As a basketball coach, it’s important that you use drills that will challenge your players, yet also keep practices fresh so that players don’t get bored running the same drills over and over everyday.

It’s why we put together this comprehensive resource of over 40 basketball drills for coaches, because we want you to use proper player and team development drills, and we know it can be tough to rack your brain when creating your practice plans.

Want these drills in a PDF?: These 37 basketball drills can be downloaded in a PDF for you to always have.([Download The Drills Now!)

Dribbling Drills

The drills in this section will help your players focus on their ballhandling.

Killer 150

This drill is designed for your players to perform 150 dribble moves as quickly as possible. You can make it a competition by doing it for time.

How to perform:

Players are to perform the dribble moves below as quickly as possible, while still maintaining control of the basketball. As time goes on, players should become quicker at completing this drill.

The drill is as follows:

  • 25 dribbles at the knee (performed with strong hand)
  • 25 rapid fire dribbles (as low as possible w/ strong hand)
  • 25 dribble pound, inside out move
  • 25 dribble pound, double crossover move
  • 25 dribble pound, between the legs then crossover move
  • 25 dribble pound, behind the back then crossover move

The ball should always end up back in the strong hand after each move is performed. Once they complete the killer 150 with their strong hand, force them to do it with their weak hand.

Stationary Ballhandling (2 ball)

This ballhandling drill is performed while the players are stationary, but they use two basketballs.

How to perform:

  • Dribble together – Players dribble both basketballs at the same time in unison. Have them dribble the balls below their knees, at their waist, and then shoulder height.
  • Alternating dribbles – With this one, players will alternate dribbling the basketballs. Have them dribble the balls below their knees, at their waist, and then shoulder height.
  • One high, one low – Have the players start by dribbling the ball in their right hand low below the knee and the ball in their left hand high at the shoulder. Then rotate which hand is high and low.
  • Two ball kills – Have the players dribble the basketballs together at waist height for a few dribbles, and then kill the balls and dribble them as low as they can go.
  • Front-to-back dribbles – Dribble the basketballs in the left and right hands pushing them as far out in front and then pulling them as far back behind as they can go.
  • Side-to-side dribble – This can also be called the windsheild wiper dribble. Players will have the basketballs out in front of them and dribble them from side-to-side simultaneously.

youth basketball drills

Tennis Ball + Basketball Dribbling

This is a simple drill, but can be really effective for your players.. It will help your players with hand-eye coordination, keeping their head up when they’re dribbling

How to perform:

Initially, players should start with the ball in their strong hand and throwing the tennis ball up with their weak hand.

youth basketball drills

As your players get comfortable with this drill, they can perform dribble moves as they throw the tennis ball up in the air.

youth basketball drills

Dribble moves they can perform are:

  • Crossover
  • Between the legs
  • Around the back
  • Double crossover
  • Double between the legs
  • Double behind the back
  • Crossover-between the legs combo

Chris Paul Full Court Dribbling

This is a great dribbling drill that Chris Paul uses in his ballhandling training. It works on different dribble moves and finishing.

How to perform:

A chair is placed at the top of each key. 6-8 cones are placed between those chairs. Players start at one chair and perform dribble moves between each cone (crossover, between the legs, behind the back, in-and-out, etc.). When they reach the chair on the other side, they perform one last move and attack the basket or pull up for a shot.

chris paul full court dribbling drill

Chair Changes

This ballhandling drill works well as a conditioning and ballhandling drill.

How to perform:

Place chairs (or cones or trash cans, or whatever props you use) on the ball side (you can do this drill on the left or right) half court line and elbow, like in the diagram below.

Attack the chair at half court, then make a move (crossover, behind the back, in-and-out, hesitation, etc.), then attack the chair at the elbow and make that same move. You can work on different finishes on this drill too (drop-step, reverse, euro-step, etc.).

Dribble Tag

Many coaches may think this sounds like a completely elementary drill, but we don’t agree. We think this is a great drill to use to work on ballhandling, avoiding defenders, and agility.

