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A first-rate transition drill can be one of the most beneficial tools that a coach can have at his or her disposal. By being proficient in the transition game, a basketball team can maintain a major advantage over its opponent during the course of a game. With the following drills, read through each description first before watching them get played out live on the court.
Carolina Fast Break Drill
Submitted by Greg Miller, Armstrong HS, Minneapolis, Minnesota
This is a terrific conditioning and transition drill often referred to as the old “Dean Smith drill.”
Get two teams of five. A jump ball starts a normal game of 5-on-5. If a team scores, a coach at that end of the floor will throw an outlet pass to a player on the team that scored. Immediately, they will run a fast break going the other way down court. The outlet must be received inside the three-point line.
However, if a shot is missed, play continues just as in a normal game and the team that secured the rebound transitions down court.
Play to a pre determined score or set a time limit. Also, you easily can add in a no dribbling rule to emphasize good passes and efficient ball movement.
The Daily Dozen Drill
Submitted by Dr. Gregg Williams, North Hall High School, Gainesville, Georgia
Overview: This is a perfect drill to begin or finish practice with each day. The goal here is to make 12 consecutive layups without the ball ever touching the floor or without making a turnover.
The Set-Up: Split up the post players into two groups and put them in a line under each basket. Do the same thing with the guards and wings, but have them in two groups at the half-court line by the sideline. Put two minutes on the clock.
The Action: Start the drill by having a coach bounce the ball off the backboard. The first post player grabs the rebound and throws an outlet pass to the nearest guard at the half-court line who is breaking to a proper outlet position. The next pass is to the other guard who is streaking on an angle towards the far foul line area for a layup.
Notes: Players must make 12 layups in a row before two minutes expires. If any player misses, makes a turnover, or dribbles, the layup count starts back over at zero. However, the clock continues to run.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”25 Aggressive Transition and Conditioning Drills” produced by Winning Hoops. To check out more videos featuring transition drills and concepts, click here.
In our latest team development feature, Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight guides you through a pair of up-tempo drills that are vital towards building mental toughness. Coach Knight has incorporated these same exact drills with his programs throughout his career, from Indiana through Texas Tech.
This highly-engaging rapid-fire drill starts with two defensive players in the paint, one high and one low. Meanwhile, two more defensive guys will set up on the opposite end of the court in the paint, one high and one low as well. Next, three offensive guys begin at midcourt attacking one end of the floor and the middle player has the ball. Finally, get one guy at each hash mark along the sides of the sideline (on both ends) for a total of four players.
“11-Man Break” begins with the 3-on-2 situation at one end. All five guys should go for the rebound. Whoever gets the rebound then joins up with the two nearest sideline hash mark guys to form a three-person unit. From here, they go 3-on-2 in the other direction. The drill continues like this back and forth for a set period of time.
2 Ball Shooting
“2 Ball Shooting” is a great drill you can implement across the lane, foul line, across the circle, on either side of the hoop, or wherever you’d like really. In other words, you can move the shooter wherever you want them to shoot on that particular day of practice. If you have a gym with six baskets, you can get 12 guys working at one time. When you say, “Change”, the players should switch up and immediately get back into it. 2 Ball Shooting is a tremendous drill for shooting stamina and for getting tougher even if you’re tired.
One player should be the rebounder the entire time while working with the shooter (and two basketballs). Be sure to shoot from different spots on the floor. You can even implement a fake before each shot. The shooter should always be on the move. Look to go for one minute before switching up.
Coaching Tips: Step into each shot. Always get set and don’t shoot out of balance.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Bob Knight: Practice Planning and Drills for Mental Toughness.” To check out more team drills in our Bob Knight catalog, click here.
Last summer, we highlighted five tremendous breakdown drills for the Flex Offense. This time, we’re taking things a step further by adding four more highly effective breakdown drills to the mix, including “Scramble to the Flex” and “The Cutter Drill.” Follow along as Elizabethtown head men’s basketball coach Bob Schlosser once again leads you through each drill and provides helpful commentary throughout.
Scramble to the Flex Drill
In this first drill, players will run in a circle around the foul line. From here we want the players to get into their flex positions immediately on the floor. After a few seconds of running, the coach will set the ball down and then the players will balance the floor. In the scramble situation when the ball goes to the floor, the nearest guy will pick it up and the players immediately get to their spots and right into the flex.
Now we will have one defender guard any two offensive players. Do not help, but instead, deny your player the ball. This will encourage the offensive guys to go back door to get open. Also, run through five passes before you shoot it. The two defenders will not touch the ball. This particular drill encourages running good cuts and setting up the defender. The defenders will play man-to-man and must stick to their man.
