1 on 1 Grid Drill

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The following drill is a great way to make use of the entire court and get all of your players involved at once. Your team will enjoy this competition while at the same time working on defense, ball handling and conditioning.

This is a very efficient drill and an efficient way to improve skills.

In this drill, you create several small courts (grids) for small groups of players to work in. This is an efficient way to handle a typical team of players. Nothing is worse than having a line of players standing around waiting to play 1 on 1 at the basket. This solves that problem and allows a large group of players to improve their defense and ballhanding at the same time.

Step 1:

Use cones to set up multiple grids on the court. The size and number of grids will depend on the number of players and space you have available. The example to the right shows four grids that are roughly 25 feet wide by 47 feet long.

You are basically creating a bunch of small courts (grids) in your gym for small groups of players to work in. This is an efficient way to handle a team or large group.

Once the grids are marked, split the players into groups of two or three. One player is on offense and starts at one end of the grid and the other player is on defense and begins at the opposite end of the grid.

The defense passes the ball to the offense, closes out, and the game is live.

Step 2:

The offense has 10 seconds to advance the ball to the opposite side of the court without going out of bounds.

The coach can start the drill and verbally count down for the entire group -- or use the gym's scoreboard.

For younger teams you don't need a time limit. And you can of course adjust the time limit based on the level of your team.

If the offense gets to the end line, it is rewarded with 1 point. A turnover by the offense results in -2 points. The defense gets 1 point for every stop.

After the possession is complete, offense goes to defense. Defense either goes out (if you have a group of three) or goes to offense. Each player should get equal number of opportunities on offense and defense.

Play for 10 minutes, keeping track of the total points. After 10 minutes, the winning team gets drinks and the losers do pushups.


Another option is to play for two minutes and then rotate match ups. The winners can go on one side of the gym and the losers on the other. Or the winner stays and loser rotates. Lastly, you can determine who stays by playing rock, paper, scissors. Those are just a few ways you can create different matchups.

This drill not only creates a very competitive situation, but it also works on offensive and defensive pressure in a confined space. It's phenomenal for improving ballhandling, agility, defensive skills, and conditioning.

Points of Emphasis for Offense

  • Change speeds to keep defender off balance
  • Retreat dribble when in trouble (close to the sideline)
  • Protect the ball
  • Practice fundamentally sound dribble moves (change of direction moves, etc)
  • No turnovers! Take care of the basketball.

Points of Emphasis for Defense

Related Resources

Breakthrough Shooting and Ball Handling Camps
9 Tips To Improve Your Dribble and Ball Handling
Coaching Youth Basketball - Drills, Offense, Defense, Philosophies, etc.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions...


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Coach N says:
3/1/2015 at 6:05:55 PM

I am going to try this with my junior high girls. I am also going to try adding a second defender after a count of three seconds...as if the defenders were going to trap. Then after another count of three add a second offensive player as a safety valve to get out of the trap. Then the defense will have to hustle to try and create another trap. Not sure if this will work. What do you think?

  1 reply  

Jeff Haefner says:
3/21/2015 at 7:35:09 PM

Coach - I think what you described will work. But I think you'll find the traps become predictable and players might pick up their dribble too often if they get bailed out with an outlet. Here's a drill that I run that works really well and I think it might work better. Players never know when the trap will come and which side it will come on. Really helps us improve ballhandling skills.


Jeff says:
7/30/2014 at 6:42:56 AM

Coach A - We have thought about it. If you have specific ideas on how that would work, send us an email with your thoughts.

Thank you for the feedback!


Coach A says:
7/29/2014 at 8:47:26 PM

Have you ever thought about creating an iOS app there's a lot of helpful information on this website and I think an application would do you guys wonders.


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