How to perform:

Designate one or two players as ‘it’. You can force players to stay in the half-court or allow them to play full-court, depending on numbers. The players that are ‘it’ dribble around the court to try and tag the other players. When a player is ‘tagged’, he must pick up his ball where he got tagged and stay stationary the rest of the game. If a player comes within arm’s reach of them, they can tag them. The game is played until 1 player is left untagged.

Ball Screen Ballhandling

This is a great drill for ballhandlers to learn how to attack ball screens and take advantage of what the defense is giving them.

How to perform:

Players dribble to the level of the screen and then work on different reads and ways to attack a ball screen. You can have your players:

  • Pull-up for a jumpshot off the screen
  • Attack the rim off the screen
  • Reject the ball screen and attack baseline
  • Split a trap the defense tries to make off of the ballscreen.

ball-screen-ballhandling

Agility Drills

Jump Rope for Quick Feet

Using a jump rope is an excellent way to develop footwork, coordination, and foot speed.

How to perform:

You can have your team perform these exercises for time or give them a set number of reps to hit for each exercise. The jump rope exercises are:

  • Regular jump rope
  • Criss-cross
  • Double-jump
  • Right leg only
  • Left leg only
  • High Knees
  • Running forward down the court while jump roping
  • Coming backward back down the court while jump roping
  • Scissored Feet – this is alternating scissoring your feet on every jump

Ladder Agility

You can use an agility ladder to perform different footwork exercises to help your players develop their foot speed and coordination.

How to perform:

With an agility ladder, there are numerous exercises you can have your players perform. An example of moves they can perform are:

  • One foot in every square
  • Two feet in every square
  • One foot in, one foot out
  • Two feet in, two feet out
  • Two foot hop in each square
  • Two foot hop skipping a square
  • Two foot sidway hop
  • Sideways run in each square
  • High knees in each square

As we mentioned, this drill has multiple opportunities of different footwork drills you can use.

Backboard Jumps

This is a good drill to use to help develop your players’ quick-twitch muscles.

How to perform:

Have your players jump with their hands straight above their head and continuously try to slap the backboard. Be sure that your players aren’t taking time off between their jumps. They should be jumping again as soon as their feet hit the floor. You can do this drill for time (30 seconds to a minute) or for reps.

Passing Drills

3 man, 2 Ball Passing

This is a good drill to work on passing on the run and passing the ball to where a player is going to be, not where they were.

How to perform:

There should be three lines on the baseline. The two outside lines have the basketballs. The group of three runs down the floor and back. The man in the middle will receive passes from one of the outside lines, throw it back to that line, and then turn and do the same for the other line, all the way down the floor.

passing drill

Argentina Passing

This is a good passing drill that also works on some conditioning.

How to perform:

Have 6 players stand in a rectangle  (like in the diagram below) on the court. There will be two balls, and they will start with the middle players. On ‘go’, they will start throwing a pass to the man on their right. As soon as they throw the ball, they are interchanging spots with the guy across from them in the rectangle. This action continues with all of the players until the coach says stop (usually a minute or less).

passing drillpassing drill

Monkey in the Middle

This childhood classic game can work as a great tool to working on your passing with one (or even two) defenders guarding.

How to perform: 

Have players set up about 15 feet from each other and have one player be the ‘monkey.’ The monkey will guard the ball each time, and the player with the ball will work to throw a good pass to his partner. If the ball gets tipped, the player that threw the pass is the new monkey.

Don’t allow your players to throw high lob passes to their partner that won’t work in a game. You want everything to be game-like.

Jason Kidd Passing

This drill helps with squeezing passes through tight gaps.

How to perform: Put 6-8 cones together, spaced out just enough to where a basketball can fit through. One partner is the designated passer, while the other is on the other side of the cones. The partner will find a gap in the cones and the passer will thread the pass through those two cones (bounce pass) to their partner. The partner will throw the ball back and then move to a different gap.

Pass & Handoff Drill

This is a good drill to use as a warmup for your practices that allows your players to work on passing, moving, cutting, and finishing.

How to perform:

Defensive Drills

Twice Around Defense

This defensive drill allows your players to work on different aspects of their defense. It includes sprints, defensive slides, and backpedaling.

