Basketball Drills - Dribbling, Passing, Shooting & Rebounding

Free Youth Basketball Drills for Coaches
Winning Basketball Practice Drills
By Brad Winters

Only after spending many hours in practice is a truly great team developed.  The coach and his players must invest the time and effort required to develop the basketball skills, team play, and the many different basketball organizational tactics necessary to play organized basketball.

Below is a version of our master basketball practice schedule that includes many of our favorite basketball drills.  Using our basketball practice planning process, you can design a basketball practice schedule to meet the unique needs of your basketball team.

[Related: Basketball Playbook]

Shaquille O'Neal

Youth Basketball Practice Schedule
Drills for Youth Basketball Coaches

As you can see from looking at the list below, there are many great basketball drills to add to your basketball practice schedule.  Coaches need to use a variety of different basketball drills to teach the fundamentals of basketball.  Use this basketball practice schedule along with our basketball practice planning tips to help you plan for your next team’s practice session.

Warm-up Basketball Drills - 20 min.

Speed and Quickness Basketball Drills --- a) Dribble-in, b) Stretching, c) Hammer, d) Body Circles, e) Figure 8 Passing, f) Figure 8 Dribbling, g) Blur, h) Straddle Flip. *Be ball quick.  Basketball is a game of speed and quickness.  #Players make a circle at center court.  Each player has a ball. Captains stationed in the middle lead the drill.

Dribbling Basketball Drill --- a) Speed dribble, b) Control dribble, c) Stutter dribble (Hesitation dribble), d) Stutter-crossover dribble, e) Behind-the-back dribble, f) Drag dribble (Spin dribble), g) Between-the-leg dribble, h) Inside-out dribble, i) Retreat-crossover dribble, j) Killer-crossover dribble, k) Crossover-drag dribble, l) Two-ball dribble (change of pace dribbling/ change of direction dribbling) -- *Bend your knees, get your butt down, and dribble the basketball low.  Protect the basketball (ball sureness). #Make five lines on the baseline.  Each player has a ball.  Coach calls dribble move, and then blows whistle. Players execute basketball dribbling move at both free-throw lines extended and at half-court. To teach kids to dribble and to use advanced dribbling moves, you must practice dribbling daily.

Cone Dribbling Basketball Drill --- a) Speed dribble, b) Control dribble, c) Stutter-crossover dribble, d) Behind-the-back dribble, e) Drag dribble (Spin dribble), f) Between-the-leg dribble, g) Retreat-crossover dribble. -- *Execute dribble move two steps from cone.  Work on developing a first step.  Stay low as you dribble, and explode off each dribble move. Great basketball dribbling drills for kids.   #Make two lines, one under each basket.  Each player has a ball.  Set cones at the free throw line extended (10 feet from sideline), and at the half-court line (10 feet from middle of the court).  Players attack each cone, down and back, finishing strong with a lay-up at both ends. This is one of the best basketball dribbling drills to teach youth basketball players to dribble.

Zigzag Basketball Drill --- *Defenders must apply intelligent pressure on the ball. Maintain a good defensive basketball stance - stay low, maintain touching distance, keep your nose on the ball, keep your eyes on the dribbler’s belly-button, slide your feet, fake at the ball with your hands, and don’t cross your feet.  #Make three lines on the baseline.  First line plays full-court man-to-man defense.  Second line plays offense and dribbles the ball up the court in a “zig-zag” fashion.  We want the offensive player to train the defensive player (buddy coach) to move his feet correctly and stay low in his defensive stance.

Full Court Shooting Warm-up Basketball Drill --- a) Lay-ups, b) Reverse lay-ups, c) Baby jumpers off the glass, d) Three-point shot off the dribble.  *Push the ball up the court in 4-6 dribbles.  #Make two lines, one under each basket.  Each line has a ball. Players push the ball up the court and shoot the shot called.

Dribble Penetration Basketball Drill --- a) Speed dribble, b) Inside-out dribble move, c) Stutter-step dribble move (Hesitation dribble move), d) Killer crossover dribble move.  Shots off each dribble move --- a) Lay-up, b) Reverse lay-up, c) Baby jumper, d) hop-back, bank shot.  *Players must develop a go-to move, and a counter go-to move.  Execute dribble move two steps in front of defender.  #Coach stands two steps from the elbow spot at the free throw line extended.  Each player attacks the coach and executes the dribble move called.  Each player must rebound shot and then attack cone at the opposite elbow and execute dribble move called.  Players start and finish drill at the opposite 28-foot hash marks on the floor. Great drill for improving your players' basketball dribbling skills, espeacially your team's point guard.

