Drills to sharpen shooting, ball-handling skills From Eric Musselman, men's basketball coach, University of Nevada & formerly Golden State Warriors/Sacramento Kings

The key to any drill is the commitment of the player to go hard at all times — nothing casual. Your players must perform all drills at game speed. A drill’s success depends on the player’s work ethic.

Keep your drills as competitive as possible for your players. Write down scores, and have your players try to beat their previous high. Look for overall improvement from your team, every day, as the season progresses.

A good drill develops your players’ mental toughness.

Fast-break/turnover drill

This is a great drill for improving your players’ ability to quickly change direction when in transition during a turnover, catch passes on the move, and make fast-break layups at full speed.

DIAGRAM 1: Fast-break turnover drill. 2 has the ball under the basket, and 1 stands anywhere on the floor. 2 passes to 1, sprints toward him or her, and touches the ball.


DIAGRAM 2: As soon as 2 touches the ball, he or she immediately turns and sprints back toward the basket. As 2 is sprinting, 1 lobs the ball over 2’s head. 2 must gain control of the ball and put in a layup while running at full speed. While 2 is making the layup, 1 moves to another spot on the floor.


DIAGRAM 3: 2 grabs the ball as it comes through the basket, pivots, locates 1, immediately fires a pass back to him or her, sprints toward 1, and touches the ball.


DIAGRAM 4: After touching the ball, 2 immediately turns and sprints back toward the basket. As 2 is sprinting, 1 lobs the ball just over 2’s head. 2 gains control of the ball and puts in a layup while running at full speed. While 2 is making the layup, 1 moves to another spot on the floor.

The drill continues at full speed until 2 makes five layups in a row.


4-of-5 shooting drill

This is a competitive, fun drill that improves your players’ mid-range jump shooting.

DIAGRAM 5: 4-of-5 shooting drill. Set out five pre-determined spots on the floor, from 18 feet out, going around the basket in an arc. 1 begins from the corner and shoots five shots from 18 feet. 3 rebounds each shot, pivots, and makes a crisp outlet pass to 2, who passes back to 1 for another jumper.

1 must make 4-of-5 shots from that spot before they can advance to the next spot. If 1 doesn’t make the required 4-of-5 shots, the players rotate and 2 becomes the shooter, 3 the passer and 1 the rebounder.

If a player gets to the next spot, they must make 4-of-5 from that spot to advance. If that player fails to get 4-of-5, they must go back one spot.

Players compete to see which player moves the farthest around the horn. Set a time limit, or designate the amount of times each player gets to shoot


Explosion layups

This is a great ball-handling and conditioning drill that forces your players to dribble as fast as they can while staying under control, exploding to the basket, and making strong layups with both hands.

DIAGRAM 6: Explosion layups. Starting on the baseline, 1 dribbles hard to the half-court line with the right hand. When 1 reaches mid-court, he or she makes a change-of-direction move, switches to a left-hand dribble, takes the ball back toward the basket, explodes to the hoop, and finishes with a left-handed layup.

After making the layup, 1 grabs the ball as it’s coming through the hoop, takes it to the opposite side of the basket, and dribbles hard with the left hand to half-court. At mid-court, he or she makes a change-of-direction move and dribbles hard to the basket with the right hand and finishes with an explosive right-handed layup.




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