How to perform:

Players start in the corner of the court where the baseline and sideline meet. It works like this:

  • Sprint to half court and closeout at just before the half court line
  • Slide all the way across half court
  • Backpedal down to the opposite baseline
  • On the opposite baseline, perform a slide all the way across
  • Sprint up to the half court line again and close out
  • Slide across the half court line again
  • Backp to the baseline they originated at
  • Finish with a defensive slide across the baseline

This drill is performed in a figure-8.

Toughness D

We call this defensive drill ‘Toughness’ D because we think it’ll show you who’s tough and hardworking pretty quick. It does involve a coach, and the more energetic the coach, usually the more energetic the player will be.

How to perform:

Players tart in a line facing the coach. When the coach blows his whistle or says start, players slap the floor, yell “DEFENSE!” start shuffling their feet. The players continue shuffling their feet until the coach gives these commands:

  • Slide & point – Players slide in whatever direction the coach points and keep going until he gives another command.
  • Loose ball – Players dive on the floor in front of them, then return to their feet as quickly as possible and begin shuffling their feet in place
  • Shot – Players should close out chopping their feet with a hand up when this command is given, and then return to chopping their feet
  • Charge – This is how the drill should end, with the players taking a charge and falling on their butts (NOT THEIR WRISTS!).

This drill does cause fatigue to set in, but don’t allow your players to get by showing minimal effort. It should be a high energy drill.

Sword Fight

You can use this drill to teach your team how to help and recover on dribble penetration.

How to perform:

Each player should have a partner that they are lined up across the lane from like in the diagram below.

youth basketball drills

Players should slide into the lane communicating, “HELP, HELP HELP!” As they meet in the middle of the lane, they should slap hands, then start to slide outside of the lane communicating, “Recover! Recover!” Both of their feet should go outside the lane before they change their direction to start sliding back toward the middle.

Overemphasize the communication aspect of this drill. It will go a long way.

VCU Defense

This defensive basketball drill works on several different movements that players will need on the defensive end.

How to perform:

Players start out on the block of the lane. To perform, they:

  • Sprint to the opposite elbow
  • Slide to the other elbow
  • Backpedal to the block they started on
  • Slide over to the other block
  • A player on that block will roll the ball out and the player in the drill should dive on it
  • Then the player that rolled the ball takes a charge from the diver after they get up
  • The diver then becomes the next person to roll the ball and the next person begins on the other block.

youth basketball drills

Partner Chase

This drill can be used as a defensive and offensive drill. It will help players finishing under pressure while also teaching the ‘backtap’ when defensive players are coming from behind.

How to perform:

The offense starts at the volleyball line and defense starts behind them at the half court line. Once the offense breaks for the basket, the defense sprints and tries to back-tap the basketball from the offensive player.

The offensive player’s goal is to make a layup with pressure.

youth basketball drills

Baseline Block-Out

This is a fun drill for you to teach holding a blockout after making contact with a player.

How to perform:

Have your players partner up, and place a basketball on the baseline for each set of partners. Have one offensive player stand at the free throw line, and a defensive player facing him an arms length away.

On the blow of your whistle, the defenders should turn and begin to block their partner out. The offensive player should be trying their hardest to go get the basketball on the baseline.

youth basketball drills

4-on-4 Blockout

This is a drill you can use to teach blockouts and playing the ball off of the rim.

How to perform:

Have four offensive players line up free throw line extended and four defensive players line up on the baseline.

Have a coach throw the ball to one of the offensive players. As the ball is thrown, the guy guarding the shooter should close out, and then box out the shooter, while the rest of the defenders should make contact with their man, turn and box him out, then go get the rebound.

This can be turned into a game, only allowing points for defensive rebounds.

Zig Zag Defense

This drill works on turning your man when you are playing defense and beating them to the spot. It also works as a dribbling drill, as the ballhandler has to dribble with defensive pressure.

How to perform:

Players partner up, with one playing defense and the other playing offense in the corner on the baseline. The defense should work on moving their feet, playing defense without their hands, and beating the offense to the spot. They should try to turn the offense as many times as possible.