Pass & Power Up Basketball Drill --- *Draw-and-kick using a bounce pass in the power zone.  Learn to finish the play in traffic.  #Basketball drill starts with a player in four spots.  Make three lines - two lines of players positioned in the corner of the court, and another line at the half-court circle.  Place one player in the lane just below the free throw line.  The middle line attacks the defender stationed in the lane and passes to one of the two players flashing to the top of the block from each corner.  The offensive player receiving the pass tries to score while the opposite corner man and the middle defender tries to contest his shot.

Bobby Hurley Dribble Basketball Drill --- a) Speed dribble, b) Scissors dribble, c) Crab dribble, d) Two-basketball dribble. *Attitude and effort is the only thing you can control.  Players need to practice dribbling two basketballs. #Make five lines of players on the baseline.  Each line has two balls.  Each group will make three consecutive trips down-and-back (cycle) using a variety of different dribbles.  First cycle players speed dribble down-and-back using their weak hand.  On the second cycle, players perform the scissors dribble down the court, and return executing the crab dribble.  On the last cycle, the players two-ball dribble down and back running full-speed... This is also a great basketball conditioning drill.

Fast Break Basketball Drills - 15 min.

Three Lane Push Basketball Drill --- *Pass and catch the ball with two hands.  Make good strong passes. Concentrate and catch the ball with soft hands.  #Make three lines of players on the baseline.  Players in the middle line have a ball.  Drill starts with player in the middle passing the ball to a player on the wing.  The wing player catches the ball and then quickly passes the ball back to the player in the middle.  Middle player then passes to the opposite wing as all three players sprint straight up the court.  When the middle player catches the ball in the lane, he uses a jump stop, and makes a bounce pass to one of the wings flashing to the top of the block for the lay-up.  As the first group reaches the half-court line, the next group begins their trip down the floor. 

Three-Man Weave Basketball Drill --- * Make good chest passes.  Hit your target, and catch the ball without dropping it.  #Make three lines of players on the baseline.  Players in the middle line have a ball.  Drill starts with player in the middle passing the ball to a player on the wing, and then running behind the receiver and filling the outside lane.  Players weave up the court, passing and catching the ball.  Players finish the cycle at the opposite end of the court by scoring a lay-up.  As the ball goes through the net, the opposite wing grabs the ball and starts the weave again.  Again, players weave up the court and finish the drill with a lay-up. 

Five-Man Weave Basketball Drill --- * No bad passes, no dropped passes, and no missed lay-ups.  #Make five lines on the baseline.  Each group of five players makes three cycles weaving up the court for the lay-up.

Blow-out Lay-ups Basketball Drill --- *Run hard for your teammates.  Sprint the court wide and show a hand target.  Make your lay-ups.  #Make two lines of players.  Position one line at the free throw line extended.  Position the other line directly underneath the basket.  The player underneath the basket rebounds the ball and takes two hard dribbles up the middle of the court (blows-out).  After taking his second dribble, he then passes the ball up the court to his teammate sprinting wide who finishes with a lay-up.  The passer sprints to the opposite free-throw line extended, and then blows-out back up the court as the new pass receiver.  The original shooter gets the ball, and then makes two hard dribbles up the middle of the court and passes the ball ahead for the lay-up.

3-on-2/ 2-on-1 Fast Break Basketball Drill --- *Make every basketball fast break a 2-on-1.  Attack the basket.  Read the defense.  Use a bounce pass in the Power Zone. #Make three lines of players at one end of the court, and place two players on the opposite end of the court stacked in the middle of the court just below the top of the key.

The drill starts with the middle line passing the ball (outlet) to one of the wings.  The passer runs behind the receiver and fills the outside lane up the court.  The receiver dribbles the ball back to the middle of the court and attacks the top defender at the opposite end of the court.  The dribbler picks a side to attack the tandem defenders.  If he attacks right, the left wing flashes to the top of the block, and the right wing spaces to the three-point line.  The dribbler looks to score or draws-and-kicks to the open teammate.  After taking the shot, the shooter then sprints back on defense.  The original two defenders, then fast break to the opposite end.  Again, the dribbler looks to score, or draws-and-kicks to his teammate flashing to the top of the block for the score.

