2 Game-Like Team Transition Drills That Pay Dividends

The ensuing team transition drills are perfect for practicing typical transition game situations and promoting healthy competition during practice. Read through the details below and then watch the video clips to see exactly how each drill should be implemented out on the floor.

Circle Break Drill

Submitted by Steve Pappas, Deerfield High School, Deerfield, IL

Intro: The Circle Break Drill is an effective all-purpose drill that incorporates all phases of the game. It can be run with restrictions, but is also ideal for building conditioning and team toughness.

The Set-up: Divide your team into four groups for this 3-on-3 transition drill. Make sure that each team is equipped with a different colored shirt. Team A starts on offense and attacks Team B. Both teams stay on the court until one team scores. The team that scores must get back on defense while another team waiting under the scoring basket inbounds the ball and attacks. If Team A scores, Team B will step off the floor. Team A will get back on defense and Team C steps onto the floor and begins offense.

The Finish: C1 gets the ball out of the net and bursts up the floor with a dribble or pass. When a team steps off the court, they must occupy positions under the basket and on the sideline and should be prepared to enter when the ball goes in their basket. Keep track of the score and play with a time limit. Fouls also result in points and the foul team steps off the floor.


Recovery Drill

Submitted by Bill Savarese, Murry Bergtraum High School, New York, NY

Intro: The object of the Recovery Drill is to get your players to improve their reaction time for getting back on defense and for quicker defensive recovery while in transition. It also incorporates fast break patterns, improves player decision-making abilities, and hones skills for boxing out, rebounding, and shooting.

Set-Up: Line up five offensive players along the baseline and five defensive players facing them and across the court at the foul line extended. Defensive players are numbered 5 through 1 and go from left to right on the court.

The Action: To begin, the coach yells out a defensive player’s number while rolling the ball out to an offensive player of his/her choosing. At the yell, the offensive player secures the ball and heads down court on a fast break. All defenders run back in defensive transition, except for the player whose number was called out by the coach (in this example, X 1). X 1 must run and touch the baseline before transitioning, giving the offense a momentary 5-on-4 break. X 1 must run back as fast as possible to help his teammates while the offense looks to score on transition.

The Finish: On the shot attempt, the defense secures the rebound and heads back into transition going the other way. Rotate in a new group of players (if you have 15 on the roster) and repeat the drill for a predetermined time limit. Be sure to mix up the players that touch the baseline.


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, simply visit our basketball library.

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