 1-on-1) and boxing out. Whichever player gets the rebound, he/she must put it back up and in the basketball. Switch lines when complete. Also, don’t score twice, only go for the basket on a miss.
If you have 14 players, the goal should be to make 14 bank shots and then switch sides. Hit 14 more and then move on. This is a great drill for boxing out, offensive rebounding, shooting, and defensive rebounding. Plus, you can run this five minutes into practice and you’ve already gotten your guys warmed up. If you’re in a bad mood, go for 14 straight. How many in a row can your players get? All the while, this drill also puts a lot of pressure on the guys. You can quickly find out who can handle the pressure early in the season.
Long and Short Drill
The Set-Up: Start out with three lines. The first line is under the basket, the second line is near midcourt near the sideline, and the final line is on the opposite mid-court area near the sideline.
The Action: Start by throwing the ball off the glass, outlet to the nearest teammate up court (who is coming to meet the ball). That player will take the pass, turn, and pass to the other player who is cutting to the opposite hoop for the layup in stride. There should be no dribbles, no fumbles, and no misses. Simply catch the ball and lay it in.
The Finish: Next, he second passer runs to the top of the key and then starts heading the other way with the same three players. You’re now looking to get out on the break using the entire floor. Meanwhile, the big guy who first passed the ball must sprint all the way down and catch the layup on the other end before being the outlet man again. This time, he outlets to the player who just hit the layup.
Tip: Time the run for the transition. Timing and spacing are crucial.
Got any fast break drills that work well for you and your squad? How do you get your players ready for specific game situations (i.e. transition defense, etc.)?