Speed Break/ Early Break Basketball Drill --- a) 5 vs. 0, b) 5 vs. 2, c) 5 vs. 3.  *Know your position assignments and the shot attempts we want.  #Practice drill we use to teach player roles and assignments for properly executing our Secondary break.  We use what we call a Speed break after all made shots.  After a missed shot, we run what we call our Early break.

Shooting Basketball Drills - 15 min.

One-hand Shooting Basketball Drill --- *Elbow should be directly above your foot and tucked in.  Elbow keeps the shot straight.  Bend and make the L.  #Player stands close to the basket and form shoots grooving his shot.  Make 10 baskets without touching the rim.

Partner Shooting Basketball Drill --- *Stand bent over with your shooting hand foot back.  On the catch, bring your shooting hand foot forward to help you quickly get your shot up and to the basket.  Target is the center of the hoop.  Finish with your elbow above your eyebrow.  Hold your follow-thru.  #Pairs of shooters are positioned at the elbows.  They quickly shoot and try to score (2 points).  If the shooter misses, he must crash the boards and score (1 point).  After scoring, the rebounder quickly passes the ball to his partner for the shot.  Game continues until one set of partners scores 21 points. Below are the different variations:

a) Catch & Shoot (elbow/ elbow, elbow/ wing, wing/ top, wing/ short corner) --- * Shoot quickly, but don't rush your shot.

b) Shot Fake, One Dribble, Shot (wing/ top of the key) --- *Catch the ball on balance, shoot the ball on balance, and land on balance.  It is not how high you jump, but how quick you shoot the ball.

c) Jab Step, Jump Shot (wing/ top of the key) --- *Use a six-inch jab step.  Keep your knees bent.  Read your defender.

d) Shot Fake, Two Dribble, Baby Jumpers (wing/ top of the key) --- *Shot fake before you dribble.  Dribble low and hard.  Get a piece of the paint.  Shoot on the way up.  Follow your shots with your hands up.

Team 3 pt. Shooting Basketball Drill --- *Use a high, 60 degree arc on all your shots.  Hold a high one-second follow through.  Try not to miss right or left.  Follow your shots with your hands up.  #Teams of shooters compete against each other.  Teams must make five 3-point shots at each 3-point shooting position (both corners, both wings, and the top of the key).  Each team has a rebounder station under the basket to start the game.

X-Drill/ Low Post Shooting Basketball Drill --- a) Drop step, power lay-up, b) Turnaround jumper (baseline side), c) Turnaround, shot fake, up-and-under shot, d) Drop step, middle jump hook.  *Low post players must catch the ball with both feet in the air.  Chin the ball with their elbows out.  Make a read of the defense by looking over your shoulder closest to the free throw line.  #Make two lines of players underneath the basket stationed at the lane lines.  Players cut across the lane and catch the low post pass on the first hash mark above the block.  Players quickly shoot the shot called and then relocate to the end of the line in the opposite line.

Sooner Intensity Basketball Shooting Drill --- *The last dribble before your shot should be a high, quick explosive dribble to quickly get into your shot.  #Players start with ball in the lane.  They then make two hard dribbles away from the basket and shoot the shot off the dribble.  Each player gets his own rebound and repeats the process.  The winner of the drill is the player who makes 10 jump shots the quickest.

Line Basketball Shooting Drill --- *Shooters must play bent over and catch and pivot on their inside foot.  #Players move from elbow-to-elbow shooting jump shots (curling into their shots).  Winner is the first player that makes 10 jump shots.

Rebounding Basketball Drills - 10 min.

Circle Box Out Rebounding Drill --- a) Spin-off, b) Hook-and-pin, c) Swim (back stroke).  *Rebounding is 2/3 desire and 1/3 ability.  #This is an advanced rebounding drill used to teach players different rebounding techniques to gain inside position on their opponent.

2-on-2 Rebounding Basketball Drill --- *Block out and fight for inside position.  Make and maintain contact, and stay between the ball and your opponent.  #Start with two lines of players underneath the goal.  The first players in each line play defense, and the next player in each line plays offense.  The coach dribbles the ball down the middle towards the two defensive players who must pinch and seal the gap with their inside foot high.  As the coach shoots the shot, the two offensive players positioned on the baseline hustle to block out and rebound the missed shot.  The four players then battle for the possession of the rebound.  If the offense gets the ball, they try to score quickly.  If a defensive player gets the ball, he then must outlet the ball to the coach on the wing.