The boundary lines are the sideline and the volleyball line for the offensive player to maneuver around in down the court.

Once the players get down the court, they should go to the other corner, and perform the drill going back down the other side of the floor, with the offensive and defensive player switching places.

youth basketball drills

Shooting Drills

3 Man, 2 Ball Shooting

This is a great drill to get a lot of shooting reps in a short amount of time.

How to perform:

Each group should have three players and two basketballs. The first player with a ball should shoot, get his rebound and then pass to the guy in the group without the ball, then continue moving until he receives the pass for his next shot. This pattern is continuous. Variations could be:

  • Shot fake
  • 1 dribble pull-up
  • Shot fake, 1 dribble to the rim
  • Shot fake, 1 dribble step-back
  • All three-pointers
  • All curl cuts
  • All flair cuts

There are several variations you can run in this drill. You can also make it a contest and say the first group to 10 makes wins.

Brad Stevens Shooting

This shooting drill from Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens has several different shot variations in it.

How to perform:

In this drill, players shoot five different shots in succession:

  • Shot in the corner
  • 1 dribble pull-up from the corner
  • Curl to the wing
  • Flair to the wing
  • Touch half court & shoot a 3-pointer in transition.

youth basketball drills

Read The D Shooting

This team shooting drill helps players read the defense when they are coming off of a downscreen.

How to perform:

You can run this drill from either side of the floor. Players will walk their man down and then make these cuts:

  • Curl for a layup
  • Curl for a shot
  • Backdoor for a layup
  • Flair to the wing for a shot

Point of emphasis: Players should call out every cut they’re making so the passer knows where to throw the ball.

youth basketball drills

Doubles Shooting Drill

This is a great shooting drill that can be run as a competition.

How to perform:

In this drill, there are five spots that players will choose from. These can be anywhere from 10-footers to 3-point shots, depending on the player’s skill level.. The rules are:

  • If a player makes two in a row from a spot, they move on to the next spot
  • However, if they miss two in a row, they move back a spot
  • The object is to see how quickly the shooter can make it all the way around.

youth basketball drills

Elbow Shooting

This shooting drill incorporates conditioning. It can also be a competition between teams.

How to perform:

You have one team of players on one elbow, and the other team of players on the other elbow.youth basketball drills

Players will shoot the ball from the elbow, throw it to the next person in line, and then run to the other end of the court, touch the baseline, and then run and get back in line.

You can set a time limit, or say the first team to a certain number of baskets wins.

Close Out Jumpers

This shooting drill works on shooting with a defender closing out on a player. It can also be used to work on closeouts for your defense.

How to perform:

This drill can be run from any spot on the floor in which you want your players to work on contested jumpers.

You start with a line under the basket with the basketballs, and a line where you want your players to shoot from.

The players under the basket pass the ball to the player in line & then close out. The player catches the ball and shoots it while his shot is being contested.

youth basketball drills

Screen Away Shooting Drill

A shooting drill that works on shooting off of a screen away from the ball.

How to perform:

This drill starts with a line at the top of the key and a line on each wing. The ball starts at the top of the key.

The player at the top of the key will throw the ball to a wing, and then screen away for the opposite wing.

The opposite wing will use the screen and come off of the screen with their hands ready. They will receive a pass and shoot the ball.

This drill helps to work on basic motion cuts and shooting off of a screen.

The players can curl, straight cut, flair, or backdoor off of the screens.

youth basketball drills

Fast Break Jumpers

This is a good drill to use to work on shooting while in a transition break.

How to perform:

youth basketball drills

This drill starts with a line under the basket with the basketballs, and a line out on the wing. The player under the basket will throw the ball off of the backboard and get the rebound. They’ll outlet the basketball to the player on the wing.

The player on the wing will get the basketball and attack the elbow on the other end of the floor. The player that got the rebound will sprint & stay wide down the floor. They’ll receive a pass for a jump shot on the other end.

After the shot, the players can come back on the other side of the floor doing the same thing. You can have the players shoot jump shots, one-dribble pull-ups, layups, and more.

