3-Man Weave - Why You Should Use It

Over the last few years, I've seen a lot of discussion for eliminating the 3-man weave from practice.


Because there are more effective drills to get better at passing, communication, and finishing... Or transition offense if that's the reason you use it.

I tend to agree that there are more effective drills for those objectives. And I tend to use other drills in my practices because I believe they help me achieve my objectives.

However, I think coaches also need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Something I've rarely heard discussed within the 3-man weave is this...

A highly effective exercise called the serpentine run or commonly known as the S-Run... used during a warm-up!

The S-Run is a great exercise for injury prevention and athletic development. It's something I learned almost 20 years ago from the legendary athletic development and performance coach Vern Gambetta. And I still use it to this day for myself and with teams that I coach.

With the S-Run, you are developing and emphasizing different muscle use throughout the whole body... starting all the way down to your toes and ankles.

This is where you literally run up and down the court (or field) in an S-shape pattern.

Now think about the pattern players run in a 3-man weave...

It's just like the S-run!

And the 3-Man Weave is a great way to use the S-Run while getting warmed up with some passing, catching, and finishing.

In a way, it's more efficient than simply doing the S-Run by itself!

Now, you might be thinking... "Joe, hold up! Don't you advise doing your warm up and athletic development exercises before you get on the court? Don't you advise to do them in a hallway, locker room, or some other space? That way, you can maximize your court time strictly for basketball activities!"

Yes. I do. And if you can do the S-Run prior to getting on the court, absolutely do so!

Then use your best transition offense and passing drills once you hit the court.

That's what I try to do myself.

However, not everybody is blessed with that situation. At times, I know that I wasn't when coaching my children's 2nd/3rd grade and 4th/5th grade rec teams last year.

On the other end of the spectrum, I once coached for a high school program that had 3.5 to 4 hours of practice time allotted for them!

So if your court time isn't limited, you could do your warm up on the court. You could include the 3-man or 5-man weave as another tool to mix the S-Run with some passing, catching, and layups.

I think the lessons here are...

  • Always ask why you do a particular drill. Figure out the objective first.
  • See if there is a better drill that you can use or change the design of a drill to make it better.
  • Do what works best for YOUR situation... which can change.

Well, those are my thoughts. I'd love to hear yours as well!

Did I miss something? Do you agree or disagree?

Also, here are a couple of resources to check out for other warm-up ideas to reduce injuries and improve athleticism. And you will also have better practices and start your games strong!

Have Your Team Do This Critical Warm Up BEFORE Stepping on the Court

Avoid These Game-Day Warm Up Mistakes That Could Cause You To Lose Games!

If you're a youth or middle school coach, we also have 24 warm-ups already designed for you in the Youth Athletic Development Program!

These can also be great tools for high school coaches working with their youth programs.

This includes on-court and off-court (or hallway) warm-ups.

  • 12 Warm Up Routines - That way, you can hit the court running... literally!
  • 12 Hallway Warm Up Routines - Designed for small spaces, so you can do them before your court time even starts!
  • 61 At-Home Workouts for Players
  • 300+ Exercises


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Rudy Ramirez says:
10/15/2023 at 3:33:46 PM

Properly done the three-man weave(wth a concurrent shifting by the 4 and 5) will result in clearing the middle for an easy lay-up by any 5 players. However, the weave must move steadily toward the basket. This shrinking is most disconcerting to the defense and prevents defensive shifting. Should only be used against an aggressive man defense.


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