Bronx Rebounding Basketball Drill --- *Make and maintain contact on all block-outs.  Blocking-out is every day, every drill, all the time.  #Start with three players in the lane.  Each player tries to rebound the ball and score.  Each basket scored counts one point.  Each player plays until he scores three points.  As one player finishes, a new player jumps in to continue the drill.  All players stay in the lane and battle as long as it takes for them to score three points.

3-on-3 Closeout/Rebound Basketball Drill --- *Closeout smart.  Get a hand up and contest every shot.  Then ¾ turn on the perimeter with arm bar up.  Block out and rebound the ball.  No offensive rebounds.  #Start the drill with three offensive players on the perimeter, and three defensive players under the basket in the lane.  The coach then passes the ball to one of the offensive players.  On the air-time of the pass, defensive players begin to either closeout or assume the proper defensive position guarding their man.  Offense tries to score and defense tries to gain possession of the ball.  If offense scores, then the same defensive players must go again until they get a stop.

Short Rest Break – 10 min.

Special Situation Basketball Drills -20 min.

Man-to-man Shell Defense Basketball Drill --- a) 4-on-4 around-the-horn, b) 4-on-4 penetrate and dish, c) 4-on-4 with post, d) 4-on-4 with two “Slashers” in the corner.  *Great drill for emphasizing all of our man-to-man defensive rules.  #Listed above are the different situations we use to constantly reinforce to our players our man-to-man defensive tactics.  Each group of four must play perfect defense before we change groups on the floor.

Team Offense Breakdown --- a) Motion basketball offense, b) Odd front zone basketball offense, c) Even front basketball zone offense, d) Match up zone basketball offense, e) Flex basketball offense, f) 1-4 High basketball offense, g) Delay game basketball offense, h) Full-court zone press offense, i) Full-court match-up press offense, and j) Half-court trap offense.

Basketball Plays Practice --- a) Man offense basketball plays, b) Zone offense basketball plays, c) Under out-of-bounds plays, d) Side out-of-bounds plays, e) Late game basketball plays.

Team Defense Breakdown --- a) Zone defense slides, b) 1-2-1-1 Press slides, c) 2-2-1 Press slides, d) 1-3-1 Half-court press slides, e) Under out-of-bounds defense, f) Triangle-and-2, g) Box-and-1.

Basketball Game Preparation --- *Review of our opponent's basketball scouting report - man offense, offensive set plays, inbounds plays, press breaker, defenses, zone slides, press defense, and individual players.

Defense/ Offense Basketball Drills - 25 min.

1-on-1 Basketball Drill --- *Pressuring the ball without fouling, lunging, reaching, giving up the open shot, or giving up the easy lay-up.  #This drill can be either a half-court drill or full-court drill.  Offense starts on the side of the court and tries to attack the basket and score.  Defense pressures dribbler trying to arc the ball sideline and force the dribbler to speed up his game.  Goal is to force either a turnover or contested jump shot.  Of course, defensive player must always block out and rebound the basketball.  After one group finishes, we send the next group.

2-on-2 Basketball Drill --- *Protect the inside gaps and do not get split down the middle.  Defenders must arc the ball to the sideline.  Defenders cannot allow cutters to cross their face in the lane.  Challenge all shots with a hand up on every shot.  Defenders must finish the play by blocking out and rebounding the ball.  #This drill can be used either as a half-court drill or a full-court drill.  Action is fast, and easy to spot defensive breakdowns and weaknesses.  After one group finishes, we send the next group.

3-on-3 Basketball Drill --- *Full court man-to-man defense drill that is our all-time favorite basketball drill.  Here we apply all our man-to-man basketball defensive tactics.  Great drill for teaching players how to play the game offensively – player movement, spacing, attacking the rim, making the extra pass, screens, reading screens, dribble weaves, ball screens, draw-and-kick action, shot selection, etc.  #The drill starts at one end of the court with three offensive players and three defensive players.  Offense must pick a side to give our defensive a strong/weak-side look.  We start in perfect defensive position.  Help-side defender is in the middle of the court.  Defender one pass away is one-step off his man and two-steps up the line.  The defender guarding the ball is within touching distance and arcing the offensive player towards the sideline.  The offensive team then tries to score on the defensive team.  If the offense scores, the defense rips the ball out of the net and tries to fast break back the other way.  Each group goes down-and-back and then the next group of six takes to the floor.