Five In a Row Shooting

This is a drill for your players to work on grooving their shot and to use as a competition.

How to perform:

Have your players start out 6 feet in front of the basket. Once they make five in a row from that spot, have them take a giant step backward and repeat that process.

Give them a certain allotment of time and see how far back they can get.

10 in 1

This is another competition shooting drill to use with your players that incorporates shooting, conditioning, and pressure.

How to perform:
There is a designated shooter and rebounder. Put 1 minute on the clock, and the shooter has that amount of time to make 10 three-pointers (or closer depending on age and skill level).

After each shot, the shooter must run and touch half-court before shooting their next one. The goal is to get 10 makes in 1 minute.

Form Shooting

This is a staple drill that should be ran at the beginning of your practices. It helps players have proper form on their shots.

How to perform:
The player holds the ball in their palm, then they bring the ball up, then finish their shot with a follow through. We call this “Ready, Aim, Fire.”

youth basketball drills

Full Court Competition Drills

5-on-4 Catch-Up

This is a drill that is used to create an advantage situation for the offense and to work on transition scoring.

It is also used for the defense to work on stopping the offense when they are at a disadvantage.

How to perform:

Have your five offensive players line up across the baseline, and have your five defensive players line up across from them free throw line extended.

A coach will throw the ball to one of the offensive players. Whoever is lined up across from the guy that the ball is thrown to should go and touch the baseline. Everybody else should take off down the court and the offense has a 5-on-4 advantage until the defender gets back.

5-4-3-2-1

This is a fun drill that helps to work on transition offense and defense by playing advantages and disadvantages.

How to perform:

Break your team up into two teams for this game. Each team will have two lines on their end of the court, as the diagram below shows.

youth basketball drills

After the teams are situated, whichever team you designate should get to have the ball first will have ONE player from their team go to the other end of the court to shoot a free throw. The other team will have TWO players around the lane to get the miss or take out a make.

After the first free throw is shot, the two players go down the court in a 2-on-1 situation.

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Next, after the 2-on-1 takes place, either the two offensive players score, or the 1 defender gets a stop, one player from each line on that side of the court come into play, and the 2-on-1 disadvantage now becomes a 3-on-2 advantage, and they take the ball the other way.

youth basketball drills

As you might have guessed, after the 3-on-2 break ends with a score or stop, the other team takes the ball and heads toward the other end, turning their 2-on-3 disadvantage into 4-on-3 advantage. The drill ends after the 5-on-4 advantage is complete.

We like to run this drill until a team scores 20 points (normal scoring with 2’s and 3’s on offense).

The kids love this drill and they’re working on their transition offense and defense without really knowing it.

3-on-3 Cut Throat

A fun drill to use to play 3-on-3 with a fun twist.

How to perform:

Split your guys into three even teams. Hopefully there isn’t more than 3 or 4 guys on a team. If you have side goals, you can split into 6 teams and play full court on the side goals.

Either way, this drill is designed to have three teams of 3 guys. The drill starts with an offensive team and a defensive team on one side of the court playing 3-on-3.

The third team is on the other end of the court preparing to play defense (4, 5, 6 in the diagram below).

youth basketball drills

The two teams that are on the end of the floor playing 3-on-3 go at it until the offense scores or the defense gets a stop. If the offense scores, they take the ball out of bounds and head to the other end of the court, where there is a new defensive team waiting on them.

If the defense gets a stop, they become offense and take the ball to the other end of the court, where a defense is waiting on them.

This pattern continues throughout the game. If the offense scores, they keep the ball and head to the other end of the floor where there is a defensive team waiting on them. If the defense gets a stop, they take the ball to the other end of the floor with a defense waiting on them.

If you don’t score, or you don’t get a stop, you stay on the end of the floor that you’re on and wait to play defense until the next possession.

You can play to a certain point value, or have a time limit for the game.

Want these drills in a PDF?: These 37 basketball drills can be downloaded in a PDF for you to always have.([Download The Drills Now!)

Categories: CoachingDrills

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