Next up in the 5-on-3 drill, we’re working on passes off the elbow. Three defenders will guard the offensive players along the baseline.
Start the drill with a pass off the elbow. After the guard’s initial pass, the guards up top must set a staggered screen. Look to run this drill until someone who’s not guarded makes a flex cut. This really emphasizes the staggered screens. Meanwhile, when you make that high to low pass, it’s crucial that screeners get a piece of the defender on the pick so you can get the ball inside or get into the flex continuity.
The Cutter Drill
This final breakdown drill goes 3-on-3. Get a cutter, screener, and passer on the box ready to come up. All players should be on the low block extended. The goal here is get a strong flex cut. That flex cutter will set up his man low and then come up high for the catch and layup on the opposite block.
Looking to learn more about the basics of the Flex Offense? Be sure to check out our previous feature article on basic continuity and counters for this popular basketball system.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD “Comprehensive Guide to the Flex” featuring Bob Schlosser. Check out more videos featuring offensive systems by heading over to our basketball library.
Win the battle of the boards this season by incorporating these proven rebounding drills into your practice plan. The following drills — which are perfect for middle school, high school, and college level programs — are first explained step by step before a real team runs through them live on the basketball court.
Rebound Pit Drill
Submitted by Larry Inman, Former Head Women’s Coach at Eastern Kentucky University and Current Coach at Tennessee State
Overview: This is a demanding drill that challenges players both mentally and physically. Position two lines of players hitting the boards every time a coach or manager shoots it. Look to start out on the lane line extended and just above the three-point circle.
Drill Movements: Two defensive players will step up just in front of the offensive players and will box out and secure the board until they rebound three consecutive times. If they don’t get three rebounds in a row, they must start over from scratch. Also, players should rotate through and get to play both positions.
UNI Rebounding Drill
Submitted by Scott DeJong, Ankeny High School, Ankeny, Iowa
Overview: This is a competitive rebounding drill that simulates game conditions. There are four offensive players set up; One on the wing, one up top, one on the block, and another player on the weakside post/baseline area.
Meanwhile, the defensive players set up like this: One player is guarding on the weakside, another at the top of the key, a third in the post, and a defender X1 guards the ball.
Drill Movements: To begin the drill, X1 makes a bounce pass to the wing shooter and then closes out on the shot. All other players must block out. If the defense gets the ball, they must outlet to the coach. The coach then passes to the next defender in line. Players will rotate on defense through the different positions. Defenders are up for 10 shots and then switch with the offense. Keep stats and the team with the most boards after 10 total shots is the winner.
Coaching Tip: Mix up your post defense. For instance, try a fronted post on several reps and see how your players respond.
In this exclusive behind-the scenes-glimpse, we visit Evanston, Illinois for a look inside a Northwestern University women’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller leads her squad through a variety of team drills and situational segments, including “Double Teams and Recovery.”
Shuffling Partner Pass
In this first drill, players work in partners shuffling down the width of the field and passing back and forth about 5 yards apart. Hands are going as fast as possible and players are getting low on their footwork while not rushing.
Coaching Tip: Slow yourself down if you have to. This drill is mainly about hand speed.
Next up, players get into weak hand feeds and double fakes. One player in the duo will just be feeding and doing so only with their weak hand. Meanwhile, the other person will work with their strong hand. So the process has players getting a quick stick, throwing two fakes with a flat stick, and getting the ball right back to the feeder. Look to get rid of the ball very quickly. Also, notice how feeder passes happen immediately after receiving.
To finish up, players move into fakes with the weak hand before switching up overall roles.
Double Team and Recovery
In this segment, defenders must force the offensive player right or left. Once the offensive player makes her move against the defender, another nearby defender must slide and step up into the play. Communication is crucial between teammates here.
It’s important that help defenders take a good angle at the ball carriers stick and lock that player down in a double team. If the offensive player pulls out of that, the help defender must then recover as fast as she can back to her starting cone. This should all be at a sprint, not a casual jog. Also, after a rep, players should switch up positions.
While this is a small slide and recovery drill, players should really be focusing on the little things here, such as communication, timing, and angle of slides.
Coaching Tip: When approaching with that slide, make sure players get a good angle. Anticipate where the ball carrier is moving to and slide to her stick, not her hips (or else the player will run by you and you will pick your own teammate).
After a minute or two of drill work, the coaching staff huddles the team together to discuss how players are dropping their heads and giving up on the play when beat. According to Coach Amonte Hiller, that mentality will hurt them in games. Instead, players need to be relentless to the end. You CANNOT give in.