5-on-5 Full Court Control Basketball Drill --- *Know our basketball offensive system and our defensive basketball system.  Play team basketball.  Make the extra pass on offense.  Don't force bad shots.  Always look to attack the basket.  Try to create offense for your teammates.  Eliminate silly turnovers!  #We begin this control scrimmage basketball drill in the half-court.  We designate the defense and the offense we want to attack.  If offense scores, the offensive team gets the ball again.  When the defense gets the ball, they then attack at the opposite end of the court.  Action continues until one of the two teams scores.  The team that scores gets the ball again in the half-court.

4-on-4 Cut Throat Basketball Drill --- a) Defense must make three consecutive stops, b) Make a stop and then rotate offense to defense.  On defense do your work early.  Do not allow your man to cross your face in the lane.  Defense must have passionate talk.  Defense must seal the gaps and protect the power zone.  Defense must fight on defense and show that they are warriors.  On offense we want strong passes, constant player movement, solid screens set, good ball movement, and wise shot selection!   #This drill uses three teams of four players.  There are many different variations of keeping score in this drill.  Players really enjoy this basketball drill.

3-on-3 No Dribble Basketball Drill --- *On offense always catch & face our basket.  Chin the ball in a good tight basketball offensive stance.  Stay low & "sweep" the ball.  Learn to handle the pressure, and do not panic.  Protect the ball.  Use pass fakes and head fakes to create a passing lane.  Make good decisions with the ball.  #This is a very tough and demanding drill.  No dribble is allowed and the team that scores first wins.

5-on-5 Full Court Transition Basketball Drill --- *Always sprint back on defense and play tough defense.  Players must passionately point and talk on defense.  #Begin with five defenders positioned across the court at the free throw line extended.  Offensive players are across the baseline.  Coach passes the ball to an offensive player that triggers the fast break.  The defender guarding the ball must run and touch the baseline before getting back on defense.  This forces defensive players to stop the ball and guard the offensive players who are the greatest threats to score.

4-on-4 Full Court Basketball Drill --- *Players must play smart, play as a team, and practice sound fundamentals.  #Basketball game played with four players on each team.  The team that scores 8 points first wins.  Winning team has the option to take a break or remain on the court.

Free Throw Shooting Basketball Drills - 10 min.

Make 10 Free Throws in a Row --- *To win the big games, you must get to the free throw line, and then you must make your foul shots.

Free Throw Basketball Shooting Drill (make X) --- *Concentration and relaxation are the keys to improving free throw shooting.   Eliminate thinking.   Here is the free throw shooting routine that we teach:  a) See the ball go in twice, b) Use three dribbles, c) Say to yourself -  “bounce, bounce, bounce, SWISH!” as you shoot…  Remember, the team that gets to the Free Throw line the most, wins 85% of the time.

Basketball Coach's Closing Thoughts

Praise & Reinforce --- *Sell the vision of the program you are trying to build to your players.

Special Announcements --- *Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Player of the Day --- *Recognize a team member for outstanding work, hustle, or improvement.

Team Prayer --- *Acknowledge and keep the Lord as the "Cornerstone" of your team.

"In 1948, I began coaching basketball at UCLA. Each hour of practice we worked very hard. Each day we worked very hard. Each week we worked very hard. Each season we worked very hard. Four fourteen years we worked very hard and didn't win a national championship. However, a national championship was won in the fifteenth year. Another in the sixteenth. And eight more in the following ten years." -- Coach John Wooden
"Over coaching is the worst thing you can do to a player." -- Coach Dean Smith
"Our conditioning program begins the first day of class. The running portion is very demanding. It has physiological advantages, as well as psychological advantages." -- Coach Norm Sloan
"In close games, when the pressure intensifies and the margin between who wins and who loses can be as thin as an eggshell, we believe that all our hard work, all the long hours, and all the perspiration will enable us to come out on top. Why? Because we deserve it. We deserve our victory!' -- Coach Rick Pitino
"If we're playing hard in practice, under gamelike conditions, then we're just naturally going to play smarter and better during a game. That's why all our practice drills are as gamelike as possible." -- Coach Mike Krzyzewski
"Everyone wants to win, but not everyone is willing to prepare to win." -- Coach Bobby Knight
"Once practice starts, we work hard, and that's the best conditioning there is. Everything counts. Every little thing counts. Run hard, play hard, go after the ball hard, guard hard. If you play soft, you won't ever get into shape." -- Coach Pete Carril
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Transition Offense
Motion Offense
Flex Offense
Zone Offense
Offensive Plays
Inbound Plays
Press Breaker Offense
Full-court Press Defenses
Zone Defenses
Junk Defenses
Man to Man Defense
Game Strategy
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