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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 the latest edition of All Access, we take you back to Storrs, Connecticut for an inside glimpse at a UConn men’s basketball practice. Follow along as former head coach Jim Calhoun leads his squad through a variety of team shooting and fast break drills.
The legendary basketball coach announced his retirement on September 13 after 40 seasons. Calhoun has racked up 873 wins and three national titles during his illustrious career. In 2005, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The team starts off by shooting 10 two-shot fouls against a partner and the winners move on. Players shoot two one-handed shots in the middle of lane, two one-handed shots at foul line, and then two foul shots with both hands. Coach Calhoun reminds players to get under the ball and use their legs. Players keep track of their makes. One-handers don’t count, but regular foul shots do.
For this full court fast break drill, offensive players will attack wide (in a 2-on-1 format) down the court while the big guy in the middle is trying to block shots and break up the play.
The team starts with three lines at the baseline. The bigs in the middle line start with the ball and throw it out in front. Meanwhile, the big man sprints down court and looks to stop the 2-on-1 break. One of the two offensive players will pick up the ball, pass ahead to his wing teammate, and look to finish. The bigs should look to defend and block shots.
This next drill starts with a coach shooting and missing. The defense then gets the rebound and sprints down court the opposite direction. Meanwhile, a team of two defenders is already set up and waiting for the offense. The simulation plays out from here. After the play ends, the two defenders now head down court and go up against one defender in 2-on-1 situation.
This final 2-on-2 drill focuses on boxing out and crashing the boards in a half-court setting. The coach begins by passing to one offensive player. This player will immediately shoot it. Next, defenders box out and look to get the rebound. The offensive players work on crashing the boards looking for the offensive rebound. Once you box out, you need to sprint to the ball and beat your man.
The latest edition of All Access provides readers with an exclusive glimpse at a Montverde Academy (FL) boys basketball practice. During this recent session, head coach Kevin Boyle leads his team through pivoting techniques in a half-court setting before getting into rapid fire fast break drills.
Although these are basic drills, they go a long way to help lessen turnovers, especially traveling. It’s key that players work on their triple threat positioning and being strong with the ball at all times.
Jump Stop and Pivot: First, the team gets into four lines on the baseline and four players go at a time. Players will dribble up to the free throw line, make a jump stop, turn, pivot, and make a chest pass to a teammate behind. Look to get your feet wide and then turn, pivot, step, and pass.
Tips: Make sure you get your feet spread (about shoulder width apart) and when you turn, keep that same distance. Maintain a strong, wide base.
Reverse Pivot: Through this pivot, you can clear some space against a strong defense and be a threat with the ball. This drill helps with ensuring you have room to pass, dribble, or shoot.
Tips: Watch as the players reverse pivot by using that right foot to swing around. This is where footwork and fundamentals become so important.
Step Over and Sweep: This next pivot move is great for those situations when you go chest to chest with a defender in a game. The motion here is to dribble up, jump stop, get the ball on hip, ball to shoulder, step over, and then sweep.
Drill 1 - Start with a three-man weave. Do this for at least two minutes. Make sure that players get to the sidelines, run the court, and make an effective jump stop at the opposite foul line before delivering a bounce pass in stride for a layup. After the layup, have players immediately make the outlet with a chest pass and head down court (the same way as before) to close out the rep.
Drill 2 – This next fast break drill works on getting ahead of the ball in a game. Start with three lines like before and have three players go at once. Next, the man in the middle will dribble the ball all the way down court and get a layup. Now have the outside guys work hard at getting ahead of the ball. Once the basket is made, the middle player rebounds it immediately and throws a long outlet pass as the outside players get wide and eventually go in strong for a fast break layup.
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD ”All Access Basketball Practice with Kevin Boyle.” To browse more videos in our extensive All Access lineup, simply head over to our basketball library. Recent All Access sessions feature Herb Magee, John Calipari, and Gregg Marshall.
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.
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.
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.)?
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.
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.
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.