Posted by Coach Brian Schofield on November 11, 2013
This article is mainly designed for the beginning to intermediate coach who is really wondering what basketball drills he or she can implement to improve their ball club. I've compiled some of the most basic, yet effective drills that I remember being involved with and seen done by other successful coaches. Understand that I'm about doing drills that work and not doing drills just to fill time at practice. It can't be stressed enough that these drills need to be done at high intensity levels in order to experience the desired outcomes.
Dribble Chase or Dribble Tag
This is a great game for beginning players and coaches. Take a small portion of the court, like a half court, give each player a basketball that they must dribble and play tag with. If any player loses control of the ball they are immediately out. While tagging a player the ball must be kept in close control. For a more advanced version of the game, it is a great idea to attempt to knock the ball away from the opposing players, instead of tag them.
This is a great way to see how young players handle the ball under pressure. You also want to evaluate how aggressive players are going after the ball. You want to discourage players from standing in a corner and attempting to only guard the ball. Reward players for knocking the ball away from other players. Make sure that they do not throw the ball to knock it away. It must be done as a basketball move, but anyone that loses control of the ball on their own or has it knocked away is out.
This will probably be one of your players' favorite drills. It creates a sense of competition and helps them work on the fundamentals as well. Start simply by having the players race to either the half court line or the end line while dribbling with their right hand. Have them come back dribbling with their left hand. Players that lose control of the ball must go all the way back and start over from the beginning. You can advance on this also and I will cover it in some of the more advanced ball handling drills that can be done.
By then, I should have my video clips working so you can see these as they are performed. Anyway, you can be completely creative in this sort of drill but make sure that the winning teams are given something. Keep track of wins and losses so that improvement can be judged. Point out any and all improvements.
The key as a young coach is to determine how each player is motivated and work with them that way. Some players you have to build up and others you can be more aggressive with. It isn't a bad idea to set up chairs as well to use as obstacles. Don't allow the players to violate basketball rules by carrying the ball or traveling or even double dribbling. Once a player violates a rule in a real game they are punished by losing the ball. If it happens in the drill it should be the same way, make them start over, even if it means that team has no chance to win the race.
10 on the Line
This is my favorite foul shooting drill of all time. I still play it today when I can with a group of guys because of the pressure that builds up. Each player starts with 10 points and forms a line at the foul line in single file. Each time a player takes a shot there is one on the line. If the player misses he goes down to 10 points. If the player makes the shot he stays at 10 points and now there are two on the line. This goes on until all players are out. The game gets very fun when there is 6,7,8 on the line because the pressure starts to build.
When I was younger our coaches would provide mini candy bars for the winning players and that was great. It gave you a sense of accomplishment. This game also gives a chance for the players who aren't the greatest of foul shooters. Sometimes a player will get to the line for his first shot with 10 on the line already. One miss and that player is out and the pressure the kids feel is real provides and great practice.
Again, these are just some basic simple drills for beginning coaches to use to encourage competition while stressing the fundamentals. If you have questions please don't hesitate to email them in so I can write an article or topic on the subject. Thanks.